I was seriously so excited about Microsoft’s re-entry into the mobile phone market with their Windows Phone 8 (WP8) operating system. In fact, I recently tweeted that I’ve finally made up my mind and decided to go with the new phone being as my contract is about to be up. Now, I’m no rock star and my tweet probably doesn’t mean anything to anyone but point is, after thinking and debating for quite a long time, I finally made the decision. But then I realized that because I will be stuck with this operating system and phone for a pretty long time, it doesn’t make sense to jump right in without reading what other user’s have to say about it based on real world usage. At the time of this writing, the Nokia Lumia 920 has just been released for about a week and many users have posted some very valuable information weighing in on the positives and negatives with the phone and WP8 in general. After having watch and read many reviews, I was so stoked to get it. However, many users on WPCentral’s forum have raised some very concerning issues regarding the operating system and the Lumia 920 phone. In the end, I just couldn’t see myself really going ahead with the deal and have decided to call it off. In this post, I will go over some of the positives and negatives of the Lumia 920 smartphone. In the next article, I will do the same for the Windows Phone 8 operating system.It is very important that I remind you all here that I do not personally own the Lumia 920 phone! Therefore, all of the things I will be writing to you about here, whether positive or negative, is just based on me reading numerous reviews and most importantly, reading the user feedback on the WPCentral, Nokia and Microsoft forum boards. If this offends you, please stop reading at this point!
What I Love About the Lumia 920
Optical Image Stabilization – While older smart phones had a software feature to limit shaking hands from ruining your pictures and video recordings, the Lumia 920 actually have hinges and springs that allows the camera lens to float in order to compensate for the shakiness! When I first saw a demo of this, I was very amazed. With OIS, your videos comes out more steady and your pictures actually come out more crisp rather than blurry due to unsteady hands. It’s really awesome how you can see the video shake before you start recording but once it starts, the OIS kicks in and you literally see the image stabilize itself.
Amazing Low Light Photos – One of the main selling points for the Lumia 920 is its ability to take amazing low light photos. Nokia is not just talking about good photos at night. They are talking about mind blowing pictures with incredible details. With the camera lens being able to take in more light and with the ability for focus assist, you will be able to take incredibly rich photos even when there isn’t that much light around you. In fact, you could be in an almost pitch black room and with focus assist on (this is NOT flash itself as when you take the picture there is no light going off with the shutter), you’ll still be able to see some objects with amazing details. This feature is seriously one that I will miss the most by not going with the Lumia 920. The quality on some of the pictures I’ve seen is just ridiculously good and as a casual user, you probably wouldn’t notice it until you compare it to another camera on a different smart phone.
Awesome Screen – The Lumia 920 sports a screen on what Nokia is calling PureMotion HD+. Pixel wise, it’s just a tiny bit over the 720p mark but display wise, you really have to see it to believe it. The screen just pops out at you. The colors are very vibrant and bright. Nokia also claims that this phone minimizes glare and so it is much easier to work with even under bright sunlight. What’s more is that the screen packs a technology where it allows users to navigate the screen all without having to take their gloves off! Because the screen is so sensitive, you can actually use a fork or the back of your finger nail to control it!
Nokia Bundled Services – This sounds weird as I’m sure most of you immediately relate the words ‘bundled apps and services’ with the word ‘crap’. However, I think Nokia is the first phone company I’ve seen that actually provides very useful services (some are exclusive) for their users. Two perfect examples of this is their included Nokia Drive/Maps and Nokia Music service. With the former, all Lumia 920 users will instantly get free access to Nokia’s mapping technology. That means users have free turn by turn navigation along with the ability to download maps for offline use. This was just pure awesomeness when I read it. With Nokia Music, Nokia provides users with the ability to freely stream music on their phones all for free! This works very similar to Pandora. However, the big feature is being able to allow users to download entire playlists for offline listening! For free!
