Nokia Lumia 1020. A camera with built in smartphone
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Nokia Lumia 1020. A camera with built in smartphone

It is the camera that dominates this latest smartphone from Nokia. The big bump housing the camera and flash on the back makes it clear the camera the big deal in this smartphone which will be one of the last Nokia branded phones now that the phone division has been bought by Microsoft.

nokia-lumia-1020Let’s start with a general description: The Nokia Lumia 1020 is a Windows Phone 8 smartphone with a 41-megapixel sensor and a 26mm equivalent Carl Zeiss lens with a fast f/2.2  lens with optical image stabilization. It also features 4.5-inch PureMotion HD+ OLED touchscreen with Touch AF, a built-in Xenon flash, geotagging, 32GB/64GB internal storage and built-in wireless charging, the Nokia Lumia 1020 can capture Full 1080p HD videos at 30fps. It can also simultaneously take a high resolution 38 megapixel image and a smaller 5 megapixel picture that is easier to share.

The 1020 has that solid well built Nokia feel about it and is a very good Windows Phone 8 smartphone.  The Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon Dual-core, 1.5 GHz Krait processor with Adreno 225 graphics seems so last year but, Windows Phone 8 isn’t very demanding so the impression is that of a very fast phone. Screens scroll nicely and apps open quickly. I was happy with the phone’s performance on Telus’ excellent LTE network providing good download speeds even on the fringes of LTE coverage. Audio was good in both directions and noise canceling was above average.


This is a top-end handset with a full set of connectivity options, including dual-band Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth (3.0), pentaband LTE (100Mbps down, 50Mbps up) and NFC. the 1020’s  2,000mAh battery was hard pressed to keep it running for 24 hours — particularly with heavy usage of the camera and the Xenon flash.


Now to that camera. Yes I said 41 megapixels. Frankly I think that is overkill especially considering the space and optical limitations inherent in a camera phone. That said, the 1020 takes exceptional pictures especially in low light conditions. There is however, a price to pay. The camera is slow to start up and it takes a while to save the huge picture files. Here are some examples of what this camera can do under a variety of conditions:

Windows Phone_20131023_004


Cropped from above picture

Cropped from above picture

Shot in dark room with flash

Shot in dark room with flash

Shot 3 hours after sunset

Shot 3 hours after sunset handheld no flash at ISO2500.

Pretty impressive results for a phone camera. The value of the huge images shows in the quality of the cropped picture and I was blown away by the night pictures. Video quality is equally impressive. Take a look at this 1080p video.

Since the Lumia 1020 is all about the camera, Nokia also sells a grip in matching colours that makes it feel more like a camera than a smartphone. The grip incorporates a separate battery the allows an additional 285 shots as well as a battery level indicator a camera button and universal mount for a tripod. It will sell for around $80


I’m not sure where the 1020 is a good Windows Phone 8 device that performs well and is a great camera. However, it is a bit big in the hand and heavy as well as pretty expensive.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 is available from Telus in yellow and black for $199 on a two year plan or $700 with no contract.


Bob Benedetti

Former RCAF Fighter Pilot Bob worked for CTV Montreal as a Reporter, Producer and Executive producer for 35 years retiring in 2004. Bob started reporting on personal technology in 1995 at CTV and continues today at Home Technology Montreal

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