Nokia Lumia 1020: What you need to know

The Lumia 1020 is Nokia's most ambitious product since it started making Windows Phones. Here's everything you need to know.

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Nick Hide
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It has a 41-megapixel camera. Well, that was the shortest ever post on CNET -- I'm off to get a coffee.

Just kidding. The Lumia 1020 is Nokia's most ambitious and exciting product since it started making Windows Phones. In a world of pretty damn samey Android blowers, it's something laudably different.

You can't ignore that mahoosive megapixel count, but Nokia's made so much more of it. We're yet to review the 1020 of course, but from Stephen Elop's engaging presentation yesterday and our own brief hands-on time, it seems like a perfectly balanced camera phone, not more one than the other.

Camera gubbins

Its huge sensor and six-lens optical image stabilisation system are the most sophisticated camera we've seen in a phone. It's chunky for a mobile, but compared to the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom -- really a camera with a phone built in -- it's tiny. It'll be interesting to see how they compare in everyday use, but the S4 Zoom doesn't seem like the kind of thing you're going to want in your trouser pocket all the time.

It has a little LED as well as a more hefty xenon flash, to help focus and illuminate your dingy, disreputable nightlife videos. Image stabilisation is provided by a system of ball bearings, rather than the usual springs, to keep the camera as flat as possible.

That outlandish megapixel count means, essentially, really high quality crops. You can digitally zoom up to 3x and still get a cracking 5-megapixel image -- that's easily big enough for prints, and more than enough for sharing online.

The new Pro Camera settings are where it gets really interesting though, making complex features like manual focus and exposure intuitive. It's easy to make cool pictures with this thing, and that's what Nokia wants people to be excited about.

Other specs

Elsewhere, it's got 4G and has a 4.5-inch 1,280x768-pixel AMOLED screen. That's underwhelming compared to Full HD Android devices such as the Galaxy S4 and HTC One, but in practice you won't be able to see those pixels -- it's as high-res as Apple's retina display.

There's a dual-core 1.5GHz chip inside. Again, it sounds underpowered, but Windows Phone doesn't need any more than that, both in terms of its own limitations and the software available. It fired up the camera and took photos quickly in our hands-on, but that's something we'll be testing in our full review.

On the front there's a 1.2-megapixel wide-angle camera for HD video calls, and inside there's 32GB of storage, with no option to expand. It'll be interesting to see how quickly that fills up with 41-megapixel images. Wireless charging isn't built-in, but cases with that feature will be available.

It'll be available in black, white and that cheery lemon yellow -- if you love Nokia's cool cyan, you'll need to pick another Lumia. We don't yet know if any of those colours will be exclusive to any particular retailer here in Britain.

Price and release date

So when can we get our hands on it, and how much will it cost here in the UK? O2 says it'll be lighting up Blighty "this quarter", which means any time between now and the end of September. Nokia's busy making it right now, and it'll definitely be in the US by the end of July, so hopefully we won't have to wait much longer, if at all.

As for price, there's no UK details yet. It's $300 (£200) plus a monthly contract in the US, so I'd expect it to be at least £500 SIM-free over here. So far O2, Three and Phones 4U have confirmed they'll be flogging it.

What do you make of the Lumia 1020? Is this the photo-blower for you? Does Windows Phone still put you off? Were you hoping for optical zoom? How much would you shell out for it? Give me a snapshot of your thoughts in the comments, or on our optically stabilised Facebook page.