The Nokia Lumia Icon, the latest Windows phone, has a lot to offer in both hardware and software. But the biggest lure of this phone may be its 20-megapixel camera and brilliant screen so you can take great photos and show them off to others.
Nokia has long had a reputation for building quality phones and the Icon falls squarely into the quality category. The phone feels solid, the back is curved yet the edges are squared off. The curved back of the phone is covered in a plastic with a matted finish while the sides of the phone are metal. The phone weighs in at 167g/5.9oz. While the phone isn’t heavy, it does have heft in your hand.
The phone comes with 32GB of storage but without an SD card slot to expand the storage. With all of the photos you’ll probably be taking with this phone you may be using up more space than you anticipate. The good news is that you can use Microsoft OneDrive for cloud storage to store your photos and save space on your phone.
The powerful processor means that the phone operates swiftly, without stuttering or lagging. Windows and apps open smoothly and respond to touch commands instantly, which should satisfy both casual users and avid gamers.
The right side of the phone has three buttons: a volume rocker, a power on/off button and a camera shutter button. Although each is a different size, you would easily be forgiven for mistaking one for the other two.
The phone also comes with four microphones, positioned at the bottom and back of the phone, for better sound on phone calls and audio recordings.
One of the most remarkable features of this phone is the bright and vivid screen. The 5″ full HD screen displays images in stunning clarity. As the camera is another leading feature of the Icon, the screen will probably be put to good use in displaying your photos and videos.
The glass of the screen extends nearly to the edge of the phone, which maximizes your viewing real estate. The screen is made from Gorilla Glass, an especially durable material that resists scratches.
The Icon runs Window Phone 8, complete with Live Tiles on your home screen, giving you updates from an app without you having to open it. You can get information such as weather, email messages, maps, calendar appointments in Live Tiles. You can also see a slide show in your Photos Live Tile.
Due to the large screen size of the Icon, Live Tiles are arranged in three columns so you can view more tiles on your screen than with smaller Windows phones.
You can rearrange tiles by holding them down and then sliding them to where you want them to be. You can also resize tiles to make them bigger or smaller. The smallest tiles are quite small and aren’t Live (though I wouldn’t call them “dead” either). You can also delete tiles from your home screen.
You can search through all of your apps by swiping your home screen to the left to reveal a list of apps in alphabetical order.
Apps continue to be the Achilles’ heel for Windows Phone however. The app selection in the Windows Phone App Store is growing but isn’t nearly as robust as the iTunes App Store or Google Play. Make sure your “must have” apps are available for Windows Phone when you consider this phone.
The Icon comes with a 20MP rear camera and a 1.2MP front camera. The rear camera, with Nokia’s PureView technology, has advanced lenses and image processing to optimize photos and video in a wide range of conditions. Serious photographers can control camera settings such as flash, exposure, white balance, ISO, and shutter speed. Those who want a point-and-shoot experience can easily snap photos while letting the camera do the work of figuring out the optimal settings. A handy tutorial within the Nokia camera app can guide you through the more advanced features of the phone.
Here are some photos I took using the Icon without adjusting any camera settings:
The camera comes with a dual LED flash for better indoor and low light shots. Apps such as Nokia Cinemagraph, Nokia Panorama, Nokia StoryTeller, Creative Studio and Nike Pro Cam are pre-loaded onto the phone to help you make the most of your photos.
The Icon comes with MixRadio, a service from Nokia similar to Spotify that lets you listen to music mixes created by Nokia along with SPIN, Brooklyn Vegan, and SXSW. The service is free for Nokia Lumia phone owners, without having to sign up for an account. MixRadio has no ads and lets you store up to 12 hours of music so you can listen even when you’re offline. You can pause and fast forward songs and pin your favorite mixes to your home screen.
The Icon’s stated battery life from Nokia is:
Maximum standby time: 18 days
Maximum talk time (3G): 16.4 h
Maximum music playback time: 75 h
Maximum video playback time: 9 h
Maximum cellular network browsing time: 6.8 h
Maximum Wi-Fi network browsing time: 9.2 h
The battery is not removable but the Icon does offer built-in wireless charging. The Icon’s battery performed well for me, lasting throughout the entire day with charge to spare, even after heavy use.
The Nokia Lumia Icon is available in black or white, from:
- Verizon for $199.99 with a two-year contract or $549.99 without a contract
- Amazon for prices ranging from $149.99 to $599.00.
What do you think of the Nokia Lumia Icon? Are you looking for a phone that has a quality camera? Do you like the idea of Live Tiles? Are you willing to forego some apps to use Windows Phone 8? Let us know in the Comments section below!