Monday, December 21, 2015

I bought the Lumia 1020 in 2015

41 megapixel love

Mobile World Congress 2012, Nokia unveiled the 808 Pureview which is 5 years of mobile camera innovation jam packed into a smartphone that had no future. It was running Nokia's burning Symbian OS and shortly after it's announcement, Nokia confirmed that the 808 Pureview is the last of it's kind at running Nokia's homegrown mobile operating system that once dominated the entire mobile space. At that time, Nokia has just started off the Windows Phone race with the availability of the Lumia 800 and it was perfectly fine that the 808 Pureview ran Nokia's Symbian OS.

With the 808 Pureview being the last symbian smartphone, the later announced Lumia 920 adapted the Nokia Pureview technology in a less aggressive 8.7MP sensor that included optical image stabilization to improve low light photography. But only in 2013 that Nokia would introduce the spiritual successor to the original 41MP smartphone dubbed the Lumia 1020. Nokia managed to replicate the 41 megapixel image size but the sensor was shrunken a little to just 2/3" which is still bigger than conventional smartphone cameras even till today. Ironically, Nokia announced that they are being acquired by Microsoft shortly after the Lumia 1020 went on sale.
My Thoughts On The Lumia 1020"Earlier today while i was researching about the device i found out that there are some pretty positive feedback from both tech sites and the commenters. It seemed that the people which had their hands on with the device found that it is very nice to hold in the hand and is not too thick by any stretch." Continue reading.
Well, the story then continue to the present day. Microsoft now owns Nokia's mobile division and the Windows Phone ecosystem is still playing the third wheel against the likes of both the iPhone and Android. The Lumia 1020 is listed as a discontinued hardware product with devices like the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 950 continuing the tradition of the Pureview technology. This is where I slot in, last week I bought a pre-loved (second hand) Lumia 1020 and I think it was a hell of a deal.

Lumia 1020 Key Specification:

  • 4.5-inch 768P AMOLED display
  • Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8960
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB storage
  • 41MP rear camera
  • 1.2MP front camera
  • 2,000mAh battery
  • 130.4 x 71.4 x 10.4mm (158g)
  • 2013 - 2015
Just like every other Nokia (or Windows Phone) fan back in 2013, the Lumia 1020 was like a dream phone. With 2GB of RAM paired with the 41MP optically stabilized camera with Zeiss optics, the Lumia 1020 was on top of the world when it comes to smartphone photography. But it being a flagship phone, the price for 41 megapixels on a pocketable device did not come cheap. In Malaysia, the Lumia 1020 initially retailed for about MYR 2,499 which is about US$700 if you factor in the fluctuating currency. But today, the dream of owning this 41MP beast is real. Back then, I was still rocking my Galaxy Note which was decent enough and Windows Phone wasn't that compelling back then.
This is the Lumia 630 | Review"Despite, that i did like something about this display and that is the brightness of it. I’m not talking about the maximum brightness but the minimum brightness, i was really impressed when it could tone down to such a level that using it in the dark was a joy." Continue reading.
Since it was pre-owned by somebody else, I didn't have the flexibility to choose the color that I wanted. I have the white model here and thankfully, the white Lumia 1020 comes in a nice matte finish opposed to the glossy finish on the Lumia 920. I felt right at home with the 1020 even with the camera hump on the back as it turns out that the 1020 is about the size of my current phone, the Lumia 630.

The 1020 comes with the same 4.5" display like on my Lumia 630 but the biggest difference is that the former uses a better AMOLED display and thus producing more punchy colors to suite the Windows Phone accent color and dark theme. I can tell you that after using the AMOLED display on a Windows Phone, I don't think I will accept anything more but for the time being, I will need to accept the measly LCD display on my Lumia 630 until I upgrade. Another big thing with the AMOLED display is that is supports Glance screen which is that cool feature that displays the time al day long.

Dat camera

To begin this, I have to say that I am by no means a good photographer. If it weren't for this blog, I might have not even dabbled into photography. When I first started, I was using a simple Panasonic digital camera but early this year I replaced that with the Sony QX10 which served well as my main camera. All the pictures you see in this blog since May was taken on the QX10 and the quality is better compared to what it was previously.

