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CNET throws the Lumia 1020 under the bus in latest Always-On segment, gets facts wrong too

When it comes to reviews or opinion pieces, especially for gadgets, there’s some "science" involved but a lot of it comes down to the critic's biases. The notion that a journalist is impartial is derisory, though many still feign the notion that it exists. Just like how history can’t be objective since what the historian deems important (and not important) drives the narrative, the same applies to tech articles explaining devices and giving opinions.

At Windows Phone Central, we write from the perspective of people who are already on board with the Microsoft’s mobile OS—it’s more about the hardware and how it compares to other Windows Phones. That’s our audience. Are we biased? Of course, but at least you know where we’re coming from—we’re not pretending otherwise.  

That’s what makes CNET’s latest video so frustrating. We don’t have a problem with people finding faults with the Lumia 1020, or even not preferring it. This is the predisposition thing rearing its head and if you like Android or iOS more than Windows Phone, then it will drive your opinion. But distorting facts or just getting things plain wrong is inexcusable.

CNET TV posted a video yesterday where they take the Lumia 1020 on a “road test” to see how it performs. The video is hosted by Molly Wood, who has used Windows Phone in the past though she has never been a fan of it.

Her complaints about the Lumia 1020’s and its camera?

  • The 41 MP sensor is “…almost a novelty…and it’s just a stunt to get people’s attention” even though the photos are admittedly “pretty amazing”
  • Uploading photos is “problematic” as it “doesn’t integrate…with Facebook”
  • “The most crushing part? You’re taking beautiful snapshots and you cannot Instagram them.”
  • Point and shoot social sharing: you are “super crippled”
  • She confuses shutter speed with the Pro Cam start-time with photo processing; it’s just all the same to her
  • Calls the Lumia 1020 camera performance “shameful”
  • She’d rather “…have a phone with a great camera that can do everything like the iPhone” instead of a phone “with a really great camera that can’t do much else”

Nokia Lumia 1020

Let’s look at few things that are just flat out wrong with her assessment.

  • 41 MP is not a novelty. She doesn’t even mention the oversampling technology resulting in high quality 5 MP photos for sharing, or the ability to “crop to zoom” that other cameras fail miserably at, including the iPhone 5. You would figure the lossless zoom ability of the Lumia 1020 would be a huge bonus when at a concert.
  • Windows Phone of course integrates with Facebook—simply login or download the official app; this is basic stuff
  • Windows Phone can upload to Oggl, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, Imgur, EyeEm, PhotoSynth, SmugMug, Email, SMS and more. Super crippled?

Instagram Store Search

Can't upload to Instagram?

Regarding Instagram, while it is true that there is no official app and pointing that out can be viewed as a valid criticism, it’s factually wrong to claim that you can’t upload to Instagram on Windows Phone or the Lumia 1020. When heading to the Windows Phone Store and simply typing ‘Instagram’, these are the top four results:

  1. 6tag
  2. Instance (pay)
  3. Hipstamatic Oggl
  4. Instance (free)

Just below that is InPic, #2InstaWithMassiveLove and Instagraph.

That’s seven apps that can upload to Instagram with Oggl even being official. Not only can Windows Phone users upload to Instagram with ease, we have more options than any other platform in the world. We have more UI designs for personal preference, video upload support, Live Tiles, notifications, Lens support and more.

This isn’t rocket science, folks. Even on the iPhone you have to go to their Store to download the Instagram app—why the selective bias against Windows Phone? It’s fair to mention that there is no official app, but it’s just wrong to lament that you cannot upload to Instagram—of course you can. Anyone who spends more than five minutes with the device could figure this out.

Nokia Lumia 1020

Nokia Pro Cam: Slow and powerful. But shameful?

As far as the slow performance of Pro Cam—fair enough. It’s true that when snapping an unprecedented, high resolution 38 MP photo and a 5 MP over-sampled one (at the same time) with full manual camera controls, the device is not as fast as an iPhone with its measly 8 megapixels. Cutting edge technology is full of tradeoffs like that.

But on the Lumia 1020, you could also set the default camera app to Nokia’s faster Smart Cam, which allows rapid fire shots (in addition to all sorts of other goodies) or the Windows Phone default camera, which is superfast. It’s right there in the camera settings. You lose the 38 MP photos but you still get to use that fantastic sensor for outstanding over-sampled 5 MP photos that will still compete with the iPhone any day.

Look, we don’t want to be that site that goes after everyone who doesn’t like Windows Phone. That’s not who we are and we certainly respect the fact that people have preferences. There are valid criticisms against Microsoft, the OS and even the Lumia 1020 and raising those is certainly acceptable.

