Thursday, April 16, 2015

Nokia Lumia 1020 Review

For all the new Lumia phones we've seen this year, one handset that's been left without a successor is the Lumia 1020. There's a possibility that the recently-spotted "Nokia RM-1052" could be a potential replacement, but until Microsoft officially announce it (or another phone altogether), you'll have to make do with the slightly elderly Lumia 1020 for now. That doesn't mean the Lumia 1020 is out of date, though, as it can now be upgraded to Windows Phone 8.1 and it still has one of the best cameras around. Even better, it now only costs around £385 SIM-free, £20-a-month on contract with no upfront cost for the handset, or £170 on O2's Pay & Go service, making it better value than ever.

With its an enormous 41-megapixel camera sensor, it uses some seriously clever tricks to produce the best phone images we have ever seen. We saw the first version of Nokia's large sensor on the PureView 808, but our enthusiasm was tempered by the handset's soon-to-be-defunct Symbian operating system. The Lumia 1020 has no such problems, as it runs Microsoft's increasingly-popular Windows Phone 8.
Nokia Lumia 1020
The PureView camera sensor is more than just a huge collection of pixels. It's physically larger than the sensors in most smartphones and even some compact cameras. At 1/1.5in, it's twice the size as the sensors in phones such as the HTC OneApple iPhone 5S and Nokia Lumia 925, and 1.5 times larger than the sensor in our Best Buy-winningCanon Ixus 255 HS compact camera.
Generally, the bigger the sensor, the more area there is to capture light and so the less image noise and better low-light performance. The Lumia 1020's sensor is also a backside-illuminated (BSI) model, where light strikes the sensor from the rear, avoiding any circuitry getting between the light and the sensor's photoreceptors.
This isn’t the only trick up the 1020's sleeve, though; Nokia has also decided to use the sensor's huge number of pixels to help improve image quality further. When you take a picture with the Nokia Pro Cam app, the phone saves two versions; the full 7,712x4,352 pixel image and a smaller 3,072x1,728 (5-megapixel) snap.
The camera case adds a chunky handgrip and three hours' battery life
The Lumia 1020 has the same 4.5in, 1,280x720 AMOLED screen as the Lumia 925, which is one of the best mobile screens there is, as well as the same dual-core 1.5GHz processor; Windows Phone flies on this handset, and a hugely quick score of 913ms in the Sunspider JavaScript benchmark shows complicated web pages are not a problem. As with any Windows Phone handset, you need to consider whether the platform does what you need; it's slick and great-looking, but not as flexible as Android and still doesn’t have as great a choice of apps, although the situation is improving.
In fact, there are now few truly vital apps missing from the Windows Phone Store. There's a proper BBC iPlayer app (although the streaming video quality is far worse than on Android and you can’t download episodes to your phone), Netflix, ITV Player, 4OD, Demand 5, Spotify and RightMove for property hunters, for example. Many of these apps aren't as polished as the Android or iPhone versions, but the fact they exist shows Windows Phone is a becoming a platform to take seriously.
Better still, the Lumia 1020 should be getting the Lumia Denim update very soon, which adds Microsoft's digital personal assistant Cortana to the phone, bringing it bang up to date with the latest Lumia handsets. Read our Lumia 830 review to see how it fared against Apple's Siri.  


The Lumia 1020 launched in the UK back in September 2013, but there's still nothing like it out there. The 41-megapixel camera really makes this phone stand out and is a major reason to buy it over any other smartphone. As it is now been superseeded by newer, shinier things you can also pick the Lumia 1020 up on the cheap. At the time of writing, O2 has it on a 24 month contract with 2GB of 4G data and unlimited texts and minutes for £24 per month with no extra charge for the handset.
The Denim upgrade will also give the Lumia 1020 every new feature you'll find on newer Lumia phones, which is another great reason to pick up this phone on the cheap. The new-look operating system adds loads of great features with Windows Phone finally becoming the operating system it always should have been. While UK users will have to wait until the end of the year for Cortana, all the other Windows Phone 8.1 features are ready to go.