Nokia Lumia 1020

Avid mobile photographers will love the Nokia Lumia 1020's exact controls, but casual users should stick to cheaper camera phones.

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Nic Healey can usually be found on a couch muttering about aspect ratios and 7.1 channel sound - which is helpful given that he's the home entertainment guy at CNET.

You can sum up the Nokia Lumia 1020 in three words: 41-megapixel camera.

It's the Lumia 1020's high-octane shooter — along with Nokia's custom camera app — that defines this next marquee Windows Phone 8 device and that gives mobile photographers a reason to salivate. In the 1020, Nokia pushes the smartphone camera envelope, with a combination of raw image-capturing prowess and close-cropping capability that make it one of the most artistically able smartphone cameras we've tested.

Would we ditch our point-and-shoot cameras and rely on the Lumia 1020 instead? For day-to-day and weekend events, absolutely; the 1020 is the ultimate in convenience and approaches point-and-shoot quality. However, based on our tests so far, Nokia still has a ways to go before it can completely supplant the need for a higher-level stand-alone camera.

The Lumia 1020 is a niche device. Casual users may not venture from automatic settings and may not notice much difference in image quality, unless they frequently crop photos tightly. Of course, the S4 Zoom's optical zoom element gives the 1020 a run for its money where that's concerned. However, overall, the 1020 offers often technically better images in a much more portable chassis.

The Lumia 1020 has launched with Telstra, Optus and major retailers as of 17 September at a retail price of AU$899. Optus is selling the Lumia 1020 outright for AU$799.

Design and build

The first thing you're probably asking yourself is if owning the Lumia 1020 is like carrying a bulky point-and-shoot camera in your pocket. Blessedly, it is not.

In fact, the Lumia 1020 seems only slightly thicker than the Lumia 920 and 928, both of which it physically resembles.

Dimensions of 130.4x71.4mm are pretty standard, and the 1020 measures 10.4mm thick throughout most of its body. It's that large camera module on the back that protrudes further from the phone's face.

That means the phone won't lie flat on its back, which is, surprisingly, sometimes helpful when the face tilts towards you as if on a stand. Amazingly, you can carry the phone around in your back pocket for long stretches without noticing it too much. At 158g, the matte yellow, white or black 1020 is hefty, sturdy and undeniably solid.

The 1020's 4.5-inch display features a 1280x768-pixel resolution (WXGA) and a pixel density of 334ppi. Its AMOLED screen is also supersensitive, which means you can operate it with fingernails or gloved fingertips. Gorilla Glass 3 helps resist cracks, though smash any screen hard enough, or often enough, and it'll break.

In keeping with the Lumia design philosophy, you'll find oblong volume, power/lock and camera shutter buttons on the right spine and the headset jack and micro-SIM card slot up top. In addition to the front-facing camera, there are three capacitive navigation buttons on the front, and the micro-USB charging port is down on the bottom edge. On the back, the massive camera module includes a wide xenon flash and a six-lens Carl Zeiss lens, plus an LED sidekick that's mainly used for focus.

A completely sealed unibody device, the Lumia 1020 doesn't have a removable battery or microSD card storage, which may make avid photographers jittery about storage limits, especially with large photo files.

The Lumia 1020 definitely won't sit flat.
(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

Understanding the camera

The most important thing to know is that the Lumia 1020's 41-megapixel shooter doesn't actually give you 41-megapixel pictures. In fact, not much about the camera, or its software, is particularly straightforward.

Here's what's essential:

  1. The Pro Cam app creates 5-megapixel photos. In addition, it also saves a high-resolution image of each one. If you crop in tightly, your photo looks even more detailed

  2. By default, the Lumia 1020 takes photos using Nokia's Pro Cam app. Not to be confused with Nokia Smart Cam, Pro Cam gets you sliding controls for flash, exposure, ISO and focus, among other settings. Nokia Pro Cam is technically a "lens" — a separate camera app that supplants the native camera. You can only capture the higher-resolution images using Pro Cam.

CNET Australia's camera expert Lexy Savvides put the 1020 through its imaging paces, and you can read her thoughts here.

OS and features

The Lumia 2010 runs a version of Windows Phone 8 that's been slightly modified to accommodate the phone's enormous 41-megapixel camera.

