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Nokia has announced the Lumia 920, the next generation of its phones to wear the 'PureView' branding but, despite the name, the camera technology isn't up to the standard of the 808 PureView. Rather than the 808's 41MP, 1/1.2" sensor, the 920 has a conventionally-sized 8.7MP CMOS. Nokia is still making big claims about the 920's camera capabilities, it has a Carl Zeiss-branded lens featuring ‘floating lens technology’ image stabilization, prompting claims of better low-light performance than other smartphones. The Lumia 920 and the co-announced Lumia 820 both run on Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 operating system – an improvement over the Symbian model on the Nokia 808, which we gave our Gold Award to in our July review.
The Lumia 920 uses a 8.7MP 1/3"-type sensor (around 5x3.5mm), which is fractionally larger than the image projected by the lens. The camera then uses sub-sets of the sensor area to give either 8MP crops in the standard 4:3 aspect ratio or 7.1MP to give a widescreen 16:9 image. This method means the 16:9 image is larger than if it'd been cropped from a 4:3 sensor. The final images retain the same diagonal angle-of-view, which means the 16:9 crop is wider than the 4:3 one (its horizontal angle of view being more like a 26mm equivalent lens, while the 4:3 crop gives the horizontal angle-of-view of a 28mm equivalent lens). This same technique has been used by several Panasonic cameras, including the DMC-LX7.
The Nokia Lumia 920 is the flagship Windows Phone 8 smartphone, including the latest advances in Nokia PureView imaging innovation. Using advanced floating lens technology, the camera in the Nokia Lumia 920 is able to take in five times more light than competing smartphones without using flash, making it possible to capture clear, bright pictures and video indoors and at night. It also compensates for hand movement while the photo is being taken.
"Nokia PureView continues to deliver cutting-edge technology to make it possible for a smartphone camera to take the kind of images usually only seen on a standalone SLR camera," said Jo Harlow, executive vice president of Nokia Smart Devices. "With the Nokia Lumia 920 we have made it possible to shoot pictures and video at home, outdoors, in a restaurant or even at night, and come out with professional-looking results."
"We view imaging as a core area for differentiation in the smartphone space," said Crawford Del Prete, Executive VP WW Products and Chief Research Officer, IDC. "Low light photography has been a weak point for smartphones. Nokia has addressed this with PureView to create real customer value. By applying its rich expertise in imaging Nokia has created a best of breed experience for everyday use."
The Nokia Lumia 920 also comes with Nokia City Lens, the latest addition to the Nokia location suite. By pointing the camera at a city street, City Lens overlays information about restaurants, shops, hotels and more on the surfaces of buildings, for the most intuitive way to explore surroundings. Nokia City Lens is the start of a new augmented reality experience that also enhances Nokia Maps, making it possible to move between maps view and augmented reality view to help people check their direction and surroundings. Along with enhancements to Nokia Drive and Nokia Transport, the Nokia location suite of services represents the most comprehensive, integrated mapping experience of any smartphone.
The Nokia Lumia 920 also comes with Nokia's largest ever battery (2000mAh) and, for the first time, built-in wireless charging for an easy, convenient way to get more out of every day.
The Nokia Lumia 820 is a stylish, mid-range smartphone that delivers high-end performance in a compact package.
While the Nokia Lumia 820 has the same unibody look and feel as the high end Lumia smartphones, it comes with an exchangeable shell design. Exchangeable shells not only make it possible to select from a range of colors, but also to add wireless charging. Beneath the shell is room to insert a micro SD memory card.
Windows Phone 8 provides a more personal smartphone experience, with a start screen that can be more easily rearranged to reflect individual priorities and new animated Live Tiles for real-time updates on the things that matter most. The ability to sync content between Windows Phone 8 smartphones, Windows 8-based PCs and tablets or Xbox means files, music, pictures and video can be accessed in whichever way is most convenient. With Internet Explorer 10 for faster, safer browsing and Microsoft Office apps built into the platform, Windows Phone 8 is also the easiest way for getting things done.
Nokia also announced a range of wireless charging accessories and partnerships. The Fatboy Recharge Pillow provides a fun way to recharge, while JBL introduced the JBL PowerUP, a wireless charging docking station with high quality audio in retro styling.
Deals with Virgin Atlantic to put wireless charging stations in the London Heathrow Clubhouse lounge and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to put charging plates on tables in some of their cafés, were the first of many deals Nokia intends to sign to take wireless charging outside the home and office.
The Nokia Lumia 920 comes in yellow, red, grey, white and black. The Nokia Lumia 820 comes in red, yellow, grey, cyan, purple, white and black.
Both phones will be available in pentaband LTE and HSPA+ variants and are expected to start shipping in select markets later in the year. Nokia will announce pricing and specific roll-out dates country by country when sales are due to begin.