The Lumia 920 Is My NOW - including some initial impressions

I just got back from the Rogers store, where I purchased a lovely black, Lumia 920. Haven't had much time to play with it yet, but the hardware is amazing. I'm coming from the 900, and the 920 is definitely a step up, particularly the curved glass on the front which was omitted in the 900. Also, the screen is gorgeous. If anyone has any questions I'll try to answer them over the next couple of days. If not, that's fine too :)

Having played with and used the 920 for the last 24 hours, I thought I’d post some of my impressions.

Hardware

My previous phone was the Lumia 900, so the solid design and sturdy feel of the device was very familiar to me. Many have voiced their concern over its size and weight, but for me it hasn’t been an issue. Yes, coming from a 900 meant I was already used to carrying a heftier phone, but prior to the 900 I owned the Galaxy Nexus, and the HTC OneX. Moving from those devices to the 900 DID take some getting used to, but quite quickly you don’t even notice, and the great design and overall exceptional build quality is what eventually stands out high above any concerns over weight. Others may feel differently, but I’d rather have a phone that doesn’t creak and bend, than one that’s light as a feather. So overall, I think the hardware is great.

Screen

Obviously, the screen is a step up from the 900, and WP7.5 in general. The increased resolution goes a long way towards making Windows Phone feel like it’s a high end OS. Colours are accurate (not saturated), and the heightened refresh rate does make a difference, at least to my eye, anyway. Blacks are black, although as one previous commenter correctly pointed out, not quite as deep on the 920 as the 900 due to it being an LCD as opposed to an AMOLED. Also, the viewing angles aren’t as jaw dropping amazing as on a device like the OneX (and presumably the 8x), but I do like the curved glass. That’s a huge improvement over the 900.

Camera

Basically, the camera is very impressive, as has been reported. If only Nokia could go back in time and NOT fake that initial video they shot, because they really didn’t need to. No, video doesn’t come out looking like it was shot on a DSLR, but it is miles ahead of any video I’ve seen on any other phone. And that, in my opinion, is enough. The OIS really does make a difference, and auto focus and overall quality is excellent. The low light performance when taking photos is also just as good as has been shown in samples on the web. What you see on the device after you take the photo literally lights up the dark space you were previously looking at with your own eyes. For anyone who really uses the camera on their phone a lot, this will be a big differentiator, and it certainly is for me.

Performance

No performance issues so far whatsoever. Native apps are fast and responsive, and feel solid. What’s most impressive so far, is the improvement in WP7.5 apps that haven’t even been optimized yet (as far as I can tell), for WP8. Rowi, for example, not longer stutters when doing long, fast scrolling, and you don’t get any more of that annoying “ghosting”, or “gaps” in text as the phone tries to keep up. Resume time in apps is also much improved, probably due to some tweaks in the multi-tasking. I’ve also read that there will be a developer option to plug into this aspect of the OS on an even deeper level with the new SDK, so hopefully there are significant improvements coming for 3rd party apps in the near future.

Battery

At this point, it’s definitely too early to be drawing any conclusions about battery life. What I can say, though, is that at this point in the day the battery is doing as well, if not better than where my 900 would have been at. And that’s probably with increased use due to the “newness” factor. My 900 lasted me until past midnight each day with moderate, regular use. So I am optimistic about the 920. Time will tell.

Overall thoughts

Generally speaking, this is a pretty serious upgrade over WP7.5, and the Lumia 900. The hardware is typical Nokia quality, and the OS keeps up to it quite nicely. WP8 feels much more like a real, “adult” OS now, and not the barely hanging on, kept together with tape OS that 7.5, and to a greater extent, 7.0 sometimes felt like. Obviously it’s not perfect, but WP8 is more than just an incremental update. You can feel the value of the bumped up hardware specs, and presumably the more robust NT kernel that’s been implemented.