Wireless Charging – This might be misleading to some depending on how they perceive “wireless charging” to work. With the Lumia 920, you can actually plop your phone onto a wireless charging station and just like that, the phone will begin to charge itself. No wire connection to the phone is required. For some users, this really isn’t a ground breaking technology because you still have to actually place your phone on top of the charging mat for it to receive the charge. I’m sure many users thought that wireless charging was the ability for the phone to be charged while only having it in close proximity to the charging station such as when the phone is in your pocket and the charging base is in your living room.
Microsoft Office Integration – Nokia Lumia 920 phones come with built-in integration with the Microsoft Office Suite. This includes Outlook, Word, PowerPoint and Excel! Linked with SkyDrive, users now have the ability to work on the document on one device and have it synced to the cloud so that they can get right back to that same document on another device. Being that the Office suite is Microsoft owned, I’m sure they will do their best to provide users with the best mobile experience possible.
It Has 32GB of Storage – This is crazy. I believe the Lumia 920 provides the biggest on-board storage out of all the other Windows 8 phones. With more on board storage, users have the ability to really load their phones with their media without really having to worry about running out of space. While Google, Microsoft and all the other companies want you to stream down your media via the Internet, some users like myself just don’t like this idea. Also, with a pathetic monthly data cap, streaming a HD movie or two to your phone and you’ve pretty much hit rock bottom. While Wi-Fi is pretty much everywhere, you may still find yourself in one of those areas where you’re stuck with using your data connection. With 32GB of storage, you can afford to keep a local copy of your media and important data on the phone itself while using your data connection for other services such as Facebook and such. There is no micro-SD card slot. That would seriously have been the icing on the cake as far as storage concerns go!
It’s Only $99 – Here in the United States, users are stranded with contract plans from AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint or Verizon. If you want a cheap smart phone, you must sign a 2-year contract. Before the Lumia 920’s pricing was revealed, I initially thought that no way would Nokia give us the Lumia 920 for anything less than $199, which is the standard affair for new smart phones with a 2-year contract. When AT&T announced that it would only be $99 plus include a limited free offering of Nokia’s wireless charging plate, I’m sure many users considered the deal done. How Nokia is offering the Lumia 920 with its incredible hardware for just $99 I have no idea. Quite honestly, I really don’t want to know what goes on in the back of those meeting rooms but for them to offer it for $99 is just too good to be true. But it is.
Suffice it to say, I really think the Lumia 920 is the best phone out there right now when it comes to the hardware you are getting along with the price that you are getting it for. For users elsewhere lucky enough to not be tied down with a contract plan, you can get the Lumia 920 off contract for just $450. My friend went berserk when he found out as he is looking for a smartphone with a camera that can excel in shooting in low light situations.
What I Don’t Like About the Lumia 920
Limited Carrier Availability – While Nokia has dominated the mobile phone market before the iPhone was introduced, they have remained pretty stagnant ever since. While I think they still have a strong presence in other countries, they just can’t compete with the iPhones and Androids smartphones of today. While they had a go at it with Windows Phone 7, the operating system combined with the Nokia hardware still didn’t give it the push it needed to make users notice. Paired once again with Microsoft, the Nokia Lumia 920 along with WP8 should make waves this time around. Both companies are going all in this time around. Microsoft is really pushing the system as they are purported to spend up to a billion dollars in advertising. I already see the effects as I now see many commercials about WP8 on TV. Whereas in WP7, many users hardly even knew it existed. I honestly can’t remember if I even saw one in public! All the publicity is good for the Lumia 920 but when I read that the phone was exclusive to the AT&T carrier, my heart sank just a bit. While I personally am on the AT&T network, this doesn’t bode too well for Nokia themselves. Now I don’t know what deals they’ve made behind the scenes but at this point in time, I would like to think that they would want their flagship phone to be released on all major carriers to get the most exposure. This not only helps with promotion for the Lumia 920 itself but also for WP8 as well. Other carriers will only be getting a variant of the Lumia 920 which most likely have their specs toned down.
