Nokia Lumia 1020 announced; advanced 41 megapixel camera at $300 contract price

Nokia Lumia 1020 announced; advanced 41 megapixel camera at $300 contract price

Summary: The Nokia Lumia 1020 is the best camera in a phone ever released and it will be available soon on AT&T. Are consumers seeking even better photography and willing to shell out the money to go to a Windows Phone device?

Nokia Lumia 1020 announced; advanced 41 megapixel camera at $300 contract price
(Image: Nokia)

Thanks to all the leaks, there wasn't much left to be revealed at today's Nokia Lumia 1020 event in New York, but we did get the official announcement and I know some ZDNet folks, like Mary Jo Foley, are getting some hands-on time. The entire event was focused on incredible imaging technology and the real test for Nokia will be to see if consumers find it worth the $300 contract price in a couple of weeks.

I bought a Nokia 808 PureView and found that it was easily the best camera in a phone ever made, with a focus on the camera. I took quite a few photos for a month or so, but since I don't focus on photography in my life and just take snapshots as things happen most any 5-8 megapixel camera in a phone really has been found to be acceptable.

The pictures I see people posting from most phones are terrible, but consumers don't seem to care that much as it shows the event and the people in them. It still drives me crazy and I wish they would make some attempts to take a decent photo.

People aren't zooming in to look at fine details or printing out their photos. They also aren't connecting to a PC to manage their photos and just keep snapping and sharing away. I agree that the best camera is the one that is always with you for the most part, but then again I do appreciate a great photo as well.

You can buy a solid point and shoot camera, but again I just don't see people having the time to manage those photos and the convenience of having a "connected" camera outweighs image quality. The Nokia Lumia 1020 is a device where you don't have to compromise quality for connectivity and it is a great option for the photographer.

There is no argument that the Nokia Lumia 1020 is the ultimate camera in a phone with specifications that can't be matched in the camera. I think 808 PureView fans may be very interested in the device and those who can get by with Windows Phone may appreciate it as well. I personally like Windows Phone a lot, but there is still too much missing to make it my only smartphone. The Lumia 925, $50 up front on T-Mobile, appeals to me more due to the form factor while still having an excellent camera and I will probably pick one of those up next week.

The confirmed primary specs of the Nokia Lumia 1020 include:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core 1.5 GHz processor
  • 4.5 inch 1280x768 pixel resolution display
  • 41 megapixel camera with Xenon flash
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB integrated storage
  • 2000 mAh battery
  • Dimensions of 130.4 x 71.4 x 10.4 mm and 158 grams

You can purchase a battery/camera adapter accessory and Qi charging cover as well. The 1020 will come in black, white, and yellow.

If the 1020 was available on T-Mobile I would definitely buy it, but I recently dropped AT&T to save some money on services I wasn't using. I hate the carrier exclusives, but may get a 1020 in the future when it becomes available elsewhere or I may just stick with the expensive 808 PureView I still have for photos.

Is the high end camera of the Lumia 1020 enough to get you to pick one up or are you satisfied with the camera you have now in the phone you prefer?

Topics: Mobility, Nokia, Windows Phone

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  • same here

    I would definitely buy it if it was available on t-mobile or unlocked. but since my phone is falling apart and I can't wait for another 6 months I am going to buy the 925
    • Wow, let's see...

      A smartphone that performs better as a camera than it does as a smartphone. That makes a hell of a lot of 'sense'.

      Which begs the question why not just buy a camera in the first place...
      • I've been using windows phone for a while and have no complains so far

      • Think about what you just said...

        where the camera on the Nokia smartphone is better than the smartphone.

        First off, smartphones are not smart anymore without a good camera within it, and the other makers have been, for years, touting how many pixels their smartphones will have, and how great their pictures will be. When it comes to most other features, most smartphones are just about the same, and the biggest differentiation lately, is with the camera. With the 41 MP camera, Nokia has effectively rendered the cameras on all other smartphones, as antiquated and inadequate.

        The question still has to be: when a smartphone camera is as good as a regular camera, why even bother with a regular camera, when you can have both in one neat little package?

        See how simple it is?

        Then, when it comes to what makes a smartphone "smart", other than the camera, WP8 is actually the superior entry, and all others will be needing to catch up. But they won't and can't.
      • Combining our Electronics

        We are slowing combining all of our electronics into one simple personal electronic device that acts as a web browser, a watch, a planner, a personal gaming device, a camera, and more. I've noticed that some of the latest cameras are trying to act as phones by allowing users to post pictures to Facebook. I suspect they are feeling a little threatened.
  • If the 1020 was available on T-Mobile I would definitely buy it,

    I thought you felt the HTC one was the best phone you ever used. Would simply a 41Mp camera tip the scales for you to switch?
    Also, photography is like music - most just listen on tiny speakers and ear buds and are thrilled. It shows for most people, one you reach a certain threshold, it becomes about whats in the photo itself, the music itself, the emotional and social connection, etc. Its not about admiring the technical perfection of the reproduction. 41megapixels means nothing to these people. Nothing wrong with that.
    • The HTC One is still the one!

