In a press event yesterday, Nokia launched their first Phablet in their Lumia range here in India. The 1520 features a 6 inch screen with a 20 Megapixel Pureview Camera which also boast of a Rich Audio Recording. More on that a little later in this post.
Here are some quick specs of the Lumia 1520:
Windows Phone 8 with the latest Nokia Black update.
Display: 6” full HD 1080p LCD , ClearBlack, High Brightness Mode, Sunlight readability, Super sensitive touch for glove and nail usage, Gorilla Glass 2
Audio: Rich Recording with four microphones; Wide-band Voice and multi-microphone noise reduction with four microphones; Dolby(R) Headphone, FM radio
The 1520 is quite a slim phone for all the features it packs, especially a beefy 3400 mAh battery, which should give you quite a lot of play time on the device between charges. The device also features Wireless charging capability, so you just need to drop the phone on a wireless charging plate and you’re on charge.
The 1520 comes in four colors – yellow, white, black and glossy red. I played around with the glossy red version of the phone and was immediately in love with it, given that I had a read 920 earlier. The rest of the colors come with a matte finish.
On the camera, well the 1520 follows in the long line of the PureView greats with Ziess Optics, Optical Image Stabilization and the Pureview Oversampling technology to give you great photos during daylight and low light as well.
Apart from the great camera, the 1520 comes with Rich audio recording. An industry first with this device, it with four microphones, which enable the phone to pick up sound from your intended source while you’re recording and the rest of the of the microphones are used to cancel out the other ambient noise to give you great sound from your recorded video.
The Nokia Lumia 1520 is available in stores now at a best buy price of Rs. 46,999. If you are heading to check out the phone, don’t miss checking out the Nokia Protective Cover CP-623 for the Lumia 1520 as well. This should be available in the next few days, which provides flip cover protection for the phone and doubles up as a stand as well. This should retail around Rs. 2999.
A few weeks back we told you that Nokia had some camera tricks up their sleeves for Lumia users through their Refocus app. Well if your phone has been updated to the latest Lumia Amber update, you can head out to the Windows phone store and download the Nokia Refocus app on your phone and start taking pictures.
How the app works is by taking around 3-8 photos at different focus points when you click a snap, and then merges them into a magical snap which you can play with the different focus points later on.So make sure you have your subject close to you before taking a snap and keep your phone steady while the snap is being clicked for best results.
Once you’ve clicked your snap, you can share this with your friends by uploading the snaps and sharing the link. The photo is first uploaded to Skydrive and then to a page on refocus.nokia.com where even your friends can try out different focus points in your photo.
Apart from this feature, Nokia has also bundled a Colour Pop feature which allows you to selectively retain colors in certain areas of your photo and convert the rest to black and white for an artistic twist to the photo.
The Nokia Refocus app is available to all Lumia phones which have a PureView camera. Here are the models for quick reference – Lumia 920, 925, 928, 1020 and 1520. So if you own one of these models, head out to the Windows Phones store and take the app for a spin.
It was about time Nokia brought in something substantial into the mid-range smartphone market and from the very first glance it becomes obvious that Nokia has put in a lot of effort into the Lumia 720. The phone is ruggedly built and feels as solid as every other Nokia.
The Lumia 720 comes packaged with a 1 GHz dual-core Krait CPU but has only 512 MB of RAM on board. This places certain limits, such as not having access to some applications in the Windows Marketplace. But that shouldn’t hold you back from buying one as the Lumia 720 has a lot of nice tricks up its sleeve. The camera for example can be compared to phones one level higher, but more on that later.
Lumia 720 Specifications
Let’s start with some quick specs. The phone comes with a 4.3” ClearBlack IPS LCD display, and runs the latest Windows Phones 8 OS. It is retails at about Rs. 17000.
Connectivity : Quad-band 3G with 21 Mbps HSDPA and 5.7 Mbps HSUPA support
Storage : 8GB of inbuilt storage, expandable up to 32GB via MicroSD card.
