Ultimate Nokia Lumia 1020 Review, Comparison vs Lumia 920

| January 23, 2014 | 4 Comments

Nokia Lumia 1020 full specs,official price, release

  • Display: 4.5-inch AMOLED, WXGA resolution (1280×768 pixels), Nokia CBD, Gorilla Glass 3
  • Size: 130.4 x 71.4 x 10.4mm, 158g weight
  • CPU: 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor
  • GPU: Adreno 320 graphics
  • Memory: 2GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, 7GB SkyDrive cloud storage
  • Camera: 41-megapixel PureView, Xenon flash, LED for video and focusing, 1080p video, Nokia Pro Camera, OIS (optical image stabilization), 1.2MP front-facing HD cam, Dual Capture
  • Connectivity: 4G LTE, WiFi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, NFC, GPS, GLONASS
  • OS: Windows Phone 8
  • Battery: 2000mAh, wireless charging via case
  • Color: Yellow, white, black
  • P25k or $550 with free camera grip worth P4k or $100 (as of this writing).

It took more than a year for Nokia to announce a Lumia with a 41MP PureView camera after the Nokia 808 PureView last 2 years ago. Now, with an improved camera algorithms and Windows Phone 8 on-board, Nokia tries again to amaze the world with its Lumia 1020 WP8 smartphone.

Do you think the Finnish giant will succeed on their mission? Find out on our Ultimate Nokia Lumia 1020 review.

Design and build (9/10)

By closer inspection, it’s noticeable that Lumia 1020 was inspired from Lumia 920’s design, particularly on the solid, well-built form. However, the 41MP monster has its own distinctive design feature which is the camera hump—painted black on all variants.

The hump occupies a big part of the back area. It is also the thickest part of the Lumia 1020 with the slightly tapered, rounded sides remain okay in terms of thickness. Nonetheless, the device feels neither too heavy nor feathery; it weighs exactly what I want to be.

nokia lumia 1020 sides back top corners

The front of the phone has one of the most gorgeous views because of the curved screen. It almost covered the whole side which gives an impression of infinite pool of glass. The glass is also sleek and black making the Lumia 1020 with one of the most premium smartphone façade.

Lumia 1020’s left side is bare, while the right side houses the volume rocker, power/lock, and camera key. Ports and curves, right from the audio (3.5mm, top) to microUSB (bottom) are genuinely arranged and crafted.  All physical controls remain responsive and easy to use.

> Nokia Lumia 925 vs Lumia 920 review and comparison

I like the yellow variant of Lumia 1020; I think it is the signature color of the device.  This really blends well with the black screen and camera hump.

There are times the Lumia 1020 feels slippery, but the camera hump and right width make it easy to hold.

Overall, the Lumia 1020 is a beauty and a beast at the same time. Nokia’s design team has made a well-built, classy machine while adapting to the big monster-sized 41MP sensor.

Display (9/10)

The Lumia 1020 has one of the best displays out there. Thanks to the 4.5-inch AMOLED HD screen. The details are so clear and the texts are very sharp and readable even under sunlight.

lumia 1020 display screen amoled

I did a comparison on 1020’s screen vs the 920’s LCD IPS. The difference in colours is visible, both during indoor and outdoor test. The blacks on the AMOLED are blacker, and the rest on the spectrum remain very vivid and lively. I think I’ll stick to the AMOLED if I were to choose from IPS vs AMOLED.

Audio (9/10)

After throwing the iPad, the 920 and 1020 on a speaker test, both the smartphones performed well enough. Though, the loudness is bit greater on the iPad (given the fact that it’s a tablet), two Lumias produced clear and loud sound in a room and outdoor scenario.

Camera (10/10)

The main selling point of the Lumia 1020 is the 41-megapixel camera sensor it offers. It’s currently the largest number of megapixel to step in a smartphone body. The 41MP is paired with a top-notch Zeiss lens and Xenon flash.

In general scenarios, the Lumia 1020 always nailed my shots.  Most are very realistic with accurate colours. On low-light scenarios, the 1020 manages to produce very visible shots given you’re using the controls right and holding the phone steadily. But you don’t need to worry when shooting with a flash on. The Xenon flash lights up the subjects perfectly and sharply.

*Note: All camera shots are resized for webpage optimization. I could send the original images for those who need.

Lumia 1020 flash night mode

Night shot, close-up with flash

Lumia 1020 smart cam action shot

Smart Camera mode (Action shot)

Nokia Lumia 1020 41MP camera sample night

Resized night shot with no flash.

