Nokia Lumia 920 Review

Introduction and Design

It’s do or die time for Nokia, right? Already on numerous occasions, the industry has questioned the staying power of the once magnificent handset maker, as they’ve redirected their focus in recent times towards Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform. In all fairness, it’s rather difficult to say how much time the Lumia 900 has bought Nokia, but in any event, they’re here once again trying to stay relevant on top of the heap of other smartphone makers making it big in the industry. Most recently, however, the Finnish company has been able to turn heads thanks to the impressive delivery of the Nokia PureView 808 – a magnificent camera centric handset that decidedly opted to rely on the older Symbian Belle platform.

Well people, they’ve listened intently to all the concerns and followed through appeasing the masses by incorporating a PureView camera into a Windows Phone. Culminating all into the Nokia Lumia 920, the successor to the Lumia 900 from earlier in the year, there’s a lot of excitement regarding this flagship device – but most importantly, will it actually stir enough noise to entice consumers to take grasp of it? Considering that it’s attached with a very attractive $99.99 on-contract price point, it would seem as though the Lumia 920 will have enough of the prized elements to make it the runaway Windows Phone 8 smartphone to own at the moment.

The package contains:

  • microUSB cable
  • Wall charger
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Product and Safety Information Guide
  • NFC tag


Distinctively a Lumia handset, there’s nothing particularly fresh about the design of the Lumia 920, as it maintains an almost identical figure to the previous Lumia 900 model. To its credit, though, the single noticeable improvement is evident with the glass over the display, which is now rounded around its trim to match the contour of the device. Still, it’s one hefty feeling (0.42” thick) and very weighty (6.53 oz) device compared to the svelte and compact constructions of other premier smartphones. Nevertheless, its unibody polycarbonate design is sturdy enough to ensure it’s going to withstand the usual bout of normal wear and tear it’ll experience throughout its lifetime.

You can compare the Nokia Lumia 920 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Most prominent amongst its look, is the variety of Skittles-like colors that are available with the Lumia 920 – thus, giving it a stylish edge over other things out there. Even though we appreciate the hint of character and pizazz it adds to the familiar looking handset, the glossy appearance of our red model is a fingerprint and smudge magnet. Then again, the cyan and black versions of the Lumia 920 opt for a matte finish to minimize those unwanted distractions. In a world of cold looking industrial design, it’s heartwarming to see the Lumia 920 setting itself apart with its vibrant color selection and solid construction – albeit, we wish it weren’t so darn bulky.

Being a staple amongst most Windows Phones, the Lumia 920 packs the typical trio of capacitive Windows Phone buttons beneath its display, which are spaced far from one another to minimize accidental presses. Conversely, we’re greeted with the usual assortment of characters on the opposite edge – these include its earpiece, light & proximity sensors, and front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera that has the ability to shoot videos in 720p.

Looking around the trim of the handset, the left edge is completely barren, but on the right, the power button, volume control, and two-level shutter key are placed near one another. Luckily, they’re raised enough to offer a sufficient feel with the finger – while exhibiting springy responses when pressed. Meanwhile, the top trim is home to the microSIM slot and 3.5mm headset jack. Showing off its attention to detail, microdots line up in unison to make up its speaker grill on the bottom edge, with the microUSB port also there for charging and data connectivity.

Recognized easily as its main attraction, the Lumia 920 is packing along an 8.7-megapixel PureView camera in the rear, which features a dual-LED flash, Carl Zeiss optics, and an F2.0 lens. Furthermore, it features Nokia’s “floating lens technology” to deliver optical image stabilization. Needless to say, there’s a lot of talk riding on its back, but we’re quite intrigued by how it’ll perform in the end – so we’ll find if it can walk the walk later on.


Undeniably regarded as a vast improvement, since the Lumia 900 from before featured a 4.3-inch WVGA ClearBlack AMOLED display, this latest Lumia smartphone impresses with its larger 4.5-inch IPS LCD PureMotionHD+ display, which so happens to employ a resolution of 768 x 1280 pixels. Doing the math, that equates to a pixel density of 332 ppi – making it one of the most detailed screens out there. And of course, it shows as fine text in a zoomed out view in the web browser are visually crisp to make out with ease.

