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For its latest Lumia, Nokia set out to make one of the most capable phones around — and, it wanted to do it in a package that most people wouldn't consider gigantic. For all that, the Lumia Icon certainly fits the bill. It's large, but not much more than many popular smartphones, and it's absolutely powerful, more so than many of the top Android phones. But when it comes down to it, buyers right now may actually be cross shopping between different Lumias — not operating systems — and Nokia provides quite a broad selection of offerings on its own. We're taking a look across some of the best Lumias to see how the Icon stands up while trying to stand out.
A Lumia 1520 in just 5 inches
The Lumia Icon is, in essence, a Lumia 1520 shrunk down to a smaller size — and that's a good thing. It has a 1080p display, a fast Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and a 20-megapixel camera. The main difference is that instead of being housed behind a large 6-inch display, the Icon does it all in just 5 inches. That's great news for anyone looking for a powerful Windows Phone, especially since the operating system isn't quite tailored to the 1520's larger size just yet.
Ironically enough, perhaps the biggest place the Icon falls behind is style. The 1520 may not be the finest-looking Lumia around, but it still looks sharp and catchy in the Lumia's trademark form. The Icon, on the other hand, is oddly boxy and bland. That's not the best reason to overlook a phone, but it's far from the worst one either.
It's strange too, since the Icon has evolved out of the Lumia 928, the previous Verizon-exclusive Lumia. The 928 similarly eschewed Nokia's traditionally bright colors and rounded body for a boxy look, but it did so while still looking sleek and sharp. It may not have been Nokia's finest or boldest design, but it was a lot less bland than the 1520.
On the inside, at least, things have changed quite a bit. Both the Lumia 928 and the Lumia 925 — its better-looking and subtly better-equipped sibling — used displays with a WXGA resolution (far closer to 720p than 1080p), and ran on a Snapdragon S4 and 1GB of RAM. Neither are really competitive with the Icon when it comes to specs, but they are when it comes to price. Both the 925 and 928 are free (or next-to-free) with a new contract, and someone who's unconcerned with a device that's predisposed to quick aging may not want to entirely count them out.
For many Lumias, price is now a major strength
The Lumia 1320 isn't dissimilar in how it competes with the Icon. It has specs that land near to the 928 and 925, and likewise, a price to match — just $339 on its own. That makes it fairly appealing, though it probably isn't an option that someone interested in the Icon would be debating between. With its 6-inch display, it's a clear alternative to the 1520 — and the 1520 is the more obviously alternative to the Icon due to its matching specs.
That leaves the Lumia 1020 as the last big competitor to the Icon. The Icon has a huge advantage when it comes to their processors, but then, the 1020 was never about speed. The 1020 was a phone built to take great photos, and the Icon can't even come close. The phones are clearly targeted to different interests, and for many it should be easy to decide whether speed or photos matter more.
The Icon may not live up to its name when it comes to design or even usability, but it does set the bar for what Nokia can do on specs. If you're locked into a carrier, you may not get to choose from quite as wide a slate of Lumias as we looked at here, but it's hard to ignore what a wide and compelling lineup Nokia has been building this past year. The Icon isn't the most compelling Lumia yet, but it certainly has its power for now.
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