      Yep, the HTC One remains the best smartphone I have ever used. I do like Windows Phone though and may get the Lumia 925 just for testing purposes. The HTC One is not going anywhere though as I find it so useful with the apps and services available.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
      • HTC Sense Loading

        All those gadgets, can I have your job?

        On a more serious note, I've been considering the HTC One. Have HTC got rid of the annoying "Loading" issue with Sense when returning from apps?
        It's been driving me crazy on the Sensation.
  • I would but . . .

    I have a Lumia 920 with over a year on the contract yet. Can't wait for the next WP when my contract expires! By then WP will have a lot more options available. I would buy another Lumia right now if I had to. the 920 has been a great smartphone so far.
    • Been thinking about an unlocked Rogers Lumia 920

      If you have a Lumia 920 or 928, it's tough to justify the 1020. The only difference really is the camera and the others already have one that is fine for 99% of the people. I also believe we will see another Lumia 1020-type device when the next version of Windows Phone 8 rolls out so may use some restraint here.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
      • It's a step in the right direction but

        I found it easy to restrain myself as soon I saw it has the same battery as the 920/925/928. They should have made the case 10.4 mm all the way around eliminating the ugly camera hump to allow for a bigger battery.

        The weak battery, low display resolution, and older processor leads me to conclude that Nokia rushed this model to get it on the market.
        • Battery life is the achilles heel.

          These would be great phones if they lasted longer than 4 or 5 hours on a charge. I was just reading a comparison of the top 10 smartphones and the Nokia came in dead last in battery life. The Samsung S4 topped the list, but at that size, it has a lot of space for battery.

          The one thing that seems ludicrous about the 1020 to me is the tiny internal storage. Putting a 41 megapixel camera on a device with only 32GB of storage is nuts. I assume it also uses SD cards, but that still only gets you to 64GB without carrying a pocket full of SD cards. I have 64GB internally on my current phone and it is always full even with a 5 megapixel camera. Given the file size of 41 megapixel images, this phone should really be available with 128GB or even 256GB of internal storage. I'm guessing we'll see cases that have slots to hold all the extra SD cards you'll need to carry with this phone.
          • No external storage

            This phone, like most in the lumia line, doesn't have an sd card slot, nor does it support OTG.
          • No Portable Storage

            I agree that the Lumia 1020 should have come with an SD slot being released in July, 2013.
            However, I also believe we are very close to having a lot of free online storage (SkyDrive, Google Drive, and others) that will work just as fast. These services will be even more reliable than the SD cards. No need to shuffle cards; just sit at any computer and start editing your images online.
          • The problem with that is...

            ... that transferring a 41 megapixel file over your phone bandwidth will take forever and eat through your monthly data plan so fast your head will spin. If it weren't for bandwidth limitations, I'd agree that more online storage would help a lot.
      • Good Point

        I'm due for renewal in November, and I'm curious whether they'll have something even more refined (no more hump?). On the other hand, the price will likely have come down a little by that point, be it just for some temporary promotion.
  • Torn.

    I like Windows Phone (I'm using 7.8) because I pretty much live in Word and Excel and the built-in email client is good. Yes, there are some app shortages (that is being rectified at a decent pace) and a notification system is overdue (my blackberry 9800 had one for Peter's sake).

    I was hoping make the 1020 my phone but $299 is too high for this and i think might go with an iPhone 5 instead (I'm up for an upgrade). With office for iOS now confirmed, I've lost one reason to stay with Windows Phone.

    Nokia and AT&T made a mistake I think with such a big price spread between the 920 and 1020. At $199 it would have sold well (it still might). All the talk of wanting a viable third eco-system seems empty right now as this phone could have been the one that consumers would have been willing to take a chance on.
    • Don't do it!

      If you are worried about money on this, there are some things you need to know. First, to get the 32GB iPhone, the same storage that the 1020 has, it is $300, the same as the 1020. Second, to use Office for the iPhone, you need to pay for a Office 365 subscription, which is $100 a year. Office on Windows Phone is free. So, even if you go with the 16GB iPhone 5, it will cost you $100 more after two years if you want to use Office. If you go with the 32GB iPhone 5, it will cost $200 more over two years to use it with Office. Plus, the 1020 is superior phone to the iPhone 5, obviously the camera way better, there is no disputing that. As you stated, the app gap is closing. I just about have my wife convinced to get the Lumia 928 on Verizon. I can't justify paying $300 for the 32GB iPhone 5, when she can get the 928 for $50 (or maybe free) for what I think is a better phone. The only app that she really uses that Windows Phone doesn't currently have is the Starbucks app that she uses to pay for purchases. I am hoping to use FidMe as an alternative (which is on WP and iOS). Anyway, stick with Windows Phone. If anything is overpriced, it is the iPhone.
      • SBUX Card

        Tell you wife that SBUX Card works great for me.
    • Probably Available Cheaper

      The way promotions of Windows Phones have gone in the last year, I would expect you'll be able to get it cheaper than $199. Check Amazon and Best Buy, give it a month after release, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if Nokia dropped the price to $199 after a little while, too.