Nokia Lumia 1020 review round up

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The Nokia Lumia 1020 goes on sale tomorrow with US operator AT&T ($299 on a two year contract, or $659 contract free), but the first round of reviews is already available available from US media, offering a first assessment of the PureView camera-equipped smartphone. The praise for the output of the 41 megapixel camera is near universal, with general agreement that the Lumia 1020 is the best ever cameraphone.

However, some concerns are raised around the speed of the camera, most notably around start-up and shot-to-shot timings. The price, in the context of the US market, also raises a few eyebrows, and it is clear that a number of reviewers feel that Windows Phone and its related ecosystem is holding the device back. 

We will have our own in-depth review of the Nokia Lumia 1020 in due course. However, as a UK-based site we have to wait patiently, along with consumers, for the European release date (likely to be late August or early September). For the time being, start by reading some, or all, of the reviews listed below.

Do remember that any review should be considered in the context within which it is written (perceptions, perspective and experience of reviewer; target audience of reviewing publication; and the length of time spent with the device). 

Lumia 1020 detail

ZDNet (Matt Miller) - Nokia Lumia 1020: Unmatched camera experience in a growing Windows Phone market:

Whether or not you like Windows Phone 8 as a smartphone OS, there is absolutely no doubt that the Nokia Lumia 1020 offers the best camera experience in a modern smartphone. I have been using one for four days and while that is not yet enough time to test every aspect, my associated image gallery clearly shows that the Lumia 1020 is the device to get if you want a camera with a phone strapped on the back.

DPReview (Erin Lodi) - Nokia's 41MP Lumia 1020 looks impressive

We can only truly give very a preliminary conclusion at this point based on a day of playing with the device, but we are excited about what we've seen so far. From an imaging perspective, the Lumia 1020 appears to be just what we'd hoped: a more advanced version of the PureView technology that blew us away when we first saw it on the 808. And this time around, the Lumia 1020 has even more to offer the photographer who wants to use their mobile as a serious camera. From OIS to an even faster lens to that add-on camera grip that nearly had us convinced we were using a "real" camera, the Lumia 1020 seems to offer a lot of potential. Our initial trials with the device's auto mode don't explore the Lumia 1020 fully; we need to delve further into the camera's actual imaging capabilities: it's here that we'd like to see what this camera can do. 

Engadget (Brad Molen) - Nokia Lumia 1020 review

We've been waiting a long time for the 808 PureView to get a Windows Phone counterpart with the same (if not better) imaging prowess. Finally, it's here. Now that we've had the opportunity to use the device, we can confidently say that the Lumia 1020 is the best Windows Phone device to date. If you're a WP8 user who enjoys crafting the best possible photographs, you need to make the jump, even if you are paying a premium for the camera.

But what if you have to make the switch from another platform? That question is unfortunately much more difficult to answer. While Windows Phone has come a long ways since its days as a nascent OS, Android and iOS users -- many of whom likely content with the selection of apps and services currently offered to them -- will need to weigh the pros and cons carefully. 

SlashGear (Vicent Nguyen) - Nokia Lumia 1020 Review

Yet it’s a legitimate halo product for Nokia, and a fitting device to bear the PureView brand. Where the Lumia 92x series spurred arguments over whether they were “true” PureView, given their more mainstream sensor sizes, the Lumia 1020 has no such crisis of identity. Fire off a frame at the right time, and the phone is capable of simply superlative shots, easily embarrassing just about every other smartphone camera out there on the market today, not to mention many point-and-shoot compacts.

Our reservations are down to the core hardware – and here we blame Microsoft, not so much Nokia – however, and the processing delay introduced as PureView’s computational demands bump against Windows Phone’s chip limits. The lag between shots is the big fly in the Lumia’s ointment, and there’s a sense that Nokia’s rush to get PureView and Windows Phone working together wasn’t quite matched with Microsoft’s own urgency to green-light newer, more capable processors.

The Verge (David Pierce) - Nokia Lumia 1020 review

After a long period of resetting with Windows Phone, Nokia’s getting good, and fast. The 1020 is one of its best devices yet, and certainly the easiest to sell — if you really love cameras, you’ll really love the Lumia 1020. But a great camera wasn’t enough to sustain the 808 PureView, and even though Windows Phone 8 is a huge leap forward from Symbian it’s still a long way behind. There are plenty of compelling Windows Phone 8 options, from the gorgeous 925 to the feature-packed 1020, but they can’t change the fact that Windows Phone 8 itself just isn’t that compelling.

Gizmodo (Mario Aguilar) - Nokia 1020 Review: At Last a Terrific Camera in a Great Phone

If you're cool with Windows Phone and you want the communication device in your pocket to take superior photos, definitely get this phone. For a few years now, Nokia has been developing its design and technology to make this exact product: The smartphone that people who want to take good pictures will buy. Here it is.

You have to really, really care about your pictures though. Because $300 for a phone with a half-baked OS is a tall price to pay for photographic dominance.

MobileTechReview (Lisa Gade) - Nokia Lumia 1020

Take the very good Nokia Lumia 920 and graft the Nokia PureView 41 megapixel camera onto the back and you've got the Nokia Lumia 1020. Even better, tweak it with second generation image stabilization, some brilliant image processing software and handy image editing tools and you've got a camera that matches or beats most point and shoots and some DSLR cameras, despite the smaller lens. The Lumia 1020 is an excellent voice phone, has 4G LTE, a solid suite of pre-installed apps and a superb display that's viewable outdoors and works with gloves. Though the app story still isn't as compelling for Windows Phone compared to iOS and Android, there's enough here to make the Lumia 1020 a fun and useful smartphone. But being third OS in the race and the high $299 with contract price might hold this otherwise solid phone for shutterbugs back.

