Nokia Lumia 920: The Great Windows Phone Hope [Updated]

Here it is: the Lumia 920. This is the phone Nokia is staking its future on. Let's just take a moment and bask in that beautiful Finnish build, and then we can talk about the wireless charging, NFC, augmented reality and everything else that makes this look like a killer phone. Updated with Australian availability information.

The 4G LTE Lumia 920 is Nokia's flagship model and potential saviour. It's got a 4.5-inch curved glass screen, dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB storage, unbreakable ceramic side buttons and the "best new" PureView camera, although we're still not sure what "best new" means. Nokia's claiming that its "floating lens" captures 5-10 times the amount of light compared to the competition, and it stabilises the lens to cut down shaky video and blur in low-light photos. The demo video looks really impressive, but we're hoping to see it in person a bit later.

But the Lumia 920's 8.7-megapixel PureView camera might come as a disappointment now that we've all seen the 41-megapixel monster sensor in the 808 PureView. Nokia insists that PureView is not one specific feature, like the 41MP's "supersampling", but rather a broader concept of image quality. Fair enough, but users can't be blamed for associating PureView with a behemoth of megapixels. Nokia is going to have to work had to shake that perception and manage expectations.

The Lumia 920's camera has a shutter that stays open longer and a wider aperture of f/2.0. Springs around the entire optical assembly eliminate blur, and Nokia says the stabilisation system is 50 per cent better than those in other high-end cameras.

The demo of the video stabilisation is really impressive, but wait until you see the incredible low-light performance. Comparative shots of people with no flash in low light look unbelievably good. If it works that well in real life, it will be a huge win for users.

The camera also has a new feature called Smart Shoot, which uses the same technology found in the Blink Lens burst capture app. You can shoot multiple shots in one go of a person in a crowded room, and it compiles them together to identify and remove random people moving in the background.

Nokia Lumia 920: built-in GIFs

And there's also this bombshell: Nokia cinemagraph! We have GIF-off! (Sorry.) It captures still images with some movement in a specific area of the screen, just like the iOS app.

The Lumia 920 also comes with the built-in wireless charging that was rumoured. It's the first mainstream phone to offer that convenience — even sceptics will find it a big deal once they've tried it.

The Lumia 920 also brings "true" offline maps for when you're not online, and it launches right into the Nokia Drive turn-by-turn app. It alerts you when you need to leave based on your transit time, and the indoor maps in Windows Phone 8 even means you can get directions inside train stations. If it works as advertised, it'll be very impressive.

The City Lens augmented reality app seems pretty cool in the demos, but the important question for any AR app is how it performs in real life. Nokia maps is also getting AR so your route is overlaid with points of interest.

NFC, that elusive feature that promises to eventually replace wallet, is a feature built into the Lumia 920.. Windows 8's NFC strategy has so far outgunned Android's — and iOS doesn't have it yet at all — so it makes sense that the flagship phone would carry that flagship feature.

As for the display, Nokia is calling it PureMotion HD+, which amounts to WXGA (1280×768) resolution. It's an upgrade to the old ClearBlack screens in the old Lumias, and Nokia's apparently focused on getting the natural light performance better. Specifically, Nokia claims the screen is 25 per cent brighter than (unnamed) competitors. That means you should be able to use it outside and actually be able to see your screen for a change. Oh, and it's so sensitive you can use it while wearing oven mitts.

Nokia Lumia 920’s wireless charging speaker dock looks crazy cool

Battery life? No one is saying yet, but the 2000mAh battery is Nokia's biggest so far (and just short of the Galaxy S III's 2100mAh battery). The Snapdragon S4 is "up to 30 per cent more battery efficient" than quad-core alternatives. And, of course, there's the wireless charging based on the "Fat Boy" charger. It's probably safe to say that you'll be able to make it through a day.

Nokia also has agreements with Virgin Atlantic and other third parties to put Lumia wireless charging stations in airport lounges and cafes. Wireless charging stations out in the real world is deeply awesome. Please come to Australia!

And then there's the Windows Phone 8 it comes with and all the new stuff that entails on its own. The Lumia 920 is hugely important for Nokia, and it looks like it's gone all-in to ensure its survival.

Update: Nokia has finally announced local availability information. You'll find it right here. The crux of it is that Telstra will score the Lumia 920, while Optus and Vodafone will only get the mid-range Lumia 820 handset.

Nokia Lumia 920 key specs - 4.5-inch 1280x768 screen - 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor - 8.7MP PureView camera - Windows Phone 8 - 32GB memory + 7GB SkyDrive - 2000mAh non-removable battery - GSM 850/900/1800/1900 - LTE 800/900/1800/2100/2600 - microSIM

[Nokia]

More: Inside The Nokia Lumia 920′s Camera: A Lesser Form Of PureView, But Floating Lens Tech Means Smooth Video


Comments

    Now get it to Australia. I sold my first Nokia Lumia ever the other day, and that was just a 610 which won't see all the bling they're showing off there!

      Built-in *.GIF support, F'N SOLD!!!

        took the words out of my mouth....F*Yeah!

        Huh? My galaxy S3 seems to handle gifts fine..either I'm missing the sarcasm or this isn't standard?

          I think it means support for shooting photos as a .GIF file with movement

    Looks awesome, Can't wait to get my hands on one!

    Good to see a Nokia is still pushing to innovate... Some of the other manufacturers should take note!

    My next phone. Can't wait to ditch the iPhone for good.

      I simply cannot express how similarly I feel.

      Good-bye Apple.

    Waiting for specs, but so far the 920 could be in the running for my next phone. PLEASE have 1800MHz LTE!

      Yay! It does!

