Nokia Lumia 1020 Smartphone Review

Battery Life Testing and Camera Samples

The 41MP camera is the obvious star of the Lumia 1020, so it deserves a close look. (Be sure to check out our in-depth video / photo preview here.) There's optical image stabilization for keeping blur at a minimum, and the software that controls it is of the utmost importance. The Pro Camera lens app allows users to tweak white balance, ISO, exposure, etc. For those frustrated by limited tweaking options on other platforms, you'll love the manual options here.

What most average users won't realize is that the Lumia 1020 actually grabs two images for each shutter press: a 38MP image (or 34MP for wide-angle shots) as well as an oversampled 5MP image. In testing, the larger of the two took up nearly 11MB per image, while the smaller one usually hit at around 1.7MB. This is all important for two primary reasons. First, there's no way you could easily share a true 41MP image, or if you tried, you'd use a ton of data when not on WiFi. The 5MP image is great for sharing, while the 38MP image is great for taking home, popping in Photoshop, mastering, and then archiving in your cloud service of choice.

Technobabble aside, it really boils down to the output. We've already taken a deep dive into the photographic capabilities of the Lumia 1020 (which you can read here), so we'll just use this space to include a few more samples and a few final words. The bottom line is that the images from the Lumia 1020 are astonishing. The detail is unparalleled. Sure, interchangeable lens cameras and DSLRs offering higher fidelity and more flexibility, but the Lumia 1020 is a phone. In the phone universe, there's no better camera available. If you don't want to take our word for it, just click the thumbnails below to see higher-res samples, which are completely unedited.

Lumia 1020 Unedited Images

The downside, of course, is that this huge amount of detail requires a lot of processing. It takes between 1 and 2 seconds for the Lumia 1020 to process each snap, so those who are used to rapid-fire shots on their Android or iOS device will be put off by this. You simply cannot fire off successive shots with the Lumia 1020. You're forced to wait 1-2 seconds between shots, and in the heat of the moment, this is a very real annoyance. Be sure to take this into account; for some, it won't be a big deal. For others, a deal-breaker.

 Battery Life Comparisons with WP Bench
 Details: Search 'WP Bench' in Marketplace

Battery life has historically been an area where Lumia phones haven't stood out. Typically, they've slotted themselves somewhere in the middle of the pack and the Lumia 1020 continues that trend. The 2,000mAh battery is slightly smaller than the 2,100mAh battery situated in the Galaxy S4, while larger than the 1,440mAh battery within the iPhone 5. Notably, it uses the same size battery as the Lumia 920, but we have to wonder if that was a wise decision. With the camera as the focal point, it's to be expected that users are going to be draining the battery in a more serious way. Between having the display on for longer periods (to size up shots) and firing off the 41MP camera, logic would suggest that Nokia should've squeezed a larger battery in here.

That said, we're guessing that Nokia would recommend that heavy camera users invest in the optional camera grip, which adds an external battery pack and a tripod mount. Unfortunately, it's a pricey $79 extra, so you may be better off investing in a universal USB battery pack that can recharge more than just a single model of phone.

In a normal day -- surfing the Web, making a few calls, sending 10 to 20 texts, checking in on Foursquare and just generally keeping tabs on the world -- we managed to squeeze around 12 hours out of the device. This is with quite a bit of screen and data usage, too. Average users should easily get a few more hours out of it. The battery isn't user-replaceable, so you'll need a USB port somewhere to charge it up if you start running low.

We also utilized WP Bench's Battery test, obviously to test the Nokia Lumia 1020's battery life, which keeps the screen on and loops a CPU intensive task in the background. Here, it squeezed out just over three hours, but notably, that's around an hour greater than the Lumia 920.

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