BGR (Zach Epstein) - Nokia Lumia 1020 review - the first Windows Phone that's more than just a Windows Phone

Nokia’s Lumia 1020 is the best Windows Phone in the world. Period. It’s not even close. Even without the phone’s remarkable 41-megapixel PureView camera, it would still be the best Windows Phone in the world. But is being the best Windows Phone in the world good enough to compete with the best Android phones in the world and the iPhone?

We’ll see, but the odds certainly aren’t in Nokia’s favor.

MobileBurn (Andrew Kameka) - Nokia Lumia 1020 Review

Once dominant Nokia has relied almost entirely on the benefits of its camera in the smartphone wars, so it's no surprise that the Lumia 1020's appeal is determined entirely by a prospective user's desire for great photography. The Lumia 1020 is above and beyond anything that can reasonably be expected of a smartphone camera. Someone who obsessively captures every building passed or smile seen will absolutely love this device. Others simply looking for a great phone will be less swayed by this device and may even be turned away by its price tag.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 is a nice upgrade to the Lumia 920 and a big upgrade to most smartphone cameras. However, its enhancements don't warrant the higher price tag unless a customer can't walk away from the striking photos and videos it?s capable of catching. The Lumia 1020 is a tough sell at $299, but the actual device sells itself for anyone willing to pony up the extra money.

PC Magazine (Jim Fisher, Sascha Segan) - Nokia 1020 (AT&T)

The Lumia 1020 takes better pictures than the iPhone, but it doesn't take them that quickly, and it exiles you from that cultural community. That's tough. We don't want to minimize the 1020's advantages: Pictures are sharp, the "live zoom" is useful, Nokia Pro Camera and Creative Studio give you great control over your images, and this is the only camera phone we've seen recently with a truly usable flash. That shutter delay, though, is a downer: You're going to struggle with the shutter lag, especially if you like to grab candid shots of family and friends, your children, or your dog.

The Lumia 1020 is a big step forward for camera phones, but the step isn't complete. Nokia's sensor and lens advances must be paired with a CPU and image processor fast enough to make shooting effortless, and Windows Phone's creative app gaps need to be filled in. We'll recommend this impressive camera phone, to be sure, but with those reservations at hand.

GottaBeMobile (Chuong Nguyen) - Nokia Lumia 1020 Review: The Camera Phone King

The Lumia 1020 is simply the best camera phone on the market, and Nokia extends its leadership proudly once again with this flagship device. Windows Phone is catching up, and despite not having the latest quad-core CPUs or 1080p displays, the Lumia 1020 shows that Windows Phone can deliver on more frugal computing power, all wrapped in an attractive from factor that’s as beautiful as it is functional.

ReadWrite (Dan Rowinski) - Nokia Lumia 1020: The Best Damn SmartPhone Camera Money Can Buy

Whether or not you feel like embracing the Lumia 1020 may depend on how much you value the camera. Is it enough to trap yourself into using Windows Phone 8 on AT&T for the next two years? The camera is good and will stand the test of time over that period, but if smartphone photography is only of tangential interest to you, then it's probably not worth it.

The lack of some apps on Windows Phone 8 will also be a hindrance in the short term, at least. Nokia, of course, will keep trying to improve its developer relations while Microsoft continues to work on persuading top developers to port their apps to Windows Phone.

The bottom line is that the Nokia Lumia 1020 is a superlative camera and a middling smartphone, punctuated by a big question mark hovering over the future of Windows Phone and its app ecosystem. 

Mashable (Christina Warren) - The Nokia Lumia 1020: It's All About the Camera

Then there's the problem of ecosystem. Although Windows Phone has made some great strides in the last few months, it still doesn't have the array of photo-sharing apps you'd find on Android or iOS. Without apps such as Snapseed and Camera+, I couldn't help but feel limited in terms of editing options, despite the amazing quality of the images themselves.

At the end of the day, the Lumia 1020 is a good phone with an excellent camera. I just don't think the camera is enough of a reason to recommend it at this price. At $199, the Lumia 1020 would be a no-brainer. At $299, however, the picture is a bit fuzzier.

USA Today (Edward Baig) - Nokia Lumia 1020 sets standard for smartphone camera

Nokia hopes to dramatically change that perception and reality with the new Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphone from AT&T that I've been testing the past few days. While photo buffs aren't about to trade in their digital SLR for this latest Lumia — nor should they — Nokia's new phone takes impressively detailed pictures. Only when you zoom in close — and zooming is one of the strengths of the 1020 — do you see some grainy images. Simply put, the 1020 is the finest camera that I've used on a cellphone.

The Full Signal (Marin Perez) - Review of the Nokia Lumia 1020 for AT&T

If you want the phone with the best camera on the market, the Nokia Lumia 1020 should be your next phone. The cool thing about the Lumia 1020 is that it offers great photos even if you're not a photo buff. If you are, it also gives you the tools to have a camera that definitely outclasses many standalone digital cameras. 

The Nokia Lumia 1020 isn't just a one-trick pony, as it's also a nice Windows Phone 8 device. It's fast, fluid and will really fit into your life if you use a lot of Microsoft services. The software on the Nokia Lumia 1020 is just fun to use and you can also be productive with it. 

If you read any additional reviews, please share them in the comments.