I've spent the last 12 days using the Nokia Lumia 1020 as my primary phone. Are the build quality and camera good enough to make me give up my iPhone 5 and move to Windows Phone?
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An iOS user takes the Nokia Lumia 1020 and Windows Phone for a spin

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Ever since the release of the iPhone 4, Apple has been at the forefront when it comes to smartphone cameras. Each of the last three years, Samsung and HTC have updated their flagship hardware in the middle of Apple’s release cycle, but then Apple would just top them again when the next iPhone model hit the street. But this year may prove to be different. A few months ago, HTC released the One, with its new Ultrapixel camera technology. Instead of following suit in the race to higher megapixel counts, they scaled back to 4 larger megapixels. Combined with optical image stabilization, it has vastly superior performance in low light. And, of course, Samsung has come out with their yearly installment of new camera bloatware, ahem, I mean software.

In the past, I would have expected Apple to still find a way to come out as the top camera. The HTC low light performance is a tough one, but surely they will bring their A game with a little extra pressure on them this year. But in case you haven’t heard, the smartphone photography landscape changed again last week. Nokia released the Lumia 1020, the company’s first Windows Phone with a 41 megapixel true PureView camera.

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After spending the last week and a half using one (you can see the full review at our sister site, WinSource), I can assure you that this round, and more than likely the next, goes to the underdog. When it comes to photography, no other current smartphone can touch the Lumia 1020, and it’s not even close.

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High Resolution 35 megapixel image taken with the Lumia 1020. Click the image to see the full-sized high resolution version of the photo.

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A reframed version of the same image. Notice the clarity, despite the 6X zoom.

 

Briefly, what makes Nokia’s PureView camera tech special is the combination of different elements that they are bringing together. First, they are using the largest imaging sensor available in a smartphone. 41 megapixels would actually cause more harm than good with a traditional smartphone sensor, but the larger size allows for that higher number, without creating problems like extra noise in the resulting photos. The larger sensor is also capable of capturing more light and a much greater amount of detail.

The 1020 has a 6 element glass ZEISS lens array, which is the most available in a smartphone. It also has a f/2.2 apeture, which provides an adequate depth of field. To top off the hardware, Nokia included a larger and powerful Xenon flash, as well as an independent LED focus lamp. All together, the 1020 has the most impressive collection of camera hardware available in a real smartphone (Nokia’s earlier 808 PureView ran Symbian, so that doesn’t really count) by a wide margin.

Even the most impressive hardware can be drug down by poor or buggy software, so it was critical for Nokia to nail the camera backend and interface right out of the box for the 1020 to be successful. They did a terrific job in my opinion, especially considering that this is a first generation product for Windows Phone. The background software is a bit slow when producing high-res images, but the 35 or 38 megapixel end products are something to behold. That level of image detail makes this camera really special. Because of it, you can “reframe” a photo at any time, basically zooming in as much a 6 times with little to no loss in quality.

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High resolution photo

 

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5 Megapixel Reframe

Once you decide how you want the end result to look, the 1020 saves a 5 megapixel version of the photo with your desired zoom and aspect ratio. However, the high-res image is still preserved, so you can always go back and work with it again, later. The only major drawback that I found with Nokia’s system is that the high-res images aren’t made available to any other apps, and that they can’t be accessed for sharing or backup except through a computer via a USB connection.

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To top it off, Nokia created the Pro Cam app that allows users to change settings rarely if ever made available in a smartphone camera. You can set white balance, focus, ISO, shutter speed, and exposure compensation, as well as control the flash and focus lamp. The app is leaps and bounds better than anything else I’ve tried, and paired with Nokia’s Camera Grip for the 1020, it makes the phone feel more like a point and shoot camera than any other I’ve tried.

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Oh, and then there’s video. All of the elements that I’ve laid out also greatly benefit the 1020 when it comes to shooting video. Now, the iPhone 5 is definitely no slouch in this department. If there is any area where the two phones are close in performance, this is it. However, the 1020 does have one major advantage. It can also zoom while shooting video, as in the example below.


The Lumia 1020 isn’t the first smartphone camera to do this, but combined with its large, high resolution imaging sensor, the end product has much more clarity than any competitor.

 

Apple’s Response?

