Nokia Lumia 920 Review: Just Too Damn Heavy

Windows Phone 8 is lovely, and the Lumia 920 is supposed to be the Ultimate Windows Phone. Sadly, the handset we've been excited about for so long is just too fat to love.

AU Editor's Note: I hate that I have to keep saying this. I wouldn't if tech companies understood that Australia was actually a thing worth paying attention to. /rant. We'll have a local review up of this as soon as we get a Lumia 920 in the office.

What Is It?

Nokia's best possible Windows Phone, with a much-hyped PureView camera and a big, luxurious screen.

Who's It For?

Anyone who has been praying, weeping and hoping for a Windows Phone that's every bit as powerful and terrific as the iPhone 5 and top Android handsets. On paper at least.

Design

Gigantic. Glistening. Sturdy to the point that I'd worry about dropping it on something. Ferrari paint job. This is a phone tooled to make you go "Oh, look at that thing!" rather than just blending in to the sea of black brick rectangles — though it is essentially just an inflated Lumia 900, which itself was an inflated Lumia 800. There is a pattern here.

The 920 looks and feels like an Italian space mothership, with everything rounded, polished, weighty, and conspicuous. A lovely object. A 1957 Thunderbird. It's so, so smooth — I slept with it one night, and it felt great against my skin. It is a beautiful thing to look at.

Using It

Are you pretty much familiar with Windows Phone 8? No? Read this. Yes? Then you're pretty much familiar with the Lumia 920. Almost all WP handsets are smooth and responsive, and the 920 follows suit. In terms of interacting with the pixels on your screen, you'll be in warm, familiar waters. The software is as fine as you'll find it elsewhere, with the added perks of Nokia's mostly-stellar exclusive app suite. What few physical buttons there are along its sides — volume rocker, power, camera — are crisp and functional.

The Best Part

The software. Windows Phone 8 is the best version of an already graceful, beautiful, and outright daring phone OS. Those are words you don't get to use justly in reference to phone software. But it's true here. Add in Nokia's apps — the fantastic Maps, the best cinemagraph-maker I've ever used, the free streaming music — and you've got the best version of an already very good OS.

Tragic Flaw

The Lumia 920 is so heavy that nobody should own it. It's 185 grams for those playing at home. It weighs more than the Galaxy Note II and the HTC Titan. No, really.

It's just too heavy. Inexcusably heavy. Way, way too heavy to recommend to anyone. The 920 isn't just big — the HTC Titan was big, and it was pretty great. The 920 is bloated, cumbersome. Anyone's first response will be "Ugh, God, this thing is heavy." It's a visceral, instant repulsion, and it doesn't get any less heavy, as if through some polycarbonate osmosis. It's just as galling every time you take it out of your pocket — stretched within a micron of its life — and that isn't the kind of feeling you want to have with an object you're going to be using all day every day.

Our gadgets should be comfortable. They should be made for our hands and fingers. The 920 was perhaps made for hands and fingers, but not of any mortal. Not any of us. Maybe Nokia figured that bigger means better means more things sold means Windows Phone 8 succeeds. Maybe Nokia just couldn't figure out a way to make it skinny. But we haven't just been spoiled by the impossibly slight iPhone 5 — the 920 is a design failure all by itself. Everything good about it is nullified by its obesity.

This Is Weird...

The camera is very good — up there with some of the best you can find on a phone. But for all the hoopla and controversy we went through about the vaunted "PureView" capabilities of this thing, its lens isn't floating on a bed of springs and diamond lashes. It doesn't beat the hype.

In very low light (or even at night), it spanks the iPhone 5.

Far less noise.

In cloudy conditions, it's about on par with the iPhone, although the latter captures more detail.

But when snapping a well-lit shot on the move — you know, touristy stuff — the iPhone wins, beating the 920 even with all the hot talk about image stabilisation.

The 920 has a very, very good camera. But PureView, like Nokia said itself, is just a word, not photographic magic. And in this phone, it sure as hell doesn't justify bulkiness and stupid overweight excess.

