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Nokia Lumia 1020 - Software and Performance

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams



Our Score:


Nokia Lumia 1020 – Software and Performance

The Nokia Lumia 1020 runs Windows Phone 8, Microsoft’s mobile phone system. There are no Nokia customisations to how the core software feels to use, because they aren’t allowed.

Windows Phone 8 looks and feels similar on an ultra-budget phone as a top-end one like the Lumia 1020. Using them side-by-side, we were struck by how similar the bargain basement Lumia 520 (around £100) and Lumia 1020 (around £480) are in day-to-day performance. There simply isn’t the huge gulf you find with many Android phones. The Lumias are slick across the board.

Nokia Lumia 1020 6

Even the specs aren’t dramatically different from some lower-end models. The Nokia Lumia 1020 has the same dual-core 1.5GHz Krait MSM8960 as the Lumia 820, although RAM in this phone has been bumped up to 2GB – to aid in the number crunching demanded by camera processing.

The WP Benchmark tool does show that the Lumia 1020 is empically faster than cheaper Nokias, coming out with 217 points against the Lumia 520’s 170, but – bizarrely – the Lumia 520 actually has a more powerful GPU. The Lumia 1020 has a pretty low-end Adreno 225 chip, shared by the ageing Samsung Galaxy S3 and significantly less powerful than the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Nokia Lumia 1020 – Apps and Games

That the Lumia 1020 can get away with packing-in an old graphics processor because the games selection on Windows Phone is poor compared to an iPhone or high-end Android.

The Windows Store is where you get apps for a Windows Phone 8 mobile like the Lumia 1020. And all its premium games are siphoned into an Xbox section – where the games are certified to a high level of quality and win you Xbox Live Achievement points for playing titles. Yep, the same points you’d get from playing an Xbox 360 game.

Virtually all the Xbox section games are worth a look, but there are fewer than 170 of them, they tend to cost a fair bit (most are over £2) and almost all the third-party titles are iPhone ports released a year or more ago on at least one mobile platform, if not several.

Nokia Lumia 1020 5

There’s fun to be had, but if you’re coming from an Android or iPhone, it’s as depressing gaming landscape.

However, the Lumia 1020 does cover a lot of app basics from the off. Foremost, it has the HERE Suite, a Nokia collection of mapping and GPS apps.

Nokia Drive is an in-car navigation app that’s remarkably good for a freebie. You can download whole countries for use online, there’s turn-by-turn voice navigation and it uses live traffic information to save you a bit of time on your commute. You can pre-program your work commute too. HERE Maps is an alternative to Google Maps that also lets you download maps for offline use.

Like every Windows Phone 8 mobile, the Lumia 1020 is ready to hook up with social networks as soon as it’s switched on. You can input your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn details, to let the People hub (which also acts as your contacts book) grab all your social updates.

Within Settings you’ll also find support for Outlook, Yahoo!, Hotmail and Google email accounts. It may not have all the apps of its competitors, but it does incorporate a decent number of ‘ground level’ features without needing a trip to an app store.

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September 17, 2013, 5:54 pm

"The level and quality of bokeh a camera can create is based primarily on the camera’s lens, but the crop factor of the camera’s sensor also affects it."

Lens' aperture, focal length and focusing distance affect the depth of field. Crop factor because the higher it is, the smaller the physical size of the aperture will be = greater depth of field(less bokeh).

And why not a word on dynamic range? Highlight single shot DR(not multiple shot combining stuff) was poor on the 808 pureview, and probably is poor on the 1020 as well.
That's common with all small pixel sensors.


September 17, 2013, 9:27 pm

We'll be doing some pretty in-depth camera comparisons over the coming week or so - after which I'll add some more detail to this review (even if it is far more than we usually do!). So far the bracketing doesn't seem to have been particularly impressive.