With all of that laid out, let’s turn our attention back to Apple. For the last three years, Apple execs have been able to trot out on stage and confidently say that they are releasing the best smartphone camera on the market. That’s going to be a tough sell this Fall, because from the looks of things, there is very little chance that it will be true. Even if the iPhone 5S has more megapixels, a larger backside illuminated sensor, a better flash, and can zoom during videos, there is little chance that it will be able to touch the 1020’s key features. I would honestly be shocked if it can even get close.

While there are Apple patents that point to research in technology similar to Nokia’s PureView oversampling, it is highly unlikely that we will see any fruits of that any time soon. Current rumors point to a bump from 8 to 12 megapixels, and the possible inclusion of a slow motion photo/video mode for the 5S. If that’s it, then the job of Apple’s marketing department will be a lot tougher this year. Look for a lot of creative language when it comes to the 5S’s photography features compared to its current competitors.

I’m not trying to sound like the gloom and doom analysts here. The iPhone 5S will take excellent photos and video, and Apple will sell a boatload of them. That’s what they do. However, I can’t help but notice that yet another of Apple’s strongholds is being eroded by the competition. Google’s Android has steadily narrowed the gap in the quality of their app ecosystem. Both Google and Amazon have cut into Apple’s once huge lead in digital media, and streaming music services such as Spotify have hit them from the other end. Now it’s camera.

I know this all sounds a bit dramatic, but bear this in mind. Apple basically created the current mobile photography craze. Would Instagram have taken off the way that it did 7 or 8 years ago? It’s highly doubtful. It probably wouldn’t have 4 or 5 years ago with the iPhone 3G or 3GS, either. It was the combination of the iPhone 4 and above’s quality photos with pick up and shoot ease that made it stand out. This, in turn, helped propel mobile photography to the social network pastime of choice.

Unfortunately for Apple, the fast moving competition picked up on that success, and have passed them up in several key areas of photography specs and software. It’s the same old complaint that many other tech writers and bloggers have had. The areas that company used to be able to rely on as strengths aren’t so reliable any more. Apple may not be in any imminent danger, but it’s time to see more hardware innovation from them outside of the thinness and materials of the iPhone’s external shell.

 

The Lure of Great Photography

I’ve never been able to get too excited about Android, despite playing with several phones and tablets spanning everything from Eclair to Jellybean. However, despite the comparative weakness of the ecosystem, I’ve always been intrigued by the elegance and simplicity of Windows Phone. Now, with the platform finally getting the flagship hardware it’s been needing, with a killer feature that no one else has, it has even more appeal. I am a sucker for a great camera, smartphone or otherwise, and I had an upgrade open on my Family Plan, so I took the plunge when the 1020 launched.

Don’t get me wrong. I had no intention of completely leaving iOS for Windows Phone. I’ve had the 1020 for 12 days now, but I’ve been carrying either my SIM-less iPhone 5 or a 5th Gen iPod Touch along with it at all times. And besides them, I also still have my iPad Mini, and a slew of iOS devices in my household spread between my wife and kids. I knew there were certain apps and services that I wouldn’t be able to get or use on the Lumia, so the litmus test for me was whether I could effectively use the 1020 as my primary phone, with my iOS device serving as a tethered media device.

Over the last 12 days, I’ve learned to work around most of the limitations of the 1020, but I still find that there is still just too much missing for me to make the switch at this point. Windows Phone is lot better than it was when I briefly owned a Samsung Focus two years ago, but the ecosystem still has a ways to go. I don’t depend on Google services to the extent that a lot of tech-savvy users do, but I still have an issue with their almost complete absence from the platform. I back up all of my photos to Google+, meaning that my photo management got a lot more difficult with the 1020. Since photography is such a big component of the 1020, I really felt this absence. I couldn’t even get the Picasa apps that were available to work properly. But, if this was the biggest issue, I would probably be able to get by

The two biggest problems for me are with voice services and PIM software. As for voice, I’m surprised to say it, but I REALLY missed Siri while using the 1020. The voice dialing on Windows Phone is just awful. Terrible. BAD. Considering how much I drive and need to use voice dialing, this became a major hangup. Despite Siri’s flaws, it rarely misunderstands and dials the wrong contact, and I rarely have network issues or dropped request now, even with the beta versions of iOS 7. Unfortunately, the performance of Windows Phone’s voice services just wasn’t up to Siri’s level. It either failed, or required touch input to select between groups several times while I was driving and using the 1020, which I found very distracting.

