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Nokia Lumia 1020 Announced: More Camera than Phone

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 26 comments

Nokia releases the Lumia 1020, putting all other smartphone cameras to shame.

After weeks of wild speculations and very promising teasers, Nokia finally reveals the Lumia 1020, the next big Windows Phone with enough camera tech to have any photographer bouncing with glee. Very similar to the Lumia 920, this new 41 MPx camera phone sets itself apart from the world of mobile photography in such a way that it redefines the label itself.

It all starts and ends with the camera. This phone is defined by its 41 megapixel sensor that incorporates PureView image processing right down to its core. Nokia is well aware that more megapixels does not mean better image quality, so along with the sensor comes a six-lens Carl Zeiss optics kit, similar to the one in the Lumia 925. The reasoning for the large image capture is a 3x digital zoom that enables a lossless zoom that still provides brilliant 5 MP cropped photos. This feature is available via the 30 fps video recording as well.

The camera (naturally) comes with auto focus as well (and even a manual focus for those who prefer twiddling the dials themselves), and for the first time, a dual-flash setup. With a primary LED flash, the phone delivers some extraordinary illumination with a backup Xenon flash (similar to the Lumia 928). Low light photos are always difficult, and for those sneaky shots in art galleries where a flash is frowned upon, the Lumia 1020 has some remarkable improvements. 

Anyone who has tried using a zoom lens and auto focus while moving around will appreciate the improvements Nokia has made to the image stabilization, replacing the previous springs with ball bearings, and allowing for a shallow mount with some spectacular results. CEO Stephen Elop showed some pictures he took with the phone on a rocking boat, and they do not disappoint. Now, the hardware side of the phone seems brilliant, but without equivalent software, you might as well not bother in the first place, right? Nokia has thought of that, too.

The company's Pro Camera app is stuffed to the brim with settings and functions that go a long way to satisfy the photography enthusiast. Manual exposure, complicated HUDs and even tutorials for newbies are all included and everything the app misses is bound to be covered by others available on Windows Phone (although Nokia is confusing folks further by calling these additional apps "lenses"). Those that have had an opportunity to try the native camera app have described it as "intuitive," "responsive," and "functional," and Nokia has apparently done what very few can by creating a "clutter-free augmented reality" for the app. We can barely wait.

Of course, the Lumia 1020 isn't just camera, and there is still some essence of an actual smartphone present. The device has a 4.5-inch AMOLED Puremotion display with a resolution of 1,280x768 pixels. The touchscreen can apparently be operated with a mere fingernail or even a gloved hand (winter photographers rejoice!), and boasts the new Gorilla Glass 3 treatment. Above this impressive screen sits a sad little 1.2 MP front-facing camera.

In the belly of the beast sits a 1.5 GHz dual core Snapdragon S4, which is backed up with 32 GB of internal storage (non-expandable) and 7GB of SkyDrive storage courtesy of Microsoft, as well as 4G LTE support. While the camera will not allow sharing of full 41 MP pictures, it will take a second 5 MP version for sharing (captured simultaneously) so don't worry about ridiculously large photos on social media sites just yet.

The phone boasts the same design as the Lumia 920 series (square corners and comfortable rounded edges), and impresses with some premium build quality comprised of solid-feeling polycarbonate. It's available in matte black, white and yellow and will be globally available for preorder from July 16 for a July 26 release date. However, U.S. customers will be stuck with AT&T-only contracts. Prices start at $300 for a two-year contract.

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Top Comments
  • 11 Hide
    Niva , July 11, 2013 7:52 PM
    Quote:
    that's really the only thing that's worth, the camera. the phone is a piece of shit.


    What do you mean about the phone? Are you knocking the windows Phone OS or are you saying the phone is unusable for placing calls? Last Nokia I owned was an N95 and it was an excellent phone which I had for an absurd 3+ years of service. I have transitioned to Android myself but I'll never understand folks who talk smack about Nokia phones, they've always been good imo and I wish they made Android units.
Other Comments
  • 5 Hide
    vmem , July 11, 2013 7:30 PM
    holy camera, batman!
  • 11 Hide
    Niva , July 11, 2013 7:52 PM
    Quote:
    that's really the only thing that's worth, the camera. the phone is a piece of shit.


    What do you mean about the phone? Are you knocking the windows Phone OS or are you saying the phone is unusable for placing calls? Last Nokia I owned was an N95 and it was an excellent phone which I had for an absurd 3+ years of service. I have transitioned to Android myself but I'll never understand folks who talk smack about Nokia phones, they've always been good imo and I wish they made Android units.
  • 0 Hide
    Azn Cracker , July 11, 2013 8:05 PM
    Well pro photographerw wouldn't use this to take pictures for work anyways
  • -2 Hide
    renz496 , July 11, 2013 8:13 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    that's really the only thing that's worth, the camera. the phone is a piece of shit.


