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Nokia Lumia 1020 Review: The Best Camera Phone Ever

Is the Nokia Lumia 1020 a smartphone with a camera or a camera that happens to be a phone?


The Nokia Lumia 1020 is one of the more exciting smartphones to review this year. We’ve been waiting for over a year for the “true” PureView camera to make its way to the US in Windows Phone.  While it’s cool to have a 41 Megapixel Pureview camera phone it’s just as important to have a good smartphone overall. Is the Nokia Lumia 1020 a smartphone with a camera or a camera that happens to be a phone?

Design Wise The Nokia Lumia 1020 Is Well A Lumia

Since the Lumia 800 Nokia hasn’t swayed too far away from its design for it’s Windows Phone products. They are all candy bar style with either share or rounded edges.  It’s become the iconic design for Windows Phones in the market and the Lumia 1020 doesn’t stray too far from this.  You have 3 buttons on the right for volume,, power and camera, speakers at the bottom next to the micro USB port and on top sim card slot next to the 3.5 mm headphone jack.  The phone won’t sit flat because of the hump that the 41 megapixel Pureview camera puts on the back of the phone so keep that in mind if you try to use the phone while on a table because it’s going to rock around. There isn’t much more to say on design other then it’s the high quality and Lumia style design you would expect from a Nokia Windows Phone product.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 Screen Is Average But Gets The Job Done

The Lumia 1020 comes with a 4.5 inch AMOLED display that has HD resolution at 1280 x 768.  It produces accurate colors and looking at it everyday while using the phone will be ok. There is also a cool added benefit of being able to use the phone with gloves which will be big for those that live in cold climate areas. By no means is the display bad as some may think the title of this section implies, but in the world on 1080p displays it’s hard not to look at this as average at best.  I know it’s a limitation in Windows Phone for resolution but it would be nice to view the high res photos and the 1080p HD video capture on a 1080p display on your Windows Phone.

Windows Phone 8 + Nokia Apps = Solid Software Experience

Windows Phone 8 is the operating system that you will get when picking up the Nokia Lumia 1020. You get you Windows Phone 8 benefits of re sizable live tiles, Microsoft Office, social media integration with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Xbox games, music and videos.  Phone manufactures that want to make Windows Phones don’t get the options for OS level customization much as they do with other platform like Android. Nokia does get around this by providing a ton of high quality apps like Here Maps, Drive+, Citiy Lens, Transit, Nokia Pro Cam and Nokia Smart cam to name a few that are pre-installed and Nokia has a section in the Windows Phone apps store to grab more from them.  This helps round out the Windows Phone experience which still is missing some key popular apps and until this right here gets build into the OS it will always someone lag behind the competition.

Performance wise the Lumia 1020 is fast and smooth with its 1.7 GHz dual core processor and 2 GB of ram.  Battery life is going to be good for you with getting 1 day to 1.5 days of usage out of it. We used about 3 e-mail accounts, 4 social networks and day-to-day usage. Now this estimate will drop significantly if you are using the camera a lot during the day.  In these cases you’re probably looking at a 1 day max of battery life. This has to do with the active lens shutter and the led and Xenon flashes. So keep that in mind if you are going to be using the camera a lot during the day.

The 41 Megapixel Pureview Nokia Lumia 1020 Is Best Camera On A Smartphone To Date

The Lumia 1020 massive 41 megapixel Pureview camera that you can only get the best pictures with it using the Nokia Pro Cam app. The app gives you a ton of controls and settings to get the awesome image you are looking for while keeping it friendly for a smartphone.  You can individual changed settings for flash, white balance, ISO, Macro and EV settings.  This gives great controls to get some of the best pictures you can get on a smartphone and even better then a lot of standalone point and shoot cameras.  Day, night or low-light the Nokia Lumia 1020’s camera will bright out the best picture possible and even surprise you in situations where you would think the camera would be at its weakest.  They didn’t stop at just photos. Video at 1080p is also stellar with great audio quality. They also give you recording options at 30 FPS and also 24 FPS which is what movie’s and TV show’s use for a frame rate. The camera functionality is better explained in the video review so be sure to watch it to get most of the details.

So Is The Nokia Lumia 1020 A Camera Or Smartphone First?

The Lumia 1020 is a camera first before a smartphone. There really is no denying that. The main reason you are going to pick this phone up will be for the camera. If you’re not big on taking pictures then it’s going to be just the same Nokia Windows Phone smartphone as the others they sell.  I’m still not a fan of the limitations that Windows Phone puts on its OS  which has held it back and I would like to have seen Nokia take a small design change with the Lumia 1020. But overall I do like and recommend the  Nokia Lumia 1020 for people who love taking pictures, love blogging and want the best quality possible anywhere they are.

Nokia Lumia 1020 Video Review

Nokia Lumia 1020 30 FPS HD Video

Nokia Lumia 1020 24 FPS HD VIdeo

Nokia Lumia 1020 41 Megapixel Pureview Camera Photos




Nokia Lumia 1020 Device Photos



About the author

Warren Bowman

I have a deep passion for everything tech. From gadgets to gaming I get it all and love giving my opinions, reviews and analysis on all things tech. Live Your Tech World In High Definition!


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