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Nokia Lumia 920 hands-on review

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Nokia's forthcoming Lumia 920 made a surprise appearance at Qualcomm's IQ Berlin 2012 event. On hand at the show, V3 took the time to take a more thorough look at Nokia's new Pureview camera packed smartphone.

Design and build
Visually the Lumia 920 looks incredibly similar to Nokia's previous flagship smartphone, the Lumia 900. Both phones feature the same striking Lumia design, featuring curved sides, flat tops and pointed edges. The two smartphones are also incredibly similar in size, with the 920 measuring in at 130x71x10.7mm and the 900 measuring 128x69x12mm

However, in hand the Lumia 920 feels like a completely different handset. This is largely due to the Lumia 920's carbonate casing finish. Where the 900 and 800 featured matte finishes, the 920's casing is shiny and significantly smoother. This makes the Lumia 920 feel fairly different and gives it a more striking look when viewed up close.Nokia Lumia 920 hands on Windows Phone 8 side

Another key factor differentiating the Lumia 920 from the 900 is that Nokia has given it a curved glass display. In hand this meant that we found the 920 much more comfortable to hold, with it making the device's design feel a bit more ergonomic than its flat-screened predecessor.

Screen
The Lumia 920 features a 4.5in Nokia PureMotion HD+ WXGA IPS LCD display, complete with Super Sensitive touch technology and Nokia ClearBlack with high brightness mode and enhancements designed to make it easier to read in sunlight.

Nokia claims that the technology makes the 920's display one of the crispest on market. Testing the screen in the dark, poorly lit conditions of the IQ 2012 conference centre, we found the screen looked amazing. Putting the 920 head to head with the Lumia 800 and HTC One X during our tests, we would honestly say the 920 looked the best.

Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to test the Lumia 920's screen in regular or outdoor lighting conditions, meaning we didn't get to see how the device's Nokia ClearBlack technology with its high brightness mode or sunlight tweaks turned on.

Software
The Lumia 920 comes with Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 operating system. The OS is set for release in October and adds a host of new features and services to Microsoft's mobile offering. The upgrades include resizable tiles, multi-core processor support and improved security. Not content with these core upgrades, Nokia has added to the WP8 features with its own series of custom services.

Chief of the new services available on the Lumia 920 is Nokia's new City Lens feature. The feature offers users an augmented reality display that gives dynamic information about users' surroundings. 

Nokia Lumia 920 Microsoft Windows Phone 8 City Lens

City Lens is one of the new Lumia smartphone's most interesting additions and we were really keen to properly test it out, unfortunately though, being stuck in a windowless conference hall we didn't get the chance. However, our demo video from the Lumia 920 launch showed impressive results.

Performance
The Lumia 920 features a 1.5GHz Dual Core Snapdragon S4 that is backed up by 1GB of RAM. Nokia claims the tech will allow the Lumia 920 to match the performance of most top-end quad-core Android handsets, arguing that Windows Phone 8 is significantly less power hungry than Android.

During our hands-on, we tried racing the 920 against the One X, seeing which smartphone was faster loading web pages faster and was smoother to navigate and found that there was some truth to Nokia's boasts.

The Lumia 920 matched the One X step for step, with it being all but impossible to tell which was faster. We're really looking forward to getting a chance to put the Lumia 920 through its paces, seeing how it deals with more power hungry, intensive tasks come our full review.

Camera
The Lumia 920 comes with an 8.7MP rear-facing camera complete with Nokia PureView advanced optical image stabilisation technology and Carl Zeiss optics.

Nokia claims the Lumia 920's rear camera is the best currently available on any smartphone capturing "five to 10 times more light than competitors devices".

During our hands on we didn't really get a chance to try out the Lumia 920's camera, with the Nokia spokesman on call all but slapping the device out of our hands the moment our fingers veered towards the photo app. Maybe the firm is still touchy about fake photo-gate.

Prospects
Overall our opening impressions of Nokia's Lumia 920 are incredibly positive. Even though the device looks incredibly similar to the Lumia 900, even in the short time we had the device, it became increasingly clear that the 920 is a radically different handset, featuring greatly improved tech and software.

While we're not convinced the Lumia 920 will turn around Windows Phone's fortunes overnight, we were impressed with our initial demo.

Check back with V3 soon for a full review of the Nokia Lumia 920.

14 Sep 2012

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