    What do you mean about the phone? Are you knocking the windows Phone OS or are you saying the phone is unusable for placing calls? Last Nokia I owned was an N95 and it was an excellent phone which I had for an absurd 3+ years of service. I have transitioned to Android myself but I'll never understand folks who talk smack about Nokia phones, they've always been good imo and I wish they made Android units.


    if only nokia makes android based phones i wouldn't mind to try one. heard that nokia was in some kind of agreement with microsoft preventing them to use android on their phones. is it true?
  • 3 Hide
    bluekoala , July 11, 2013 9:06 PM
    Would totally buy if it were a nexus device.
  • 0 Hide
    skyviper80 , July 11, 2013 9:29 PM
    "However, U.S. customers will be stuck with AT&T only contracts starting at $300 for a two-year contract."

    That line alone will kill the success of this phone. I'd be willing to give this phone a try if it was available on Verizon. I really wish OEMs would stop with carrier exclusives and release a product across all markets.
  • 2 Hide
    Bloob , July 11, 2013 10:06 PM
    "Naturally, the phone isn't just camera, as there is still some essence of an actual smartphone presence."

    F u. Seriously. It's as much a smartphone as any out there. No, I won't buy it, but you could at least be fair in your choice or words. WP is decent enough, and is getting more and more software support, and Nokia has always had great build quality and the best call-quality.
  • 1 Hide
    t0p5ecret , July 11, 2013 10:30 PM
    Quote:
    Well pro photographerw wouldn't use this to take pictures for work anyways


    I love comments like this, I know 2 professional photographers that are both getting a 1020
  • 0 Hide
    Azn Cracker , July 11, 2013 10:44 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Well pro photographerw wouldn't use this to take pictures for work anyways


    I love comments like this, I know 2 professional photographers that are both getting a 1020


    Thanks for loving my comment. They probably got it for the novelty. Will they use this instead of their $10,000 cameras and lenses?
  • 2 Hide
    chicofehr , July 11, 2013 10:54 PM
    I agree that pro photographers wouldn't use it for their formal picture taking but it would be great when they see a great shot at a moments notice and have no time to get the big camera and tripod out.
  • 0 Hide
    enewmen , July 11, 2013 11:37 PM
    I was ready to get a S4 Zoom, now this had to come..
  • 4 Hide
    saturnus , July 11, 2013 11:43 PM
    As one that know a few internationally renowned photographer I can guarantee they will all have this phone, and use it professionally as well.

    As one said to me once: "The best camera is the one you have ready when you need it".

    That doesn't mean they'll get rid of their $10000s worth of camera equipment, this is a supplement.
  • 0 Hide
    DarkSable , July 12, 2013 12:05 AM
    You know, I was debating between this and the much more powerful, but less camera-focused, S4... until I saw that it was AT&T exclusive. That really is a shame - I love T-mobile and am grandfathered in with a fairly good contract.
  • 1 Hide
    DarkSable , July 12, 2013 12:07 AM
    Quote:
    Would totally buy if it were a nexus device.


    You do realize that would be absolutely pointless, as nexus implies blank android - i.e. no proprietary software developed exclusively for this camera / phone thing.

    A google edition phone is a wonderful thing, but it's not an end-all be-all winner.
  • 1 Hide
    digiex , July 12, 2013 1:29 AM
    They would have been awesome if their OS is Android.
  • 0 Hide
    scrumworks , July 12, 2013 2:00 AM
    That's a beast of a phone! +1020
  • 0 Hide
    cRACKmONKEY421 , July 12, 2013 2:05 AM
    Finally someone made a camera into a phone. Too bad you don't get all the apps because it's a Windows phone. Looked real good on the commercials, but that OS kind of kills it for me. Never even used Windows Phone, but even if it were a great OS, they more often don't have enough market share to make less popular app development profitable.
  • 8 Hide
    ArpenteurDeToile , July 12, 2013 3:10 AM
    Seriously I don't get the comments... I bet 99% of people saying "it would be great if it was android" never gave a try to WP. I am not saying it is a better OS, it is different, everyone have its own tastes. However as an Android and WP user, I can ensure that the best apps for pictures are the one provided (for free) by Nokia.
    Maybe it is linked to the fact that I don't give a shit about social networks and thus I don't care about crappy filter on a picture of my food. But for the enthusiasts who just enjoy taking pictures, from my point of view Nokia soft are the best. So when I hear that it is a shame this camera-phone is not android because it will lack apps, I just think the one who wrote it doesn't know what he/she is talking about...

    and by the way with 150k apps, there are far enough choice for an everyday use, just saying...
  • 6 Hide
    damianrobertjones , July 12, 2013 3:20 AM
    " Too bad you don't get all the apps because it's a Windows phone. Looked real good on the commercials, but that OS kind of kills it for me. Never even used Windows Phone,"

    The above makes me want to literally cry... really, burst into tears. How can a phone OS kill it for you when you've not even taken the time to use it? How would you know what apps are available?

    This is society people... a society that repeats what its quickly read without even bothering to verify the information. Kind of like how spam keeps on going even years after it's been proven to be fake.
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