Daylight Photos Could Be Better – While it’s undeniable that the Lumia 920 excels in low light shots, the concern at the moment is the phone under performing when it comes to daylight pictures. This is a bit of a weird one because I’ve seen many spectacular daylight photos shot with the Lumia 920 and yet I’ve seen some where they looked less than average. In fact, some just looked downright horrible. While there are settings you can tweak such as the ISO and exposure, it seems that there is no way to control the color saturation which if I read correctly, is one of the main problems. Colors on some objects are just way too high making it look unnatural. The problem is due to post picture processing on the Lumia 920. The good news is that at the moment, you can use software to correct the pictures. The other good news is that a spokesperson/manager for Nokia announced on Twitter that they have recognized this as an issue and will provide a software fix in the future. Exactly when is anyone’s guess.You can read more about this problem here.
Weird Vibration Rattle and Noise – This one scares me a lot. There have been many users reporting that their Lumia 920 gives off a weird rattling noise when the phone vibrates. They describe it as if something was actually loose inside. Some users blame it on the springs and hinges that allows the camera lens to float (OIS) but many others speak from experience in that past Lumia phones (the Lumia 900 for example) exhibit the same noise and that it is normal. Some users contacted Nokia and have been told that this too was perfectly normal but others have claimed that they were told otherwise and that Nokia is looking into the issue. This is a concern because many users have also stated that they do not have that weird vibration rattle on their Lumia 920. This obviously makes it hard on the consumer. Should they exchange it for a new one? Should they leave it and pray that nothing happens in the future?You can read more about this problem here.
Battery Drainage – This is another issue that would drive me crazy if it happened to me. A lot of users are experiencing very fast battery discharge. One of the main culprits is due to the Nokia Drive app running in the background. Another is due to NFC being turned on. While most smartphones will have a small amount of users experiencing faster than normal battery drains, it’s quite daunting when you read about users disabling almost every single feature of the phone and not even using it at all and still see the battery drain away right in front of their eyes. One suggestion is for users to perform a hard reset once they receive their phone prior to doing anything else. The bad news with doing this is that some users have reported that their phone completely bricked when performing this reset! Others have noticed that letting the battery drain completely upon first unboxing and only then fully charging it back helps the situation a bit.You can read more about this problem here.
Bluetooth Issues – A lot of users are complaining about their Lumia 920 not syncing correctly with their vehicles. This is a bummer because my state is one of the few that disallows talking on the phone without a hands free headset of some kind while driving. Personally, my vehicle doesn’t have built-in Bluetooth support but I was thinking about purchasing a new Bluetooth car stereo system. This is certainly a concerning issue for many. Worst part is, at the moment users don’t know who to blame. Nokia for the hardware or Microsoft for WP8?You can read more about this problem here.
In the end, I personally believe that the positives of the Lumia 920 outweighs the negative. Of course, this article is not meant to be a thorough look into the Lumia 920 as I’m sure there are more problems than what I’ve documented here. It’s just that the one’s I mentioned, whether negative or positive, impacts me the most as a potential customer. I honestly believe after all that I’ve read, the main culprit in me not wanting a Windows Phone 8 anymore is due more to the phone operating system itself and not the hardware it is running on. That is why in the next article, I’ll once again go over the positives and negatives that I see for Microsoft’s new mobile operating system. It’s a shame, really. I’m sure you can tell from my tone in this article that I just absolutely love the Nokia Lumia 920 but as it stands, I think I’m going to have to pass on it. It’s probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in quite a long time!
One thing that I can praise Nokia for is their innovation. Like I said earlier, their camera’s ability to take low light photos is absolutely the best based on all the pictures I’ve seen so far. It’s only a matter of time before other smart phone manufacturer’s like Samsung and Apple also beef up their camera offering to match or surpass that of what the Lumia 920 has to offer. Their screen technology is also one of the best out right now at the time I published this article. Again, it’s only a matter of time before other manufacturer’s offer similar features for their customer base. I could probably go on but I think you get the point by now. I honestly thought that Nokia going full ahead of steam by trusting a Microsoft mobile platform yet once again was very loyal of them (again, I don’t know what goes on in the background). However, that now seems like a mistake with the many blunders of WP8. Only time will tell if both Nokia and Microsoft can make things right again.