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nokia lumia 1020 review 1

The Lumia 1020 takes the ridiculously overpowered 41-megapixel camera from Nokia’s 808 PureView and slots it into a Windows Phone 8-powered body.

Read on for our considered verdict.

First impressons and design

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It looks and feels very similar to the Lumia 920, but comes in a bright yellow hue (as well as the more sober black or white versions).

You might be thinking 41 megapixels is way too many for a camera in a mobile. And you’d be right.

But the point isn’t to get massive prints from your snaps. Rather, you can zoom in to your shots to an amazing degree without losing any detail, to pick out something interesting in a crowd scene, say. And it works.

On a photo we took in the park, we were able to home in on the background, and spot a plane making its way across a cloudy sky. You couldn’t even see it in the pulled back original.

Software

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The Windows Phone 8 operating system that powers the Lumia isn’t without its merits. And its live tiles-based user interface certainly makes a refreshing change. But it’s still woefully lacking in apps compared to Android and iOS.

We’ve been promised Instagram is coming, but at time of writing it’s still missing, along with favourites like City Mapper, Gmail (there are plenty of knockoff versions, but no official Google one), and Sky+.

Vine and Flipboard are also on the way, but as yet, they’re conspicuous by their absence.

Features

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Picture quality is great all round, with fantastic colour reproduction and bags of detail. But the imaging options can be a bit confusing at first.

This is because there are two camera apps: Nokia Pro Camera and Nokia Smart Camera.

Pro Camera is your go-to option. It lets you take single shots and HD videos, and you can tweak exposure, shutter speed, ISO, white balance and more using on-screen dials.

Whereas Nokia Smart Camera is if you want fancy effects. It lets you shoot in bursts to convey movement, and picks what it reckons is the best shot.

There are plenty of options to play with, and the results are fantastic. It’s the best camera in a mobile we’ve ever tested, bettering even the likes of the iPhone 5S. But it’s not as intuitive as the camera on Apple’s blower.

The 1020’s dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor feels a little long in the tooth. It’s fine for everyday use, but we did notice a couple of jerky moments in Temple Run, which doesn’t exactly push the limits in terms of graphics.

Usability

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Shooting photos drains the battery pretty quickly, but an accessory will help you get more life out of your 1020. It’s called the Nokia Camera Grip – slot your 1020 in, and it’ll run off the Camera Grip’s battery, giving you plenty more time to shoot.

The Camera Grip has its own shutter button, can be screwed into a tripod, and as the name suggests, it does make the phone easier to hold while shooting.

The downside is it does add considerable bulk to an already chunky handset, so it’s best reserved for when you’re on a shooting spree. It’ll cost you between £40 and £50, on top of the price of the phone, too.

Verdict

Camera aside, the Lumia 1020 is a solid if unremarkable phone. The 4.5-inch screen is nice and bright and clear, even if it does have a lower ppi (pixels per inch) rating than some of its rivals.

SIM-free, the 1020 will set you back £600, which is silly money for a mobile. Or you can get it free on tariffs starting around £30 a month.

If you want the best camera in a mobile, this is the handset for you. But if you want a better all-round phone with more apps, you’d be better off looking at cheaper Android rivals.

The Lumia 1020 review unit was provided by Nokia

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