The Nokia Lumia 920 is a great phone, but it’s plenty big. Many will find it just too much to handle. Of course, that’s the trend with many phones today. The Samsung Galaxy S4 has a 5in screen but, because it’s slimmer from front to back, feels easier to hold than the 920, which only has a 4.5in display.
Well, Nokia must have been listening because it’s come up with a lighter, slimmer Lumia that does everything the 920 does and more, but in less space.
The Lumia 920 is built from polycarbonate (or plastic, as we call it) which means it’s warm to the touch, pleasing to look at and in Nokia’s hands is produced in a bunch of bright colours. But to be solid and strong it tends towards the chunky.
So Nokia’s designers have plumped for an aluminium chassis which offers greater strength but at a much lighter weight. This means that the polycarbonate plate on the back of the phone can be thinner. So the new phone is several millimetres thinner than its predecessor, so much so that the camera is no longer flush with the phone. Since there’s a limit how much you can alter the distance between lens and sensor, the new phone’s profile is too thin to make the lens fit, hence the bulge.
The phone feels fantastic, and the protruding lens is scarcely an issue. It feels much more manageable and is a pleasure to hold. The metal edges are pleasingly tactile. This contains the phone’s antenna – a system that caused Apple some problems when it launched the iPhone 4 but which Nokia says isn’t a worry here.
The screen is all-new. The same size and resolution as last time around but instead of LCD this is Advanced Matrix OLED, which makes it bright and super-vivid. Combined with Nokia’s Clear Black Display technology it means the phone’s screen is easier to read in bright sunlight than many rivals and has a wider viewing angle so you can watch the screen with a friend. AMOLED is also thinner than some LCD screens, so there’s bulk saved there, too.
The Windows Phone software benefits from AMOLED especially because its design is based around lots of black areas – deeper, contrastier blacks are a strength of AMOLED.
Wireless charging was a headline feature on the 920 but there was no room for it this time round. You can clamp a plastic case with a charging coil in it onto the back, but this is an inelegant solution.
Since the processor and active memory are unchanged from last time, the performance should be the same as before – we’ll review it next month before it hits the shops. But this new version is the most appealing Lumia smartphone yet, and is likely to appeal to a wider audience.