Nokia SA announced yesterday that the Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 will arrive in South Africa in November 2012. The phone will be available from both Vodacom and MTN stores. The phone was only recently launched by Nokia in September 2012 and it appears that South Africa is one of the first markets to receive the new device.
The first wave of Lumia 920 pre-orders sold out in Italy (total number of units unknown) and so did the second wave of units (again, unknown number of units). PhoneHouse in France rated the Lumia 920 as the top-selling device from 10-14 October 2012. Pre-orders for the Lumia 920 are also available in Germany and Russia.
What I like about the Lumia 920:
- Dual-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 CPU and Adreno 225 GPU,
- 1 Gb RAM and 32 Gb internal storage,
- 4.5 inches curved IPS LCD display (768 by 1280 pixels; ~332 ppi pixel density) with Corning Gorilla Glass protection,
- Super-fast Long Term Evolution or LTE (4G) cellular connectivity, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, DLNA & Wi-Fi hotspot,
- Wireless charging (click here to find out more),
- Near Field Communication (NFC),
- Nokia City Lens augmented reality app and service (overlays information about restaurants and businesses every time you point the camera at a street),
- 8.7 MP “PureView” camera with “floating” Carl Zeiss lens, 1080P @30fps HD video and Optical Image Stabilization (OIS),
- Built-in gyro sensor,
- Polycarbonate, injection molded cover that is scratch-resistant, and
- 2000 mAh battery (400 hours on standby mode, up to 10 hours of 3G talk time and up to 67 hours of music playback time).
For the full phone specs, visit GSM Arena and Phone Arena. Check out this video for a preview of the phone. GSM Arena stated that the screen pixels update “up to 2.5x faster” than other LCD screens and is also the brightest screen on a smartphone. It is “super sensitive” too and can be used whilst wearing gloves or with long fingernails. Also check out this video where a banana is used as a stylus. The PureMotion HD+ technology automatically adjusts the screen tone and brightness according to the ambient light. The pixel density is 332 ppi, compared to 306 ppi for the Samsung Galaxy SIII and 326 ppi for the Apple iPhone 5.
Nokia’s white paper on the PureMotion technology explains that the Lumia’s 920 in-plane switching (IPS) type liquid crystal display (LCD) uses a higher voltage to drive each pixel, thus reducing the transition time (from 23 to < 9 ms) for the pixel to change colour. This results in improved video quality and less blurry video as the screen is capable of rendering video at 60 fps.
In bright sunlight, the phone’s ambient light sensor causes the backlit display to maximise its luminance mode (i.e. 20% brighter than normal), thus resulting in higher contrast and brightness levels. Combined with the screen’s very low reflectance, the Lumia 920 works well in bright sunlight. This feature is completely automatic and requires no user intervention to improve readability in direct sunlight. Check out this video which compares the display to an HTC One X under bright light.
The 1280 by 768 screen has a 15:9 aspect ratio capable of viewing 16:9 content, with 7% more pixels than a standard 720P or 1280 by 720 pixel display. The super-sensitive touch technology adapts its sensitivity according to user input method, making touch usage faster, more natural and accurate. The touch screen can be operated using a fingernail, which is important for those with long nails. The 1.1 mm thick Synaptic 3202 touch controller is behind the Lumia’s super-sensitive and multi-touch display.
The camera uses floating lens technology which means the lens is mounted on tiny springs which keeps the camera in focus. Nokia claim the 8.7 MP camera has a large f2.0 aperture which captures between 5 and 10 times more light than any other smartphone. A dedicated camera button is convenient for snapping pics, with zooming now handled by a pinch-to-zoom gesture, rather than an slider interface. The OS comes with some camera-related apps called Bing Vision, CNN iReport and FXSuite, with the latter offering a host of image filter options. An app called Blink takes a burst shot of photos, then picks the one it thinks would look best. For a comparison of smartphone photos in low light conditions, check out this blog and this article.
NFC allows you to “tap” music onto compatible speaker systems and have the music instantly sent to the dedicated audio device. NFC also makes pairing with bluetooth devices such as headsets much simpler. Check out this video (forward to 4m30s) for a demo. Support for NFC within a number of Windows Phone 8 apps has also been announced. The Vimeo app for WP8 will allow users to share videos using NFC and the YouSendIt app provides the ability to share files using NFC. Visit the NFC World website for more information on NFC.
The Lumia 920 cover is made of polycarbonate (sames as the Nokia N9), which is a new premium plastic pioneered by Nokia. The covers are injection molded, scratch-resistant and available as a glossy or matt finish in five colours (red, yellow, grey, white, black). The plastic cover does not interfere with the internal antennas and wireless charging coil. The camera detailing and side keys are made of ceramic zirconium instead of aluminium, but just as durable and strong.
What I don’t like about the Lumia 920:
- Bulky (130.3 x 70.8 x 10.7 mm) phone weighing 185 g,
- No microSD expandable memory or external card slot,
- Dual LED and not zenon flash,
- No FM transmitter or FM radio with RDS, and
- Windows Phone 8 Operating System, with far fewer apps than any other OS.
The wireless charging coil in the Lumia 920 possibly adds quite a bit to that total 185 gram weight. The Samsung Galaxy SIII is 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm (4.8″ screen), but weighs only 133 grams. Both phones have Corning Gorilla glass protection, which doesn’t explain the weight difference. Click here for a side-by-side comparison of the two phones.
The Windows Phone 8 (WP8) OS is not popular with only 3.2 to 3.5% of the market share in July 2012 (with Android and iOS being the major players). However, the number of devices running Windows Phone increased from 1.3 million (July 2011) to 5.1 million (July 2012) units, which represents a massive 277% increase. Growth in Android devices was only 110% over the same period. There are currently about 100,000 apps in the store, but I’m not sure how many will run natively on WP8.
At the time of writing, there were no videos on www.ifixit.com which detail a full disassembly of the Nokia Lumia 920 (only the Lumia 900). Check out this website for some internal photos of the Lumia 920.
Before I consider buying this phone, the audio quality of the phone’s built-in speaker, its 3 microphones and the 3.5 mm jack is of utmost importance to me. Apparently, the phone also has one single speaker and the speaker on the Lumia 900 is pretty bad. Although the phone has 3 audio capture mics, it cannot record in stereo. So I will wait for GSM Arena to fully test the audio output.
In terms of smart phone sales, Nokia are still in trouble with only 6.3 million units sold up to Q3 2012 (of which 2.9 million units were Lumia series phones), compared to 16.8 million units sold last year (i.e. 63% drop year-on-year). Of the total Nokia mobile phones sold, only 7.6% are smartphones. Nokia Gadgets reported that there is speculation that Nokia may sell its smartphone manufacturing sector.
The total number of units sales decreased by 64% in China (due to the unpopularity of Symbian) and 27% in the Middle East and Africa market. The average selling price of Lumia phones is higher than that of Symbian devices, which indicates a market shift away from Symbian towards Lumia devices. Nokia reported operating losses in Q3, Q2 and Q1 of 2012 and Q4 of 2011. Its not yet time to panic as Nokia have EUR 3.564 billion in cash and liquid assets, which means they can absorb a few more quarterly losses. Nokia also expects the fourth quarter (Q4) 2012 to be challenging in terms of smartphone sales. However, the Lumia 920 and 820 shipments and sales should reflect positively in the Q1 announcements in 2013.