The Lumia 1020 is Nokia's latest ultimate camera phone hoping it will finally encourage users to ditch the traditional point-and-shoot for good.
The phone's 41-megapixel camera of course dominates all initial reviews, which is hardly surprising given the size of its protruding lens and large 1/1.5" sensor - but also because the rest of the phone is remarkably similar to what we've seen before with the Lumia 920 and 925, albeit in a slimmer form.
Although it hasn't yet arrived on our shores, the US reviews are in and here is our breakdown of them:
- David Pierce (The Verge)
"The comparison is damning: the 925 is the slimmest, sleekest Lumia yet, while the Lumia 1020 is a tank. At 10.4mm it's slightly thinner than the Lumia 920, but that's like winning a 'skinniest sumo wrestler' contest.
"That number doesn't account for the camera lens, either, which juts out of the back like an alien trying to burst through and escape. It props the phone up at a slight angle, so that it can never rest flat on a table - the round hump is also right where my finger wants to go when I hold the phone, which makes using the phone a little awkward."
The Lumia 1020's biggest feature is of course the camera, and while the Lumia 920 and 925 have the best cameras we've ever seen on a smartphone, Pierce says the 41 megapixels of the 1020 mean photos can be cropped tightly without sacrificing quality.
"Each pixel in the final image is determined by oversampling the seven pixels around it; Nokia calls the result a 'super pixel'...Nokia's oversampled images give you the accuracy of a 41-megapixel image in the frame (and file size) of a much smaller shot. It obviously works, too - at normal sizes for Facebook or Flickr, images looked the same huge or small."
Summing up, Pierce said: "I'd happily carry a big phone that gave me a perfect camera, but right now with the 1020 I'm carrying a big phone running a third-place OS just for the imaging prowess. For Nokia's sake, I hope Windows Phone 8 gets the apps it needs before HTC, Apple, or Samsung wakes up and builds a killer camera phone to go with a killer ecosystem."
- Brad Molen (Engadget)
Molen also praises the 1020, saying "we can confidently say that the Lumia 1020 is the best Windows Phone device to date. If you're a WP8 user who enjoys crafting the best possible photographs, you need to make the jump, even if you are paying a premium for the camera."
But the phone has its downsides says Molen and chief among which is Windows Phone 8 and how it lags in third place behind iOS and Android.
"But what if you have to make the switch from another platform? That question is unfortunately much more difficult to answer. While Windows Phone has come a long ways since its days as a nascent OS, Android and iOS users -- many of whom likely content with the selection of apps and services currently offered to them -- will need to weigh the pros and cons carefully."
Molen however concludes that if take great images with your phone is really important to you, then the Lumia 1020 could be enough to tempt you to move from Android or iOS:
"Plenty of flagship phones have really good cameras. They just aren't this good. So is it worth leaving your comfort zone and forging a new path to imaging bliss? If taking fabulous glamour shots are that important to you, the decision to switch has never been so tempting."
- Jessica Dolcourt (CNET)
Dolcourt also questions if the phone will appeal enough to the mass market when rival devices do a good enough job for most situations.
"This is clearly a camera phone that helps define a new era of smartphone photography. Its larger sensor, up-front creative controls, and incredible lossless cropping really make it stand out from the crowd. However, for casual users, there may be more camera -- and bulk and a higher price -- than necessary, especially when smartphones like the Nokia Lumia 920 models, the iPhone 5, the Samsung Galaxy S4, and the HTC One produce some really great snaps to upload and share."
The Lumia 1020's camera and multiple camera apps can cause confusion, Dolcourt explains:
"By default, the Lumia 1020 takes photos using Nokia's Pro Cam app. Not to be confused with Nokia Smart Cam, Pro Cam gets you sliding controls for flash, exposure, ISO and focus among other settings. Nokia Pro Cam is technically a 'lens,' a separate camera app that supplants the native camera. You can only capture the higher-resolution images using Pro Cam.
"Making matters more confusing still, the size of the high-resolution photo you shoot depends on your camera settings. Pick a 16:9 aspect ratio, and the phone saves a 34-megapixel shot in addition to the 5-megapixel picture you eventually see and share. A 4:3 aspect ratio gives you a 38-megapixel file in addition to the smaller snap. You won't see these choices -- or any resolution options -- when using the native camera app.
"You'll only be able to upload and share the smaller file size from the 1020; if you want all 34 or 38 megapixels, you can access the raw files through a computer connection."
- Christina Warren of (Mashable)
Warren talks about the camera grip which Nokia sells separately for £50, pointing out the additional bulk it adds to the already hefty device: "The grip transforms the Lumia 1020 from a large Windows Phone to an oversized camera. It reminds me of the old explorer camera I had as a kid; it feels good in the hand, but does have some considerable bulk.
"The only problem with the grip is that it makes an already large phone that much less pocketable. Sure, you can carry it in a purse or large jacket pocket - and it comes with a handy wrist strap - but the shell very clearly takes this device out of the phone zone and into the pure-camera zone."