Nokia Lumia 920 - Camera

By Edward Chester



  • Recommended by TR
Nokia Lumia 920


Our Score:


Nokia Lumia 920 - Camera

So we come to the piece de resistance of the Nokia Lumia 920, its PureView branded optically stabilised camera. Packing in 8.7megapixels, it’s slightly higher resolution than most but doesn’t quite take the crown thanks to the 12mp boasting Sony Xperia S and 13mp Sony Xperia T.

Nokia Lumie 920 camera app

No, the big draw here is the stabilisation. This has the whole camera assembly mounted on a movable platform which works to counteract the shake of your hand and the wobble of your body, allowing the camera to use slower shutter speeds for better low light image quality without resulting in blurry photos. At least that’s the theory.

iPhone 5 camera night time test

Left: Nokia Lumia 920. Right: iPhone 5

In practice the Nokia Lumia 920 does deliver impressively noise-free images, with far more natural looking lighting and colours. However, there is a fairly major downside: the Lumia 920 only counteracts movement of the camera, not of what you’re shooting. The result is that if you’re shooting your mates larking about in a dingy pub, while the background and table may be nice and blur-free, your mates will very much not be. It wouldn’t be so bad if you could control how the camera shoots with options to turn off the stabilisation or set the shutter speed but no setting we tried seemed to actually force the camera to prioritise speed over ‘quality’. As such, nearly every low light shot we took had a degree of blurriness to it.

Left: Nokia Lumia 920. Right: iPhone 5

All that said, the dual-LED flash does a better job than most so closeup shots will at least be bright and blur-free. Plus, the Lumia 920 really does wipe the floor with the competition when it comes to low-light still life and landscape shots (or portraits where everyone’s sitting still).

Exposure and dynamic range is excellent but detail and sharpness are only mediocre.

There is another problem too. In well-lit scenarios the Nokia Lumia 920 simply doesn’t produce all that impressive a shot, that is there’s a softness to its images, almost like they’re slightly out of focus. They don’t look awful by any stretch but they lack the crispness of many rivals. A bit of sharpening in Photoshop slightly alleviates the issue but by no means completely fixes it. Nokia is set to roll out a fix for this but it hasn’t arrived yet so it’s impossible to say how much things will improve.

Left: Nokia Lumia 920. Right: iPhone 5

Our final complaint is that we found it next to impossible to focus the camera on the flower in our usual macro shot test. The phone can focus very close up but it didn’t seem quite as able to cope with a moving object.

The left image showed the results attempting to focus up close on the left flower. The right image shows as close as we could get and keep the flowers in shot.

To be clear, though, the Lumia 920’s camera isn’t awful but it doesn’t live up to its billing, yet.

Nokia Lumia 920 - Video

Where the camera does rather better is with recording video. Here, where absolute sharpness is less of an issue, the stabilisation works well to smooth out any wobble. Inevitably it can’t completely eliminate larger movements that result from you walking along while recording but it noticeably takes away the finer shake to make for a much more watchable video.

Nokia Lumia 920

iPhone 5

The footage is a little oversharpened and colours over egged but not enough to really diminish the overall effect.

Audio quality is exceptional, though, picking up both a wide range of frequencies and coping with high volume. Just check out the quality of audio in the below clips.

Nokia Lumia 920

iPhone 5

Nokia Lumia 920 – Battery Life

We weren’t exactly wowed by the Nokia Lumia 920’s battery life, making it more regrettable that you can’t access the battery to swap it out, but it should still suffice for most users. As with most smartphones around today, it’ll last about a day on one charge so a nightly recharge will be a must.


The Nokia Lumia 920 almost a barnstormer but is ultimately let down by a few too many niggling issues. Its optically stabilised camera does trounce the competition for night time shots but is let down by mediocre performance in good lighting. The phone’s design is also very nice but then it’s a very heavy handset and all but the black model have slippery, fingerprint-attracting shiny finishes. And, extras like wireless charging and NFC are great but then there’s no memory card slot and you can’t swap out the battery. Meanwhile Windows Phone 8 is mostly very nice but lacks apps.

Some of these issues such as the camera performance and apps should be fixable but others like the weight won’t be. It’s certainly a solid effort from Nokia and one that will keep most users very happy but priced as it currently is and with competition like the Galaxy S3 around, it comes up just a little short.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Camera 8
  • Design 8
  • Features 9
  • Performance 8
  • Screen Quality 9
  • Usability 8
  • Value 8
Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

Martin Daler

September 5, 2012, 10:02 pm

"4.5in HD Amoled screen"
Other sites report IPS LCD...

