After spending some time with the Nokia Lumia 920 on AT&T, I am ready to share my thoughts on this device. I hope after reading this you will have a good idea on whether or not this is a device you should look at if you are in the market for switching carriers or devices.
The Nokia Lumia 920 has been available on AT&T for a few months now and is extremely affordable (currently $99.99 on AT&T.com) for how much power and functionality you get with it.
AT&T.com currently is running a special right now (ends February 21, 3013) where if you purchase a Nokia Lumia 920, you have your choice to either get another Lumia 920 free, or get the Nokia DT-900 wireless charger I previously reviewed free.
Let me start by saying that the Nokia Lumia 920 is definitely an eye catching device and I believe that once you get used to using the latest Windows Phone OS, you will find a wonderful experience here.
So let’s get started shall we?
Nokia has released the Lumia for AT&T in 5 different colors. Those colors are black, cyan, white, red and yellow. The black and cyan versions are a matte finish and not glossy like the other colors. These colors are very vibrant, and will be having people ask you just what device it is you have.
Physically when you hold the Lumia 920 in your hand, you will instantly know that you are holding a solid, quality built device. Built from polycarbonate, the rounded edges and smooth back just feel right. Personally I prefer the rounded corners of the HTC Windows Phone 8X to the sharper corners of the Lumia 920, but you may feel differently about that.
The weight of the device has been a sticking point for many people. I think that while it is a tad bit on the heavy side compaired to many phones I have tried, I like knowing that it is there and feels like a well made device instead of just cheap plastic.
There are also three physical buttons on the Lumia 920. Power, volume and a dedicated camera button. All of these buttons are on the right hand of the device.
Here is the full physical specification list to take a look at:
- 4.5 inch display with 768 x 1280 resolution
- 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor
- 1GB of RAM
- 32GB of onboard storage
- 8.7 MP PureView rear camera
- 1.2 MP front camera
- 2000 mAh battery
- 4G LTE capable
- 5.13″ tall x 2.79″ wide x 0.42″ thick
- Weighs 6.5 ounces
Nokia has paired this device with a very attractive 4.5 inch, 768 x 1280 resolution HD display made with Corning Gorilla Glass. Colors are very vibrant with app tiles, photos, videos, games all looking wonderful.
I found the auto-brightness setting to work very well. It stays nice and bright when outdoors and not overpowering when indoors or in a dark room.
The display also has a setting which allows you to adjust the touch sensitivity. What this is intended to do is allow you to be able to use the device even if wearing gloves. From what I found during testing, I am out of luck with the pair of gloves I typically wear in winter months. I could not get it to consistently recognize I was touching the screen while wearing them. It would respond for a few seconds, then stop responding. Your experience may be different depending on the type of gloves you have.
But the display is very responsive no matter which setting you choose while using just your bare finger.
The Lumia 920 is no slouch in the speed department either. Apps open quickly, and scrolling through menus is smooth as well due to the 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor.
I would have preferred Nokia pair the processor up with 2GB or RAM, but things still run smooth with 1GB.
With 32GB of built-in storage, you should have not problems being able to store plenty of apps, music, videos, photos or documents on here as well. Most higher end phones start with 16GB of storage to begin with so 32GB is really nice to see.
In regards to battery life, I found the 2000 mAh battery built-in to last me a full day of moderate use. Nokia and Windows seem to have their battery configuration calibrated very well for battery life.
With 32GB of built-in storage, you will have most certainly have space to load up some of your favorite music. Thankfully the Lumia 920 has wonderful audio components. The location of the external speakers is at the bottom of the device on each side of the micro USB charging port. This is the ideal location because no matter if you have the device laying on its front or back, the speaker volume will not be affected by having the speakers covered up.
Plug in a set of headphones in the port up top and you are also good to go. Using headphones opens up 18 different equalizer settings for you to choose from in order to customize your listening experience to suit your tastes.
Phone calls (It is a phone after all right?) are loud and clear on the Lumia as well with earpiece, and speaker volume being loud enough to hear clearly.
Here is one area in which the Lumia 920 really shines, the camera. Taking photos using the 8.7 MP Pure View camera is very simple and you can end up with some great photos.
To activate the camera, you have multiple options. First, while the screen is off, simply press and hold the camera button on the side of the phone. When you press and hold it long enough, you will feel the device vibrate and the screen will come on directly into the camera app ready to take a photo. Second, you can simply press the camera button while the screen is already on no matter what app you are in at the time. Lastly, you can simply put a camera app shortcut on your home Start screen to activate it using the camera app itself.
I personally found it much simpler to just use the camera button since it is there. While you are holding it in landscape mode, you feel like you are using a traditional point and shoot camera due to the physical button. It was just simply nice to use.
Photos taken with the Lumia 920 capture wonderful color and detail. Included in the app software are 5 different scenes that can be chosen depending on the conditions you are trying to take a photo in. I found just using the Auto setting to be fine for my needs as I am far from a “photographer.
There are plenty of other photo settings available for those that really know photography ranging from 4 different ISO settings, 12 exposure value settings and 4 different white balances.
You can also change your aspect ration between the 16:9 landscape to 4:3 portrait depending on the shot you are trying to capture.
