Is your Nokia Lumia 920 haunted and moving on its own? Here's why.

In a fun from the forums thread, we have an interesting conversation about something even we’ve witnessed: the Nokia Lumia 920 slipping and sliding off of seemingly flat surfaces, often crashing to the ground.

Forum member Cheyenne Price started a thread and even posted a video on his Facebook documenting the phenomenon (video after the break). The video starts with this 920 placed faced down on his solid Dell laptop, firmly in the center and flat on a desk. Yet within moments you can see the 920 spin around and then slowly begin to creep towards the corner.

The phone is not vibrating due to alerts and there is nothing obvious that is causing the movement. What will eventually happen, according to the author, is the Lumia 920 will swan dive to the ground (almost always after he has left the room).

Assuming the Lumia 920 isn’t suicidal, what could be the explanation?

Forum member mparker offers up one that we agree with:

“This is simple physics. In your video (thanks for posting the link btw) the phone is face down, on a laptop. The screen on the L900 is a low-friction surface, and the plastic on those dells is also a low-friction plastic. This means that absent some mechanical restraint, the phone will slide at fairly low angles. Between the foundation, table, and laptop there's enough tolerance stacking going on that the top of that Dell is likely to be significantly tilted. Have you put a level on it to verify that it's as flat as you think?Here's another experiment for you: Put an ice cube on top of the Dell. See if it slides off on its own as it starts to melt. It's the same principle.”

Indeed, while it is far from obvious this most likely the reason why. The Lumia 920 does have a very low-friction screen and those curved edges certainly don’t help either.

The only reason we find this interesting is our Lumia 920, when placed screen down (even on the couch) is prone to skirting off the edge of surfaces as well, more so than our other 14 Windows Phones that we’ve owned. And going by comments in that thread, others too are experiencing the odd behavior.  (For the record, we place the phone screen down because during our downtime, we don’t want the screen “lighting up” when a notification comes in—it’s often distracting during a movie.)

So your best bet? Don’t place the Lumia 920 screen down. Sure, the Gorilla Glass may protect it, but evidently it gives the phone a mind of its own. Have a similar, funny story about your 920 taking a pratt fall? Let us know below.

Daniel Rubino

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.

