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