But CNET and Molly Wood’s 'Always On' segment is just shameful and amateur. They could and should do better (separately, you can read CNET's full review of the Lumia 1020 here).

Note: Please keep comments on topic and respectable, otherwise they will be deleted

Source: CNET Always On, YouTube; via Windows Phone Central Forums

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • Derisory..
  • Word of the day
  • I'm still working on "deleterious".
  • I'm still working at the deli.
  • Rishicash,
    I think you may win the internet today!
  • Thanks. The usual sandwich today Frank?
  • iCnet to the rescue. They praise Apple like its the revolution.
  • You need to cut iCNET some slack. It's difficult to communicate anything coherent when you've got your mouth wrapped around Apple's junk 24/7.
  • HA..
    Winner and still champion for Comment of the Day.
  • +1020
  • HA HA HA!!!!!!
  • Well, iCNET was born during the heydays of Windows 95. They wouldn't be here if it weren't for Microsoft. But just like a prostitute, they don't care about what kind of car you drive or the mansion you live in. All they want is the money, now! :)
  • I totally needed this. +1
  • Hear, hear! You, sir, are a legend.
  • This qualifies as "on topic and respectful" around here?
  • Truth always trumps them. :)
  • +1 *snicker*
  • +1
  • According to CNET, Apple has invented something called the fingerprint scanner.  It will revolutionize everything!  And it is not considered a novelty.
  • Motorola did It, at about 2 yrs ago...:)
  • Already been done on windiws2000
  • I vaguely remember that I saw someone doing the same thing on a Compaq Pocket PC running Windows Mobile many years ago and he was using the touchscreen to scan his finger print.
  • Yep, and I still own one.  Also, the Compaq iPAq had an accessory port like the iPhone although few 3rd parties took advantage of it.
  • and the finger print scanner was on HP hand helds (PDA's) before Apple was even in the smartphone biz......
  • It just doesn't stop...
  • They are calling it MicroNokia and they are just laughing at Nokia with it's low market share. Little bastards :)
  • TCL LE40FHDE3000 40-Inch 1080p 60Hz LED HDTV (Black) By:
  • Its good that she did this review.. coz ppl know she is wrong and are commenting abt it... so her credibility is going down... no1 will beleive her when she talks crap next time...
    Also ppl are writing about most of the features what WP can ppl who didnt kno abt all the features are getting educated... i guess this video is Blessing in disguise
  • +820 great outlook on the matter
  • And for this very reason I hope the video stays there and doesn't get pulled down. Just pour on your dislikes and comments... It's already 1:6.5 ratio and counting. Non-techies should get to see what they are following blindly.
  • to tell the truth, its because
  • You mean Windows phone fans are commenting and calling her out. No one else is. No one else is buying this phone. 
    Source: facts
  • This is what happens when someone come out of thier iPhonearena.. 
  • Her email address is Let's all tell her how we really feel about her "review".
  • I did that hours ago. I told her to stick to reviewing iPhone, since it never seems to change and this way she won't have to learn about new technologies for her articles. She can literally copy/paste her last year's iPhone review and use it again this year.
  • Hahaha
  • Even copy/paste needs some "skills".
  • I sent her my opinion after calming myself. "Your review about the Nokia Lumia 1020 has to be the worst I have ever seen. As a journalist you have broken every rule. You failed to deliver the truth. I own a Lumia 1020 and everything you claim I can't do is false. I can upload to Facebook faster than any phone can. I can also upload to instagram via instance. The 41 mp camera is revolutionary and people like you make me sick. You sound like a stupid blonde rather than a journalist. Bubbles and iPhone?? How about Lumia 1020 and best quality for both images and video possible on a smartphone. You could have used one of the lenses built in like blink to capture instant pics of those stupid bubbles, but that would be against the fact that your too stupid to try and learn how to use the device before reviewing it. I will never trust cnet for anything ever again due to your terrible review."
    Most biased site ever. I'm surprised CNET still exists after posting stupid attacks like this..
    I want someone to create a real road trip review with the Lumia 1020
  • Oh wow, I'm quite mad at her for that, but seriously, what you sent would make me feel terrible if I was Molly. Just please be a little nice.
  • I may have been kind of harsh.. But she had it coming that review was terrible she knew nothing about the device and she posted this on a site that many people read. She is wasting the millions of dollars Nokia and Microsoft are spending on advertizing this great device. I believe she knew what she was doing and was paid to be so biased.. isheep
  • No, no...iCattle: They line up at the Apple troughs and slop down whatever is fed to them.
  • I agree, to that. What she is saying is just nonsense.
  • That is NOT harsh at all. That is perfect!
  • Words hurt buddy... Yeah, she is very wrong, but I'm just saying to not be so harsh...