September 18, 2013, 6:40 am

This phone looks Amazingggggg.
camera is one of the most important parts of a mobile these days as we can just snap and upload to Facebook.. and this phone blows iPhone and Samsung out of the ocean.
guys as for the software , it may not be as powerful as Samsung are apple but it doesn't need to be to run the this OS . that's a good thing.
And yes it doesn't have as many torch, facebook, twitter , etc etc etc.
but if you think about it who cares as it has what the general public needs.
I only need one of each app to be honest.
I have ordered mine of three at £38.00 month . unlimited internet and no extra charge for 4g when it kicks in.
This mobile kicks ass. it deserves a 9 boys., so hop to it and get your finger out.


September 18, 2013, 7:40 am

Hi Andrew,
Found some of this a bit odd... but did like the attention to detail.
If you wish to compare then compare phones. Their was too much cherry picking of singular features on a multitude of other phones to have any real basis as a comparison. The gaming performance guess? yes well we both know that was a guess. and just after you acknowledged the lower overheads that make is so fast even on lesser models?
It would be nice just to do the 1020, s4 and i5 as I think that would be more meaningful to more people.


September 18, 2013, 7:41 am

How much of the screen and photo testing is done "blind" - i.e. without knowing which device you are judging?
I ask because, despite best intentions, it is nigh on impossible to avoid bias once you know (or even think you know) which device you are looking at. For example, you know this is a pentile screen. That knowledge will affect your judgement, whether you want it to or not.
Is it possible to rig up some kind of a testing apparatus where only the screen is visible, and the people making judgements can see only the screen and nothing else? I'm sure there are all sorts of reasons why it would be difficult. The hardest would be to discourage a "pissing contest" mentality whereby the judges try to prove their worth by second-guessing which device is which, thereby clouding their own better judgement.

And it must be possible display or print out photos and have them judged "blind".


September 18, 2013, 10:03 am

Why so many grammar and typo errors? Is the author a native English speaker?


September 18, 2013, 11:01 am

For me, it was this or the Note 3. Considering they are the same price, i think i'd rather get the note 3 now, as it's such a shame this phone has such old specs. I've been using WP7 since launch, and been waiting eagerly for the appstore to grow, and functionality to increase, however, 3 years on, it STILL doesn't compare. And now MS Office and OneNote in particular are available on android, I see no reason to stay with WP.


September 18, 2013, 1:31 pm

Also, this is quite amusing. Nokia advertising the phone, yet Katy Perry uses the forward facing camera for selfies..... I really don't understand this marketing... http://youtu.be/8UUSB9iKIy8


September 18, 2013, 4:07 pm

We'll be doing some full comparison features with the Lumia 1020 and other phones soon :) Stay tuned!


October 16, 2013, 2:22 am

I just purchased this phone and there is a very noticeable internal lens flaw, that shows up on all photographs. The camera is amazing when it worked properly, low light is fantastic, (you forget it is a phone) but caution.. Look for lens flaw (take pictures in different lighting situations) and KNOW your carriers replacement policy, as my carrier wants to give me a refurb unit only 18 days after purchase.

Andrew Coote

November 18, 2013, 9:16 pm

I have recently purchased this phone - but not in yellow! A lot of people seem to miss the point of this phone (and all Windows 8 Nokia phones) - its not a Google bot. I can live without fantastic games, and only ever used a few apps on my previous Samsung with Android. I can understand people having reservations about Microsoft trying to conquer the world - but Apple and (even more so) Google are far closer to world domination. And the worrying thing about Google is that they want to know all your innermost private life - and market it... its all getting very Big Brother and too intrusive. I have Windows 8 on my desktop computer and use my Skydrive to save notes and photos on work (I am in construction industry so no big secrets to share anyway). This gives me connectivity that Android and Apple cant. That's a big bonus. Oh... and its great as a mobile phone too - easy to use excellent sound and microphone.


January 7, 2014, 10:17 pm

I've got 64Gb version from O2 and it suffers from hissing issue during calls. I noticed it's quite a common issue with 1020s :-(

Michael J King

January 21, 2014, 2:39 pm

The behind the scenes video is shot with the Lumia, that's the point.


January 23, 2014, 8:39 pm

Says who? This is not true!


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