The Nokia Lumia 920 – Hit or Miss?

This device was the star of the show last Wednesday and hogged the limelight for 90% of the show. It’s billed by Nokia as the most innovative phone on the market. Does it merit this hype?

In the end, yes, probably.  I have to say probably because so much of Windows 8 wasn’t shown off.  We know about the Start screen, Wallet and the Lenses section of the Camera app, but very little else.

So the hardware then: specs wise we are talking about Dual-core Qualcom Snapdragon S4 processors, 1 Gb Ram and 32 GB build in memory, not expandable.The camera is 8.7MP , the screen is 4.5″ and it comes in a vartiaty of colors.

But then again, thee’s much more to this than the raw specs isn’t there. Nokia’s presentation focused on new innovations and this device has several. The touch screen you can touch with your gloves, the camera with image stabilization and inductive charging are three.  Two of these are shared with the Lumia 820, also announced today, but the camera one is unique to the Lumia 920.

Hang on a minute though, inductive charging has been seen before, and being able to use the screen with gloves on is nice, but hardly carries a wow factor.  And that camera – it’s called Pureview. So what happened to the 41Mp monster with lossless zooming and Xenon flash? This is only 8.7MP. Image stabilization is nice but that’s surely different from PureView.

This is what makes me a little unsure about this device.  A lot of stuff here is actually pretty useful, but hard to put into soundbites or a sales pitch. You can trot out raw stats at people and it sounds good, and usually the bigger the number, the better something is.  The Lumia 920 is innovative in ways that can’t be measured that way, which is great on the one hand, but on the other it’s supposed to be a high end phone and that means big numbers to people. It won’t be hard for other manufacturers to compete with Nokia in the numbers war.

There’s a second problem, and that is Nokia fans.  There is a section of Nokia fans that haven’t yet bought into Windows Phone and these people don’t care about numbers, they care about features. Specifically, they will consider buying a Windows Phone if it can do everything their Symbian phone could. By that I don’t mean handling email a certain way, or hving widgets and home screen or even runnin Qt apps (though that last one is probably in some peoples list). It is having TV-Out, USB hosting and Bluetooth file transfer, and a host of other connectivity features that Symbian was genuinely really good at (even if the interface to use these things was occasionally cluncky). It’s also about multitasking, and taking advantage of AMOLED technology by providing a clock and notifications when it was sleeping.

So how does windows phone and the Lumia 920 stack up? Frankly, it sucks. In fact, the 820 has the edge here because it has Micro SD card support where the 920 doesn’t. Nokia need to convince this section of society, that when they give up their N8’s and N9’s, that their Windows Phones are the devices to go for, and they are failing at it. For evidence of this, just look through the comments on the Nokia Conversations blog.  These are Nokia fans, people who bought their devices because they were the Swiss army knife phone that could do just about anything.

Having said all that, it loks great (though shame Cyan is missing from the color choices), and I’m sure will run buttery smooth, and we may yet see some of those missing features when Windows Phone 8 get’s fully previewed by Microsoft.  It does have a great camera and image stabilization will be genuinely useful, as will the new screen and inductive charging (shame that in the box is a standard USB charger though).  It’s fast and has decent storage, and just looks good.

So it’s up to Nokia and the various carriers they partner with to convince people that this device and these innovations, which don’t loom large on the spec sheet, are goo enough to call this a high end device. Not just high end but “the most innovative smartphone” on the market today. In the end, I think they will do ok at this, and I’m sure this will sell pretty well, provided it’s sensibly priced by carriers and Nokia themselves.


About bluechrism

I am a software developer with most professional experience in the Windows .Net realm and I'm currently a WPF developer with Starkey Labs. However, I have wanted for some time to start the mobile developer journey properly and being an N900 owner, this was to be in the realm of QT. Job hunting, moving to Minnesota and changing jobs put my plans on hold 6-12 months but things are starting to settle now, just as I'm getting sorted to start some things, Microsoft and Nokia merge. This blog is about my novice mobile development experiences and hopefully will end up complete with links to download some apps on various platforms, but obviously by the name, Sybian, Maemo/Meego and Windows Mobile. In other stuff, I am English, I support Everton FC, I have visited Glastonbury music festival 5 times and recommend it to anyone. I am married and my wife and i have a dog called Friday.
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