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Nokia Lumia 1020 Preview

Posted: , by John V.

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Let’s get into the nitty-gritty folks! We’ve detailed the technology behind its 41-megapixel PureView camera, so now we’ll just briefly talk about the things that matter most with it – functionality and quality. With the former, we’re digging the new Nokia Pro Camera app that’s used by default when we long press on the shutter key. Whereas the stock Windows Phone 8 camera app is pretty barebones with its features set, the Nokia Pro Camera app blows it out of the water.

Seriously, hardened photographers who know their thing will undoubtedly appreciate what’s presented. From having the ability to select different modes, to more advanced functions like modifying exposure, ISO, shutter speed, and focus, there’s a lot of fun to be seen with it. When it comes to video, we’re finally amazed to find manual focus control with a smartphone – it’s super useful and provides for some interesting perspective shots.

It’s one thing seeing photo samples being shown off during a presentation, but it’s totally another when it comes to real-world results. Most of the Nokia reps were showing off images that were taken previously, which really showed off the insane detail quality of the camera, but we were still skeptical about it. So with that in mind, we snapped a few photos ourselves to find out. Now, when you snap a shot, it saves it as a 5-megapixel sized sample, and the original 38-megapixel snapshot.

Relying on the Nokia Pro Camera app to preview our images, we really can’t say that we’re blown by the results. Sure, we appreciate that it’s able to handle dynamic range well in the rough environment of an events hall, but details further in the background seemed hazed. In fact, we tried reading the words on someone’s press badge in the snapped photo, but it was just too soft and indistinct to visualize.

Naturally, we’re bummed by what we’re seeing, but we can’t pass judgment just yet – mainly because the units on hand aren’t final production ones. Therefore, we can still see tweaks between now and its release that would improve the final result. Plus, it would’ve been better to preview the images on a higher resolution PC monitor, as opposed to the tinier and saturated colors of the Lumia 1020’s display.

Nokia Camera Grip:

Being a photo centric smartphone and all, the Lumia 1020 by itself can probably outgun and outclass some point and shoot cameras – and heck, it looks like one too. However, if you intend on getting the best results, the optional Nokia Camera Grip features some useful additions that deepen the handset’s arsenal. For starters, this attachment modifies the smartphone’s design enough to make it look like a point and shoot. In fact, there’s a hump in the right side that would provide us with the necessary grip to hold it like a point and shoot. In addition, the shutter key on it is larger and more distinctive, and there’s also a tripod mount on the bottom. And finally, it doubles as a battery pack too, seeing that it’s outfitted with a 1,200 mAh battery to juice the handset while on the go.

Nokia Camera Grip
Nokia Camera Grip
Nokia Camera Grip
Nokia Camera Grip

Nokia Camera Grip


The Nokia Lumia 1020 is in a pickle of a situation at the moment, mainly because of its higher than expected price point of $299.99 on-contract – that’s $200 more than the launch prices of its predecessors. No doubt, its 41-megapixel PureView camera might justify the higher cost this time around, but the more you look at the specs sheet, it’s quite clear that this is still a Nokia Lumia 920 at heart. Nokia is talking big about its camera and whatnot, which is rightfully so, but it’ll be up to consumers in the end to figure out if $300 is really worth the money. Heck, you can get some pretty decent point and shoots at around the $100 mark, when combined with the probably free cost of the Lumia 920 right now, it’s cheaper than forking over your money on this. Well, if the handset can really deliver unparalleled detail quality that can’t be matched, then it’ll really hit the mark in being a valiant offering that can stand with the current greats.

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posted on 11 Jul 2013, 19:07 20

1. FlushGordon (unregistered)

''but it’ll be up to consumers in the end to figure out if $300 is really worth the money. Heck, you can get some pretty decent point and shoots at around the $100 mark''

But...but...this iS a cutting edge phone, and megapixels are everything, you can't get 41 megapixels for $300 these days

Nokia will sell plenty of these because of the camera...kids and older people alike, the camera is the first priority, bar none....heck even my 14 year old niece, wants a smartphone with an excellent camera (and he's a die hard gamer!)

Shame on you author, you can't bash NOKIA like that

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 19:14 13

2. Atrixboyyy (Posts: 403; Member since: 03 Nov 2011)

im a gamer myself and the camera is literally the 1st thing i look at. then processor speed.