The other big issue with voice is that fact that dictation is only available in the email and search apps, rather than system-wide. This is a big omission by Microsoft that they need to address soon. Android has had this capability for years now, and iOS has had it since iOS 5. When you are used to being able to dictate within any app, it’s difficult to take a step back and not notice. I definitely missed having it in apps like the People Hub.

Despite my issues with voice, it was the calendar app that really killed it for me. Sure, the stock calendar in iOS is nothing to write home about, either, but I haven’t used it in years. Thanks to Apple’s app ecosystem, there is no shortage of replacement calendar and task apps in the App Store. I have used WebIS’s Pocket Informant since it was released, and I can’t go without it at this point. I handle all of my work project management in its task manager, which is really powerful. I also love that it can combine my various calendars and tasks into one view, which really fits the way that I do things.

Unfortunately, not only is PI not available for Windows Phone, it never will be unless Microsoft changes its calendar database access policies. As it stands, third party apps can read the device’s calendar database, but none can write to it, effectively putting up a big stop sign for any developer looking to make a better PIM app. This is completely insane. Has Microsoft failed to notice the large number of popular third party calendar, email, and task apps available for iOS and Android? REALLY? For a company looking to grow their platform fast, locking down an area where power users would like to see more features and faster innovation is just plain stupid and shortsighted.

The sad irony is that Pocket Informant actually got its start on Windows Mobile, where I used it for years before switching to the iPhone. I know that Microsoft is taking a different road with Windows Phone, but come on. This is just ridiculous. Any platform that makes itself more locked down than Apple and iOS is doing it wrong. Apple can get away with it thanks to their head start in the world of apps. Microsoft can’t. They need to accept this and move on.

 

Back to the Store

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After playing around with several other devices and OSs, including a previous look at Windows Mobile, I’ve always happily stuck with the iPhone as my main device of choice. I’ve never been seriously tempted by any of them, which has actually surprised me a bit. However, this time things are a little different. Despite my issues with missing features and apps in Windows Phone, I actually really enjoyed aspects of using it. I love the design of fluidity of the OS, and I find the concept of Live Tiles far more interesting than iOS’s Springboard as a home screen paradigm.

Then, there is the Lumia 1020 itself to consider. I absolutely love the hardware. Like Apple, Nokia has always been one of the few companies truly invested in great design and device build quality. The 1020, with its colorful polycarbonate body and crisp, clear 4.5″ screen, certainly didn’t disappoint at all. I actually care about this aspect of a smartphone, so Nokia is one of the few companies currently making a phone that I would even consider leaving the iPhone for.

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When it comes to photography and video, I wouldn’t just ditch my iPhone 5, but also my small Sony point and shoot camera for the 1020. I have better cameras, but I keep that one around because it takes 1080i video at 60 frames per second with a 6X zoom. It also takes decent pictures and easily fits in a pocket. However, even though the Lumia 1020 is limited to 30 FPS video, it kills the Sony in every other respect. My iPhone 5? It isn’t even in the conversation.

If I could afford to do so, I would simply switch the roles of my devices around, putting the SIM back in my iPhone 5, but keeping the Lumia 1020 as a media device and camera. Unfortunately, the prospect of paying $299 and using my upgrade, or paying $659 outright to NOT use the 1020 as a phone is more than I can stomach. Unfortunately, this is the big issue for Microsoft and Nokia. They have made a really nice piece of phone hardware that is unrivaled as a camera, but that people will have a hard time leaving their current platforms for.

This my sound crazy, and it probably is, but if Nokia released an iPod Touch version of this device for $250, I would be first in line to buy it. It doesn’t really fit the way they market and sell devices, and the company’s low brand profile here in the US doesn’t help, either. However, if they truly are interested in getting people to take a good look at this camera tech, then that’s the way to go. Get them to buy into the camera WITHOUT having to switch smartphone platforms. Then, when the Windows Phone platform is more mature and competitive, you have a track record and better brand recognition with some consumers. Maybe then, they will consider switching.