Martin Daler

September 5, 2012, 10:10 pm

"With a resolution of 800 x 1280 pixels,"
should be 1280 x 768
See her for further help...


September 5, 2012, 11:44 pm

Better start writing that epitaph.


September 6, 2012, 1:31 am

32GB of memory, excellent. No microSD kills it dead for me. Shame my sons 900 seems really good; but no SD no buy.


September 6, 2012, 2:29 am

This is a preview, not a review. Why is it under the Reviews section?


September 6, 2012, 2:24 pm

website back-end limitation


September 6, 2012, 3:46 pm

Funnily enough, we've just made an update that allows us to more clearly label our articles and we're just in the process of rolling out an editorial policy to make sure that happens. In other words, this and other first impression, first look, hands on articles will be clearly labelled as such from now on. They will, though, still appear in the reviews column as there are still some other back-end limitations in place, as ChaosDefinesOrder rightly points out. Sorry for any confusion.


September 6, 2012, 3:47 pm

Argh, how'd that get there. More haste, less speed...


September 6, 2012, 3:48 pm



September 6, 2012, 5:23 pm

Does it also fix the terrible comments system? ;-)


September 6, 2012, 5:44 pm

Chance would be a fine thing. We should be fixing it within the next couple of months, though.


September 7, 2012, 5:41 am

Hmm yeah, I agree it is annoying, given this OS and the Nokia 820 now supports expandable storage. Sure 32GB and some cloud storage is plentiful but, and this is the same thing I thought of with the Nexus 7, having cloud storage and a high but capped storage capacity should not be used as excuses to not include a microSD card slot.


October 30, 2012, 11:52 pm

Looks like a pretty respectable handset, would like to see grey being replaced by blue however. And make all those colors smooth matte as opposed to fingerprint magnet gloss

Martin Daler

October 31, 2012, 12:38 am

Now this article has been re-released as a full review, maybe now is the time to correct that pesky screen resolution? See earlier post above (5 sept)


October 31, 2012, 1:49 am

Twist my arm. Done.

Martin Daler

October 31, 2012, 2:05 pm

...and would it be churlish to mention the size of the Galaxy Note 2 display? Should by 5.5 inches.


November 1, 2012, 3:52 pm

I would be interested in hearing about how Lumia 920 works as a phone, is voice quality good? In many mobile phones quality is so poor that it's unconvinient to discuss by phone.


November 2, 2012, 6:06 pm

I was planning on getting myself a red version , but the black one in this review looks so cool to me . And 32GB is more than enough for me .


November 7, 2012, 2:19 pm

I want to buy this sim free, is it out anywhere yet? Have found 2 places where it is on pre order for a week or more but still no phone! EE have it but am not paying for their overpriced service.


December 7, 2012, 7:26 pm

Lovely review chaps, thanks for this.

My overall impression is that it is a lovely physical device....but wouldn't it be nice if it was a Nexus device running vanilla Android?

Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of Windows Phone 8 and I actually want a device (I think I'll get the HTC 8X if I go down this route due to the smaller screen and headphone amp) - the single biggest thing stopping me getting WP8 at the moment is the lack of Spotify - I'm a pro member and won't give that up. I suspect this is something that is holding a lot of people back - they've got apps they like in another ecosystem that aren't available on this platform yet.


December 10, 2012, 8:03 pm

You've been promising to fix the comments system since just after this version was introduced. A couple of months ago you said it would be fixed in a couple of months. In the meantime the comments section has almost died.

Sorry to sound like I'm having a go; this has been dragging on though. The biggest killer is the delay in posts showing up; that's killing the comments far more than spam would. I've been posting here for years; it seems daft and insulting that my comments still have to be approved.


December 10, 2012, 8:08 pm

It is imminent, I promise. We've committed to another service and done most of the development work for the transition but emergency issues elsewhere in the company meant our developers were pulled away from finalising flicking the switch. Any time in the next week or two the new system should be up and running though.


December 10, 2012, 9:44 pm

That's good news; the comments used to be almost as valuable as the actual review and it'd be great if we could get that back.


December 11, 2012, 3:29 pm

"the fact that the homescreen is simply one long list, rather than pages of apps" - I've not used WP8, but I'm surprised that it doesn't support a similar way of 'zooming out', like on Window 8 (and RT) to display groups of apps, that you can label and quickly jump to.

Shannon Nanna

December 16, 2012, 3:56 pm

i love the colors of these phones, and the fact that AT&T carries them (and are compatible with 4GLTE). I have a hair salon in Dallas and our color scheme is exactly the same as all these phones. I could buy them all! (Of course, wouldn't that be nice, to have more than one you could use?!)

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