You get both the full res 38MP and the 5MP in every shot. This technic is called Dual Capture. Both resolutions are sharp with the full res 38MP being the mother of details and is useful for cropping. The 5MP resolution, however, is more memory friendly and easier to share. Regardless of the resolution, both have impressive details even when you zoomed in several times.

Nokia has provided the use of RAW formats for professionals. So just hop in to the settings to pull-out the RAW or DNG images.

The Nokia Camera app offers three modes: basic, pro, and smart cam. The Pro Cam offers professional-style controls and interface over the default WP8 one. It provides wide controls for different shooting modes including ISO, focus range, shutter speed and many more. The basic has night, auto and sports mode with the flash control. Last is the Smart Cam which captures multiple images and creates different style of action shots.

The 1.2-megapixel front cam of the L1020 takes bright and sharp images which you could be proud of when you post your selfies online. This 1.2MP has equivalent pixels of 1280×960. It also records HD (1280×720) movie at 30fps.

lumia 1020 front cam

Selfies with friends (1.2MP front camera of Lumia 1020)

The 41MP is more impressive on the video mode. I could zoom-in for how many levels while recording, still, pictures are very sharp and well-focused. It is just crazy how a smartphone could achieve this.

I have one thing to complain about the camera on Lumia 1020 and that is the focusing speed. Compare to rivals like Galaxy S4, iPhone 4s or Xperia Z1, the focusing speed on the Lumia 1020 is really slow. It takes 1-2 seconds more for a photo to be captured which is already a noticeable gap. However, this issue is a not a big deal for most people. But I’ll be happier if Nokia will improve the camera speed on their future Lumia.

> Nokia Lumia 1020 sample Full HD/1080p 30fps lossless zoom videos

The Lumia 1020 proved in my test that is undoubtedly the best cameraphone right now. Not because it has the biggest megapixels in a phone, but because it just perform phenomenal in every angle.

Battery and Performance (10/10)

The Lumia 1020 is a step-up from other Lumias because of the 2GB RAM. It is very snappy in opening and running apps and games. Overall WP8 experience is very fluid and fast on the device.

lumia 1020 battery life

Source: blog.gsmarena.com

Battery life on the phone is very decent. Talk and web time are longer compared to most phones I had tried. On average internet use, the Lumia 1020 could last from morning until on the next morning. Nokia smartphones are always reliable when it comes to battery life.

Software (8/10)

In terms of UI, WP8 is currently stagnant with only 4-column support for Live Tiles in three sizes. There is also no notification center or even a quick access menu for important settings. All big improvements are said to come on the WP8.1 update which is rumoured for April announcement.

But in terms of apps, Microsoft is catching fast. On 2013, major titles have been added on the ecosystem. Some of the apps and games include official Instagram, Vine, Temple Run 2, Asphalt 8, Waze and many more. I just wish MS will continue to bring more titles this year.

Lumia 1020 vs Lumia 920 ultimate review and comparison



  • Best cameraphone in the market right now (41MP sensor, Xenon flash, lossless video zoom, Zeiss lens)
  • Gorgeous display (Gorilla Glass 3, curved glass, very clear under sunlight)
  • Sleek design despite of the large 41MP sensor
  • Snappy and has reliable battery life


  • WP8 development is lagging
  • Camera performance is slow in terms of focus and capture
  • WP8 ecosystem is still catching up

Overall score: 9.2/10

Overall, I am very impressed with the Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphone. It offers unbeatable hardware with only few things to complain about. And if there are things to complain, these are mostly from the software side. But in terms of hardware, the Lumia 1020 has the best combination in a smartphone: gorgeous display, unparalleled camera quality, snappy performance and very distinctive design.

All I can say is that I’m very proud for Nokia. Because despite the slow development of the WP8, the Finns had still managed to craft the best cameraphone in the world right now, and that is the Lumia 1020.

It’s a mission accomplished for Nokia!

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Category: Lumia, Smartphone Reviews

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  1. Bob says:

    I really wish for VSCO Cam for WP. And I hope Nokia improves the speed of the camera, from launching the Nokia Camera to focusing to snapping photos. If they’ll release a newer hardware version, I hope they would still continue to improve the software of the 1020.

  2. George says:

    I think the software definitely let’s it down 100% and I know this isn’t important to everyone but because I use Facebook for family it’s important to me and the Facebook experience is dreadfull to say the least. Really laggy and stuttery. Hardware! OMG! I can’t slate at all. It’s perfection.

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