AT&T Nokia Lumia 1020 – Unboxing and first impressions
This Friday, the Nokia Lumia 1020 goes on sale nationwide in the US on AT&T (store link (opens in new tab)). The device is priced at $299 on contract and $659 off making it one of the most expensive Windows Phones to date. The device’s claim to fame is the massive 41MP PureView camera, with optical image stabilization, a BSI sensor and Nokia’s improved camera algorithms for JPEG processing.
We’ve spent all day with the device and figured we’d share our thoughts with you on it before we delve into our full review, coming Friday morning.
So head past the break for two video walkthroughs (one unboxing, one later in the day, after usage) and some high-quality photos of the AT&T Nokia Lumia 1020.
In the box
The Nokia Lumia 1020 comes with your standard fare these days for smartphones: micro USB, wall charger, paperwork (including some tailored specifically for the 1020’s camera) and a new twist, a wrist lanyard. That lanyard is to help secure the 1020 to your physical body, allowing you to lean over cliffs, waterfalls or out of a car window (none of which we advocate, of course) with no fear of dropping your device. Game changer? No, but we’re very glad it’s there.
No headphones are included, as is the par these days.
Look and feel
So flat, so bright, so yellow
Nokia made a smart move by going with matte colors (yellow, white or black) this time. While black has always been matte for the Lumia line, glossy-white and glossy-yellow have been hallmarks of the Lumia 9xx series. Gloss looks fantastic, but it can also be slippery in the hands, hence why we prefer matte instead for the 1020.
The Nokia Lumia 1020 does not have Qi Wireless charging built in and as a result, it is much thinner than the Lumia 920 (10.4 mm versus 10.7 mm) and weighs less too (158 grams versus 185 grams). On paper, those numbers may not seem to amount to much, but in reality it makes the 1020 a step up for comfort.
Nokia Pro Camera app
The Lumia 1020 uses a 4.5” AMOLED display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and Nokia’s ClearBlack polarizer for even deeper colors. In addition, it has the Nokia trademark Sunlight Readability, PureMotion HD+ and Super Sensitive Touch features, giving an enhanced user experience when outdoors or while wearing gloves.
The Lumia 920 though had an LCD display and some people do prefer that technology over AMOLED. We’re not of that camp as AMOLED has come a long way, in our opinion. Compared to the 920, the 1020 is much brighter, has more contrast and is much easier to read in bright light. It also allows the Lumia 1020 be thinner.
Bottom: Lanyard catch, micro USB, speaker
For those of you who feel AMOLED is too saturated, Nokia has you covered with their ‘Lumia color profile’ tool under Settings > Display + Touch. There, you can use two sliders (color saturation and color temperature) to fine tune your display to the way you like it e.g. more “natural” or more saturated.
Make no mistakes though, Nokia’s latest two devices, the Lumia 925 and 1020, both have the best displays we’ve seen from the Finnish phone maker yet.
41MP PureView camera, Zeiss lens, Xenon (+LED) flash
We’ll not only review the camera in detail during the main review, but we will also have a few comparison articles on it as well. For now, we’ll just say we’re very impressed with the 1020’s camera.
Lincoln Center, NYC taken with the Lumia 1020
Bringing 41 megapixels, optical image stabilization (OIS) and a massive back-side illuminated (BSI) sensor into a phone is no easy task. Nokia though did not disappoint and when combined with their Pro Camera suite for manual control, you get what is easily the most powerful camera in the world found in a smartphone today. Yes, there is a two-second delay processing images if you opt for the dual 38MP and 5MP option, but it’s worth it. If, however, you need speed, Nokia has their Smart Cam app to handle that situation.
Lumia 1020 with optional Camera Grip (PD-95G)
Pictures that we took today (more coming up in a separate post) look sharp, bright and they have punchy colors. The color and white balance so far look outstanding and we even like the subtle grain (not noise) that some of the photos bring.
