The Lumia 920 is wonderful. It's smooth, fast, sleek, and it has heaps of the-future-is-here features. But is it enough for Nokia, and is it enough to make you switch? Updated with Australian availability information.
The first thing you notice about the 920 is the curved glass screen — the same as the old Lumia 800. It's a relatively small detail, but it makes all the difference when you're holding the phone. And for a phone as visceral as the design-centric Lumia, with its in-your-face Windows Phone 8 start screen, that's a big deal. It's a huge improvement over the Lumia 900's screen on first impressions alone.
Then you notice the rest of it: It's gorgeous. It's bright and defined. Photos look incredible. The start screen looks great, but photos especially look amazing. We couldn't use the PureView camera, which looked so amazing in the demos, but the onboard photos were displayed tack sharp. The phone's pixel density matches the iPhone's 326ppi retina screen, and in the real world, it looks just as good.
And since it's what you're waiting for, here is a video of the Lumia 920's Cinemagraph app.
Next to the Lumia 900, it's pretty much the same thickness. That's actually really impressive considering all the new toys and battery power that the 920 is packing — NFC, wireless charging, PureView camera stabilisation. You'd never know that one has a bunch of extra guts.
The display is just as responsive as the previous Lumias, which were also very good. The polycarbonate is also glossy, like the Piano White Lumia 900, not the matte of the previous 900 and the 800. That might sound like a downgrade, but it's actually really nice. It's a lot like the Galaxy S III's finish, except it's polycarbonate.
The wireless charging is just as impressive as you want it to be in real life. You just plop your phone down on the stand and it starts charging. You do have to put it down on its back, not face down, but that's not that inconvenient since we usually do that anyway. It's a cool feature, but we want to see how long it takes to charge up that hulk of a battery before passing final judgement.
The screen touches on the big question: Will you switch from your iPhone or top-end Android phone for the Lumia 920 running Windows Phone 8? After a few minutes with it, it's a resounding... maybe.
Yes, we're still worried about apps, but Nokia's new features — particularly with the camera (which we didn't get to play with) — are enough to make that less of an issue. Nokia Drive and Nokia Maps are really good apps. Even if the Windows Phone Marketplace isn't quite there yet, Nokia's just ploughing ahead on its own. Maybe that's enough.
We've already seen the best Android has to offer, and the Lumia 920 is just as responsive and fast as the Galaxy S III and HTC One X. We're waiting on the next iPhone, but from what we know so far, this phone will be able to go toe to toe with Apple as well. If you already want to switch, it's a no brainer. But if you aren't quite sure, yet, it's probably worth waiting until next Thursday before making up your mind.
Update: We've been in touch with Nokia this morning about Australian availability. Sadly, here's what it had to say:
Nokia Australia is not confirming any details of local market availability at this stage. Exact details of launch dates will be made available closer to the time of launch.
Let's hope Australia is one of Nokia's key launch markets for these new gadgets.