41 Megapixels is all you hear about.  There’s no talk on the screen, the OS, the hardware, nor the software.  A simple number, 41.  Nokia has a reputation of putting out some of the best, if not THE best camera phones to date.  Having Carl Zeiss Lenses might have something to do with that, but Nokia has put a staple on the smartphone camera competition. Easily trumping other cameras in specific situations and grabbing the most amount of detail.  Now comes the Lumia 1020. Does the 41mp grab too much attention?  Is the phone a fluke? Let’s find out!

Hardware
This phone is a near replica to its predecessor, the Lumia 920. With the exception of the bulging 41 megapixel camera, you have the same internals. A dual-core 1.5 GHz processor with 1GB of RAM housed in a poly-carbonate shell casing that is very welcoming to the hand. The best part about this is that you don’t need the fastest2013-08-23 01.23.55 processor or the most amount of RAM to maximize the efficiency of this Windows phone and I’m sure Nokia is proud of that. I’d like to say they are following the footsteps of Apple but don’t want to upset the loyal Windows phone fans.

The Lumia series is also known for having these displays that are just right for the viewing pleasure especially under sunlight. The Clear-Black AMOLED (WXGA 1280×768) display is something I wish most phones had these days. I never find myself using my other hand to shade the screen from the blazing sun (Oh, how the little things go such a long way).  The super sensitive touch feature is also a plus, especially since it’ll work with gloves on which is great for the Winter.  To wrap things up on the hardware side, there is a 1.2mp front facing camera that’s somewhat decent..  There seems to be a yellow film over the pictures when you take “selfies” which can become very frustrating.  The real star and attention is the camera on the rear that can capture an absolutely amazing amount of detail.  A 41mp Pureview sensor with respected Carl Zeiss Lens and Xenon flash; can’t seem to sound any better than that.

Camera
Where do I begin?  This is a pro shooter combined with a smartphone with the convenient size to fit in your pocket.  All in one you could say.  The serviceability of having the most powerful smartphone cameras with a great everyday phone.  The camera takes two photos, if you have the aspect ratio set at 16:9 the camera will take a 5 mp (for uploading photos and easy sharing) and a 34 mp picture that would give you a great overall picture.  If you have the aspect ratio set to 4:3, the camera will take the same 5 mp picture and a 38 mp picture.  I’m no photographer but this one makes you feel like one.  Its enjoyable to see that even on auto settings, you can take the most vibrant and rich photos.  The Pro Cam app is just great to mess around with and really easy to use.  Being able to control things like white balance, exposure, ISO, focus and shutter speed makes the camera experience more professional-like.  Of course, if thats too complicated, you can always just use the Nokia Smart Cam or the stock camera application.

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Lowlight pictures are fantastic and lose very little detail.  The Xenon flash helps a ton since it doesn’t over expose or blasts the colors out of the water.  Compared to great lowlight smartphone cameras like the HTC One, it still seems to take the better pictures.  When it comes to daylight photos it is just an absolute blast to take a picture of anything.  

Fortunately for me, I also had the pleasure of grabbing a special deal with the Microsoft Store that will include the Camera Grip.  This is an absolute must for those “hardcore photographers” because it gives you more flexibility and additional battery life.  The grip presents a more camera like function as it has the optional tri pod mount insert on the bottom and another shutter button with a bit more sensitivity.  The Camera Grip only gives you about 40% of additional battery life (1020 mAh) but its a little juice that doesn’t hurt to have.

Battery Life
Nit picky as I am with battery life these days, the phone does exceptionally well.  I wake my phone at least twice an hour depending on where I am or what I’m doing.  I also put the phone through very rigorous use; streaming music, checking/receiving emails, tweeting every so often, etc.  I found that my device lasts me about 11 full hours of a work day before I have to turn on my Tylt Powerplant to complete my day.  The 1020 charges exceptionally fast which is a plus in my book.

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Conclusion
Nokia is gaining momentum and its earning the respect that it sort of had but now is regaining.  The Lumia 1020 is a great phone despite having its application shortcoming.  Needing more ways to upload the amazing pictures is in lack of, but can be manageable with a bit of extra work.  My time with the Lumia 1020 has shown me that Windows Phone can be great and has an even greater future.  With developer support and an increasing community, I’m sure the little kinks that it needs to be that “phone” will be worked out.  The Nokia Lumia 1020 is available for $199.99 at AT&T on a 2 year contract in three colors (black, white and yellow).

Positives

  • The camera is mind-blowingly good
  • Despite its lady hump, it has a great build
  • Superb battery-life

Downfalls

  • Applications.  Need more please…
  • Needs more ways to share and upload photos (Dropbox, etc)
  • Laying flat on its back may annoy some
  • Couldn’t we get colors like blue and red as well?