Nokia Lumia Icon Review

Interface and Functionality

It has the same experience as any other Nokia Lumia

Playing around with the Nokia Lumia Icon, it’s made clear from the get-go that it’s running the same software experience as the Lumia 1520 before it – Windows Phone 8 with the GDR 3 update. Save for a few Verizon branded apps, the package remains similar for the most part, so there aren’t any new additions or surprises here folks. As with all other Windows Phones running the GDR 3 update, the Lumia Icon benefits by accommodating even more live tiles on the Start screen, a smoother multitasking experience, screen orientation lock, driving mode, and much more. We won’t expand on them a whole lot, seeing that you can read about them in our Lumia 1520 review.

Beyond the usual set of apps we’re accustomed to seeing on any Windows Phones, we’re naturally greeted by the array of apps from Nokia’s portfolio. The goodies in the mix include such things like the splendid Nokia Here app with free turn-by-turn navigation and offline maps, Nokia Mix streaming radio service, Nokia Cinemagraph for making animated GIFs, and Nokia Beamer for sharing your phone's screen through a web browser.

By now, we’re familiar with the routine here. Knowing that, we’re kind of ready for a change of scenery – though technically, Windows Phones with the GDR 3 update are still few and far in between. It gets the job done, more so than other non-Lumia Windows Phones, but at the end of the day, it’s just the same recycled experience we’ve relished first with the Lumia 1520.

Messaging


Certainly easier to maneuver than the Lumia 1520’s keyboard, the smaller sized screen of the Icon allows us to better encompass the layout – while its responsiveness and accuracy continue to be impeccable.

Even with the GDR 3 update, there’s nothing dramatically new the email experience here that we get on other Windows Phones. Despite that, we can’t complain because it gets the job done by giving us a good balance between organization and productivity.

Organizer


We like the selection of first-party apps on Windows Phone. Having mobile Office right out of the box is a huge plus. Since this is a Nokia phone, you also get some very neat applications that other Windows Phone handsets do not have. Nokia Drive with free offline turn-by-turn navigation and Nokia Music with its great free music streaming option are on board.

Basic functionality is also well covered with a phone app that integrates your social news circles (Facebook and Twitter) and contacts. Although its set of core organizer apps are more than usable, the platform is seriously lacking a contender in the digital personal assistance service category. Relying on its Bing service, it’s able to do basic things like making phone calls, sending text, opening apps, and much more. However, it lacks the smarter features of its rivals – like being able to perform calculations, conversions, and even answering who is the president of the US.

Processor and Memory

Powered by the excellent Snapdragon 800 SoC, with 2GB of RAM

Matching its close sibling, the Icon is powered by the same piece of silicon inside of the Lumia 1520 – a quad-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC coupled with the Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM. Its performance is quite telling, considering that this processor is used by many of today’s high-end smartphones, so we’re thankful to know it’s responsive with pretty much every operation. Some apps might load a bit slower than its contemporaries on other platforms, but that’s mainly attributed to the platform – not the phone’s hardware per se.

More and more companies are raising the bar when it comes to storage capacity for $200 on-contract phones, so it’s refreshing to know that the Icon is blessed with an ample 32GB. That’ll go a long for some people, especially when there’s no expandable memory with this.

AnTuTu Higher is better
Nokia Lumia Icon 23719
Samsung Galaxy S4 24701
LG G2 35376
Sony Xperia Z1 30838
GFXBench Egypt HD 2.5 onscreen (fps) Higher is better
Nokia Lumia Icon 46
Samsung Galaxy S4 39
LG G2 50
Sony Xperia Z1 53
Sunspider Lower is better
Nokia Lumia Icon 550.6
Samsung Galaxy S4 1082.9
LG G2 932.8
Sony Xperia Z1 746.2

Internet and Connectivity


Accessing the web on a Windows Phone device happens exclusively via Internet Explorer, and the Lumia Icon is no exception. We don’t like the lack of choice, but luckily mobile IE is a good browser on its own, and with 4G LTE on board, surfing the web is a pleasure. Best of all, its even more detailed 1080p screen adds icing to an otherwise typical looking experience for Windows Phone.

Being touted as the premier Lumia smartphone for Verizon, the Icon is stuffed with all the connectivity features of its contemporaries. The listing includes 4G LTE, aGPS with Glonass, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, dual-band 802.11 ac Wi-Fi, and NFC.

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