  • My 8x did that last night. My head board has squares in it that I put my phone. I was almost in a good nap and here comes my phone on my head
  • Good thing you don't have the 920...would have needed stiches :)
    All jokes a side tho...won't be placing my WP8 face down on a snother smooth surface...
  • Completely not related to the article, but my 920's screen goes blank while making a call and if i press the on button it shows the screen for a split sec before going blank again, which makes it hard to hang up, so i end up leaving a unwanted voice mail, if the other person doesn't answer.any ideas anyone?
  • I'm guessing that you put an after market screen protector on your phone and it's triggering your proximity sensor even though your face isn't pressed against the screen. Taking off the screen protector should fix your problem.
  • I've had this with after market 3rd party screen covers as well. Some of them really mess with the proximity sensor.
  • sounds like your screen is greasy, I had the same problem, only happens if screen is dirty, give it a wipe clean, it's fine.
  • There's a thread about this but to make a long story short, it's suggested in the thread that blowing into your ear piece or using compressed air will fix it.
  • I believe it's a glitch with the proximity sensor.
  • Proximity sensor. Its supposed to go blank. When you hit the power button you then lock the screen. So... What you should do is when you're ready to hang up, just move the phone in front of you, hit end.
  • Well the mannerism of your reply, is clearly stating that im dumb... No, asa i press call it goes blank, so even though youre explanation is right, its not the correct one for me.
  • I didn't mean to imply that you're dumb. Good luck with your phone.
  • I didn't have the issue with 8x. The screen is supposed to go blank while you hold it against your ear so you don't accidentally trigger any buttons. But it should show screen again within a second if you move it away. Does that not happen?
    There are issues with screen protectors which shouldn't cover the top sensor.
  • I really don't see any hint of anyone, in any reply,  suggesting you're dumb.
    cue punchlines.
  • Seems this problem is quite widespread, mine i shaving it too. If you look into the front camera, you'll see a big accumulation of dust. The proximity sensor is directly to the right of the camera but it's not very translucent, so you can't see inside. I believe that dust is builing up in there. It is looking like this might be quite a big issue for Nokia down the line. Just one month and the L920 has accumulated enough dust in there to malfunction.
    I don't believe it is properly sealed. I used to have trouble with other phones with dust getting between the screen and digitizer due to poor sealing. This won't happen on the L920 because the screen is bonded to the glass, but the proximity sensor is definitely being affected.
    Quite a shame, I like the phone otherwise.
  • Same thing happend to me. Dud of a proximity sensor. I switched mine at the store.
  • The screen is supposed to turn off when you put it near your head. If you pull it way it takes about a seocnd or two for it to turn on again. If you press the lock button before it turns back on i guess the phone kinda ques that button press, it turns on the screen then registers the lock button press thus turning it off again. 
    Also if you press the lock button while on call the screen wont turn back on when you pull the phone away from your head. It'll just stay off untill you press the button again. 
    Hopefully that sheds some light on your situation. 
  • It's dust inside on the sensor. The same thing was happening to me and it finally got so bad that when you tapped a number to call, the sceen would go black immediately. I took it to the AT&T service center and he looked at it, took it to the back then returned with it working perfectly. I ask him what he did and he said he canned air and blew the dust off the sensor (headphone jack and ear piece).
  • Mine did the same thing and finally when I tapped on a number to call or dialled, the screen went black immediately. No acess to any phone functions. I took it to AT&T and they used canned air and blew the duct off the sensor. It's been flawless ever since.
  • Actually, your front camera has sensors. Its screen goes blank when you dtick it into your face so that you won't accidentally press any button.
  • Mine did this, I got a warranty replacement. New one has no such problem. Was really annoying and made it difficult to hang up q call.
  • Question: who the hell places their phone face down?
  • Answer: I do as do others ;) (I even explained why in the post above)
  • Another reason I hope they give us an option to disable text toast notifications in the future! Especially when you have the phone password protected!
  • When the back is more prone to scratches then the front glass, you put it face down to avoid scratching your phone and the camera lens.
  • But still....IF you happen to place it on a spec of sand and manage to scratch it (unfortunately), would you rather have the back scratched or the screen scratched. 
  • Had the same question. But at least one question is solved now: why do so many people have scratched screens?