As it stands now, I am returning the Lumia 1020 tomorrow, but I’m not happy about it. I will miss using it, especially the camera. For the first time, I will be less than excited going back to the iPhone as my daily driver. When the price of the 1020 inevitably falls later in the year, or they start to show up at a reasonable price on eBay or Craigslist, I may just pick one up again. I would gladly pay $300 outright for one to use primarily as a portable camera.

If my experience is any indication, Nokia still has big problems on its hands. People buying bargain priced or second-hand 1020s isn’t going to help their bottom line. Even though they’ve made a great looking device with the best smartphone camera to date by a wide margin, I still couldn’t make it work as my main device. That’s even while carrying other iOS devices to help pick up the slack. Most average users aren’t going to consider going that far just to carry a great camera everywhere. Until Microsoft steps up their game and adds features and APIs that users and developers want to see, both are going to avoid this platform. That’s unfortunate, because this is one HELL of a camera, and it would be a shame for this tech to go the way of so many innovations in webOS. Right now, that’s exactly the direction they still seem to be headed in.

 

 

 

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  • Nokia may be an underdog, but certainly not when it comes to putting cameras in phones. Despite Nokia’s financial troubles, they definitely have a strong pedigree when it comes to the camera. And they’ve long known what the other companies are just now starting to get: that a good camera is about more than just a megapixel count. Apple might have been winning that race with Samsung and HTC, but I’ve never been particularly impressed by the iPhone’s camera or the pictures taken with it. Apple’s strategy has always been the opposite of Nokia’s. Nokia puts a lot of quality in the camera, because they know that so much really counts. But while Apple has pushed up the megapixel count, one of the biggest keys to their financial success has been cutting costs. So Apple’s iPhones have often offered cameras with more megapixels, but made from extremely cheap components. Anyone remember those purple halos when the lights were too bright?
    Nokia’s Lumia line of phones have performed well in the photography department from the beginning. Even phones without 41 megapixels like the 920 take excellent photos in low light and benefit from Nokia’s Optical Image Stabilization technology, dual LED flash, and quality Zeiss optics. Nokia has always been a front-runner, if only when it came to camera tech. And the Lumia 1020 puts all the other competition pretty far in the rear-view mirror. Samsung and HTC are toying around with camera tech, and perhaps on the right track in realizing that it’s about more than just the pixel count, but they won’t have anything to rival the 1020 anytime soon, likely for years. And Apple is not in a million years going to cut into their massive profit margins to spring for quality components in their iPhone cameras, so I fully expect them to continue to up the megapixels but not the overall quality.

    • James Rogers

      Trust me. I know all about Nokia’s history of great camera phones. I owned several Nokias from 2003-2007, and I’m well aware that they have been a leader in this space since cameras first appeared on phones. Unfortunately, as I think it is obvious in my article, as well as from their continuing struggles to sell in volume, a great camera will only take a smartphone so far.

      I understand that your’re a Nokia fan, but let’s get some facts straight. You may not be impressed by Apple’s recent iPhone cameras, but there are many, including myself, who are. While the lenses may not be ZEISS, they are definitely not “extremely cheap,” as you claim. Before the 1020, Apple’s 5 lens setup in both the 4S and 5 was the most you could find in a smartphone camera. Not cheap.

      Also, on the subject of megapixel wars, are you aware that Apple actually put 8 megapixel camera modules in both the iPhone 4S and 5? Your comment about ratcheting up megapixel counts may apply to Samsung and others, but is factually incorrect when applied to Apple. In fact, there is only 3 megapixels difference between the iPhone 4 and the 5. That’s over a period of 3 years. So, when it comes to megapixel count, I would love to see a smartphone manufacturer who’s been more conservative in this respect? Nokia and Apple are the only ones holding the line over time, with HTC jumping in this year. Rumor has it that the 5S will move to a 12 megapixel sensor. So, only 4 megapixels higher. Only 7 over a period of 4 years, then. Care to revise your statement regarding Apple’s regard for megapixels over quality? Look where the rest of the Android world is right now. Case closed.