As much as we appreciate the saturated colors produced by the prior ClearBlack AMOLED display of the Lumia 900, we’re nevertheless still content with the natural looking colors pumped out by this IPS LCD screen. Throw in the fact that it has good viewing angles and a strong iridescent glow, it’s more than visible in outdoor conditions with the sun present. All in all, it absolutely rivals some of the best displays out there, like the ones on the Apple iPhone 5 and LG Optimus G, so we have no complaints about its brilliance. Oh yeah, did we mention that its sensitivity is maintained if we were to use gloves over our hands courtesy of its supersensitive touch technology?

Nokia Lumia 920 360-degrees View:


Consistency is something that’s persistently found with the Window Phone experience, and in this scenario, it’s no different from the other Window Phone 8 smartphones we’ve reviewed in recent memory. That’s not a bad thing per se, especially when the dynamic look of the start screen and its live tiles help to complement the actual design of the smartphone. Frankly, there’s no arguing the appreciable new improvements found with the platform, which we’ve detailed in our reviews of the HTC 8X and Samsung ATIV S.

However, there are still some much-needed improvements required to bring it up to the level of its contemporaries. For instance, we like how the lock screen provides us with tangible notifications, but it would be nice to find a centralized hub somewhere in the interface aside from the lock screen, where we can view everything simultaneously. Yet, behind it all, it’s the energetic presentation and lively appearance of the start screen that makes it so very engaging and enticing.

Unlike the other Windows Phone 8 smartphones we’ve checked out, Nokia has it wildcard of “pure experience” apps to catapult its offering – these include Nokia Maps, Drive, City Lens, and Music. For now, it’s worth pointing out that these are only available on Nokia’s Lumia smartphones, but we’ll expand more about their functionality and usefulness later on.


In terms of organization, there’s nothing out of the ordinary found with the Nokia Lumia 920, seeing that we’re presented with the usual set of core organizer apps found with all Windows Phone 8 devices. In addition to the Alarm, Calendar, Calculator, and Kids Corner, you have Bing Search to accomplish a variety of tasks besides web searches – such as being able to speak commands to open apps, compose a message, or search for a point of interest.

Having plenty of room to play around with, its 4.5-inch display is perfect for typing up messages with its on-screen keyboard. Seeing that it has a spacious portrait layout that’s easily encompassed by our thumbs, combined with its responsiveness, we’re able to maintain a steady rate of input with little to no issues at all. However, we’re not a fan of the gap on the left side of the landscape keyboard.

As usual, the email experience is effective enough to keep up busy and organized on the road. Indeed, it has all the basic functions we’d expect to find, but it doesn’t quite match the level of depth seen with Android’s Gmail experience.

Processor and Memory:

Armed with a dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus processor coupled with 1GB of RAM, it’s obviously more than ample to elicit one responsive performance. Surely it’s adept in handling a wide array of basic tasks, like opening apps, but it’s also capable of maintaining a tolerable level with more intensive processes – such as 3D gaming. As much as we want to say we’re astounded by the performance, it’s nothing necessarily different, since you know, this is the typical performance we see out of all Windows Phones in general.

Donning a closed design with its unibody polycarbonate body, there’s no storage expandability with this beauty. Meaning, you’ll need to be a bit cautious with monitoring its 32GB internal capacity.

Internet and Connectivity:

Although it’s something expected in this day and age, the Lumia 920 is able to deliver fast data speeds courtesy of its 4G LTE connection. However, it’s nice to find that there isn’t a hitch to Internet Explorer’s performance now that the Lumia 920 is sporting a higher resolution display. Delivering the same lovable aspects as before, such as fast page loads, fluid navigational controls, and proper rendering, the Lumia 920 continues the trend of providing us with a superb experience.