  • Skynet...
  • Exactly.
  • I was thinking Decepticons
  • Maybe both?
  • My wife and I just tried to replicate the sliding. I tried to make it balance on my knee (wearing jeans). I couldn't. We enjoyed how it slid off every time.
  • Yeah, I've always had this problem with my Lumia 800. Well, less of a problem and more of a side-effect of an extremely tough screen. I had a heart attack as I accidentally dropped it face down onto rough concrete from a decent height; not a scratch. Definitely worth the trade-off with a slippery screen, I just watch where I rest it :)
  • My 920 will slide of the arm rest of pretty much any cloth matter how centered it is. I'm glad you posted it article, I was starting to think I was crazy. On the plus side, the phone is smooth as a babies butt. 
  • This is *exactly* what happens to me too.
  • The 8X is pretty bad about this, too, but not nearly to the same extent.  I'm guessing it is because the 920 is so much heavier than the 8X.
  • Yeah, agreed on both accounts.
  • The satin sheets effect. Wife bought some. Everything slid off the bed.
  • even you?
  • even him...
  • Sounds like a Family Guy side flash.
  • ha ha ha
  • Lulz
  • My 920 has hit the floor 10 times since I bought it. My 900 0 times
  • Hey how is the damage on you 920 so far? has it landed on its screen?
  • My phone has hit tile floor from table heights (about 2ft? I'm bad with estimating,) but it's fine. Also there seems to be "ghost" scratches where the phone *looks* like it has scratches. It doesn't though. Most of the time they rub off..
  • It is because of the curved glass. Does the 800 do this too?
  • I put my Lumia 800 without the included rubber protector screen-down on a table and I can slide it around effortlessly. I guess it could do that if the table was slightly tilted.
  • Is this another Nokia exclusive!?
  • Ha!
  • Most probably!
  • +1
  • Heh,...I wanted to see it go "BOOM!" :-)
  • lol @ sicnus 
    Could this not be related to the wireless charging and/or nfc?
  • My 8x did the same.  I put it face down on the glass of my flat bed scanner to scan it for my 8X case project.  I scanned it, cropped the image, then scanned it again.  On the 2nd scan, it had moved!  I tried over and over and it kept moving.  I thought it was my scanner, so I watched my phone, and sure enough, it was SLOWLY moving.  Really trippy.  I got a post-it, and used the sticky portion to keep it put.  Glass on class can be the most friction free surfaces depending on the curcumstances due to air trapped between the two peaces.  If you ever drop a plate of glass onto a flat concrete floor, you can scoot it around easly for a long time till the air gap closes.  
  • Whenever I drop a glass plate on a concrete floor, it shatters. ;)
  • My 920 slides both when it's face down and face up. I used to put it face down, but now my screen is scratched :(
  • I just read this article, then slid my 920 (very slowly and gently) across a smooth desk to see the "air-hockey" effect. The effect was amusing, but these scratches just put a year of wear and tear on my screen :( DON'T DO IT.
  • Dude! Bad call. Bad call.
  • are you serious? did slidding your 920 on its screen very gently get the screen scratched? I am really wondering what exactly is gorilla glass 2 supposed to do since being scratch resistant does not seem to be one of its functions :(
  • If I recall correctly scratches on gorilla glass are usually on the coating on the glass and not the actual glass.
  • Also, what I have seen with my co-workers 920( I don't have one) is that what appears like scratches goes away when you rub the screen with cloth or against your clothes. I was showing her how you can use the screen with any metal object and I thought, I scratched her screen, but then just rub it against my jeans and what appeared like scratches, were gone. 
  • My 900 has hideous scratches from just denim and fingers. It's the coating I think. It's worse than the glass scratching, since the polarization or whatever in the coating makes a line of diffracted colors so there's a rainbow line on the screen all the time. Not cool, Nokia.
  • Despite claims from Corning et al, there is still a good case for using a high quality screen protector. I USA a Zagg all over wet application on my 900 - no scratches and the phone still looks brand new :-)
  • How are the good ones? How visible are they? I've seen cheap nonadhesive ones and they look much worse than the scratches they would prevent.
    I just wish Nokia would be responsible and not pretend the screen is invulnerable, when the coating is super soft and weak.
  • I just read your reply and took your advice...
  • lol
  • I use a screen protector from ishieldz. Its rubberized so slipping is never an issue :D
  • Would of been more impressive if he actually placed it ona flat surface like a coffee table instead of a laptop on a table.  
    The fact he videoed on on a laptop on a table made it quite obvious that it wasn't anything more than a magic show.  
  • Yes and no. It's a dramatic example of what many of us experience in other situations. The fact of the matter is other Windows Phones don't do this (although the 8X is somewhat susceptible) and many of us have experienced this new...behavior.
