The Nokia Lumia 1020 is a smartphone built entirely around a single feature – a 41 megapixel digital camera capable of capturing full HD video and high resolution stills.
The device features a large, 4.5” touchscreen wrapped in a durable feeling polycarbonate shell and is available in three colours – white, black and the eye-catching canary yellow variant which features in most publicity materials.
The casing cannot be opened, meaning the battery can’t be swapped during the day. This makes regular nightly charging a must – the claimed 13 hour talk time being somewhat hopeful.
Inside is a 1.5GHz dual core processor and 32Gb of storage – unlike many smartphones the Lumia 1020 doesn’t support memory cards so the storage cannot be upgraded.
On the software front, the handset runs Microsoft’s poorly received and much unloved Windows Phone 8 operating system.
Once the dominant smartphone OS, Windows’ marketshare has fallen drastically behind Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS platforms and even the bright, tile-based Windows Phone 8 has been unable to revive its fortunes.
Unlike many I appreciate Microsoft’s attempt to so something different by eschewing the icon-based approach of its rivals, but the market has spoken and decreed the experiment to be a failure.
All of which means that the market for the Lumia 1020 is very limited – first you need to be someone who wants a phone that’s all about a very high-specced camera and then you need to be someone who doesn’t hate Windows Phone.
That’s going to be a very small number of people.
So what will members of this select group of smartphone buyers get for their money?
As noted above, the killer feature here is the camera which boasts a 41 megapixel sensor and flash from Xenon, plus optical image stabilisation, options for panoramic pictures, action shots and a pro-camera app with swipeable settings for exposure level, white balance, shutter speed and more.
Access to the camera is via a tile on the home page or by holding down a dedicated button on the right-hand side of the phone.
Editing and deleting images once taken is achieved by tapping an icon within the image gallery but Microsoft and or Nokia have cut corners here – the icon remains stubbornly white even when displayed on a solid white image which means you have to guess where the icon will be to tap it and display the pop-up options menu.
Such a gripe might seem petty, but when you’re hyping the phone as the best way to take pictures on the move you need to get these small details right and it can’t be too hard to add some contextualised colouring to the OS.
Images can be shared via Bluetooth and Messaging and copied to your computer using the Windows Phone app for desktop or Windows Phone app for Mac.
However there’s currently no baked-in support for uploading to Flickr or Instagram which makes the ability to easily share your image seem a little incomplete and limited.
The Lumia 1020 is a very slim device which some might find unhelpful when wanting to take the perfect image. To alleviate this, Nokia offers a camera grip accessory which bulks out the handset and gives you more to hold on to.
The 1020 looks nice and takes great pictures, but it’s hard to believe there’s much of a market for it – how may people who need to take high-quality pictures throughout the day wouldn’t have a dedicated camera on them for the job?
The Nokia Lumia 1020 is available from Three.co.uk on contract and Pay As You Go.