    FULL SPECS ARE UP:

    https://www.nokia.com/global/products/phone/lumia920/specifications/

    LTE 1800MHz - YES!!

    Yep I think I'm going to be jumping ship to WP8 :)

    Well, I will be picking up the 920 by the looks of it... the camera is probably going to be the first actual camera I use in a phone... :-)

    Oh god... This looks quite tempting... And Google owns my LIFE at the moment... Conflicted.... WHAT SHOULD I DO!?!?

      take the plunge. i'm an iphone user and will be moving to windows phone if the next gen isn't good enough

        i was an iphone user, now a 2 year android user... im off to wp8... w8 on surface and w8 phone, cant go wrong

    Definitely ditching my Galaxy Nexus for this when released. It looks incredible.

    I'm Sold!

    So bored of an iPhone having used it since the 3G came out (4 years?). This looks awesome, much better than iPhone or Android :p

    Will definitely get the Red one too hehehe

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

    If history has taught us anything, it'll be another 6 months before it even makes traction in Australia and becomes available to carriers, with really the only way is to import an unlocked version

      I'll be attempting to import an unlocked version as soon as I can.

      i have a friend who works for microsoft. he said late oct/early nov

        optus have been good with the adoption of windows 7.5 phones, so heres hoping it will continue

    ARGH! 16GB with no MicroSD? Seriously? Why are phones going backwards! This is meant to be the flagship!

      Ok, so specs list at the bottom says 32, but the recap of the event in the story says 16. Which is it? 16GB with no MicroSD after how badly WP7.5 devices have used current users as beta testers will see me going back to iOS.

        OK, calmed down, Nokia's site reports 32GB :)

      They are pushing the 'cloud' storage idea, something I don't like

        Yeah, but I'm sure telcos LOVE IT because they can get more money out of you. And let's be honest, if they get the telcos on board, the telcos will push it hard if they can see more profit in it over a 24 month contract. What consumers think is probably not nearly as important in the grander scheme of things.

          Australian view of the world. Cloud storage will protect data. What is of concern is the lack of omnipresent wifi like elsewhere in the world.

        I'm curious if when the 920 is plugged into a PC USB it is shown as drive. If that isn't the case I will sync thru skydrive to my hard drive.

    Bad news people, just checked the availability page for lumia 920 and it says it's not available in Australia.

      Good chance it wont hit Australia until April given the Lumia 800 launch.

        I'll be importing without a doubt. Unlocked phone by Christmas with any luck. :-)

        It looks like things won't be that bad. This is from The Australian today:

        "While there is no firm release date for the phones in Australia other than by the end of the year, it is believed a number of carriers, including Telstra, are testing the phones with a view to selling them."

        http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/it-business/nokia-unveils-windows-8-lumia-phones-at-new-york-press-event/story-e6frganx-1226466083943

          I can confirm that a big Telco in Aus is testing it right now :)

            Let me guess, you're based in Wollongong????

    hmm on face value this is everything i'd hoped it would be. really looking forward to hearing some independent reviews but on face value, it looks like my next phone.

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

      I loved that concept, but I feel like it was watered down into the 710.

        That concept was the bomb. I was hoping Nokias new Lumia would look like that. Unfortunately not the case.

      Everyone has different opinions and that's okay, just saying that I prefer this look over the look you looked.

    I was looking at the WP8 version of the SG3, but hmmmmm, not any more...

    grrr... 4"+ screen is really just not what I want, but I *do* want an HD screen, PV camera tech and all the other goodies. *sigh* I'll just have to compromise and get the flagship :P

    Can't wait to see shootouts and comparisons between this and WP8 handsets from Samsung and HTC, but so far the Lumia 920 tops my list for when I upgrade next year.

      remember windows phones are narrower than iphone/android so it may not be as big as you think

    16 or 32gb storage? This article says 16, the 820 article says that the 920 has 32...

    Nice. But "unbreakable ceramic side buttons"? Was that a big problem that needed solving?

      If you are used to an iPhone, then yes.

        The front and back, sure. The side buttons but? I don't think there is any particularly widespread issues there.

    Why no USB 3?

      Because its a phone? What use would USB 3 be?

        To copy large files on fast.. like a bunch of ISO's or a large movie etc.. I wanna use the extra space like a flash drive.

        The same se it is with a hard disk....that being it's faster?

      No mass storage, OTA updates, wifi data transfer. Not really a massive use for it. Could make plug-in transfers slightly quicker, but wouldn't make as big a difference as a mass storage android device.

      Would be overkill. USB3 chips are more power-hungry and expensive than USB2 chips, for little benefit (the initial loading of songs and apps may take longer but it's 32GB max, then it's only small transfers). Not to mention the microUSB3 socket is bigger as well.

    Looks really good, Top phone on my list, Although I'm not writing off the ATIV. AMOLED kills LCD any day, and Sammy's cameras aren't too bad. The thickness of the 920 worries me a bit, but it's fantastic to have have options!

      Lumia800 uses AMOLED, Lumia920's screen is supposed to be a development of the Lumia800's, so it should also be AMOLED. There is nothing here to suggest otherwise. The reason I bought a Lumia800 is it's screen - I have never seen anything that comes close to it.

    I really want to like this, and I think Microsoft and Nokia have done everything they can to make it appealing, but I still don't think the developer support is at a high enough level for me to return. Hopefully Windows 8 will provide a boost.

    Plus, there are some iOS apps I use that will never appear on anything other than iOS.

      I can guarantee as long as your apps don't use propriety Apple services then we will see equivalent and better on the Windows platform. Traditionally Microsoft has provided the best development tools and environments.

        The main app I am talking about is developed by a wholly owned subsidiary of Apple Inc.
        I honestly can't see it ever appearing on other mobile platforms.

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