Test Notes

  • Nokia built a terrific display — it's significantly larger than the iPhone 5's, but just as sharp (332 ppi on the Lumia versus 326 on the iPhone). It's highly readable even in bright sunlight — like Nokia claimed it would be — and both photos and video sing, popping on screen with fine colour accuracy. You'll like reading and watching things on this screen.
  • Wireless charging works, but isn't a big deal at all. I tested out a Fatboy charging pillow, which does indeed charge your 920 sans wires, but also is a big pillow instead of a wire. Not a very good tradeoff. More like a gimmick.
  • This thing is slow to turn on. Like, half a minute boot slow. Bummer.
  • Battery life is fantastic, even with both 4G and Wi-Fi enabled — more than enough to last you for an entire day.
  • It can't be stated enough how annoyingly heavy and bloated the Lumia 920 is.

Should You Buy It?

It kills me to say this, because I wanted to own this instead of an iPhone 5, but no. No you shouldn't. It's too big and heavy. It's not fun to own. It's not enjoyable to use. If you want a Windows Phone, check out the very good HTC 8X. But this? No, not this.

Nokia Lumia 920

• OS: Windows Phone 8 • CPU: 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro • Screen: 4.5-inch 1280x768 IPS • RAM: 1GB • Storage: 32GB internal • Camera: 8MP Rear • Battery: 2000mAh Li-Ion


Comments

    The reviewer is bitching about how heavy it is? Seriously? To me I prefer a bit more, it kind of tells me that I'm holding something

      Indeed, as a man it wont bother me. If you are a hipster however.....it might.

        I literally spat coffee on my monitor I laughed so hard at that comment! Oh wow, what a mess.....

        Too bloody right, who cares how heavy it is, it's not like you need to lift weights to be able to hold and use the phone. Sure it'd be nice to have something extremely thin however if the phone does everything it was marketed to do and then more, it's lived up to expectation.

          :)

            I weighed my iPhone 4s today. With it's Otterbox case it's 175g. I reckon I can handle 10g more for a bigger phone with an epic camera and no need for a case.

      I agree. I'm a massive iPhone fanboy but I hate the design. I'd take this design any day. It looks a lot nicer to hold. The problem with this review that it was so heavily influenced by this one issue. I believe that Sam thinks it's way too heavy and it will be for a lot of people. But many won't be put off by the size/weight and so for the target audience, this review is completely and utterly pointless. Essentially, the conclusion is "if you want win8, buy a lighter phone with worse specs because I can't cope with the weight". I wish it was more like "If you can get over the size, and I can't, this is what I think of it....".
      I bought one from Mobicity last night. Never dealt with them before. Wish me luck ;)

        Hey mate,
        I've used Mobicity to purchase phones before, they are good and customer service is good. Will be ordering a L920 in the new year from them :)
        Best of luck and enjoy your new phone.

          Thanks for that :) I was going to purchase from Telstra but Telstra is going to add their icon on it, they refuse to give a firm release date and they have a habbit of sometimes not selling phones outright when they first come out.

            where did you hear that telstra would be stamping?

        I can't wait to get my hands on one, although i wouldn't call the 800 the most comfortable phone in the world to use. Hope this feels better!!

      Have to say though that whenever I picked up my wife's old iPhone 4 (not 4S), which is only 112gram.. I always had that same reaction of "Oh wow.. this thing is heavy.. chunky...". Add another 70 grams on for this phone and I can kind of understand what he is going on about.. that's going to be really noticeable..

        The Iphone 4 weighed 137 grams, the 4s was 140 grams.

        And because they are so ridiculously fragile, if you put a bumper on it, you add another 30 - 40 grams to get something approaching the strength of a Lumia; and suddenly you are at the same weight as the Lumia, but at 2/3 the size and without inbuilt wireless charging. Iphone loses again.

          Either way though, it was certainly a noticeable difference to my SGSII and of course now that my wife has an iPhone 5, the weight difference (between iPhone 4 and 5) there is also noticeable.

          Don't forget that the 140 grams is in a size half that of the lumia, which would make the iphone feel just as heavy as the lumia!

      Not once in my life have I understood the hype over the mass of a phone. I don't understand when it was a joke every time a smaller phone came out how the hell it turned into an expectation? Do you even lift bro?