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 19:17 3

4. FlushGordon (unregistered)

EXACTLY...camera is everything, ditto megapixels
I can live with a 420p resolution and a 3 year old cpu/gpu for as long as it has a great camera with ginormous megapixels

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 21:34 3

21. AppleHateBoy (unregistered)

The article needs to be corrected. The phone has a 1/1.5" BSI sensor.


posted on 11 Jul 2013, 23:56

29. MachidoDen (banned) (Posts: 202; Member since: 30 May 2013)

And according to nokia white papers too

posted on 14 Jul 2013, 20:43

76. KFear (Posts: 145; Member since: 06 Feb 2012)

i'd look into sensors also and the actual software used to "fix" the photos. It's important to actually qualify yourself in the best camera/smartphone. Do you take a lot of night shots? Fast motion? Landscapes? Food/Macro? S4 is awesome for outdoor shots with great sunlight and macro shots. I'll take the HTC one for fast motion and low light.

posted on 16 Jul 2013, 09:02 2

79. saffant (Posts: 274; Member since: 04 Jul 2011)

Uh no. Contrary to what you might think, but most users of high end smartphones look for the display/resolution as a bigger and more practical priority than any sort of inclination to indulge in a megapixel hunt-fest.

You'll be staring at your smartphone's screen most of the time—thus a display res matters. As well as the performance. However, the camera can't ever be used as much, unless of course you capture footage with your phone 24/7.

posted on 17 Jul 2013, 07:51

86. Atrixboyyy (Posts: 403; Member since: 03 Nov 2011)

the reason i didnt name the reso. was because the chances for a "high end" device coming out without at least a 720p screen are slim. that being said performance and camera tech are first and foremost .

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 21:35 11

22. g2a5b0e (Posts: 3776; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)

Your niece is a he?! Awkward.

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 00:05 6

32. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 4278; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)

No no...his nephew is a she.

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 00:01 3

31. EXkurogane (Posts: 863; Member since: 07 Mar 2013)

Camera is always the first thing i look at in a phone, because i use it a lot, but maybe i will wait for the successor of this phone. I mean, the sensor is 1/1.5, i wished it is the same as the 808. Not a big difference, but i'd like a bump up in specs, no point replacing my 920 with this one. 2Gb of RAM is nice though.

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 18:25

55. Atrixboyyy (Posts: 403; Member since: 03 Nov 2011)

i was going to get this instead of the Gs4 just to try it out. but after thinking im gonna do the same i know the Snapdragon s4 isnt the best they can do and maybe an even bigger sensor then that of the 808? as a manufacturer wouldnt it just want to improve past the original ?

posted on 19 Jul 2013, 16:54

88. Stoli89 (Posts: 333; Member since: 28 Jun 2010)

The larger sensor on the 808 would've required a thicker profile on the Lumia...which was a no go given the physical parameters set forth in the original design objectives. It's a smaller 1/1.5 BSI vs the 808's 1/1.2...but it's still enormous for a smartphone and benefitting from BSI...which is not present on the 808 sensor. The overall sensor size, coupled with large aperature, latest gen optics, and second gen Nokia 3 axis OIS will make this the best low light shooter on the market, by far.

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 00:05 1

33. mobilefuture (Posts: 221; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)

Your niece is a he? I know it's a typo but that got me confused :/

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 02:23 4

37. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

shut the hole samsung troll. You have nothing interesting to say what for coming here?

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 05:24 1

43. Paradox (Posts: 124; Member since: 08 Aug 2012)

This phone ain't cutting edge, it's from last year. This is what the lumia 920 should have been, and what people expected to be. If they pulled this out last year, then it would have been very good for them. Camera isn't everything, because look how many 808s have been sold.

Also, your niece who is a he wants a smartphone with an excellent camera?

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 19:18 2

6. fo0ling (Posts: 19; Member since: 07 Jul 2013)

Well, i hope they have an android version for this :) i have hope you nokia! :)

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 16:47 2

52. Dastrix (unregistered)

hmm.. one word: No

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 19:22 8

7. rawbow (Posts: 428; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)

I have not been a fan of the Lumia series neither do i believe that camera makes or breaks the deal with smartphones but thats just me. I marvel and admire Nokia's engineering with the Lumia 1020. To say that point and shoot are worth more than this is a pretty lame thought considering that one doesn't carry their point n shoots in their pockets everyday.

Photography is about moments and portable alongwith power of the Lumia 1020 gets a biiiiiiig thumbs up from me.

