A year on and the Lumia range has seen yet another flagship, the Nokia Lumia 1020. With its 41-megapixel sensor and optical image stabilisation though, this could be the phone Nokia and camera enthusiasts alike have been waiting for.
With the Nokia Lumia 925 packing a metal/plastic combo body and a new feel as a result, it didn’t quite fit the Lumia flagship mold. In fact, we’d go so far as to say, the last true Lumia flagship, in our eyes was the Lumia 920, announced a short nine months ago.
So how does the brand new Lumia 1020 stack up to the last, true Lumia flagship – the Lumia 920? Read on to find out.
Nokia Lumia 920 vs 1020: Design and screen
Visually, the two Lumias are speaking the same design language – Nokia polycarbonate unibody.
With virtually identical fascias, the two phones offer big displays taking centre stage, three Windows buttons and a front facing camera.
As with the Lumia 920 before it, the Nokia Lumia 1020 will be available in a range of colours, including the trademark Lumia Yellow as per the renders leaked earlier this week.
In true Windows Phone style and again, like the Lumia 920, the shiny new Lumia 1020’s right hand side houses three buttons, the volume rocker, power button and two stage camera button.
Turn the phones around though and that’s where things start to get interesting.
The Nokia Lumia 1020 loses the seamless curve the Lumia 920 sports, in favour of a bold, round camera mount, loaded with the 41-megapixel sensor, an f/2.2 lens, a Nokia insignia and an apt homage to the megapixel count, as well as the Xenon flash and a focus assist lamp.
This is in place of a much simpler camera mount on the Lumia 920, with its 8.7-megapixel sensor and LED flash in tow.
With ports identical across phones, the Nokia Lumia 1020 edges ahead thanks largely to the innovative accessories available for it, specifically, a camera grip, which sees not only a physically enhanced shooting experience, but 1500mAh more juice in the form of a Mophie-style battery pack.
Being 0.3mm thinner at 10.4mm, as well as 17% lighter, the Lumia 1020 is also a more enjoyable phone to use.
With both handsets offering 4.5-inch 768p screens loaded with Super Sensitive touch, Nokia’s PureMotion HD+ tech for 60fps smoothness and Clear Black screen tech, the key difference is the type of screen on offer. The Lumia 1020 is loaded up with an AMOLED panel a la Lumia 925 for colour punch, pop and some deep dark blacks, while the Lumia 920 packs an LCD screen for purer whites. Which display type you prefer is down to you, though with the focus on imaging and thinning down the phone, we can see why Nokia opted for the AMOLED option.
Nokia Lumia 920 vs 1020: Operating system
Windows Phone 8, unlike Android is virtually identical across devices.
Nokia offers the most premium Windows Phone experience around with a host of services pre-installed on the entire Lumia range.
The Nokia Lumia 920 is loaded up with the upper mid-tier range of Nokia apps – Global offline satellite navigation with Nokia Here Drive, Nokia Here Maps, Nokia Music and Nokia Smart Camera en route this autumn.
The Nokia Lumia 1020 however offers a slightly more premium experience with Nokia Pro Camera. Demoed extensively in the following video, it’s an intuitive yet advanced interface to really give you control over the photos you take, both while you’re taking them and after they’re taken.
Nokia Lumia 920 vs 1020: Camera
The juicy bit you’ve all been waiting for:
Q: Is the Nokia Lumia 1020 is the best camera phone out now?
A: More than likely, yes.
The Lumia 920 was the best low-light camera phone when it hit the market, the Lumia 925 succeeded it becoming the best multi-purpose camera phone a few months ago.
The Nokia Lumia 1020 strips the Lumia 925 of this title, and then carries on blowing our minds.
The technology behind the PureView sensor is twofold, marrying optical image stabilisation as seen on the Lumia 920 and 925 with an oversized megapixel-count, a la Nokia 808 PureView.
Optical image stabilisation counteracts handshake. This is all-important in low-light photography as dark scenarios require a slower shutter speed. After all, if your hand is moving while the shutter is open, you’ll get a blurry shot.
Blurry shots are bad, optical image stabilisation is good.
Now, onto the sensor. Massive megapixel counts don’t generally make for a better camera, but in this instance, we’re happy to call the Nokia Lumia 1020 an exception. By using the 41-megapixel sensor, the Lumia 1020 actually produces a 5-megapixel shot.
The conversion of 41-megapixels-worht of image information down to a 5-megapixel image is where the magic happens. The data from a set of pixels, around 7, are combined, creating one, significantly more accurate pixel. The image produced therefore is a series of these pixels; smaller file size and overall resolution, but loaded with more true to life colour and detail.
The huge megapixel count also results in a lossless zoom, achieved by cropping into the sensor. At the telephoto end of the zoom range, only the central five million pixels of the sensor are being used – hence, lossless zoom.
Coupled with the optical image stabilisation, this is one of the very best zooms on a mobile phone to date, with no moving parts and all the utility of a compact camera.
What about full resolution images for when you really want to show off?
With every 5-megapixel shot taken, so to is a 38-megapixel picture. This means you can crop into your image and retain detail, while also zooming out of zoomed-in images. Anyone who wants to know what 41-megapixels means – pores, wrinkles, nose hairs, eye crispies – this is no holds bar levels of detail, anyone looking for soft focus flattery can look elsewhere.
The Lumia 920 is still very good; 8.7-megapixels, optical image stabilisation, nice wide aperture; it just isn’t the champion anymore, not by a long stretch.
Nokia Lumia 920 vs 1020: Tech specs
Both Lumias sport LTE and NFC atop the usual set of smartphone specs. The Nokia Lumia 920 offers wireless charging out of the box, while the 1020 requires a wireless charging case if you want power up with a charging pad.
With 32GB internal memory and no microSD cards, the two phones are on an even footing on the storage front. It will be interesting to see the impact on memory the Lumia 1020’s 41-megapixel sensor has, though that will have to wait until our full review.
As with memory, processors and clock speeds are identical across Lumias, with 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4s in both. The Lumia 1020 has seen a RAM bump with 2GB as opposed to 1GB in the 920. This should help deal with the oversampled, oversized photos it takes.
Nokia Lumia 920 vs 1020: Conclusion
Ultimately, if you’ve got a Nokia Lumia 920 and don’t use the camera all that much, you’ll have very little reason to upgrade to the 1020. While the phone makes a very good first impression, a samey spec-sheet and similar design don’t offer enough differentiation aside from on the imaging front.
For you, we’d probably suggest the Lumia 925; thinner at 8.4mm, a better camera than the 920 and a similarly premium experience.
For anyone who wants what is arguably the best camera phone out there though, be it across Windows Phone, Android or iOS, the Nokia Lumia 1020 looks to be worth every penny. Revolutionary camera tech, an intuitive, advanced camera interface and a solid smartphone experience at the heart.