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Nokia Lumia 920 - Windows Phone 8 Interface

By Edward Chester
Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Nokia Lumia 920

Summary

Our Score

8/10

User Score

Review Price £450.00

Nokia Lumia 920 - Interface

The Nokia Lumia 920 runs the new Microsoft Windows Phone 8 operating system (OS) which unlike Google's Android OS cannot be tinkered with by phone manufacturers. As such the experience you get here is essentially exactly the same as that on any other Windows Phone 8 handset. So, if you want the full low down on all the software features we'd suggest you head over to our full Windows Phone 8 review.

The brief version, though, is that Windows Phone 8 offers a slick, very stylised interface that's centred around a couple of key ideas. The first is the Live Tile. These feature on the homescreen and are a cross between an icon and a widget. Like an icon they simply provide a link to whatever app they represent but then like a widget they also show live information from the app on the icon itself. For instance the People (contacts) Live Tile shows constantly changing pictures pulled from your contacts' linkedin or Facebook pages or the Calendar Live Tile will show today's agenda.

Live Tiles can be made one of three sizes: a small square icon which shows very limited live information, a large square or a full screen-width spanning rectangle which can show lots of information. They can be arranged in whatever order you like and it's a simple task to 'pin' or 'unpin' apps from the main app list onto the homescreen.

The Live Tiles concept is quite neat though we find that, as with widgets on Android, we seldom use the larger versions and instead steer towards simple filling the screen with as many small icons as possible. Also, the fact that the homescreen is simply one long list, rather than pages of apps, can feel a little limiting as it's not quite as quick to scroll to the bottom of the list as it is to flick through a couple of pages.

The other key overall feature are the hubs. These are essentially apps but given their highly integrated nature they can do much more than one task. So, for instance, the People hub integrates information from your social networks, providing a feed of new status and picture updates. It also has Rooms and Groups, which offer places for groups of Windows Phone users to ‘hangout’ and chat, share photos and schedule events as a group.

Other hubs include the Offices hub which not only has links to the three mobile office apps – Word, Excel and Powerpoint – but also integrates access to Microsoft’s cloud storage service, SkyDrive. This comes free with any Microsoft account and provides up to 7GB of storage space that can be seamlessly synced between phone, laptop and tablet as well as accessed from any PC via a web browser.

The overall experience takes a bit of getting used to if you’re used to iOS or Android but for the most part it offers as many unique positives as negatives, so is still a great option.

Nokia Lumia 920 – Windows Phone 8 Apps

Where the Windows Phone 8 interface is currently let down is its availability of apps. While the headline grabbing numbers touted by Apple are somewhat meaningless – after all, it’s not about how many overall but how many that you want or need – it is nonetheless the case that most ‘must have’ apps tend to debut on Apple devices, with Android next in line and Windows Phone 8 bringing up the rear.

Looking for a selection of some of our favourites this is how we fared:

Could find:

Dropbox (unofficial)

Angry birds star wars

National rail (unofficial)

Youtube

Vevo

The Times

Couldn’t find:

Spotify

Producteev

Photosynth

Cover orange

Profanisaurus

Comixology

iTV player

iPlayer

The general rule of thumb is that it’s not so much the biggest companies that don’t support all platforms as the smaller ones that can’t afford to develop for multiple versions. That said, even some seriously big corporations aren’t yet onboard with the iTV Player and BBC iPlayer notable absentees.

Nonetheless, we fully expect this situation to improve over the coming months so as long as all your essentials are covered for now, you should be set for all your more esoteric favourites in the future.

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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...
http://www.nokia.com/global/pr...

ElectricSheep

September 5, 2012, 11:44 pm

Better start writing that epitaph.

TrustedPhrontis

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.

nanite2000

September 6, 2012, 2:29 am

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

ChaosDefinesOrder

September 6, 2012, 2:24 pm

website back-end limitation

Ed

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.

Ed

September 6, 2012, 3:47 pm

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

Ed

September 6, 2012, 3:48 pm

Likewise.

ChaosDefinesOrder

September 6, 2012, 5:23 pm

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

Ed

September 6, 2012, 5:44 pm

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

AHYL88

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.

J4cK1505

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)

Ed

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.

Leena

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.

mreman

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 .

Gary

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.

mother-goose

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.

Bugblatter

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.

Ed

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.

Bugblatter

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.

MattMe

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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