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 19:41 3

11. FlushGordon (unregistered)

''neither do i believe that camera makes or breaks the deal with smartphones but thats just me''

it isn't just you, it's the present trend..I'll say this again and again, NOKIA used to get away with almost everything during the early 2000's, great cameraphones were their main selling point, they sold millions and and rightfully so

But I don't think that's the case nowadays, whether these fanboys would want to admit it or not. If I want to spend my hard earned $300, I'd make sure that i can get the BEST, WELL-BALANCED smartphone at the moment (great specs, Good software support, prolly a good camera to boot)

Having just a great cam with an outdated internals is not enough, would i buy it if it's $350 unlocked? heck I would, in a heartbeat, the thing is, after taxes, this thing would prolly cost north of $700, WHICH IS SOOO NOT WORTH IT!!!!!and let us not forget, it is a Windows phone! (which many carriers refuse to sell)

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 19:58 1

13. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

"many carriers refuse to sell". Name one. Please. And inclusde a validated and confirmable source for the REFUSAL (which is not the same as just not doing it)

posted on 16 Jul 2013, 10:18

84. jromy (Posts: 114; Member since: 26 Feb 2013)

Why? and simply look at prepaid like virgin or boost. and what refusal do you need besides there being no windows phone on their line up?

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 21:47 2

23. UrbanPhantom (Posts: 949; Member since: 30 Oct 2012)

Dear FlushBordom, the Lumia 1020 doesn't offer just a great cam: it offers the very best camera unit that is currently available in a single smartphone device. It also offers quality dual HAAC microphones for recording audio, and stereo speakers for playback. The internals are certainly not "outdated", and while higher resolution displays do exist for some Android devices, the lack of 1080P or a Snapdragon 800 CPU is certainly not a deal breaker in my opinion. It has 2GB of system RAM, and ships with either 32GB or 64GB internal storage memory. It runs on WP8 OS, which some people hate, but which is generally quite fast and secure, and the platform now has a growing number of apps and games that make it more accomodating than before. The device weighs about the same or less than the Galaxy Note II, and comes in a Polycarbonate shell that ships with black, white, or yellow for coloring.

Is this device going to replace a DSLR camera? No! However, for those who want to discard a point and shoot compact camera, the Lumia 1020 offers good enough performance to avoid making any major compromises when it comes to basic photography. No other smartphone devices that currently exist on the market can offer the same option without making significant sacrifices in picture and/or video quality, which is why the Lumia 1020 is worth it's selling price. If you don't care about the quality of your photos/video/audio, then stick with something else, okay?

posted on 16 Jul 2013, 09:11 1

83. saffant (Posts: 274; Member since: 04 Jul 2011)

You just massively contradicted yourself.

Earlier u said "EXACTLY...camera is everything, ditto megapixels
I can live with a 420p resolution and a 3 year old cpu/gpu for as long as it has a great camera with ginormous megapixels"

and now u say something completely different.

What does that say about your credibility?

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 19:29

8. Edmund (Posts: 656; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)

here we go... and so the negative spin begins, right from day one. Pathetic

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 19:30 6

9. fanboy1974 (Posts: 1345; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)


1. It has the best camera in a smartphone

1. It's basically a Nokia 920 (no improvement if you use it as a smartphone)
2. Carrier exclusivity (Doesn't matter if it's released a few months later on other carriers; it's old out the gate)
3. $300 price on contract (Your paying $200 to $300 to say you have the best smartphone camera (I've seen the Nokia 920 free on contract)
4. $80 camera accessory. (It's just a spare battery case with button.) Why not just buy a dedicated camera if you want to lug an accessory around? Mind boggling!!!

posted on 11 Jul 2013, 20:52 8

15. papss (unregistered)

My god... I've never seen so much trolling...
Use a WP8 device and tell me about specs... It's a great device that feels organic.. This is nothing like the robotic feel of your my space ran frisbees... I can't see myself ever going back to android.

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 05:23 2

42. juandante (Posts: 654; Member since: 23 Apr 2013)

Why you call trolling people who don't like this limited OS ? It's not accidentally everyone don't like this old OS, I read reviews, I have tried it, and I know how limited this software is. It's not to people to stop bashing this old OS, we don't have nothing to do with that, it's Microsoft to make an effort for this old OS to be better and loved and Nokia to make good choice and listen to customers for their phone to sell. It's not at all people's fault. You will not force people to like something they don't like even calling them trolls. We are in real life.

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 17:20 1

53. the_best (Posts: 139; Member since: 14 Oct 2012)

If you dont like the os why even bother with checking out this phone?
This many reactions from fandroids can only mean ýou see something you want but cant have.
If you want good pics im sure the gs4 zoom will take good pics for you, but dont come Crying here when it lags to hell on android who btw is way older than wp8.

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 17:32

54. juandante (Posts: 654; Member since: 23 Apr 2013)

D!ckhead, here it's a hands on, so people must and have all their right to come and see what journalist thinks about the phone before they get their own impression of it. So, it's all legitimate to, after reading the review and the comments, to give my own advice about this hardware and watch the article, and for bad people like you to stop advising incorrectly the ignorant ones. Are you a Nokia marketer ? NO ! So stop saying sh!t and be realist now.

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