    Bummer :( .....

    Umm no, it weighs 185 grams not 226.

    Last edited 06/11/12 2:33 pm

    I think you get used to heavy phones and it really isn't that big of an issue, how fat it is maybe but the weight is just a matter of what you're used to. I had a HTC Desire Z and that was a heavy phone but it felt nice and sturdy and when I switched to a OneX it felt a bit unreal and like it was a joke. Either way I got used to whatever I had but it wasn't a complete dealbreaker... I think the weight issue is over exaggerated.

      I went from a Desire HD to my One X and I felt the same as well... I would much rather sacrifice some weight to get a longer battery life...

    This was going to be my next phone after I get rid of my iPhone 4S. Article has given me a reason to pause and think it through. Having said that, weight isn't a huge concern for me.

      Did your iPhone have a bumper on it? Then it already weighs the same as the Lumia 920.

    Grow some muscles and man up maybe?

    The phone actually weighs 185 grams, not 226g. Considering this is your only real criticism of the device, it's a tragic flaw to this review that you blew out the weight of the phone by over 40 grams! Terrible review imo.

      you beat me to it, was about to post this...

      http://lmgtfy.com/?q=nokia+lumia+920+weight

      And since when is 226 grams OVER quarter of a kilo!

        Maybe it is just because the States still use a stupid archaic and completely illogical measurement system and as Sam calculating he thought, "1kg can't equal 1000g!? That's too logical! I'm going to make 1kg equal 831g from now on and base all my calculations off that."

      That makes it only 5 grams heavier than a Galaxy Note II then. I don't hear people complaining about the Note's weight. Mind you, it's bigger, so more weight is to be expected. But I doubt a 185g 4.5" phone is really go to be such a drama to pick up and hold.
      I want to get hands on with one though.

      Every reviewer needs to fight something to bash about a device, apparently they can only come up with the weight when it comes to the Nokia Lumia 920.

      Jessica Alba has one of these phones and has had one for months, this is a skinny god damn girl. If you're complaining that the weight is "too" heavy, and are exaggerating that weight by 40 grams (20% of it's total weight) then you got some serious issues. Even a case on the iPhone (which are usually bought for protection/color, no need for one with the Lumia 920) brings the weight close to that.

      Seriously Sam, you've clearly followed the trend of every other reviewer. Great phone but jeez, that 50grams is why you shouldn't buy it! 3.5 tablespoons of butter is too heavy and not worth the extra features.

        Yeah, but Jessica Alba's phone keeps sticking it's fingers down it's throat, so hers is skinnier and weighs less than everybody elses.

        How much do you think Microsoft paid her to say that? Do you REALLY think she's used it for months. Paparazzi do your magic and find pics of her using anything but.

          There are already pictures out there of her using the 900 and now the 920.

      Not to mention a quarter of a kilogram is 250grams, not 226.
      this is the worst Nokia lumia 920 review i have seen so far. and ive ever read the review on The Verge. the author should be ashamed of himself. guess what. if you have ever put a case on your smartphone or put an extended battery on your smartphone you have probably used a smartphone that is just as heavy if not heavier than the Lumia 920.

      This guy has spent too much time holding iPhones without cases. i wonder how many of them he has broken?

        +freakin100000000 to this. I ALWAYS had clamshell cases for my iphones. The only phone I never had one for (smartphones anyhow), is my sgs2, and thats bigger than this sucker.

    224 grams. That's how heavy it is in real person units. That's not that heavy. Look at the photo of it next to the iPhone 5. It's huge by comparison. The screen is the same size as the iPhone 5.

    My iPhone 4 is narrow enough that it slips out of my grip when I hold it above my face to read in my bed at night. I've almost lost a nose more than once because of that. Bring on the bigger phones!

    RE: the wireless charging, "but also is a big pillow instead of a wire." Way to miss the point US Giz. Unlike wireless mice and keyboards which are designed to clear up your desk, the wireless charging is meant to stop you from tearing your computer off of your desk when you snatch up your phone while you charge out the door in a hurry. I destroyed a charging cable for my iphone like that once.