Lumia 1020 camera sensor:

  • 41-megapixel 2/3" BSI sensor
  • F2.2 lens
  • Carl Zeiss optics
  • 25mm focal length
  • Xenon flash
  • Adobe DNG support
To begin this, I have to say that I am by no means a good photographer. If it weren't for this blog, I might have not even dabbled into photography. When I first started, I was using a simple Panasonic digital camera but early this year I replaced that with the Sony QX10 which served well as my main camera. All the pictures you see in this blog since May was taken on the QX10 and the quality is better compared to what it was previously.

Moving on to the 41MP sensor on the Lumia 1020 that Nokia was marketing as a device that reinvented zoom. The massive megapixel count enabled a feature called reframing that allows the full resolution image to be cropped to focus on a specific subject without affecting the photo quality. Additionally, the Lumia 1020 received support for RAW photography with Windows Phone 8.1 and combined with the manual settings making the 1020 a pretty compelling camera.

In terms of the camera, I personally find that the app takes an extra second or two (maybe even more) to load but comparing it to my old digital camera and the QX10, the Lumia 1020's camera speed is just about right. Once thing I have noticed besides the rattling of the ball bearings that power the optical image stabilization is that the reason why the camera app takes an extra second to turn on is because the shutter will need to open each time you take a shot. That slight mechanical shutter sound indicating the camera is firing up is comparable to the extension of the lens on a conventional point and shoot camera.

In terms of the quality, the 41MP sensor managed to take some pretty decent shots and I was pretty impressed with the long shutter night images. Daylight images looked pretty vivid overall but indoor photos is where the Lumia 1020 falls. The automatic white balance setting indoors is always off, giving the image that unwanted cooler tone. But this can be easily corrected with the manual camera toggles and that will add another second or two to the already slow photo taking experience.

Besides the slow camera app, I am also not too happy with the macro photos taken with the Lumia 1020. It is not able to focus very closely and the autofocus is sometimes a little broad in terms of where it focuses at. Manual focus solves the ability to focus at close objects but not by much. And yes, dabbling with the manual settings again will add an extra second or two to get the desired results.

Windows 10 Mobile

Initially when I was playing around with the device, it was on WP8.1 but after trying out the Lumia 950 in the Malaysia launch, I was a little convinced about Windows 10 Mobile. I did try Windows 10 Mobile when it first came out but that only lasted about 2 days then I moved back to 8.1. The early builds was pretty buggy and slow. So, I installed the latest build on Wednesday and I have been pretty happy with the performance so far.
Microsoft Lumia turns blue, what happened to purple?"All the official Microsoft Lumia pages on Twitter, Facebook and even Youtube has changed their profile picture as the new blue themed Microsoft Lumia logo. A quick check on Facebook and a few other regional Microsoft Lumia Facebook pages have also switched on to the new Microsoft Lumia logo." Continue reading.
Windows 10 Mobile has advanced a lot since I last used it and the operating system itself ran pretty good on the age old Snapdragon S4 processor but the camera performance is about the same. Not bad news by any means. The camera performance (loading + photo taking) might be equal but I am not happy with the performance of the photos app which is slow and buggy. The problems with the app is not related to the OS as the app is updated through the Windows Store.

Another thing is that the Windows Camera really sucks in image processing, so the Lumia Camera app is the only choice for the Lumia 1020 since Microsoft has announced that they are not planning to bring the new Lumia Camera 5 app to Windows 10 Mobile.

Conclusion

I think that my money was well spent. The Lumia 1020 might not be as blazing fast as the camera on the Lumia 950 but for me the performance is bearable. This phone might not have a long future but it should be enough for me and the fact that Windows Phone will retain its speediness even after a year or two. And now is time to showcase a couple of photos that I took over the week.

Insider talk

There has been a slight delay in the articles last week but the usual pace should resume back after the holiday season. Just so happen that when I want to install the Windows 10 Mobile update on the Lumia 1020, the update resumed back into the Insider ring. Looking back at the original Windows Phone 8 (non 8.1), the fact that you couldn't toggle the screen rotation and there was no way to view notifications made it somewhat of a joke. I have been a fan of Windows Phone since the Lumia 800 was announced, there is something about the signature cyan color paired with the live tiles of Windows Phone that felt like a match made in heaven.