      As for the purple halo effect on the iPhone 5, again, you need to check your facts. This has been WELL documented, and it has absolutely nothing to do with cheap components. Considering that the image sensors and lens arrangements of the iPhone 4S and 5 are the same, and the 4S doesn’t suffer from this issue, it’s pretty clear where the problem comes from. The two differences between these cameras are that the 5 is a thinner phone, putting the lenses closer together, and that Apple added a sapphire outer lens for scratch protection. Most photo experts who have analysed this issue believe that, while the sapphire outer lens is a useful feature, the different coating on it contributed to the halos, and that the thinner design of the phone made it harder to overcome. It was an oversight that was missed in testing. I’ll give you that. But due to cheap components? Sapphire compared to glass or plastic? Nope. Facts and research, my friend.

      Would I personally rank the Lumia 1020 camera above the iPhone 5? I clearly answered this with a yes in the article. Yet I am headed back to the 5 because of the many other shortcomings of the Windows Phone platform. How about the earlier Lumia phones? No. Not even the more recent 925 and 928. I’ve demoed them both, and I wouldn’t rank either of them categorically higher than the iPhone 5, for all their optics and features. And I’m not alone in this opinion. Neither of them tempted me in the slightest. Only the big step up in the 1020’s true PureView camera could do that.

      While you and other Nokia fanboys out there may not give it any credit, the iPhone 5 is hard to beat as an easy to use, general purpose smartphone camera. In fact, for a novice user who wants to take good pictures, but isn’t interested in any manual settings, I would have a hard time recommending the 1020 over the iPhone 5, and probably the coming 5S, as well. The auto mode of the 1020 doesn’t always get the best picture, and if you don’t turn off the high-res capability (where all of the power lies), then the camera is very slow to save images. It requires time and effort to get the most out of it. While it may be worth it for someone who knows what they are doing, for an average user who isn’t interested in such things- not so much. Nokia still has a lot of work to do to make their awesome camera technology accessible to wide audience than a camera nerd like me.

      All that said, I do still hold the opinion that Apple needs to step up their game. Not in megapixels, but in back-end photo technology. They have implemented industry leading features in the past, such as a 5 lens element, backside illuminated sensors, and the sapphire outer lens. However, they need to address zoom (which Nokia and Samsung already have), do a better job with low-light (HtC and Nokia), and add a better flash (Several others). Opening up their camera APIs to let third party developers access all of the camera’s settings (shutter speed, focus, ISO, etc) would also be a big step in the right direction.

      • WP7Mango

        I would argue that any high-end Nokia Lumia (925/928/1020) is better than any iPhone as a general purpose smartphone camera for two reasons –

        1. It has a dedicated shutter button that works just like a real camera. You can’t get simpler than that. It’s also a two-step button where a half-press locks the focus, just like a real camera, for those who want more control.

        2. The Nokia PureView camera (even in the 925) is better under a wider range of conditions, especially low light and when you need a steady video recording, due to the optical image stabilisation.

        These are just two examples of real world benefits for recommending a PureView Nokia Lumia over any iPhone, even for a novice.

        • James Rogers

          I would agree on the button and as far as low light photography goes. In ideal conditions, I don’t think the earlier Lumias have a real advantage. At least not one that would offset the massive amount of higher-end camera and photographic and video editing apps available to iOS users.

          As I wrote in my previous comment, I would like to see Apple unlock direct access to all of the camera’s adjustments. However, even without that, the iPhone 5 is still very capable in ideal conditions. And a novice user looking to spread their wings a bit can pick up ProCamera or Camera+ and get access to several helpful manual adjustments. Low Light is a problem, but that really isn’t what I was driving at when I was talking about general purpose smartphone photography. Until this generation of devices, no smartphone was truly capable of taking quality low light photographs. Maybe the old N8, but even that is probably a stretch.

          Like I said before, I acknowledge that the 1020 is hands down better than any smartphone camera as far as quality of photos and videos and the power of the software. However, that doesn’t make the iPhone 5 junk, which seems to be the implication with most Nokia fans. That just isn’t the case. It also won’t be enough to draw large numbers of iOS or Android users away from their previously chosen platforms. I wish Nokia all the best, but they will need a lot more help from M$ on Windows Phone itself before the Lumia line will really have a chance to sway more then hardcore Windows and Nokia fans, and new smartphone adopters.

        • WP7Mango

          I never said that iPhone was junk – it clearly isn’t. In fact, many smartphone cameras do very well in ideal lighting conditions and, as you say, in ideal conditions there is very little which separates them.

