On Easter Sunday 2012, Nokia and Windows Phone attempted to rise from the near-dead with what was supposed to be a major push for both companies. A few months earlier, the Lumia 900 running Windows Phone 7.5 earned raves at the Consumer Electronics Show, igniting hope that Nokia could pull out of its downward spiral and also that there would finally be a worthy competitor to Android and the iPhone.
Things didn't go so well. First was the fact that the Lumia was on just one of the four major US carriers, AT&T. Then within months, word came that the next major iteration of Windows Phone would not be compatible with existing hardware.
Faster than you can say 'dead in the water,' the Lumia line was. That's what's known as The Osborne Effect; what happens when a product on the market loses all momentum because details leak out on a newer version that make it so appealing, no one wants the old version.
Finally in November came the Lumia 820, 822 and 920, as well as the HTC Windows Phone 8X, all running Windows Phone 8. Could they stop the lost momentum and give consumers a viable alternative to Google Android and Apple iPhone?
Speaking only as a Lumia 920 owner, I'd say the answer is yes. The bumps in hardware push it well past the iPhone and it is at just the right spot for size, neither too big like the Samsung Galaxy S III or too small like my retired-except-for-games iPhone 4S.
It corrects some deficiencies of the 900 but not all of them, and has a few problems of its own.
Out of the box, you get the phone, the AC-16 Nokia Fast USB charger, CA-190CD Nokia charging and data USB cable, WH-208 Nokia Stereo Headset, and a SIM door key. The WH-208 headset is decent, but unexceptional. I use a Plantronics Blutetooth headset, which paired with the phone.
The Lumia 920's design continues the "Fabula" design first seen in the Nokia N9 and replicated with the Lumia 800 and the Lumia 900. The overall shape and look, with the rounded plastic edges and seamless integration of the screen remains, giving it a unique look amidst all the "chocolate bar" designed phones. Yes, that's the term people use to describe smartphones.
At 185 grams, it's one of the heaviest smartphones out there, yet it sits in my pocket while out and about completely unnoticed. It's not like I need to stop and take a seat because my phone is too heavy. On the contrary, I like a phone with some heft. The iPhone 5 and Galaxy S III are so light as to be insubstantial; I'm afraid I'll throw them out by accident.
In our Lumia 900 review, Grant Hatchimonji dinged the phone for being slippery. The smooth polycarbonate body was so smooth, the phone slipped from his hands. This has not changed, and the phone has proven a bit slippery for me, too. Don't swing your hands around whole holding this thing.
The Lumia 900's screen was a deceptively beautiful 800 x 480 that looked better than it had any right to. Well, if you liked that, wait until you see the 920's 4.5-inch IPS LCD touch screen with PureMotion HD+ designation. With 1280 x 768 resolution, it is absolutely gorgeous, free of aliasing or any jagged edges. The Live Tiles of Windows Phone 8 rotate smoothly and images displayed are near picture quality.
This screen is slightly larger, 4.5-inches, vs. the 4.3-inch screen on the 900 but retains the 15:9 aspect ratio of Windows Phone, so apps will not be broken. At 332 pixels per inch, it's one of the densest displays out there.
The 920 introduces something Nokia calls overdriven pixels, which improves the response rate of the screen in changing from one color to another. The typical IPS-LCD screen has a transition time of around 23ms, according to Nokia, but the Lumia 920 Nokia has a response time of just 9ms.
The Lumia 920 retains the virtual keyboard from the previous model with the same autocorrect technology that won't embarrass you like iPhone AutoCorrect. At the same time, you have to pick proper spellings. It won't fix the mistakes for you.
The one thing that has not changed from the 900 is the annoying tendency of the keyboard to stay up while filling out forms. On the iPhone, for example, the form would scroll down so you could see the next entry box. The Lumia does not do this. I had to close the keyboard and scroll down to the next box to fill it out.
Other Buttons and Controls
Like the 900, the right side is host to a volume up/down rocker, the power/standby switch, and a dedicated camera key. The bottom of the device is where its primary speaker can be found, and the backside features a camera with a Carl Zeiss f/2.0 lens and its LED flash.
In a merciful change, the micro USB port for charging has been moved from the top of the phone, where it was right next to the headphone jack, and is now at the bottom of the phone. The SIM card is also at the top, just like before.
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