Nokia Lumia 920 & 820 with Windows 8: Best Features

Nokia unveiled their flagship phone – the Nokia Lumia 920 – at an event in New York earlier today.

Nokia unveiled their flagship phone – the Nokia Lumia 920 – at an event in New York earlier today. The former mobile giant hopes that the Lumia 920, and the smaller Lumia 820, will help the struggling company regain its lost ground in the mobile sector to competitors, Samsung and Apple.

Though they demoed the key functionalities of the device – focussing on the camera, near field communication and applications – they did not give any indication of when the device will be released, in which countries or its price.

Camera and lenses

Nokia Lumia 920, smartphone, City lensPowered by Windows Phone 8, the Nokia Lumia 920’s biggest strength is undoubtedly its camera and the lenses. The key-note speakers made sure they highlighted this fact. The Lumia 920 features an 8 megapixel Carl Zeiss lens which was said to capture better picture and video than any other competitor smartphone. The Pure View camera technology in the Nokia Lumia 920 features optical image stabilisation which claims to capture between 5 and 10 times the amount of light of other smartphones. This makes it ideal even when taking pictures/videos indoors and in low light conditions without using flash.

Two lenses that got a positive reaction from the audience were the Smartshoot lens and the Cinemagraph lens.

The Smartshoot lens captures several frames and recognises moving objects which can then be deleted later. Say you’re standing near the London Eye and activate the Smartshoot lens to capture an image. It detects you (the subject) and the background but also realises other elements in the picture eg. people and animals moving around. These other elements can then be selected and deleted later giving you your perfect image in front of the London Eye.

The Cinemagraph lens allows you to highlight and animate certain aspect of the image. Say you’re standing under a tree on a windy day looking pensive. To capture the moment you can highlight the tree later using the Cinemagraph lens and the leaves will sway in the wind giving the picture a .gif feel with some animation. Quite cool, if you ask me!

All your photographs are automatically stored onto the Sky Drive cloud service which will aim to integrate all your Windows 8 devices so that they can be accessed at anytime from the cloud.

Wireless charging

The Nokia Lumia 920 is powered by a 2000mAh battery with a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, which claims to make it 30% more efficient than other quadcore alternatives currently in the market. Probably the only other ‘wow’ factor was the fact that this phone has a built-in wireless charging system, which seems like a really convenient option and may prove to be popular in time. Fear not, it also has a microUSB charging system for powering up the battery in the old fashioned way as well.

The Fatboy recharge pillow is as big as a phone case and charges the Lumia 920 wirelessly when the device is placed on it. Nokia have also partnered with Virgin Atlantic and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Virgin Atantic will have Nokia Lumia charging plates in its London Heathrow clubhouse and Coffee Bean and Tea House will provide charging plates to customers who can charge their phone while having coffee. I would rather they had tie-ups with Starbucks and Nando’s, to be honest.

Near Field Communication and touch sensors

NFC is another feature that’s becoming synonymous with smartphones. The Nokia Lumia 920 makes use of this smartly by partnering with JBL stereo devices and headphones. The JBL Power Up device can be used to play music and charge the device at the same time, while you can play music wirelessly using the headphones. There was no mention made of data transfer between phones using NFC, a feature present on the Samsung Galaxy S3 and expected to be present on the upcoming iPhone5.

The Nokia Lumia 920 has super-sensitive touch which recognises both skin and gloves, so you don’t need to take off your gloves in order to use the device. Again, a cool innovation, keeping users and their different needs in mind.

Maps and Augmented Reality

Another great feature of the Nokia Lumia 920 is the fact that you can download Nokia Maps and use them without depending on internet connectivity.

Nokia Transport gives you public transport direction time as well as walking direction time to get you from one stop to another. Nokia Drive is a voice-powered turn-by-turn GPS navigation system. Nokia Drive also includes a Daily Commute feature which calculates the time it will take you to reach your destination, with the current traffic, and lets you know exactly what time you need to leave your house to be at your destination at your desired time.

Nokia City Lens is a stunning new features wherein once you point your camera to a street, it will virtually overlay the names of all the restaurants, cafes, shops, etc, on each of the buildings. You can then select the ones you want for more information like booking details, reviews, etc. Nokia Maps also have augmented reality built into them. You can set the route whereby activating the camera will not only give you directions but also give you the list of places of interest along the way.

They’ve made slight changes to their Start user interface which features Windows 8’s customary live tiles and notifications front and centre. This is soon going to be standard for all Windows 8 products.

Though it does not have the multitude of apps as Apple or Android, some apps like CNN iReport which is a camera app for the Nokia Lumia 920 may become popular in time and is a good idea, especially for organisations that like user generated content. In this way users don’t have to send in what they click, they have an app to constantly remind them of its functionality as and when it arises.

Using the above features to market the phone, Nokia made several references to the superiority of their device as compared to “other devices”, clearly taking a jab at Samsung and Apple. But with Apple slated to release its highly-anticipated iPhone5 with iOS6 on September 12, we may only have to wait a week to see which company has the last laugh.