The last setting is the Focus Assist Light. By default the light is on and thankfully so. I found photos to look much better with it on, than without and you can tell the difference below (with on the left and without on the right).
Photos taken outdoors or in lower light conditions really allows this camera to show off. I thought the photo below really showed how nice of a job the Lumia 920 camera does in these situations.
There has been talk of a firmware update that Nokia could release in the near future to help make the camera function even better, but it has yet to release. Still, this camera is one of the best I have personally used on a smartphone and I doubt you will be disappointed.
Video settings are much more limited for this device, but you still have the option to choose between 4 different white balance settings to help with indoor and outdoor video creation. Continuous focus is on by default, but can be turned off and you also have the choice to record in either standard 720p quality (default) and 1080p for even better quality.
Another slick idea I found while playing around with the camera app was that if you wanted to quickly access your photos and videos stored on your phone, you can simply swipe your screen from left to right and it will take you to your stored photos so you can scroll through them. Very nice.
Nokia uses the wireless charging technology standard called “Qi” (pronounced “Chi) in the Lumia 920. As mentioned earlier, I recently reviewed the Nokia DT-900 wireless charging plate that you can either get for free with the purchase of this phone, or buy separately for around $50.
The charger works great and instantly recognizes the Lumia 920 as soon as it is laid upon it. It charges the phone slower than a typical wall charger, but it is still a great charger to have on your desktop at home or the office.
There are also other wireless accessories that take advantage of the technology such as stereo docks and other chargers available as well.
The Lumia 920 is running the latest mobile operating system from Microsoft called Windows Phone 8. If you have a computer that runs Windows 8, you will immediately notice the resemblance between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. From the default home page “Live tile” interface (which made its debut on the Windows Phone 7 OS), to the over 125,000 apps available on the Windows Phone Store you can be sure that you will find apps out there to make your phone complete.
I was surprised to find that many popular apps like Instagram, Pinterest and Dropbox do not yet have official apps created by the actual companies. But there are solid alternatives out there, if official apps are not available, to get you going until those situations get sorted out.
Many of the apps I tried out were very good looking and really made me wish that Android and iOS devices had apps designed like the ones you will find on the Windows Phone Store. Some of them are just downright beautiful.
Of course, being Microsoft, you are treated to the wonderful Office experience that allow you to create, view and edit Word, Excel and Powerpoint files. Access your files in your SkyDrive account or get yourself going with Office 365. OneNote is also available though I did not spend much time with it.
Have an Exchange server based email account? Setting that up is a snap, as is connecting with your Hotmail or Outlook.com email address account.
Nokia really provided some very nice apps for the Lumia 920 to help users get started. Apps such as the Nokia Drive+ beta navigation app work and look very appealing. You have your option to set the view to either 2D or 3D, download new voices to help with turn by turn directions, and even alert you if going a specific amount of MPH over the speed limit.
Nokia Music allows you to access all of your locally stored music and also go out and stream songs or purchase new music to download.
The Nokia Maps app seemed to work well and gave you to option to download area specific maps for offline use, but the default one installed needed to be updated for my area as I know there are homes that have been built, and lived in for a couple of years, that did not show on the map.
The built in touch keyboard left me wanting a little bit more. Keyboard alternatives such as SwiftKey and Swype, are one of my favorite things about the Android world. It was just something that I could not get a feel for in the time I spent with it, maybe over time I would get more accustomed to it.
For my first true Windows Phone experience, I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to try out the Nokia Lumia 920 courtesy of AT&T. For the price of $99.99, you really cannot go wrong with this device knowing how just much power is packed into it compared to other phones that cost much more.
The experience is not all full of praises though. My biggest gripe, other than the keyboard, was that when the phone was set to vibrate, you could distinctly hear it rattling. From what I read online, this is definitely a build issue that affects a considerable amount of units. The vibration itself is not over powering, which makes the rattle all the more curious.
Saying that, I would have not problem using this as a daily device. It really is a gorgeous design from the Nokia phsyical styling to the look of Windows Phone 8 OS and apps, Microsoft and Nokia really are heading in the right direction. I hope sales pick up and Windows Phones can take a bigger piece of the smartphone market because I really think there are a lot of people out there missing out due to the massive marketing campaigns of Apple and Android based smartphones.
- Love the design and colorful choices
- Camera button location
- 32GB internal storage
- Display customization (touch sensitivity, sunlight readability)
- Kids Corner (setup specific apps and other access so kids can use your phone to play around with so that your experience is not disturbed)
- Camera quality
- Dual LED flash
- MS Office integration right out of the box
- Battery life
- Wireless charging
- Live tiles
- Price ($99 on AT&T)
- Location of speakers, not blocked when laying either on back or facedown
- Audio sounds wonderful with headphones, numerous preset EQ settings (18)
- Screenshots easy to take (power button with Windows key combo)
- Xbox integration
- App designs are very eye catching and look great
- Weight of device
- Corners of device push in to palms when using one handed
- Rattles when device vibrates
- Notification system (really miss noticeable notifications like a drop down menu)
- Location of camera lens on rear of device
- When pulling headphones out while song is playing, song stops and you have to start song over.
- Keyboard design and lack of keyboard app alternates
Do you have a Nokia Lumia 920, or other Windows Phone device? If so I would love to hear what you think of it in the comments below!
As always, thanks for reading!