  • I thought it was a little tame actually. She should feel bad for anyone that looked to a device online and had to endure that factless dribble. ^^
  • can anyone please mail her this? its my article
  • i suppose that be ???
  • Thank You. Learned a new one. 
  • "Look, we don’t want to be that site that goes after everyone who doesn’t like Windows Phone." I'm curious... Give me a hint.
    yes, google+ and curse her!
  • CNET only give praise to Apple and Android. I believe they hate Microsoft!
  • I believe that too, Microsoft OS is the best.
  • Well the peasants always hate the king :P
  • Lol, +920 :D
  • Honestly, CNET as a whole isn't that bad. I frequent them because they do more than just phones and tablets, but they're VERY heavily anti-windows, not anti-Microsoft. They have hardly anything bad to say about the Xbox, but they just have negative things to say about Windows. They have a blogger call Chris Mastzerk? who just bashes Microsoft everytime they make an iPad vs windows commercial. They even had an article called (I kid you not) "Dear Google, make Chrome OS so good that I can leave windows... Forever"
  • Dude I know! I can't stand that guy bashing every commercial. I wish I could get a job dissecting apple commercials!
  • They cannot review DSLRs to save their life either and they are biased about products they want to support. In the DSLR space, its Nikon or nothing. While the Olympus OM-D E-M5 was getting "Camera of the Year" awards from various notable DSLR blogs, forums and magazines and a notable Nikon Blogger announced he had purchased one for his professional use, CNET called it a "sophisticated point-and-shoot" -- hardly! At one time, CNET had real techno-geeks and credibility who just presented the facts and could be trusted as a good source. Now, the people who write for CNET are biased and clueless and seem to just want to push some agenda. I do not and have not read the CNET pages in years and only end up there due to some reference like this post. They in IMHO, are no longer a valid source and I choose to look at other opinions.
  • He bashes the commercials because he can't stand that Microsoft marketing bested Apple at there own game. Like smokers who get an attitude because they can't smoke freely in alot of places anymore, but ignoring the fact 2nd hand smoke is harmful and unwelcome; yet look at you with disdain for not taking it or moving away.
  • I respect that everyone has a preference for which device they want to use, but when you're representing a site like cnet (which is trusted by regular non tech oriented people) at least try to make your reviews objective. At the very least, the editors at cnet should've turned this review down for not being factually accurate.
  • She is actually an executive editor.
  • That's even more embarrassing for CNET.
  • +920. LOL
  • I agree that the editorial staff should have returned the review for a factual overhaul. The main problem is that I'm willing to bet large sums of money that no one on the editorial staff has used WP enough to know that the review was not factually accurate. 
  • I saw this video yesterday and wanted to slap molly
  • I had to go watch her say this:  "…almost a novelty…and it’s just a stunt to get people’s attention” even though the photos are admittedly “pretty amazing”
    Really contradicts herself in the same sentence.   Just not much credibility after that statement.
  • Agreed. It's a lot like saying the device's main advertising point is meant ot be a gimmic. But, oh hey, the gimmick works as advertised. Ergo, and advertised feature works as advertised.... 
  • I've been a loyal CNET subscriber for ages with subscriptions to AlwaysOn, CNet ON Cars & CNet Top 5 with Donald Bell via TiVo. So I was shocked when Molly Wood said, there is NO way to upload photos to instagram via the Lumia 1020, or that the phone is awful at taking snap shots.
    Now I know why I'm watching less of her show because its become all about drop test and gimmicks she should have given the phone to Eric Franklin or Lin La since she's no expert on everything. Hope she apologizes to her viewers and Windows Community for this terrible misrepresentation.
  • I'm sure her comments section is being flooded with angry Nokia 1020 users.
  • Not quite:
  • +1520
  • iCNET
  • They are probably loving the crap 5S. Only thing cool about it is the fingerprint sensor. That's it.
  • Cause there's nothing quite like having the NSA scan your fingerprint and store it... you know... for future reference.
  • Well they are already taking regular snap shots of your face and recordings of your voice - not to mention excerpts of all text based data. Its all in the interest of your safety though :). The joys of iPhones.
  • Hahahahaha, awesome comment +920
  • Well,if you graduated high school in the U.S. (selective service) or have a passport, the government already has your fingerprints.
  • well there is a bit more to the 5s to be fair, like 64bit processing and a dedicated motion chip. I'm still a Wp8 guy but its nice to see apple pushing what a smartphone can be/do. Hopefully this will inspire the windows phone team to reach above and beyond what apple presented today.
  • Then you can forget about that until Steve Ballmer leaves the Windows Phone Team alone and leaves Microsoft.
  • Problem is - more people will go to cnet and beleive what she says than check out the facts.