You won't notice any difference on the front end, though, which looks and behaves like any other Nokia Windows phone. The usual complement of Nokia apps includes Nokia Music, Here-branded maps and driving apps and a couple of extra photo tools in Nokia Pro Cam (of course), Nokia Smart Cam, Panorama and Cinemagraph.

Other key features include (near-field communication) (NFC) for Tap and Send and Bluetooth 3.0 (which could soon turn into 4.0). There's no integrated wireless charging on the 1020, but you can buy an aftermarket back cover if that's your jam.

Shutterbugs will more likely seek out other camera accessories, like a tripod case or the camera grip case that really does convert your 1020 into a point-and-shoot camera, hand grip included.

Call quality and overall performance

We tested the Lumia 1020's call quality using the Telstra network in Sydney. Sound from our end seemed fine, if a little flat, but we had complaints that we sounded "robotic" from the other end.

Speakerphone was impressive on our end when tested with the phone both on a table and held in the hand. Voice was clear through the speaker and the call recipient had no issue understanding us.

Once again, we used Telstra's 4G network to test the Lumia 1020 around the Sydney CBD. The results were completely in keeping with what we've come to expect from Telstra long-term evolution (LTE). Our max download speed during testing was 36.37Mbps, but we mostly saw speeds between 25Mbps-35Mbps.

On the upload side of things, we were happy with results, mostly between 12Mbps-16Mbps.

Like other Lumias, the 1020 has a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor. Although it isn't as fast as Qualcomm's quad-core processor, this is as speedy as you get in a Windows Phone, and it's a plenty quick chipset.

Web pages and apps loaded quickly and browsing was silky smooth. In all, the experience, in terms of speed, was as good as we've had on one of the Nokia Windows range.

The Lumia 1020's 2000mAh battery has a rated talk time of 13.3 hours over 3G. We'll conduct independent battery drain tests as well. This is the same battery capacity as the Lumia 920 line, and just like those phones, this one should continuously last a full workday before needing a charge. Keep in mind that batteries do degrade over time.

There's 32GB of storage on the Lumia 1020, which is enough for most people. The Nokia Pro Cam's large-photo format will suck up more space than others so that might make some jittery. Still, I took and kept dozens of shots without running close to the barrier. The 1020 does come with 7GB of free SkyDrive cloud storage, though, with an option to upgrade to more. The 1020 has 2GB of RAM, rather than the other Lumias' 1GB of RAM.

(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

Buy it or skip it?

The 1020's larger sensor, image stabilisation, incredible lossless cropping and low-light performance make it stand out from the crowd. However, for casual users, there may be more camera — and bulk and price — than necessary, especially when smartphones like the Nokia Lumia 920 models, the iPhone 5, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One produce some good-enough snaps to upload and share.

For purists, the Lumia 1020's sensor size may be smaller than Nokia's Symbian-running 808 PureView antecedent but that helps it achieve a pocket friendliness it may not otherwise have had. We have some complaints about the Pro Cam app's look and layout, but these are ultimately minor issues.

It may be the best smartphone camera on the market, but we can't see it tempting avid photographers away from their stand-alone cameras for the best-quality images.

Buy the Lumia 1020 if you:

  • Want better-than-average smartphone photos

  • Are willing to invest in a pricier device

  • Crave precise control over exposure and other settings.

Skip the Lumia 1020 if you:

  • Are looking for a slim or budget smartphone

  • Prefer preset scenarios to help photograph a scene

  • Highly value fast shot-to-shot times

  • Are happy with your current smartphone camera

  • Dislike Windows Phone OS.


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gadget2us posted a comment   

Lumia 1020 case with bright orange color
It is necessary to have a leather protector,effect avoid the damage from the drop by accident.not only protect the camera lens. also protect the screen.
this design is a true shockproof case,totally soft.
Is made from gadget2us

BillG Facebook

"Love the Phone, Camera, OS ... everything"

BillG posted a review   

The Good:The total package

The Bad:Need slot for microSD, pics take lot of memory....but I have 200 GB of Onedrive

One of the best camera phones. Solid built quality, responsive, good collections of apps.


