Monk's Nokia Lumia 920 mini-review #2
Finishing out the 3rd week of consistent use with this device I have the following thoughts:
The screen is gorgeous. I have owned a myriad of smartphones to date (various models of the iPhone, several Samsung and Sony droid devices, and windows-mobile devices of the past) and I can't say enough about the screen on the 920. It is brilliant even in direct sunlight, never ever lags or hitches, has probably the smoothest/clearest pinch-to-zoom and scrolling in browsing I have experienced to date and just always feels "fluid" (the inertia of the screen just feels right if you know what I mean). If there is a complaint about this screen I might have to say that it is almost "too bright" in low light conditions as trying to be secretive about what you're doing on the Lumia 920 when other people are around can sometimes be a chore!
The OS is lean and mean. Windows Phone 8 while a lot more "locked down" than android (less locked down than iOS of course) is the porsche of mobile OSes at the moment. It is smooth, always. It is intuitive, beautiful to look at and so easy to use. Customization options are lacking at the moment but I don't doubt MS will continue to build on this little gem of an OS they have here. Having said that, the lacking in customization is less of an issue and more a matter of preference as anyone even remotely familiar with android will miss the opportunity to really "make the phone UI your own". Of course you can resize tiles and choose which tiles to display etc. but that goes more to the usability and intuitiveness (if that's a word..hehe) of the device rather than to personalization of the OS. One can pretty much turn anything on the device into a live tile including individual web pages, contacts etc. which again drives the point home about Microsoft's focus on "usability" over all. With android I always felt like I was spending hours playing with my phone in order to "set it up" (there seemed to be endless options and settings etc.), whereas with windows phone 8 I feel more like the time I'm spending with my phone is simply in "using" the device to do things and unlike in iOS where I would click into this or that app almost as if to "find things to do" the live-tiles really do save time and help to direct focus when using your device.
The battery life is standard (what could/should be expected from a modern superphone). What I mean by this is, that I can easily get through the entire day with fairly heavy use of the device (ie. making calls, watching videos + listening to music, texting up a storm and emailing like mad). With NFC (near field communication), bluetooth, wifi and background gps services (like those used by the Nokia Drive app) turned off I can easily get 2-3 days of battery life out of the device with a more moderate amount of use.
Cloud and social integration. This phone cannot be beaten on that front. The Lumia 920 is easily the most socially integrated phone on the market today. The "people" tile by default (this can be modified to personal taste) collects all of your contacts from sim-card, facebook, twitter, linkedIn, hotmail etc. into one location. Swiping left or right (which can be done in any windows phone app) gives you updates from facebook/twitter etc., news feeds, photo-streams and all of your contact's contact info. There is a new ROOMS feature as well which allows you to create say a "family room" (group with all family members in a home). This creates almost a family-only-facebook setup where everyone in that "room" is part of a group-chat, group-calendar, group-photostream, and group-notes/lists. Very handy feature and even if not everyone in the "family room" has a windows-phone the other members can still share the calendar, lists and photos they will just receive texts though instead of being part of the messenger group-chat. The cloud-integration (SKYDRIVE) is brilliant. Photos, documents, calendars and notes are easily and seamlessly available to any/all devices via SkyDrive (on which you have 7GB of free storage) as well as phone backups etc. Microsoft's Office on Windows Phone 8 takes full advantage of SkyDrive integration and makes moving from desktop, notebook to the phone in the car or on a plane a completely painless affair. You can also quite easily (even from the phone) set up shared areas within your SkyDrive to give access and permissions to certain people or even have some areas deemed completely open for PUBLIC view.
The camera so pure. The Lumia 920's camera really is pureview technology. While some have complained that daylight photos seem "too soft" / overexposed (Nokia has stated they will release a software update to address this "issue") this camera really shines in situations where I (and I'm sure many others) are most likely to use their phone as a camera which is in low-light situations. During the day I am still more likely to use my SLR camera if I know I'm going to take picuters but who carries around an SLR at night? Nothing out there today can touch the low-light picture quality of the Lumia 920's camera thanks to Nokia's hardware optical image stabilization tech built into the Carl Zeiss lens. The add-on software "lenses" provided for free by Nokia also add a nice touch and I can atest to the fact that all of them (Smartshoot - takes mutiple shots so you can choose the one where everyone is smiling, Cinemagraph - allows for the creation of cute animated .GIF's on the fly and Panorama - self-explanatory......work as advertised). The phone also comes with Nokia's "Creative Studio" app which allows for some rudementary photo editing. While this app "Nokia City Lens" doesn't really fit into the camera section of any "review" I do have to touch on it briefly. It is Nokia's "augmented reality" app in which you simply choose what kinds of points-of-interest you'd like the phone to display, point the phone at the world around you and it will populate the screen with points of interest information nearby. Selecting one, then gives you standard contact info as well as directions and you can use Nokia's turn-by-turn free navigation system to then take you there. Back to photos for just a minute.......I already touched on a new free Nokia app on page 1 of this thread called "Photo Beamer" and just to reiterate, it is the absolute easiest way to show/share a photo or photos with family/friends. Find an internet-enabled screen nearby, navigate to www.photobeamer.com on said screen (ie. laptop, other phone, internet-enabled TV), now scan the QR code into your Lumia 920 and voila swipe left-right to navigate your photos now displaying on the other screen. Should your friend/family member want a copy of that picture just have them right-click and "save as". Simple as that. Of course with NFC you can also just "tap'n share" any photo or contact with any other NFC-enabled device. Also, not to forget the video camera. Thanks to the aforementioned "hardware optical image stabaliztion" built into this phone one can finally produce "shake-free" HD video even in extreme low-light conditions. Suffice it to say.....the camera on this phone is one of its hallmark features.
There is so much more I could say about this phone but I've only had it for 3 weeks. I'll check in with another review around the 6-8 week mark.
EDIT: To add some stuff about the video camera in the camera section.