Nokia Lumia 1020 First Impressions [Update]

nokia lumia 1020-1

I’ve only had the Nokia 1020 in my hands for a close to a day, but I’ve been able to get some insight into it through my early testing. I also have a few impressions from my shopping experience.

1. The AT&T Store had a nice looking display with 2 working demo models- Black and Yellow. They also had the camera grip in stock, which I was surprised and happy to see.

att store lumia 1020

2. The store staff knew about the basics of the phone, and while they weren’t aggressively pushing it, they did recommend it without any reservation. I could tell that AT&T is behind this launch, at least initially. Also, my salesperson at the Hillsboro Pike location in Nashville was very helpful.

3. The Yellow version really pops, but the matte polycarbonate exterior keeps it from looking cheap or cheesy. The matte black also looked good. They did not have a white model on display, so I’m not sure about that one.

nokia lumia 1020-3

4. While it is bigger than other smartphones with similar screen sizes, the 1020 is light and fits nicely in the hand. One handed operation is possible without a ton of strain.

5. The camera does noticeably stick out from the back, but it isn’t as awkward as pictures make it seem. The phone obviously won’t sit flat when you put it down on its back, but that is not a major issue for me.

nokia lumia 1020-2

6. The phone gets quite hot while taking lots of pictures and when Internet Sharing is enabled. This makes the Camera Grip a very worthwhile investment. The 1020 also recharges extremely slowly with Sharing enabled, even with the included charger. (Update: After more testing, I can say that this is only an issue while using the phone. When in standby, the phone recharges at a more normal pace with Internet Sharing enabled).

7. The screen is clear, crisp, and bright. The default black background with yellow accents looks really good thanks to Nokia’s ClearBlack technology.

8. The camera grip accessory adds bulk, but is worth it thanks to the extra surface to put your hand around and large shutter button on the right side. This makes working with the Nokia Pro Camera app’s features easier, because you don’t have to worry as much about holding onto the phone while moving the sliders around.

9. The yellow camera grip looks pretty gaudy. It was just too much yellow in too small a space. However, the black version that I purchased goes very well with the Yellow 1020. It offsets the phone’s color very nicely.

10. The Nokia Pro Camera app is amazing compared to the camera software on most smartphones. However, it is NOT ideal for taking fast or burst pictures. Because of the huge 35 or 38 MP image files, the app takes time to get ready for another shot. Considering how big the files are, the app is actually impressively fast. Just know that you’ll have to look to other apps, such as the stock WP Camera or Nokia’s Smart Cam (also pre-installed) for fast photo needs. Apps other than Nokia Pro Camera are limited to 5MP pictures, but the quality is still good. The picture below was taken with the app, and it looks fine. You just don’t have the extra detail to zoom in or reframe.

11. The 1020 has an outstanding camera. It smokes most of the point and shoots that I’ve tried, and beats other smartphones under the table. It isn’t perfect. It can struggle with highlights in bright sunlight, it takes a lot of work to get a good low light photograph, and you can’t take pictures while shooting video. However, despite a few flaws (which many other smartphones and point and shoots also suffer from), it takes some amazing pictures. A few of them really blew my wife and I away. A couple are included below, with many more on the way.

Nokia 1020 Leaf Closeup

12. The 1020 is an amazing video camera. It shoots full 1080p, and the files look great on a large screen. The sound recording is clear, and the ability to zoom really sets it apart from other smartphones.


These are just a few of my initial thoughts about the 1020 and its features. I will post plenty of sample photos, as well as a full review during the next week. In the meantime, if you have any questions, feel free to post them below, and I will do my best to answer them.

Nokia 1020 Goldie in the kitchen

  • domi1kenobi

    Thanks for sharing your experience with this amazing device. Must check it out myself.

  • jtorres

    Wait until you take it to a concert, its AMAZING!!!! You can zoom in 6x lossless in 720p. The clarity of the video will blow you away. And the audio quality is outstanding.

  • James Rogers

    I don’t doubt it. i watched a video that I took yesterday at the zoo with my kids Back on my laptop monitor and it was amazing. The clarity was really, really impressive. My wife was blown away. I’ll be posting an excerpt of it soon.

  • James Rogers

    Thanks for reading. Stay tuned, because there’s a lot more to come.

  • moonpie

    My wife was blown away that your wife is so easily blown away :)

  • Antistatic

    You should cut the nails on your dog…

  • James Rogers

    Thanks, but even our vet doesn’t like to mess with Goldie. She looks sweet, but she’s trouble.