Nokia Lumia 920 Review (Part 1 - Hardware)

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The Nokia Lumia 920 is excellent. It truly stands out as a unique and capable device. Moving from a Samsung Galaxy Nexus to the 920 was a huge upgrade in terms of the hardware.

CAMERA:

This is the first thing I tried out when I got my 920. The 8.7 MP camera is truly impressive. Photos turn out with natural colors, which some people have complained about, but to me it wasn't a problem. The colors may not pop like it would on the iPhone, but your getting true to life colors. Which you can edit in a photo editing app in seconds.

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Looking at photos taken at night, or in a dark room is one place this camera tops all other phones. Night time photography produces better results than even the human eye. It is impressive to take a photo of a dark area and watch as the photo turns out brighter and more detailed than even you could see.

The video recording is also excellent. Nokia has a built in image stabilization system which makes those once shaky cell phone videos a thing of the past. While it can't stabilize all shakiness, it still blows the competition out of the water when it comes to video stabilization  The actual quality of the HD video impressed me as well.

Daytime photo

Daytime photo

The front facing camera with a 1.3MP camera and 720P video works very well with Skype or other services. However, I find I hardly ever use the front facing camera. So even though this is slightly better than the iPhone 5's 1.2MP camera, it doesn't matter much to me.

I find that the rear camera is probably the best camera on a smartphone, even besting the iPhone 5.

CAMERA: 9.5/10

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SCREEN:

If the camera wasn't impressive enough, the screen 4.5 inch is even more impressive. The Lumia 920 has a 1,280x768 pixel resolution with up to 332 pixels per inch (ppi) vs the iPhone 5's 1,136x640 and ppi of 326. The Lumia 920 screen really does top the competition. On top of the high resolution screen, it also is the fastest display on a smartphone with PureMotion HD+ technology. Check out this article from mobilemag.com explaining it in more detail.

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In sunlight the screen fairs very well. The screen in the sun was even more visible than my Galaxy Nexus or the iPhone 5. All of the phones were on automatic settings.

The screen also is made with Gorilla Glass, which has already saved my phone from getting a cracked or scratched screen(see drop results at the bottom). The screen also is much better than the Lumia 900 because the screen continues the curve of the polycarbonate side, whereas the 900 had a raised screen which felt a little uncomfortable.

The screen, as well as the camera, is the best one I've seen on a smartphone thus far.

SCREEN: 10/10

BUILD QUALITY:

The polycarbonate body of this phone feels nice in the hand. I have the glossy red version of the phone and find it a little slick and would have preferred a matte body. Despite that the phone is built well. It is slightly heavier than most other phones at 185 grams, but that added heft makes the phone feel solid. The weight is absolutely no problem!

The three touch sensitive buttons under the screen vibrate when touched, but I found myself accidentally hitting them while using the camera or playing a game in landscape. It took me a while to get used to holding the phone without accidentally hitting those buttons, but I still do accidentally press them from time to time.

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The volume rocker, unlock/lock button, and camera button are all on the right side of the phone. They are made of ceramic and feel nice overall. Having a dedicated camera button is a big plus when wanting to catch something in the moment. You can access the camera directly from the lock screen with the camera button.

Wireless charging on this phone is a killer feature in my opinion. It is one that I feel Nokia isn't pushing hard enough. Being able to have the phone sitting on your desk, on the charging plate, then you get a phone call; you just pick the phone up, not having to unplug it and take the call. While some may find this situation trivial, when you actually have the convenience of wireless charging, you quickly change your mind and can't think of going back to cords.

Overall the build quality is impressive. This is the first phone I have owned where I don't think I need to buy a case. I feel that it is solid enough to survive some falls and the polycarbonate is colored all the way through, making chips and scratches hard to notice. No cases is a definite plus for me.  

BUILD QUALITY: 9/10

BATTERY:

At first I found the battery life lacking a little bit. I was barely able to make it through an entire day on one charge. Upon some investigation, I found that it was due to NFC being on. Which I expect is a bug that will be worked out. But after turning NFC off, the battery life soared.

My recent article about Lumia 920 battery life went into more detail about this if you want to give that a read. At the time of me writing this review I have 97% left. The thing is, I have been texting people, browsing the news, and listening to music while I work. I took the phone off the charger 4 hours ago and the estimated remaining time is 1 day 15 hours. With NFC on, I would be around 85-90% at this time.

Overall the battery life was good after turning off NFC, but that doesn't negate the problem with NFC draining the battery.

BATTERY: 8.5/10

Once they patch the NFC drain, it would be a 9/10.

DROP RESULTS:

Yes, I have already dropped my phone, and to my suprise, it was completely fine. What caused me to drop the phone was a door knob catching my earphone cord. It yanked the phone out of my jacket pocket and flung it across the room. The phone bounced several times, but when I examined it I found no signs of damage. Check out the gallery below for photos.

CLOSING THOUGHTS:

In my opinion this phone, in terms of hardware, is the best on the market. The phone feels very polished overall and highly responsive. Nokia did an excellent job with this device and Microsoft delivered with Windows Phone 8. I will review WP8 in Part 2.

HARDWARE-OVERALL: 9.5/10

Part 2 of this review will be coming later in the week.