BudaP posted a comment   

The phone is great, very solid, good quality and I really love it! However, after 3 months of usage my Nokia stopped working properly(battery issue) so I reported the seller DutyFreeCentral regarding this issue and asked for replacement.
I was prompted to sent it back to the seller and since then I was waiting weeks after weeks with no luck till now...
From time to time Customer service replied to my messages stating that they're working on it, sometimes they just ignore my requests to send the status update.

On the one hand hardware issues like this one cannot be managed by reseller, but on the other hand my phone is on warranty so it's still seller responsibility to provide replacement or get it fixed in reasonable time.

I would not recomment DutyFreeCentral to anyone because they don't take care about their clients.
If you're looking for a service with reasonable resolution time then you shoul not go with Service Desk from this company is useless, they don't meet customers expectations.

Company rating (especially support) is very poor, but on the other hands they sell cheap/inexpensive products online with good prices.
Overall feedback is negative, I wish to have it changed to the positive one but company does not communicate with me. They do not reply even when they get prompted that I have to open a case in ACCC.

Cheers case ##127720##


whatsa posted a comment   


Well I guess your confused about getting less than
8 MP from a 8MP sensor in 16:9 ratio.

its similar but nokia do it better thats all you need to know


"Top shelf features"

whatsa posted a review   

The Good:Good camera /apps and easy to use

The Bad:havent found anything yet

Great phone ...

love the Camera

and 6tag

just a good experience


viswamcnet posted a comment   

Nokia's hardware is the best and when combined with WP8 it is awesome. Depending on which OS the phone has, these can be termed as High, medium or Low. When it comes to WP8 even the low end phone like Lumia 620 is far more superior when compared to IOS or Android phones with similar specs. WP* needs much less resources.


IanR1 posted a comment   

What sort of point in the summary skip section is "skip if you dislike windows phone 8 OS" ?? .... Does the author insert a "Skip if you dislike iOS or Android OS" comment in reviews for phones that run these OS's?


moonflower posted a comment   

EVERONE out of the hot tub. Nokia if you want to sell phones have 5 million ready to roll on the night of the big show.
Having to wait 3 months, then only to find it is locked to a carrier for another 3 months or from dodgy phone/plastic flower sellers in Hong Kong and the hot tub experience is over. I mean over and out, everyone has paid for a Sammy with a fancy camera.
I am a consumer, when do I want, NOW. (not in six months, the world turns.)


trebor83 posted a comment   

I can't help feeling that Nokia should have held off on this until Microsoft gave them the hardware update so that the response of the spec sheet snobs wasn't "well the camera may be great, but the processor is ancient".

This would have made a great flagship for the next round of hardware, but instead I fear it will be a gimmicky footnote in the "not quite good enough" story of Windows Phone 8s first year in the market.


RyanN1 posted a reply   

The WP8 OS uses substantially less resources than iOS/Android, hence why the 'ancient processor' is more than sufficient, and in turn keeps the cost of the device down.

The 1020 is basically an upgraded version of the Lumia 920 which fills a void and provides a great marketing opportunity with the 41MP sensor. With the GDR3 update coming later in the year, I believe the manufactures are focusing their handset development towards this version of WP.


chris1969 posted a reply   

The 1020 is an upgraded version of the 920? I thought the 925 was the upgraded version of the 920...


Will1505 posted a reply   

True, the 1020 is the high spec phone where the 920 is the mid-to-high spec phone


viswamcnet posted a reply   

Depending on which OS the phone has, these can be termed as High, medium or Low. When it comes to WP8 even the low end phone like Lumia 620 is far more superior when compared to IOS or Android phones with similar specs. WP* needs much less resources.

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User Reviews / Comments  Nokia Lumia 1020

  • gadget2us


    "Lumia 1020 case with bright orange color
    It is necessary to have a leather protector,effect avoid the damage from the drop by accident.not only protect the camera lens. also protect the scree..."

  • BillG



    "One of the best camera phones. Solid built quality, responsive, good collections of apps."

  • BudaP


    "The phone is great, very solid, good quality and I really love it! However, after 3 months of usage my Nokia stopped working properly(battery issue) so I reported the seller DutyFreeCentral regardi..."

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