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Nokia lumia1020 Gear & Apps

Nokia’s 41MP Lumia 1020 Is Not Your Average Windows Phone

By Tuan Tran on July 25th 2013

Nokia’s New 41MP Lumia 1020 Windows Phone

The Nokia 1020 has finally landed and has brought competitors to their knees with the capabilities of this smartphone. We have briefly reviewed the Lumia 1020 before its release, but now that it’s here we can take a more comprehensive look at it. This phone has an impressive 41Megapixel PureView camera combined with a sleek bodied windows operated smartphone. That’s right, a pocket sized 41 Megapixel smartphone camera …crazy right?

Nokia lumia1020

Picture courtesy of


Ultimately, it is various pieces of the Nokia Lumia phones (925, 928) combined with an astonishing 41-megapixel PureView camera, and slightly more RAM. The phone will run you at $300 with a two-year contract at AT&T.

The Nokia 1020 could not have come at a better time with the emergence of social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram, the demand for more powerful smartphone cameras is higher than ever. As Chase Jarvis said, “The best camera is the one that’s with you.” The demand for point-and-shoot cameras has diminished greatly since the introduction of smartphones. Your smartphone offers two advantages over point-and-shoots: They’re always on you, and they’re connected to the internet.


The Lumia 1020 body is made of a matte polycarbonate that feels sturdy and has enough grip to it that it doesn’t feel like it’s going to slide out of you hand. The back doesn’t have quite the pronounced curve of last year’s Lumia 920, but it’s also doesn’t have the boxy edges from the Lumia 928. The circular camera bulge on the back of the phone prevents it from being very slim, but does not take away from the clean and refined shape of the phone itself.

With such a powerful camera on this phone, it adds a little more weight to the camera weighing in at 158g, which is still lighter than the Lumia 920. The weight is a good balance that allows you to feel like your holding something of substance unlike the lightweight iphone. It is an adequate compromise compared to carrying around a bulky point-and-shoot in your jeans or adding weight to your bag.

Aside from the camera, the phone is fairly standard to the other Nokia Flagships with the exception of an additional GB of RAM. It has plenty of speed and has the same gorgeous 4.5-inch display as the Nokia 928. It utilizes the colorful windows operating system, but honestly you are looking at this smartphone for the innovative camera that it brings to the table.

Hands on

In practice, that oversampling also allows you to zoom in to a small portion of an image without losing quality. It’s impressive technology that comes with the lone drawback that it slows the camera down a bit. That extra 1 GB of RAM doesn’t cut the lag in the one place where you would hope it might.

The oversampling techniques of the Lumia 808 PureView appears to work exceptionally in the Lumia 1020 as well. As described by Mario Aguilar from Gizmodo, “The camera is ‘oversampling’ light for each pixel it hopes to actually render in the final image, and uses an algorithm to stitch together the many different samples into the best possible version of the image.” This oversampling allows you as the user to zoom in to a specific area of the image without gaining too much distortion to the image. A consequence of these feautures is that it slows down the camera quite a bit, and the additional 1GB of RAM is not enough to offset this either.

The camera can be operated as a quick and easy point-and-shoot or provide the tools that a more knowledgeable photographer would appreciate the ability to fine-tune themselves. To simply take a picture, you can just hold up the camera and utilize the buttons on the side or the shutter button located on the screen. Unlocking the camera’s enhanced camera requires you to access Nokia’s new “Pro Camera” app, where you gain full manual control of the camera allowing you to adjust white balance, ISO, and focus to gain some depth of field with the tip of your finger. These are awesome features that allow you the freedom to compose and take more meaningful pictures.

The Lumia 1020 provides the user with a large amount of stored data allowing the user to zoom in without distorting the images too much. Utilizing the “Pro Camera,” the camera performs adequately in low-light situations as well. In the picture below of flowers, you can see a comparison of how the Lumia 1020 holds up against some of the competitors. The Lumia 1020 coloring is superb and holds true to the flowers, while the HTC One and Iphone appear to oversaturate them.


Picture Courtesy of Mario Aguilar from Gizmodo

Is this the Smartphone for you?

The image quality that the Lumia 1020 camera outputs is outstanding for doubling as a phone. The phone itself is as zippy as the common user may need it, although you will have to settle with the unperfected windows 8 OS. The price tag on this phone is also higher than its nokia flagship brethren that typicaly run closer to $100. In the end, you are buying this smartphone for the camera because it truly shines among the sea of camera phones.

• Network: AT&T
• OS: Windows Phone 8
• CPU: 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4
• Screen: 4.5-inch 1280×768 PureMotion OLED (334PPI)
• RAM: 2GB
• Storage: 32GB
• Camera: 41MP rear / 1.2MP front
• Battery: 2000 mAh
• Dimensions: 5.13 x 2.81 x .41inches
• Weight: 5.57 ounces
• Price: $300 with a two-year contract

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Tuan is a photographer with Lin and JIrsa Photography, a writer for SLR Lounge, and a freelance wedding and commercial photographer in Southern Cali.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. kcyocum

    41 mp is great–but how does the image ratio size allow for enlargements over 4×6… without losing quality..???

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