          Low light photography is one of the areas I do consider important for general purpose smartphone photography, because these are the conditions you will find in many “social” situations such as concerts, bars, clubs, restaurants, house parties etc where you still want a decent picture.

          I also think that most existing platform users wouldn’t switch to another platform. For example, I wouldn’t switch from the Windows Phone platform to iOS because for me there would be no benefit in doing so and I prefer the Windows Phone operating system.

          BTW, your use of the $ symbol in “M$” speaks volumes about your bias. I find that a little disappointing and would expect that from fanboys or Microsoft haters, but not from reviewers.

        • James Rogers

          I should have qualified my comment on the iPhone being seen as junk. I know you didn’t say it. The other poster above did, and I’ve heard it before from the Nokia crowd.

          I agree with your low light statements. Smartphone camera have only made significant strides there this year, but Apple definitely needs to follow suit. Their backside illuminated sensor was a good first step in the right direction, but they need to keep going.

          I keep forgetting how sensitive some are to the M$ thing. Trust me, it’s completely in jest. Even though I use iOS for mobile and tablets, I have never owned a Mac in my life. I have been a Windows user for 20 years, and my office is a Microsoft shop from the servers to software. Just not phones. But, I use it the same way that I may poke fun of things that Apple does. Who knows a company’s weaknesses more than it’s loyal users, right?

          So, I’m not biased against Microsoft. In fact, I actually like most of their products. I am typing this message on my Lenovo Yoga 13″, which I love. Windows 8 isn’t my favorite thing in the world, but I don’t get the hate that many have for it. It works fine for me. And, in spite of its flaws and lacking ecosystem, I do like Windows Phone. If I had to choose between WP and Android, well, it wouldn’t feel like much of a choice for me. So, sorry if I ruffled your feathers there.

          As far as tech companies go, that’s just how I view them- as companies. Neither Apple, or Microsoft, or Google for that matter, care at all about me personally. They have CEOs who report to boards of directors, who report to shareholders. They exist to make things that make money. Just because I’ve chosen to use Apple’s iOS products doesn’t make me a raving fanboy who buys everything that they sell. Why should I be if they’re just a company? I just tried the Lumia 1020, and even though it didn’t work out, I may just pick one up when the price comes down. And I just bought a Nexus 7 to kick the tires on. I also own a Samsung Note 8 that I am in the process of selling. Anyway, I’m always looking at new things to play around with. And, like I switched away from Windows Mobile several years ago, one day I may leave iOS behind. That isn’t the modus operandi of the typical fanboy.

        • WP7Mango

          That’s fair enough! I appreciate the clarification and enjoyed the discussion.

        • James Rogers

          Thanks. Same here.

  • Xennex1170

    Now if Nokia ever made an Android phone with a great camera imagine how fast they would catch up to Samsung.. 😛 Would love to see the combination of Photospheres and Nokia camera tech. 😀

    • James Rogers

      While I’ve said the same thing regarding the iPhone (say, if Nokia went belly up and Apple bought up their camera patents), there is almost as much chance of that as there is of a Nokia Android phone. And that’s to say there almost 0 chance of either happening.

      Nokia has set its course on Windows Phone, and they have given every indication that there is no going back. I think it would take a huge management shakeup for that to change, and I don’t think they have the resources to take that path again so soon after their jump from Elop’s “Burning Platform.”

      It comes down to this. Nokia made a deal with the devil, so to speak. They have been taking cash payments from Microsoft, and I’m sure those come with big, invasive strings attached. Since Nokia is now the top maker of Windows Phone products, there is absolutely no chance that Microsoft will let Nokia go off in other directions. If Nokia gets into deep trouble, M$ will just buy them, and that will be then end of that.

      • BrickEngraver

        I bought one and like you was blown away with the camera–and in fact that was the main reason bought it as already had a 920. I understand the ecosystem thing, but as an Office 365 user for my small business, the calendar problem is pretty much solved as seamlessly syncs with my calendars as well as Office and I like the email integration better than Apple or Android. Also Lync13 is a killer app that works well on a Windows phone. It can also hook into lots of nice stuff with SharePoint that comes with 365. So I really do not need 3rd party apps. And can of course read excel spreadsheets and word docs easily. Hopefully with Windows Phone 8.1 the voice stuff will work better although I have only occasional hiccups. What I am saying is that if you are indeed in the Office Ecosystem, this thing works very good. Also one other thing the 1020 blows away Apple on is the the Nokia mapping program, which I have found I like even better than Google Maps. Windows is of course lacking some apps than many want or need, but not many for me.

