Nokia Lumia Icon Review: Verizon's WP8 Flagship

Introduction & Specifications

If you want the latest and greatest Nokia-built Windows Phone phone, and you’re an AT&T customer, the Lumia 1520 is a beast of a smartphone, but it’s not available to Verizon customers. Instead, Verizon offers the newer, and arguably more refined, Nokia Lumia Icon, which has nearly all of the same internal specifications as the 1520, but with a few key differences.

The most obvious difference is the size; the 5-inch Lumia Icon is a sizeable smartphone whereas at 6 inches, the Lumia 1520 falls squarely into the phablet category, occupied by devices like the Galaxy Note III. The 1520 also has a larger battery (which makes sense given the larger display), a 2-stage capture key on the rear camera, and a microSD card slot.

Otherwise, under the hood the two devices are quite similar--they are both powered by the same SoC, have similar amounts of RAM, and feature the same base OS. Today we’re going to dive deep into the Icon to see what the latest and greatest Windows Phone (for Verizon) has to offer. (Spoiler alert: It offers a whole lot.)

Nokia Lumia Icon
Specifications & Features

Camera & Multimedia:





Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (quad-core, 2.2GHz)
32GB storage
7GB free cloud storage
Windows Phone 8
5-inch full HD
Rear: 20MP PureView with ZEISS optics, dual LED flash
Front: 1.2MP 720p HD
Internet/FM radio
LTE network bands 4, 13
WCDMA network: 900 MHz, 1900 MHz, 2100 MHz, 850 MHz
CDMA network bands: BC0, BC1
GSM network: 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 1900 MHz
802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi
Bluetooth 4.0
Cellular and Wi-Fi network positioning
137x71x9.8mm (HxWxD)
2420 mAh
Standy: Up to 18 days
Talk time: Up to 16.4 hours
Verizon Wireless
$199 w/2-year contract ($149.99 from Amazon)
Office apps: Excel, Word, Powerpoint, OneNote
Touch UI
Xbox Live Hub
IE 10
HERE Drive+, HERE Maps, HERE Transit
Nokia Camera
Creative Studio
Nokia Storyteller
Nokia MixRadio
Xbox Music
Nokia Beamer 

The Icon's 5-inch display is full HD (1920x1080) with 24-bit True Color support and a 16:9 aspect ratio. The screen also features beautiful beveled glass edges, which give it a nice look and feel. The back of the device has a similar gentle curve to it that feels nice in the hand.

Under the hood, the LTE-equipped Lumia Icon rocks a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (2.2 GHz) chip along with 2GB of RAM, 32GB of onboard memory, and 7GB of free cloud storage. (It lacks a microSD card slot for additional storage, though.)

The 1.2MP HD front camera offers a resolution of 1280x960 which is solid enough for video chatting, but not much else. The rear camera, however, is a 20MP PureView affair with Zeiss optics, 2x zoom, a 1/2.5-inch sensor, a focal length of 26mm, and dual LED flash. It also supports an aperture of f/2.4 and up to ISO 4000. We’ll explore the camera and its software in greater detail in subsequent pages.

Nokia is high on the Lumia Icon’s video and audio capabilities, and to that end the phone has a high-resolution display, Dolby Headphone signal processing technology, onboard EQ, and four microphones for better sound capture and noise cancelation.

The Lumia Icon has a volume rocker, the power/lock key, and a dedicated camera key on its right side, and the 3.5mm audio jack is on top. There’s of course a microUSB port on the bottom for the charging / sync cable, although the phone does come packing Qi wireless charging support as well.

The 2420 mAh battery purports to offer 18 days of standby time, or 16.4 hours of talk time over 3G, 75 hours of music, 9 hours of video playback, or 6.8 hours of network web browsing. For connectivity, there’s 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and NFC, and the device offers GPS and cellular/WiFi positioning for navigating. On the software side of navigation, the phone comes with Nokia HERE Maps, Drive+, and Transit.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of software, which we’ll explore next.

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