After a flurry of leaks, Nokia finally announced the highly awaited Nokia Lumia 1020. It is the company’s first Windows Phone 8 smartphone that brandishes the game changing 41-megapixel PureView camera from the PureView 808 smartphone. Many had expected this phone to arrive last year, but instead Nokia chose to launch the Lumia 920 which also came with a PureView branding, but instead was the first smartphone to feature optical image stabilization (OIS).
The Lumia 1020 marries the best of Nokia in one package. On one side we get the popular colorful unibody polycarbonate laden design language, but along with this one gets the power of Windows Phone 8 and Nokia’s revolutionary 41-megapixel PureView camera.
Obviously, it’s the camera that’s the big deal because the 41-megapixel f/2.2 sensor uses a technique called oversampling that combines 7 pixels into 1 super pixel, to create 5-megapixel images that contain the details of a 41-megapixel image. This way the Lumia 1020 is able to not only capture incredible 5-megapixel images that give some point and shoot cameras a run for their money, but also facilitates lossless zoom. This basically means one can digitally zoom in on the subject without sacrificing image quality. Nokia says users can obtain up to 3x lossless zoom.
The oversampling technology is also applicable to video and allows 4x zoom at 1080p resolutions and 6x zoom at 720p resolutions.
But all this was also possible with the PureView 808, which admittedly ran the archaic Symbian OS. Nokia has gone one step beyond the PureView 808 and has combined technologies heralded in some of its new smartphones. So, the Lumia 1020 marries the 41-megapixel sensor with OIS that was seen on Lumia 920 last year and a six element lens that as seen earlier on the Lumia 925.
Technically, this means the Lumia 1020 should have the best camera performance of any camera phone out there because due to OIS users can obtain longer exposures and have blur free photographs and less shake in videos. The six-element lens will lend more sharpness to the images.
There is also an LED flash that will work with video and a Xenon flash that will work with stills.
The phone itself is powered by a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor clocked at 1.5GHz, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal memory but no microSD card slot. It has a 4.5-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 1280×768 pixels, a 2,000 mAh battery and is slimmer and lighter than the Lumia 920 at 10.4mm and 154 grams. It supports wireless charging via separately sold covers, in addition to having a 1.2-megapixel front facing camera with a wide lens and NFC connectivity.
All this means that when compared to the latest Android phones like the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4, the Lumia 1020 still lags behind as it uses an older generation Qualcomm processor and is still stuck on a 720p screen while they have a 1080p panel. But the bigger issue is the Windows Phone 8 operating system itself, which currently only has 160,000 apps while Android has more than 900,000 apps.
In fact due to the rigid nature of Windows Phone, Nokia had to create a camera app specifically for the Lumia 1020 called Pro Camera. The app is much more detailed than the stock Windows Phone app and it offers a radial interface that appears to be quite intuitive, which gives the user quick access to settings like ISO, white balance, metering, shutter speed and exposure. There is a menu option that will allow the user to have a custom grid in place including grid formations for the rule of thirds, golden ratio, crosshairs or even a square frame. Users can also shoot photos at maximum resolutions and standard resolutions at the same time via a feature called dual capture.
Other software features include Nokia Music, Nokia Mix radio, the Here Maps suite, Nokia Smart camera and Nokia Rich Recording. The Lumia 1020 runs on the Windows Phone Amber update which enables bluetooth 4.0, double tap to unlock, a low power clock.
Lumia 1020 users can go for a camera grip accessory which houses a separate 1,020 mAh battery, a tripod mount and a two stage camera button. When the Lumia 1020 is housed in the accessory then it dons a profile similar to the Galaxy S4 Zoom and even has a 4-LED indicators on the side to notify the user about battery life.
The Lumia 1020 will be available in the US on July 26 and currently there is no word on the Indian launch and pricing. Considering the Lumia 925 is yet to launch in India, the Lumia 1020 seem some time away.