International travel isn’t a problem with this GSM smartphone, seeing that it’s compatible to work with most GSM networks overseas – though, LTE connectivity is established domestically via AT&T’s network. Being the flagship device it is, the Lumia 920 packs connectivity feature like aGPS, Bluetooth 3.0, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, mobile hotspot functionality, and NFC. With the latter, the platform’s “Tap & Send” feature allows for quick sharing of multimedia by simply tapping the rear of the Lumia 920 with another NFC-equipped Windows Phone.


Before forging ahead to the nitty-gritty portion of its camera quality, we’re rather perplexed as to how this camera-centric smartphone is lacking any convincing shooting modes and features. Relying on the usual Windows Phone camera interface, the only modifiable settings include Scenes , ISO, Exposure Value, White Balance, Aspect Ratio, and Focus Assist Light. Making matters worse, it doesn’t offer any of the modern conveniences we’d want to find nowadays – like modes for burst shooting, panoramic, or simultaneously snapping a photo while recording video. No doubt a jab to the stomach, we’re undoubtedly shocked by this revelation.

So here we are, finally! We know you’re all dying to know how its 8.7-megapixel PureView camera fares, but to reiterate things, it’s armed with compelling features like Carl Zeiss optics, F2.0 lens, a back-illuminated sensor, and a dual-LED flash. When so much talk is emphasized on its prowess, we’d expect nothing less than close to perfection – and to an extent, it is definitely a point and shoot replacement. Still, as we look beyond the generalization of its results and peer meticulously at all of the minute nuances of its quality, we uncover some surprising results.

Overall, it takes pleasant looking photos that are worth framing later on, but we’re not soundly convinced with its fine details. Compared to some of the elite camera shooting smartphones out there, the Lumia 920 exhibits a recognizable level of softness to its details, which are deceptively masked by the subtle amount of over-sharpening evident in the entire shot. Meanwhile, its color reproduction grazes the fine line of being neutral looking for the most part, but for some strange reason, its white balances gets thrown off inexplicably – resulting in some distortion, like the purple fringe that’s exhibited with shots taken indoors under artificial lighting.

Above all, we have to admit that we’re most impressed by its low lighting performance, which shows the advantage of its F2.0 lens and image stabilization. The lens is able to absorb more light, and the stabilization helps avoid the occasional blurring due to camera shake. On one hand, we love how there’s very minimal evidence of noise and graininess with its shots, but it has difficulty handling dynamic range in low lighting – essentially over-exposing brighter areas. Finally, the dual-LED flash can be set to kick on prior to snapping a shot to keep images in focus at all the times. Nokia’s “floating lens technology” for image stabilization helps for the video recording, too! And simply, it shows in the results! Whether it’s panning left/right or up/down, it maintains a very smooth capture – whereas other devices exhibit shakiness. Besides that one noteworthy item, though, we can’t say that the other aspects of its quality compels us. Yet again, details are lacking a convincing level of sharpness, but its post-processing adds the same over-sharpening results as before. This time around, there’s some artifacting persistent in the video as we’re panning, but hey, at least we’re pleased by its clear audio recording, gradual exposure adjustment, and continuous auto-focus feature.

Nokia Lumia 920 Sample Video:

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Nokia Lumia 920 Night Sample:

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Taking a peek at the picture gallery of the Lumia 920, it follows in form to any other Windows 8 device on the market. Aside from being able to view the images in the camera roll, the app populates albums stored in our Facebook account. And even though we were disappointed by the paltry shooting options with its camera interface, we’re given a few basic editing tools to tweak our images. Also, we can use the “Tap & Send” feature to share photos to other NFC-enabled Windows Phones.

Even though the music player on this is identical to any other Windows Phone 8 handset out there, we’re still appreciative of the dynamic approach of its presentation. Pumping out a strong volume output, it’s lacking firepower in the form of shaky base tones to give it some pop.

Watching videos is of course a fun and pleasant experience on the Lumia 920, due to the nature of its brilliant looking display. In addition to its wealthy real estate and flawless performance, the handset supports a wide variety of video codecs out of the box to appease enthusiasts.


