Lumia 1020 Announced with 41 megapixel camera, but is it the phone you were looking for?

Lumia 1020 Announced with 41 megapixel camera, but is it the phone you were looking for?

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It may have been one of the worst kept secrets in the tech world, but we were still excited to hear Nokia finally announce their brand new ‘photography’ flagship phone last night, with a massive 41 megapixel sensor at the back. Yes, technically the successor the the beautifully flawed Nokia 808 Pureview phone, the first phone to feature that enormous 41 megapixel sensor is still the best camera phone in the market, but the Operating System and the specs both held the phone back from truly being anything more than a glorified Camera phone. That’s all about to change with Nokia continuing on with Windows Phone 8, a more refined OS. Added with some good specs, a great screen, and a few cool accessories and you might just find yourself on the end of the winning phone. But is it the phone you were looking for?

Well let’s start of with the specs first:

  • Processor – 1.5GHz Dual-Core S4 Snapdragon Processor
  • Display –4.5-inch Puremotion HD+ AMOLED display with 1280 x 768 resolution (332 PPI) & Gorilla Glass 3
  • RAM – 2GB
  • Storage – 32GB
  • Camera – PureView 41 Megapixel Camera with optical image stabilisation, Resolution: 7712 x 5360. Xenon flash for still images, LED flash for video (1080p HD video recording at 30fps), 1.2 Megapixel Wide-Angle Front Facing Camera
  • Battery – 2,000 mAh
  • Weight – 158 grams
  • Size – 130.4 x 71.4 x 10.4 mm
  • OS – Windows Phone 8
  • Colours – White, Black, Yellow (more to be perhaps announced in coming months)

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Where does that leave us? Well for starters it’s got almost the exact same internals as the Lumia 92x series of devices. The design also throws back to the Lumia 900, rather than the 920 though it’s probably most closely linked to the Lumia 920 in the thickness department, even thought they’ve added in 2 GB of RAM over 1GB, and thankfully also gone in with Gorilla Glass 3 (and of course it’s very hard to forget that 41 megapixel camera which protrudes out of the body). What’s great is that they’ve managed to cram an incredibly big ‘phone camera’ sensor in there, and still managed to make this device (for the most part) thinner and lighter than the Lumia 920. Some may say it’s a step back from the Lumia 925 which is incredibly thin and light compared to this – but in reality it’s a phone that’s gone leaps and bounds from the 808 pureview which was 11 grams heavier and 3.5mm thicker. Not to mention the fact the sensor was larger in the 808 Pureview, despite having the same specs.

Camera

Added to that, Nokia have worked with Microsoft to implement a new Camera UI, never before seen on a Windows Phone which has the same generic (and frankly oversimplified) UI through a new app called Pro Camera, which allows users to to take advantage of the sensor and manually adjust flash, focus, ISO, white balance, shutter speed, and exposure – giving you a DSLR experience on a phone. The good news is that the Pro Camera app will be coming to the 920, 925, & 928 devices and added with the Amber update – it should make your device quite the photography tool on the go.

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Phone aside, we’ve got the accessories to look at.

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We’ve got the same standard Wireless charging cover that you can find on other devices (Lumia 925 for instance), but the more interesting one is the Camera Grip for the Lumia 1020 ($79). What it essentially does is clip onto your phone and turn it into a mini DSLR of sorts with a grip, dedicated camera button on top, as well as a 1020mAh built in battery in the case to give you an extra power boost while shooting (at least 55 minutes of extra battery for shooting). I honestly can’t think of a reason to NOT get this if you buy a Lumia 1020 because the Camera Grip also allows you to screw it into any standard tripod for some steady amazing shots.

Finally there’s pricing. For American’s, it’s $299 on Contract which is a huge chunk of money because it even outprices the S4 and the iPhone 5, but Nokia is probably hoping customers understand the benefits of the device and hope they will pony up the extra contract prices. Hopefully a mount or some accessory is included soon. American’s can expect a 26th of July launch, though the rest of the world will have to wait till the end of this quarter or longer. No word on Australian pricing or release date’s unfortunately. Nokia also reveleased some exclusive official apps such as Vine, Flipboard, Hipstamatic’s Oggle Pro (exclusive for 1020 users), Path, Panagraph & SNAPCAM. Nokia is really pushing these exclusive apps, giving users a BIG reason to go with Nokia and no one else.

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So is the phone you were looking for? If photography is your main goal, then by all means this is probably the best phone you will ever buy in that regard. However, it is still thicker and a little heavier than most other phones, and the fact the back protrudes out of the case may upset some people. At the end of the day, we feel that if you can pony up the price, then it will be worth the effort (though let’s face it – an 1080p screen would have been the clincher). My DSLR was stolen recently and despite having the 920, this might just be the phone I was looking for – but it won’t be for everyone. I guess that’s true with every device, but Nokia have done well with this.

For now, just check out the video below as well as sample shots from the Lumia 1020, which look amazing (click on them to see the detail, or click here). Also check out the quick wrap up from the event here.

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Founder and Chief Editor of Techin5, currently based in Melbourne Australia. Has always had a deep appreciation of Technology and how it helps people, which led to the birth of Techin5. You can follow me on Twitter at @jubbing and on Instagram