  • Absolutely. 
  • Make sure you pass the link on to Nokia so they can release a challenge video like they did with Samsung. MS & Nokia really need to do things in the main media to curb this type of negative coverage
  • Great idea!
  • +1020
    Uploading photos is “problematic” as it “doesn’t integrate…with Facebook” LMAO..... joke of the day... :D
  • well.. laughin about a comment on how bad the facebook integration is .. i dont know.. did you ever receive a picture or send a picture in a facebook message? if you got the message at all it doesnt work. also it is not all good around the integratino
  • Actuallly with official facebook beta app... now we can send pics in facebook messages too...!!!
  • can you see them as well? i for some reason cant see that stuff
  • yes we can. Try Facebook Beta app. its just awesome.
  • And we were the first smartphones users (or android was) to get I integrated Facebook. NoDo in 2011. Now she still claims we don't have integrated Facebook? She knows you have to set it up first?
  • I think... she just dont want to do,,,or she is so ignorant or too dumb. :P
  • Lets all bombard her email by sending this article's link !! I will.....
  • Good idea to send it to her!
  • Agreed.
  • It's fair to say this review is quite damaging due to the exposure it'll get.
  • God I agree. I haven't gone to cnet for anything in years. For some reason, their site is always buggy, reviews are highly biased with no disclaimers, and downloading software -- ha! You mostly get bloatware at best or Trojans at worst. How many times does a person have to decline a buggy toolbar or chrome just to get a crappy trial? I don't really blame CBS, I never saw the site as independent. I always prefer toms hardware or aand for hardware reviews even though comments are usually filled with blind hate and lies. Particularly on any article about W8. But like I said, the articles themselves are usually fair.
  • Never, ever again will I download software from CNET. Crapware central. They lost their independence when CBS purchased them in 2008.
  • what I believe to be worse is that somebody from Cnet does not actually know about all the great wp8 Instagram apps that are available now! I mean the Instapics, Instance and 6Tags. Shame on you CNET! If I were Nokia/Microsoft I would not be a happy bunny after I saw this review...
  • The developer of this application is refusing to make one for WP8, reasons best known to themselves (maybe paid for this) but i wonder why Miscrosoft is being blamed for this, instead of blasting the developer, people point their arrows to the victim, I wonder!!!
  • The developer of this application is refusing to make one for WP8, reasons best known to themselves (maybe paid for this) but i wonder why Miscrosoft is being blamed for this, instead of blasting the developer, people point their arrows to the victim, I wonder!!! 
    Anyway this instagram is not popular in my country
  • Is Cnet actually popular? I stopped going there years ago as I just don't trust their reviews and find many of their opinions incredibly ignorant.
  • I don't visit the site either anymore after the parent company banned a review of the Hopper (either direct tv or dish) it was a Cnet Award winner and they censored the writers. I don't care for the hopper but they lost their credibility with me.
  • I suppose, Cnet will usually be near the top when searching for a topic like this.
  • Dunno. It's popular enough that google still put them in the first page of tech review search. But yeah. I even never go to CNet for review. I'd rather go to ars. They are prefer iPhones, but still keep their review on track.
  • That's because people are simple minded. Tech has helped make us this way but it's sad that she is unable to do her job by testing the product. Am I a WP fan boy. Yes but I have respect for iOS and Android.
  • And by that you mean that a tiny fraction of a percentage vesus an even tinier fraction of a percentage. If you go to your in-laws family reunion and ask how many even know what cnet is, I'd be shocked if more than one person know...unless your in-laws are all computer nerds and the exception to demographics.
  • Unfortunately it's true, but those people who don't fact check are the ones that will never be interested in another mobile device. I'm loving the fact that the youtube video is getting so many negative comments from people cause her facts are just plain false. Unfortunately it's going the way of "F- you c-", but still...
  • Maybe not, she already has more than 80% dislikes on her video.
  • Just checked the vid on youtube. Poor girl is heavily bashed in the comments for this review...LOL.
    i couldn't find a any positive comment on her review.
  • Shamefully
  • What is her twitter handle ???
    So I can point her to your article?
  • @mollywood
  • Let her hear about it on Twitter.  I did.  Tweet and retweet comments that you like, but no name calling.  Just tell her that her review reveals a huge lack of knowlege about WP and the 1020.
  • Agreed.
  • Done :)
  • Shouldn't you instagram a picture to her? :)
  • I already did... :)
  • me,too, well on twitter.  in fact, this was the impetus to actually get me to sign on to instagram for the first time, just to show that
  • Isn't CNET that virus website?