  • That's crazy
  • not really.  If anyone thinks that stack of computers and whatnots in a redneck house are level they are kidding themselves.
  • I've noticed this on my 8x as well
  • WP8 devices are so advanced that they learn how to walk over time.
  • Ha! Funny man. +1
  • I damn near ate my cigarette laughing at that
  • Don't give it to Hondas ASIMO then O_O
  • I've had mine slide off books and a dresser. Was sure it was the low friction surface. Still fun to watch as long as it isn't falling far.
  • Its Google using the Lamia Curse (see Drag Me To Hell) on all Lumia 920s.
  • OMG!! This happened to me the first day I had the phone. It jumped off the desk at my office. Then I asked my coworkers if they wanted to see a magic trick for the rest of the day. Good times
  • this has happened to me before (but not with a lumia)
    i put my Nexus S and Focus on top of my Nexus 7's screen and the both slide off slowly.
    keep in mind that they were both nekked and all that shiny plastic on the gorilla glass screen has next to no friction lol.
  • This has happended to me many times,I always wondered why, and how.. I realized its the screen being so curved and that I sleep with the fan on so it always pushed my phone off the desk next to my bed when I was asleep.  I never wathced it happen but noticed it creeping closer to the corner before falling. haha  now i dont keep it face down because i have my wirless charger. 
  • Hmm...I put my 920 on a surface with cloth. I don't have a case on it but i do put it in a wool pouch when I'm not using it. Does that make me a girl.
  • No, but asking that question might ;)
  • Yeah, my 8X does this a lot!
  • Why are you laying the phone down on the screen? I always lay mine on the back although the yellow 920 is pretty low friction all the way around so it doesn't make much of a difference.
  • try to put the luna bh-220 bt headset on the screen. it also moooooooves :-)
  • you got it all wrong, this is all part of Nokia's plan to have the phones come back to them so they can get more stock to the stores
  • Funny thought.. :)
  • Did any 1 experience the same with L800
  • Well, last night my Lumia 800 fell down to the ground, faced up and with its original case.
  • I just posted what i think is happening  on the youtube page check it out !!jn
    Its a Worthwhile explantion !! 
  • Lol "put an ice cube on your laptop" nice advice
  • I was thinking the same thing
  • never happened to me, I wouldn't place it display down. On previous L800 too. But think about iPhone 4 and 4S, glass both sides :D (have one for work, actually drove ME crazy)
  • My 8X has done this a couple of times. I'll be lying on the couch watching tv and i put my phone screen down on the fabric covered ottoman. Next thing you know (usually as I'm nodding off) I hear a "thunk" as it hits the carpet. now I know why.
  • Geez I would NEVER put an expensive smartphone face down like that.  You guys are crazy.  Don't you care about taking care of your stuff?  It's also scary how many people are reporting scratches on their 920's in this thread.  The screen on my Samsung Focus S still looks as good as it did the day I unwrapped it over a year ago.  Never used a screen protector, just a microfiber cloth and some common sense.
  • I don't think laying it face-down means someone isn't taking care of their stuff. Ever since the first flip phone, I've never needed cases. If you lay something down gently and pick it back up gently, that's "taking care of your stuff" as well...wouldn't you say? Anyhow I had an LG C900 WP7.5 for 2.5 case. I think the majority of owners (especially WP owners =)) take care of their stuff.
  • A day late and a dollar short. Happened to me and now my screen is cracked. Thought my one year old son picked it up and dropped it. Thought it was weird because it was in a place where he could not have reached it. It all makes sense now.
  • maybe we can get Nokia to recognize this and do something about it for people that have had major problems.  The whole reason I posted is because I'm afraid my phone may have some small problems internally because of the crashes and I'm stuck with it for 2 years...
  • If it is actually "spinning" as opposed to just rotating into a single position with the center of gravity at the lowest point possible, I would suspect a torque coming from induced currents in the charging coil. So does it just spin, or does it rotate? (FYI, been wondering the same thing about Steve Jobs now that 'his' Patents are being invalidates by the Patent Office :-D )
  • Reminds me of something I've wanted for a long time - a 'Rattleback' cell phone case! :-)
  • I place my phone on the (cushy, not hard) arm of my couch every night, as I'm lying there watching TV.  Every night the phone slowly makes it's way towards my head and eventually tries to kill me.  I wouldn't be as concerned, but sometimes I lie there with my 4 month-old baby and I don't want him getting caught in the crossfire.  I'm certain this is some sort of revenge effort for using an iPhone for 2 and a half years, but I would have thought my return to the promised land would have appeased the gods. 
  • The quips in these comments are priceless. As much as i hate the rubber feeling, i can see how my ishieldz screen protector will be useful in more ways than one :D
