Nokia’s bold new phone: the Lumia 920 reviewed


A continuation from the work Nokia laid down in its 800 and 900 models, the Lumia 920 takes that colourful polycarbonate brick and upgrades the insides to support the very latest Windows Phone operating system.

Now in its eighth version, Nokia has had to increase the processor from a single to a dual-core processor, upgrade the RAM, and now has the opportunity to move the screen resolution to at 1280×768, slightly higher than HD and a little more relevant than the Windows Phone 7 maximum of 800×480.

The display is nice and bright with good colours, and is also reasonably sharp, thanks to a pixel per inch count that’s as high as Apple’s Retina screen, with 331ppi. It’s also readable in sunlight, although there’s a small amount of fringing where the edges of colours glow white upon first glance in direct sunlight. Your eyes will adjust, but you will see it.

Unsurprisingly, Windows Phone 8 continues on from the framework Microsoft set up in Windows Phone 7 and 7.5, with lots of contrasty colours and moveable square and rectangular icons, allowing you to make your own screen look like however you choose.

With Microsoft’s new Windows 8 desktop operating system available, this icon-based look has never been more relevant, as it relays a similar design. If you have a computer with this operating system, it’s an easy transition, but even if you don’t, it’s still very easy to adapt to, with square icons and live information streamed to them.

For instance, your unread email counter is shown in the icon for each account, a weather tile will update itself with the right temperature and forecast, the resizeable calendar tile can show what’s coming up next in your schedule, recent photos slide in and out of its dedicated tile, what’s playing in your music is shown in the music square or rectangle, and more.

Contacts are called people, and you can throw your family and friends into groups, with the news from their respective social networking feeds – pictures, status updates, etc – being listed in the latest information for each group, as well as the ability to quickly text or call people in said groups.

We made a group for the workers at GadgetGuy, which not only gave us easy access for making phone calls and sending messages, but also showed us what everyone was doing.

Your information is shown on the “me” icon, which allows you to post updates to social networks, see your notifications, and check in to locations.

Windows Phone 8's people, setup for our work colleagues.

All up, it’s probably one of the better integrations of social media on a platform, and probably goes beyond what both Android and iOS do for linking social lives with the mobile phone.

Microsoft has also included “Kid’s Corner,” which helps to serve up controlled sections of your phone – such as music, a game or two, and videos – to your kids, so they don’t inadvertently check through your email, and charge your mobile or credit bill a fortune by accident.

Like on the past Lumia handsets, Nokia is including some software additions that will please many, including the augmented reality based “City Lens” which helps you to find restaurants, hotels, attractions, shopping, and transport around you.

Also included is free turn-by-turn navigation software “Nokia Drive,” Nokia’s online music service with offline caching, a photo editing app called “Creative Studio,” and a few camera additions that only work on Nokia’s Lumia phones, including the animated GIF maker “Cinemagraph,” the obviously titled “Panorama,” and the five-for-the-price-of-one snapper “Smart Shoot.”

The camera's metering isn't always dead on.

Nokia’s inclusions are useful on the whole, and the additions to the camera make its 8 megapixel shooter a decent little snapper, though the light metre could be a touch better, as it often analyses things with too much darkness.