Nokia has officially unveiled its new flagship smartphones, Lumia 920 and Lumia 820. The new Windows Phone devices are beautifully crafted and offer something unique in the saturated smartphone market. The Finnish company announced two Windows Phone 8 handsets, the Lumia 920 and the Lumia 820, targeted at the high and mid end smartphone audience respectively.
As Steve Ballmer noted on stage today, this year is shaping up to be something historic for all of Microsoft. Windows Phone 8 is part of a reimagined Windows, with a unified experience spanning phones, tablets and PCs. Whether you’re looking at Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8, you’ll experience our unique look and feel with Live Tiles and will have the same built-in access to Microsoft cloud services like SkyDrive and Xbox Music.
The Lumia 820 features a 4.3-inch display, along with 1.5GHz dual-core S4 processor and a microSD slot. Other features include a 5-megapixel camera, NFC capabilities, 8GB of storage, Nokia Music access, City Lens and a variety of covers. But it doesn’t include PureView technology featured in the Lumia 900, Nokia’s new flagship device.
The Lumia 820 feels much more like a normal smartphone than the 920, with rounded edges that don't feel quite as severe in your hand. The 4.3-inch display is every bit as attractive as its larger cousin's, but since the phone is a bit smaller it's more usable in one hand. The 800 x 480 screen is also a big letdown after the gorgeous display on the 920 — that seems to be the biggest tradeoff with the lower-end device. The build otherwise looks very much like the 920, from the ceramic buttons to the unibody-like chassis. It feels a bit more plasticky, but the tradeoff is that the 820 has swappable backs and a bunch of additional color options (the backs can also add NFC capabilities).
The Lumia 920 comes with a 4.5 inch 1280 x 768 pixels display, a 1.5GHz dual core processor, a 2000mAh battery, an 8.7 MP camera sensor, wireless charging and NFC capabilities. Its design is very similar to its predecessor, the Lumia 900, with a polycarbonate body available in bright colors. The 8.7MP camera sensor incorporates some great optical image stabilisation and light capturing mechanisms, which the company collectively calls the "PureView" camera. This is contrary to earlier expectations of Nokia bundling a 41MP sensor in Windows Phone devices and adding image downsampling techniques to enhance quality, as it did on the original Symbian based PureView phone.
Nonetheless, Nokia's PureView technology in the Lumia 920 is really impressive. Optical Image stabilisation is done with the help of springs attached to the camera lens unit, which in itself is quite an amazing feat. A comparison of Nokia's stabilisation tech with (presumably) a Galaxy S3, as shown off in its press event, absolutely blew away Samsung's flagship Android device, the Galaxy S3. Even Apple has some image stabilisation tech built into recent iOS devices, but it utilises the gyroscope and other motion sensors rather than directly stabilising the lens.