  • First world problems. My Nokia is just too damn awesome!
  • imagine this happening while watch paranormal activity...
  • I have that same Dell laptop and it looks like he probably has it in the dock... which gives it a significant incline and is nowhere near flat.  Even wihtout the dock, the laptop is visibly thinner at the front than the back, so there is still a decent incline.  Not sure why he would think this one is a mystery.
  • It's me, Cheyenne and I'm just glad other people were having the same experience.  Nothing worse than trying to get people to believe spooky stuff.  hehe  GREAT ARTICLE!
  • nope.....was flat(docks are stupid), but it doesn't matter; it's fallen off all surfaces and even from the middle of my kitchen counter.
  • SMH    ***posts video of phone moving on its own......gets comments on why the phone was laid down a certain way and that maybe just maybe the surface was at an extreme angle***  ADHD Apple converts that choose to work around a problem rather than actually think or learn about it.
  • well buy a ZAGG shield then. My Lumia 800 would actually STICK TO GLASS with it :) had to remove it after couple weeks, missed the silky glass.. *nerdy drool* :P
  • Oh my.  Not sure I agree with the good humor of this thread.  Mine slid off a counter and smashed 3 days into ownership. Phone works great, it's just the screen is smashed.  There are no screens in the pipeline, waiting for them to show up to get it repaired.  Love the phone, in all of its heaviness.
  • No joke, this happened to me just this past Friday. I sat my phone screen-down on top of a roll of toilet paper. It didn't just slide off, it flew off with no warning (sudden acceleraton as if someone had slapped it off).
    Fun fact... it landed on a bathroom tile floor from a 3-foot drop and the so-called gorilla glass shattered on impact. The AT&T insurance deductible is $125, in case anyone is wondering. FML.
    Fun fact #2... never had these problems with my HD7
  • this is cool and all, but i have to ask, what is the ring around the camera lens on the 920 in the cover photo????? is it because its an international or unlocked version?
  • it's the holder for the attachable lens Daniel was reviewing the other day
  • This one is easy: it's looking for an alternative OS.
  • mr. Troll, welcome to WPCentral, may You get bored fast enough and troll elsewhere :)
  • Likes, likes everywhere !
  • Putting your expensive smartphone screen down on any surface seems pretty stupid to me.
  • It's stupid because you've stupidly cracked your own screens by doing so or you know stupid people that have.  I, however, have never had a problem with it because I'm not stupid and I can take care of my things no matter how I sit them down because sitting something down and picking it back up is such a simple task; it seems modifying how one handles things because they are afraid of damaging it is quite stupid...well, that's kinda like being afraid of your own inevitable stupidity...and that is REALLY STUPID.  What's wrong with actively taking care of your stuff all the time?  did I mention I do that?  Anyway, I've contributed to the word search finding stupid on this page entirely too many times, so that'll be all.  Have a stupid day.
  • I can confirm this happens also with a Lumia 800 if you don't use the included rubber protector
  • What bothers me most about this article is the excessive use of "We" in an article written by a singular author. I know perception is that it makes one sound "more professional," but doesn't. It's a stupid convention based on the silly idea that authority derives from a multitudinal consensus rather than individual minds. For goodness sakes, just say "I". You're an editor at a blog focused on the topic you're discussing, and that's authority enough :).
  • Nokia = Decepticons 
  • Lol!!!
  • Its a Ouija phone!!!!!
  • Yes my Nokia Lumia is sliding on the display, too^^ :D
  • my ativ s did that before i bought a skin plate everytime i turned around it would slide off my dressor good thing i have carpeted floors or else that thin sheet of glass would be gone. to bad the buttons arent same size/position as a gs3 as they get all the good case options. hopefully when sprint/tmo releases it well see interest from otterbox
  • The Gorilla glass is excellent, and the curved sufrace of the glass reduces the sufrace area, hence it slides down. Neverthless, it is never a good idea to place your phone on a laptop, You could screw your hard disk, even it if an SSD.
  • This happens to me on my Lumia 720 as well.  Even with scratches (Gorilla Glass, my ass), the surface is apparently still pretty damn smooth.
  • Just put 2 Lumia 520's together with screens, then tried it with L520+Xperia Tipo, DPS Dream 7+L520, Dream 7+Tipo, Dell laptop+L520, please everyone, these are dangerous stuff, don't try at home, they slide like ice on ice. none of these have gorilla glass... These don't but HTC HD2 is scratch and bend resistant. I have a faulty digitizer+cover at home, tried to scratch it with screws, didn't manage, bending it caused the digitizer to shatter, but not the covering glass, which I think was the case with the broken phones in the post.