        • James Rogers

          I’m glad it’s working out for you. From an iOS user perspective, while the Lumia obviously fits very well in the Microsoft ecosystem, the iPhone is good enough that I don’t feel a massive difference. If I were an Android user, that would be more of an issue, but iOS works great with Exchange and has several Office-compatible apps that work well.

          I’m sure that Windows Phone has tighter integration, but because the iPhone is solid in this respect, Microsoft needs to come up with more compelling features to get users like me to consider switching.

      • Xennex1170

        There really are no absolutes when it comes to humans.. If there is a possibility I’m sure someday it will be considered. (e.g. MS phone really becomes a niche product that doesn’t help Nokia grow) The situation Nokia faces presently with having MS help them out seems to me mirrors Apple’s situation a while ago. Give it a few years, it may just change so Nokia has a mix of OSes and phones. It’s more likely Android than iOS if it ever happens though. Now that I’ve written that, it occurs to me that since Android Apps run on a (specialized) JVM it would also be possible that Nokia go the Blackberry route and support Android Apps on Windows Phones via a JVM.

        • James Rogers

          The problem is that Nokia has a limited amount of resources at this point, and their future pretty much rides on the success of their Lumia Windows Phones. They have a CEO who is a Microsoft guy through and through, so he is NOT going to make that call. It is doubtful that Nokia can afford to make a switch at this point, and if they get weak enough, Microsoft will just buy them. In fact, they’ve already tried.

          If Nokia had more of a cash reserve, or a different CEO, I would agree with you. But, in their current condition, that just isn’t a realistic possibility.

        • Trappist

          Nokia’s mid-term success is determined by three money makers: Their feature and basic phones, which sell in 70 million units a quarter, their networks business, and their patent portfolio. For the next years still at least, these finance WP development. If they fail, so will WP.

          MS wants to buy Nokia, sure. But that is a difficult proposition, since Nokia and NSN are now a 150 000 employee strong company. Integrating that much non-Anglo-Saxon telecom equipment and services stuff into very-American MS is an endeavour of scale not attempted before.

        • Xennex1170

          I think all that is required if for moderate success.. Enough to give them enough resources to attempt an Android phone. Otherwise as I’ve stated in the latter part of my post, Nokia supports an Android compatible JVM. This could be done by Nokia or by a third party App developer.. That is unless Nokia/MS ban emulators like Apple does.

  • Trappist

    Some points.

    Lack of Google services on WP is not a problem if one invests in the MS ecosystem instead. Everything is there, from Skydrive to OneNote, from Outlook to Nokia Maps and navigation and other location services, which are, by the way, superior to Google’s. Apple’s are not even worth mentioning. With the benfit that one is getting the apps and services from real companies making real old-fashioned hard cold money, not using the services as advertisement and personal information harvesting platforms, as Google does. I am always surprised that parents let their kids, for instance, to use Google services in the first place, thus selling their entire identity to a giga corporation and making them targets for highly-targeted (kids) advertisement.

    WP is a much safer choice for a young person who does not understand that all they do with their Android or iP is recorded by Google.

    Us international iP users never got Siri or dictation and probably never will, so it won’t be “missing” from WP since it never was. The same goes for Passbook etc. Apple only makes stuff for Americans; Nokia and MS also for others.

    WP is a first-party-heavy, integrated ecosystem coming with built-in high quality, localized apps and services from Nokia and MS. iOS is an app launcher for English-only apps bought from third party developers. No wonder WP is growing so fast in Europe — when one’s user experience is limited to (the only localized) iOS 6 Mail and Calendar and Notes and Maps, any other platform looks better in comparison.

    For those more into design and less into photography, there is the Lumia 925, which comes with optical image stabilization, takes better pics than iP5 under typical conditions, and has very nice Aluminium-boosted design with a working antenna and 4G bands even for non-Americans. Now figure that!

