Channel 5

Nokia Lumia 1020

Thursday 26 September 2013


Rating of 4

The basics

Nokia first stunned the world with its cameraphone prowess last year when it unleashed the 808 PureView. Despite being armed with a crazy 41-megapixel sensor, it never quite took off. Now the Finnish firm is back with another nuts cameraphone, the Lumia 1020. It's a Windows Phone 8 handset that's armed with the same huge sensor as the 808, a slick polycarbonate body and a range of camera accessories. It's not cheap though, at £599 SIM-free. But is it worth your hard-earned? Can it replace your current handset and your camera at the same time? Let's find out.

Read our review of the Sony Xperia Z1

Read our review of the Nokia Lumia 625

The good

The 1020 follows in the same polycarbonate mould as Nokia's previous Lumia handsets. Our model came in a bright banana-yellow, and while it's also available in black and white, we'd go for the yellow every time. It really stands out in a sea of black and white devices. Despite the monster 41-megapixel sensor, the 1020 is still pretty slim, unlike the 808 PureView, which was quite chunky. Even with the camera bulge on the back - which isn't too much of a bugbear - the 1020 measures up at just 10.4mm. The handset is also pretty light, at just 158g, which helps when you're holding it up to take photos. On the front is a gorgeous 4.5-inch ClearBlack AMOLED screen, which also shows the time in standby mode without draining your battery.

Powering the 1020 is a nippy dual-core 1.5GHz processor paired with 2GB of RAM, which darts through Windows Phone with ease and makes multitasking a doddle. On the software side, Windows Phone still lacks plenty of killer apps, but Nokia's own applications will help ease the pain. Nokia Here Maps is great for finding your way around, while Here Drive+ gives you free voice-guided navigation. Nokia Music, meanwhile, lets you explore millions of songs for free. There's plenty of storage onboard too, as the base model ships with 32GB, while O2 has exclusive dibs on the 64GB version. You might want to keep an eye on your data use, though, as taking plenty of snaps will soon fill the phone up. Uploading these huge photos to the web is also a doddle, as the 1020 is 4G-ready.

Of course, the biggest draw of the Lumia 1020 is its top-notch camera, which we have to say, is the best we've seen on a phone by some margin. The 41-megapixel sensor gives you great images, and optical image stabilisation helps you take sharp, in-focus pics nearly every time. It's the little touches too, that help set it apart. There's a dedicated shutter button, for example, which not too many phones have these days. And the interface in the Nokia Pro Cam app gives you access to plenty of options you'd find on a standalone camera. You can adjust the white balance, ISO and exposure all from different dials which can be pulled out from the side of the screen, and you'll see what's affected in real time before you take the shot. To go with the camera, Nokia has crafted a handy Camera Grip accessory (£44.58), which is something extra to grip onto, plus it gives you a bit of extra juice for your phone. Perfect for holidays, then. There's also a two-stage shutter button built-in, which helps when framing shots and getting the focus just right.

The bad

As a phone, or a camera, there's not much to fault the Lumia 1020 on. But Windows Phone 8 is its Achilles' heel. Unfortunately the OS still lacks plenty of apps that are commonplace on Android or iOS. Instagram, for one, which would pair up perfectly with the 41-megapixel shooter.

The camera also lacks an optical zoom. But this isn't too much of an issue, as you can zoom right into such high-resolution shots. There's also the matter of Nokia's Smart Camera mode, which still seems a lot less useful than Nokia makes out. It's great for action shots, but we'd recommend sticking to the Pro Camera app for general use.

Who needs the Nokia Lumia 1020? Here are five of the best cameraphone super shooters you can grab right now!

Read our review of the iPhone 5c!

The bottom line

Not only is the Lumia 1020 the best cameraphone we've seen, but it's easily the best Windows Phone ever. With incredible imaging abilities, a gorgeous AMOLED screen and some strong software smarts, it easily beats the competition. If you want a great camera with you all the time, this handset is the reason to convert to Windows Phone 8. It's just that good.

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Nokia Lumia 1020 is tagged with Nokia, Lumia, Lumia 1020 and PureView. Select a tag (Nokia, for example) to find everything on The Gadget Show about the subject.

User comments (7)

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I have had mine 5 days now and am still learning more about it and I am constantly amazed by the ability of the phone. I really like the windows operating system, it is clean, fast and no way near as buggy as android. Kudos to Nokia, this handset is a legend in the making!

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No apps as a bad point is getting really old now - do some research before saying Windows phone still lacks apps. WP8 has more 3rd party instagram clients than any other OS and some of them are actually better than instagram itself

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I have mine 2 weeks now. Best phone in the world. Super smooth, sleek, fast. Camera is best you can get. Forget android, Forget apple, Go get Lumia. Truly amazing device. I love my mobile again

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Great phone and I personally don't see WP8 as a draw back. I think it's the best looking most personal OS around and the lack of apps isn't as big a problem as most reviewers seem to think. 6tag for Instagram is actually better than the official app, also allowing for multiple accounts. Plenty of others like that. Give it a go. A proper go and see how you get on.

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ranchodas chandchand

actually, instagram is coming out in the next few weeks and vine is out in the wild. in terms of major iOS apps, just snapchat is missing (but who wants to send images for them to be deleted anyways unless ur having an affair or have an eidetic memory)

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Pre fare the 920 by everything overall except the camera

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