The recently concluded Mobile World Congress saw Nokia launching more handsets in its Lumia series of Windows 8 phones – but while they take on the market with affordability ( I’m thinking of the Lumia 720 and 520) it is clear, the company has no plans to unseat or update the flagship Lumia phone – the 920 – that has been around in India from January this year….which is our excuse for this detailed look at the phone at this point in time.
The Lumia 920 is handfull – literally -- and saying it comes with a 4.5 inch screen doesn’t quite convey its overall size which is 130.3 x 70.8 x 99 mm or 5.13 x 2.79 x 0.42 inches, making for a weight of 185 g or 6.53 oz.
This is a l-a-r-g-e and chunky phone, and clearly a cross over product, aimed at those who want something larger than a phone but smaller than a tablet.
While the generous on-board storage – 32 GB—and memory – 1 GB-- are clearly aimed at those who want to do more with their phones than talk, chat, message and surf, the specs of the two on-board cameras are what will , I think, clinch any decision to buy this product rather a similar-sized alternative. The primary camera comes with 8.7 MegaPixels, 3264 x 2448 pixels, Carl Zeiss optics, optical image stabilization, autofocus and dual-LED flash may be the single USP of this phone…. And if taking good pictures under bad conditions is what you need to do, often, then this is clearly the camera for you. The wide ( F 2.0) aperture lets you snap under low light conditions which would defeat most other camera phones. What I found particularly impressive is the camera’s immunity to a lot of shake and shudder – typical when you try to shoot from a moving vehicle that is crossing rough terrain. This is also true when you shoot full HD ( 1080p) video with the camera. The only comparable experience I have had of rock-steady video capture from camera held by a shaky hand, is a dedicated video camera like the legendary Flip. Clearly the Lumia 920 uses some special image stabilization which buyers will value only when that rare photo opp. occurs -- shooting animals from a safari vehicle jolting over hilly terrain for example, or from a small boat navigating a choppy sea. These are chances that never typically occur again – and the 920 may make the difference between just acceptable and great video. I also found that the multiple shooting modes included what is possibly the widest angle capability in camera phones that I have tried -- great if you shoot a lot of outdoor panorama or want to create a 360 degree view by stitching together a minimum of separate stills.
The second camera is OK: 1.3 MP, shooting video at the lower end of HD -- 720p@30fps.
I’m not going to be boring you with a lot of detail on the connectivity aspects – which cover the gamut of HSDPA/HSPA/LTE which we in India can exploit fully when networks are more universally 4G rather in a few city-specific patches as of today. The WiFi covers a,b.g and n which means the fastest hotspots if you can get them. The 920 is Near Field Communications or NFC-ready which means if and when merchants are ready to roll out tap-n-pay phone options to the credit card, you are ready and willing to oblige!
The phone comes with a micro USB 2.0 slot and the appropriate cable which can be used with the charging plug provided. But the 920 also offers a wireless charging option which means you can place it on one of the new wireless charging devices ( not provided) without having to connect the phone to a mains socket. ( I have never found this to be the great breakthrough it is hyped to be because the wireless charger is anyway connected to the mains or to an USB socket so where’s the saving in wires?!)
Indian buyers also need to know that the Lumia 920 only takes the new generation micro SIM and not the standard sized SIM that is what Indian service providers overwhelmingly provide. I do realize that you can order a micro SIM when a new connection, but what happens to a customer who buys the Lumia 920 but wants to migrate from an existing phone and SIM? There is no easy solution other than ordering a duplicate microSIM.. I strongly advise against trying to use a SIM cutter to downsize your SIM…. Indian SIMs do not come with the ready to cut perforation.
I wish phone makers like Nokia had the sensitivity to appreciate and solve such region-specific problems before launching their international phones in India. A small note on how to get a micro SIM; an adapter for the UK- type charging plug they have thoughtlessly provided, so that it will fit Indian 5Amp-3 pin sockets….. would it cost Nokia so much to localize the product particularly when the customer is paying an asking price that is around Rs 38,000?
The Lumia 920 is a one of its kind phone – with superior image capturing ( still and moving) capability. I have heard it said that the Windows 8 OS is a limitation of sorts since the apps ecosystem is not so well populated as say, Android or iOS. I disagree: Once a buyer decides to go for a phone as large as this, I think we may safely assume her or she would like to exploit the large screen for as close a tablet / PC experience as possible. And a Windows environment will make that experience as painless and comfortable as one can get with a small screen especially if one has been a Windows PC user.
If that is indeed your rationale for looking at the Lumia 920, you are on the right track. A small; PS: shop around the third party web stores: the 920 is being offered for a few thousand rupees less than the MRP of Rs 38,262 these days.
More company details here
Anand Parthasarathy/March 12 2013