    "This thing is slow to turn on. Like, half a minute boot slow. Bummer." - Yeah, I can't even remember the last time my phone turned off. Probably when I was on a plane. Anyway, my iPhone takes about as long to boot from hard off.

    Crap review. Hope Giz Aus can do better.

    I have a heavy windows 7 phone (lg optimus 7) and I hated the weight at first. You get used to it pretty quickly, It personally wouldn't stop me picking up this phone.

    Regarding daytime photos - there's a firmware update (lol) coming for that - they are aware - it's a post-processing issue causing the softness.

    Regarding the weight. I don't think weight is so much of a problem as overall size. I'm still tempted to get this phone, but it has to take the pocket test.

    Fat is out for gadget

    Perhaps the reviewer has small hands and less muscle than Macaulay Culkin :)

    I'm a bit skeptical of the claims of outrageous weight, so do look forward to the Australian review.

    And everything taken into account -- amazing battery life is what I want, damnit!

    It is heavy?

    OH KNOES!

    Defs waiting for the Australian Review

    Did it function? Is it a Windows OS?

    If the above answers are yes, then I will buy one

    Because Windows Phone is fantastic, and damn the lack of apps

    Damn them I say!

    Also damn the weight

    I am fat, my phone can be fat with me :)

    It's what's inside that counts

      You just said it you only care about two things so why even read the review.

      It's really pretty sad that whenever the reviewer is critical of a device, they're forever bias but when it's nothing but praise the comments are: finally, a decent review.

    I'm still interested in it and I'll be doing a side-by-side with the 820 to see which one suits me best.

    I'm leaning towads an 820 because of the microSD slot at the moment.

    The weight is a non issue for me, I've been using an HTC Mozart for the past 2 years and that thing is easily as heavy (feels almost as heavy as my Nexus 7).

    I'm stuck between this thing and the Nexus 4. I love the services front of Google along with the far more populated app environment on the Play store, but I love my Zune pass and the interface of WP (and this phone having LTE is boon over the Nexus 4).

      I went from a Mozart to a One XL rather than sticking it out for Windows 8 devices. The Play store is infinitely better than the wasteland that was the WP7 marketplace - definitely worth sacrificing the nice and smooth UI from WP7.

      Be warned though the android keyboard is easily the worst of the 3 (apple, windows, android) so try one out in a store before deciding.

    So it weighs 75g more than the iphone
    First world problem much?

    Correct this article!!! It's 185 grams.

    iPhone 5 + "Slim and sleek" defender Otterbox case = 226 grams More than the 185grams of this phone.

    Plenty of people actually prefer having a device that feels a lot more durable and sturdy. The problem with these reviews is that too many people are under the assumption that the consumer is looking for something lighter and lighter, however the preorders and hype for the Nokia Lumia 920 are bound to prove you wrong. Apparently we live in an age where a measly 50 grams is too heavy, never mind the durability and amazing features that come with that extra 50 grams. For some perspective? 50 grams is 3.5 tablespoons of butter.

    Anyway, I'll be lining up at Telstra the minute this is available. I prefer the design, the hardware, the software and that sturdy reliable Nokia feel.

      It's 4x50 cent coins + 1x2dollar coin heavier than the iPhone 5. Oooooow I notice that weight when it's in my wallet - Not!

      Last edited 06/11/12 3:00 pm

    Geez, Sam. You're exaggerating this weight issue way too much.

    The Lumia 920 will be a fantastic upgrade from my HTC Mozart

      The best part over the Mozart. Every review says it easily lasts a day. My Mozart was never to healthy with its battery at the end of the day. Now 2 years on (+1 day) I have it contantly charging in the car between jobs and it still struggles. Granted I have push email etc etc but I have disabled stuff live facebook/messenger chat as it just doesn't last. 1300mAh was just not enough.

        My trophy, the worst HTC win7 phone, still easily lasts 2 days in normal use and I'm nearing the 2 year mark. :P BL.

          Lucky man! My trophy is anywhere from half a day to 3 days depending on usage.

            My trophy will only last one day and only half a day with heavy use. I got a new battery too :(

    I don't think it's a complaint about the weight really, but more the density in that it feels heavier than it should.

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