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By 19 November 2012 | Categories: news

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Nokia launched its new Windows Phone 8-powered smartphone, the Lumia 920, in South Africa last week, which means that the company's flagship device is now available locally. After going hands-on with the device over the weekend, TechSmart can report back with our first impressions of the device.

The first thing that strikes you about the Lumia 920 is its size, as the device measures 130.3 x 70.8  x 10.7 mm. Although it is not that much bigger than the HTC Windows Phone 8X (132.4 x 66.2 x 10.1 mm), the 920 is not as comfortable to hold due to its wider frame and feels noticeably heavier (185 g vs 130 g) than the 8X.

Espoo’s Lumia 920 boasts a 4.5" (1280 x 768; 332 ppi) PureMotion HD+ screen that is more responsive compared to the already impressive 4.3" (720 x 1280 resolution; 342 ppi pixel density) Super LCD 2 of the 8X. Nokia stated that the display is so sensitive that you can use the phone while wearing gloves in winter, and although we have yet to put this to the test, we can say that it should work seeing that you are able to work the screen with your car keys.

As with the 8X, the Lumia 920 is powered by Qualcomm’s 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, which keeps things buttery smooth and snappy whilst navigating the OS and running applications. Applications is where Nokia has the upperhand when it comes to Windows Phone OS running devices, as the firm has a much larger portfolio of included apps compared to HTC and Samsung’s Redmond-powered smartphones.

Besides Nokia Maps, the excellent Nokia Drive+ navigation app, and the Mix Radio streaming music service, which were all also present in the Mango-operating Lumia range, users get the new augmented app Nokia City Lens. By pointing the phone’s camera at their surrounding environment, City Lens overlays useful information about nearby restaurants, shops, and hotels etc. This app also ties in with Nokia Maps and -Drive+ so you can tap on these places to be navigated to them directly from within City Lens.  

 
Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S3

The Lumia 920 (right) is almost as big as a Galaxy S3 (left), but a lot bulkier (133 g vs 185 g).
 
Hardware differentiators

Additional apps include Panorama and Smart Shoot with the former allowing you to take panorama shots and the latter bringing some nifty functionality to your group photos. Whilst capturing a group photo, the 920 will take multiple shots in quick succession. This means that if one person has their eyes closed for instance, you can tap on their face in order to go back to an earlier instance where his or her eyes were open, resulting in a more perfect photo.    

Espoo kitted the Lumia 920 with an 8.7 MP rear-facing camera as well as a 1.2 MP front-facing snapper for capturing self-portraits and video calls. The rear-facing camera features advanced floating lens technology, as well as Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) that helps the user take in focus shots even if their hands shakes or they are moving whilst snapping the photo.

In addition, Nokia stated that the Lumia 920’s snapper takes in five times more light than competing smartphones, making it possible to capture clear, bright pictures indoors and at night. We found that photos did come out noticeably clearer when taken in bad light and that the OIS system worked really well, even if you are running or jumping when taking a photo.   

Besides the OIS and low light performance of the snapper, the 920’s built-in wireless charging also sets it apart from rivals. This smartphone sports a massive 2000 mAh Lithium Ion battery, which lasted well past a day and a half. When it runs flat, you can just place it on a wireless charging mat or surface to start recharging the device, but these are sold separately.
 
Nokia Lumia 920 vs. HTC Windows Phone 8x
 
Two Windows Phone 8 smartphones aiming to entice local buyers - Nokia's Lumia 920 (right) and HTC's Windows Phone 8X (left).
 
To the point

Out first impressions of Nokia’s Lumia 920 left us quite impressed, despite the unit’s bulky frame. If a large phone does not put you off then we feel that users will be more than happy with the 920, otherwise they can opt for something like the HTC Windows Phone 8X instead.

The 920 is already available at participating Vodacom outlets on contract for R459 per month over 24 months on the Smart Standard 229 package, and selected MTN stores on MTN 200 Anytime for R399.

In related news, Nokia also recently introduced HERE, the company’s new mapping and location-based service for multiple screens and mobile operating systems.

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