Being the AT&T smartphone it is, we’re naturally exposed to the carrier’s usual set of apps, which include AT&T Code Scanner, AT&T FamilyMap, AT&T Navigator, AT&T Radio, AT&T U-verse Live TV, and myAT&T. As we mentioned earlier in the review, the Lumia 920 features Nokia’s “pure experience” apps that consists of Nokia City Lens, Nokia Drive, Nokia Maps, and Nokia Music.

Starting with Nokia City Lens, it’s one of those apps that are great for sniffing out local points of interests. Being an augmented reality app at its core, we find it extremely useful to visualize nearby locations with it.

With Nokia Drive and Maps, the two are here for all our navigational needs. Therefore, whether it’s searching for an address or getting voice-guided directions, the apps are extremely useful in getting us around. To be honest though, Nokia Drive isn’t as comprehensive compared to other dedicated GPS apps (think Navigon or Magellan), but it has the basics to get us from point A to point B in one piece.

And lastly, there’s Nokia Music for those who want to surround themselves with an array of music. One part a free radio station service, similar to what you’d experience with Pandora, Nokia Music also provides us access to any purchased content that are bought from Microsoft’s Music Store. Additionally, it integrates a bunch of social networking aspects to its functionality, like sharing songs you like on Facebook or reading about tweets regarding specific artists.

Call Quality:

Far from perfect, there are a few nagging issues with call quality on the Lumia 920, but still, we’re able to carry out conversations. Specifically, these include the hint of muteness attached to voices through the speaker, muffled tones using the speakerphone, and that it doesn’t offer wind noise reduction.

Using the Nokia Lumia 920 in high coverage areas, we didn’t come across any instance of its signal strength fluctuating dramatically, nor did we have any dropped calls during our testing.


Stuffing a 2,000 mAh battery in its closed body, the Lumia 920’s battery life is nothing more than average – delivering at least a day of normal usage on a full charge strictly with HSPA+ connectivity. Naturally, using it with 4G LTE connectivity will drastically lessen the tally. Rare to find even now, the Lumia 920 is unique in the fact that it offers wireless charging – employing the Qi standard we’re familiar with.


Frankly people, this isn’t the most cutting-edge or compelling device in recent memory, as we can name quite a few notable ones that are superbly premium in all categories. Regardless of that, the Nokia Lumia 920 simply has the luxury of being attached with the notion of having a whole lot of value for the buck. Naturally, we can overlook the fact that it’s rather hefty looking in size – mainly due to it sporting one solid build quality combined with its stylish color availability. Those elements alone help to splash a dose of youth and vigor to make people take notice of it from afar.

At $99.99 with a 2-year contract, there’s no denying that you’re getting something feature filled from head-to-toe, and as well as inside-out. Of course, the Nokia Lumia 920 stands apart from its other Windows Phone 8 colleagues thanks primarily to two specific items – its PureView camera and Nokia branded apps. With the former, its low lighting performance is something to behold, since it currently seems unmatched. On top of that, you gain a very useful image stabilization feature with video recording. And lastly, Nokia’s set of apps help to strengthen its worth over the offerings we’ve seen already with the competition from HTC and Samsung.

It’s still cloudy to affirm whether the Lumia 920 is indeed the flagship handset for Windows Phone 8, but regardless, it’s definitely taking the crown for the moment. Ultimately, when you factor in all the lovely things about the handset combined with some other surprising ones, like wireless charging, the $100 pricing attached to it surely amounts to something both tangibly complete and valuable. Just like those tasty Skittles candy, you can really taste the rainbow in Nokia’s offering.

Software: Windows Phone 8
OS Version: 8.0.9903.10

Nokia Lumia 920 Video Review:

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  • Stylish looking color options
  • Superb low lighting camera performance
  • Great image stabilization
  • Crisp looking display
  • Useful Nokia apps


  • Bulky feeling
  • Nagging call quality issue

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