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Nokia Lumia 1020 review

Nokia Lumia 1020 screen

The Nokia Lumia 1020 is the best camera-phone ever made, offering better imaging quality than most dedicated sub-£300 handheld cameras. However at £550 SIM-free, the improved camera functionality comes with a serious price tag.


The best camera seen on any smartphone, Nokia apps are great, decent build quality, great screen and performance


Is still heavier than most smartphones, cost will put businesses off mass rollouts

Overall Rating:

4 Star Rating: Recommended

Price: £550

The Nokia Lumia 1020 was announced in July, mere weeks before Microsoft confirmed its intention to buy the Finnish firm's phone division, meaning the 1020 has taken on new significance, being viewed as the last true Nokia phone.

This is potentially bad as Nokia's carved a serious name for itself as an innovator with its Lumia handsets, creating great custom apps and technologies. Chief among these is the 1020's 41MP Pureview rear camera sensor. The 1020 is the second smartphone from Nokia to boast such a high-specced sensor, following on from the firm's Symbian-powered 808 Pureview. While, we weren't fans of the overly chunky and buggy 808 as a phone, we were impressed with its photographic prowess and had to concede it boasted the best camera ever seen on a smartphone. Because of this, the combination of Nokia's completely redesigned, improved 41MP sensor and Microsoft's latest Windows Phone 8 operating system leaves plenty to get excited about

Design and build
Nokia's taken a step back designing the 1020, building it to look more like its iconic classic Lumias than its previous flagship, the Lumia 925. This means it doesn't have the metallic aluminium edges of the 925, instead having a smooth finish, unibody polycarbonate chassis.

Were it not for the giant black circular camera lens emblazoned on its back, it would be all but impossible to distinguish the 1020 from Nokia's older Lumia 920. For many smartphone users this will be either a blessing or a curse as the 1020 features some of the same design issues as the 920, being significantly heavier than the average smartphone, weighing in at a hefty 158g. While this still makes it significantly lighter than the 185g Lumia 920, considering most users' ongoing preference for feather light handsets, like the 112g iPhone 5S, this will mean smaller handed users may find the 130x71x10.4mm 1020 a little unwieldy in hand.Nokia Lumia 1020 body

However, to people used to larger Android smartphones, like the Samsung Galaxy S4 or HTC One, the 1020 will feel fairly comfortable, with its rounded sides and intelligent button placement making it feel fairly ergonomic, especially when compared to other more hard-line devices like the Sony Xperia Z and Z1. In fact the only design feature that took us some time getting used to on the 1020 was the camera sensor, which sticks out of the phone's back by a good few millimetres. Being placed at the centre of the 1020's top edge, the raised surface initially made the 1020 feel slightly odd, though not uncomfortable in hand. Though to be fair after our first hour with the 1020 we soon stopped noticing it.

Build quality has been a central selling point for Nokia for over a decade now and having had a thorough go with the 1020, we're glad to say the firm's rugged smartphone legacy remains intact. Despite being made of polycarbonate we were seriously impressed at how tough the 1020 is. Using the phone in a variety of conditions, including snapping photos in the pouring rain - where on one occasion we may have dropped the slippery handset down a set of stairs - our bright yellow Lumia's chassis remained dent and scratch free.

 Next: Screen, operating system and software.

Processor:  Dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4
Display: 4.5in WXGA 1280x768, 334 ppi
Storage: 32GB or 64GB internal storage, 2GB of RAM
Camera: 41MP rear-facing camera, 720p front-facing camera
Connectivity: 2G GSM 850/900/1800/1900; 3G HSDPA 850/900/1900/2100; 4G LTE  
Operating system: Windows Phone 8
Dimensions: 130x71x10.4mm
Weight: 158g

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Alastair Stevenson

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

View Alastair's Google+ profile

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