    Speaking of cameras. The 2010-launched, and sold in millions, Nokia N8 with its fantastic 12MPx sensor took and still takes better pics than iP5 or even Lumia 925. Compared to N8, iP5 lacks detail, produces geometrical problems and over-saturates colours in day light. Plus N8’s aluminium body never scratched. Anyway, that is how far ahead Nokia has been in this camera game. N8 was a huge success in Europe, though I do not know if it was ever sold in the US. Before that, Nokia N95 with its custom-built 5MPx sensorproduced almost or exactly the quality iP4 did in 2010 already in 2007-2008. Today, low-end Nokias such as the Lumia 720 outperform in camera many high-end Androids, and in geenral hardware and software quality any similarly-priced Android.

  • hary536

    Siri is extremely terrible on my iphone4s so much that I don’t use it at all.
    It does a poor job of certain english accents. Infact when I played around with a WP 7.1 device a year back, it was way better in recognizing my accent than Siri.

  • jaiotu

    From the article: “Each of the last three years, Samsung and HTC have updated their
    flagship hardware in the middle of Apple’s release cycle, but then Apple
    would just top them again when the next iPhone model hit the street.”

    LMAO. You could just as easily say that Apple releases it’s flagship hardware in the middle of Samsung and HTC’s release cycle only to be topped when the next Samsung or HTC flagship product is released. Why is it that release cycles are defined by Apple and not it’s competitors?

    • James Rogers

      Fair point. However, did you check the sign on the door here? Last I looked, it was an Apple-centric blog. So, I personally don’t find it all funny, odd, stupid, unprofessional, or anything else. We are going to look at things from an Apple viewpoint. So yes, I am looking at the fact that the current major phone cycles don’t line up, and doing it on the basis of when the iPhone is released. The only thing I find odd is the resentment that fans of other platforms have when we don’t skew things in the complete opposite direction of Apple just to make them happy.

      • jaiotu

        See, that’s exactly why I find it funny. Okay… it’s an apple-centric blog (I always thought iSource was striving to be more than just a blog), but the statement is written in a way that makes it sound like the whole world revolves around Apple’s release cycles. It’s the same thing that drove me crazy reading all of the reviews of the new Nexus 7 and how it trumps the iPad Mini. The statement comes off as slightly fan-boyish and leaves the reader questioning just how even-handed or prejudicial your review of the Lumia 1020 is going to be.

        Besides, I really have to wonder how many people base their purchasing just on whatever device may have the technical edge of the moment? I know I don’t. And I don’t think serious photographers are going to be lining up to buy the monstrosity that is the Lumia 1020. Far better to spend the cash toward a DSLR and pick a smartphone that does a good job of being a smartphone.

        Nobody is going to switch to a Windows phone from iPhone or Android just because it has a better camera. Why? It’s the apps. I can justify buying a new handset every year or two but purchasing and installing all new apps for a new platform is what really makes switching unpalatable. It was the biggest barrier for me to cross when I moved from iPhone to Android and it remains the biggest barrier keeping me from moving back. If you are on a platform that works well and you’ve paid for all these apps, why switch?

        As far as fans of other platforms resenting your not skewing things in the complete opposite direction of Apple, I can understand you finding that odd. Not your job. My question is whether you consider yourself a blogger or a serious journalist? If iSource is just a blog… well fine. If iSource is trying to be a legitimate source for tech news… then reporting the facts without skewing them for or against Apple would be a good place to start. Are you trying to post legitimate commentary or just stoking the fires fan-boyism?

        • James Rogers

          Using Apple as reference point because we are an Apple-centric site, and intentionally skewing things in their favor are two VERY different things. To answer another question, no, I am interested in being a journalist. I have a chosen career and do this because I enjoy it. However, again, that doesn’t mean that I am in the business of shilling for Apple. If another phone, tablet, or computer is better, I’ll say it. I definitely thought the camera on 1020 was better, and I said it.

          I would agree on switching platforms for the most part. However, there are users who own smartphones that aren’t really plugged into their ecosystems, and barely use them for anything more than calls, texts, emails, and pictures. For those people, especially ones who would like to ditch their point and shoot camera and carry one device, the 1020 has appeal. Not everyone can afford or wants to carry a DSLR or system camera.

          This level of camera in a smartphone is different, and it’s worth talking about. There is also a broader market of people who are still switching from standard cell phones to smartphones. The 1020 deserves consideration there, as well.