New Camera/Video settings
Oh and we can confirm that you can even manipulate the video frames-per-second (FPS) in settings, allowing you to shoot at 30, 25 or 24 FPS, with the latter delivering a cinema-like experience. There is also an audio bass filter for better sound and framing grids to help you position that shot.
For the first time, images taken with a smartphone actually feel like real photos to us. It’s a liberating experience to walk around New York City with your phone and snap such high quality pics. You can see more sample images from the Lumia 1020 here.
Wrapping it up
Nokia is an interesting company. With every device, they seemingly get better and better. Part of that is due to their focus on feedback from actual consumers, part of it is more experience (and learning lessons). That’s why with every phone they release, we get a little excited, because we can see them evolving their designs and techniques to reach perfection.
The Lumia 1020 is no different. Putting aside the headline grabbing camera and you’re left with a Lumia 920 with some minor but nice improvements (not glossy, better buttons, Gorilla Glass 3, lanyard, stereo recording, etc). Throw in the camera though and now you have a very fascinating device.
Look for our full review later this week, but for right now, we’re having fun with the 1020. For more discussion, head to our forums!
Get the Windows Central Newsletter
All the latest news, reviews, and guides for Windows and Xbox diehards.
Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.
By Zac Bowden
The decision to go with matte is stylistic, not functional. I suspect Nokia felt that a lot of people weren't keen on the glossy finish of the 920s so they've gone back to matte.
I loved matte finishes and hated gloss so much I matted my Lumia 920.
Can you comment on call quality? I realize the camera is the big feature but some us older fuddy duddy's still consider call quality important in a smartPHONE :)
I definitely wish they had included the wireless charging in the main unit. I suspect it would have added very little... much of the decrreased thickness probably comes from other things (like the AMOLED screen), as the wireless charging adds very little.
That wireless charging back adds very little protection, but it will be the only way to go if you want wireless. It's very limiting of case options, not to mention an additional cost that was unneccessary (esp with such an expensive phone).
(2) When charging is as convenient as just alying it down or putting it in the stand, you always have battery for your call and don't need to charge while using it. My usage scenario is working at a desk all day with a bluetooth headset. Whenever I am not actually using the screen for something it is sitting on the charge stand. While I'm on the phone with the headset it is on the charge stand. When I need to go it is always fully charged.
Also don't have to deal with broken / stressed USB ports. Works fantastic. It is in no way "pointless".
I assume it lays flat enough on the charger but it just seems like they could have made it perfectly flat. From the picture the camera area is raised further instead of just leveling out with the rest of the phone.
Dan, does it feel like that when you hold the phone, put it in your pocket, or lay it on a charger? I'm sure it's fine as it's not like someone at Nokia forgot that the charging clip-on needs to lay on a charger (lol).
Where did you manage to find a wireless charging cover? Was it from an ATT store or Microsoft store? I am looking forward to mine, but I must have the Qi Charging :-)
1) Does the phone wobble when typing on it while it is on a flat surface (due to the hump), I'm imagining it will be a tippity tappity wibbly wobbly experience.
2) Does the pentile screen look all dotty and yuck, as it only has 384, 768, 384 RGB respectively across each line, vs. the 920's 768, 768, 768 (never thought Nokia would go back to sub-480 but hey).
3) Does the phone stand upright ok without the weight of the screen making it front-heavy like the 920, or does the junk in the trunk balance the curves in the front.
I've already come up with a full add campaign.
This photo may show the cut out better (on the corner of the grip in the top right of the photo):
Also...0.3mm is not really that thinner. Specially with that tumour in the back of the phone. Anyway, may those who find this phone appealing, enjoy it.
I rather see what comes next year with the x3x series.
I have a question, though. I own a Lumia 925 and I'd like to know how could I get the best out of my camera. What's the difference between 100 ISO and 3200 ISO, for instance and which one is better for the best performance? And is it better to take pictures in 16:9 or 4:3?
Please give some feedback here!! I'd appreciate it a LOT