Camera : 6.1MP autofocus camera with F/1.9 lens and LED flash, [email protected] video recording
OS : Windows Phone 8
Battery : Non-removable Li-Ion 2000 mAh battery (BP-4GW)
Colors : Glossy White, Red and Matte finish Black, Blue.
What’s in the box
As mentioned, the Lumia 720 is built solidly and borrows its looks from the 920 which works well in its favour. The unibody structure is made of polycarbonate. The phone is 9mm thin and weighs 128g. The phone looks svelte and it gives you a premium feel. The Lumia 720 is available in four colors, White and Red in glossy finish and Black and Blue in matte finish. I prefer the matte finish as its less prone to finger prints and scratches. But hey it’s a personal choice; it actually looks the best in red.
On the right hand side, it has a dedicated Shutter key, power/screen off button and the volume keys. The memory card slot is on the left hand side and it is hot swappable. The phone comes with the industry standard micro USB charging at the bottom, the microphone is also placed here. If there is one thing to complain about then it has to be the bezels, they are too thick on all sides especially at the bottom. It would have been nimble if not for the thick bezels. The phone comes with a 2000mAh battery which should be good for 10h of 3G usage.
Display, User Interface & Handling
The Nokia Lumia 720 comes with a 4.3” ClearBlack IPS LCD display of WVGA resolution with 217ppi, while it may not sound on par with its competitors; the Windows Phones 8 is designed in such a way that the relatively low pixel density doesn’t really show.
Coming to the UI, I have always been a fan of Windows Metro UI and the Lumia 720 doesn’t fail to impress me. The phone comes with windows phone 8.0 out of the box. The Metro UI has come a long way and feels exceptionally smooth on the Lumia 720. The UI isn’t too predictable as its competitors and it might take some time getting used to. But believe me, it’s a very refreshing change. The UI is plain and simple, on click of the unlock button reveals the lock screen. The lock screen can be customized to show updates from any apps, it also displays a mini music player with basic functions. Upon press and hold of volume button on the lock screen, an icon to toggle vibrate and ring mode appears which comes in handy. A nice feature is the ability to change the wallpaper on the lockscreen automatically using apps from the marketplace or certain built-in ones. A swipe from bottom of the lock screen unlocks the phone. The homescreen is a vertical grid of live tiles; WP8 allows for resizing of tiles, an app can be pinned to the homescreen or start menu upon press and hold in the menu. An app tile can be sized to a quarter, normal or a double sized tile. There are options to change the background to either black or white, there also several accent colors to choose from in the settings menu.
The Messaging is pretty basic. The keyboard layout felt a little bit cramped, each key is elongated and as a whole takes up too much space on the screen. I personally would have preferred a wider space for each key and shortened a little bit. The keyboard also provides predictions but they are not quick enough neither are they accurate, you’ll have to wait for a fraction of a second longer than its competitors. Here again, the predictions take up too much space, the font size can be reduced to make more space.
The Lumia 720 comes with free 7GB space on SkyDrive, comes in handy to store or back up any data.
Switching between apps is pretty easy, just press and hold the back button and all the opened apps are revealed in a horizontal manner. However, there is no way to close apps from here; it only provides an interface to switch apps. One has to open the app and press the back button to close it.
The Camera clearly has to be the best part of the Lumia 720. The phone comes with a 6.1 megapixel autofocus camera with super-fast F/1.9 lens. That’s one of the fastest lenses fitted to a phone. The recently announced Lumia EOS comes with a F/2.2 lens to give you a perspective. The result is the images are just right, the colors are perfect and are sharp, and the photos are very pleasant to view on the ClearBlack LCD display. The phone comes with the shutter key on the right hand side which means you don’t have to look for the app, it is always ready.
Nokia seems to be taking their camera modules very seriously. The camera produces very well detailed photos and because of the fast lens nature you might as well get some nice bokeh, which mean it is also good for portrait photography. The Camera comes preloaded with a lot of tweaking; one can change the ISO, the White Balance and even the exposure value. There are also a few pre-defined scenes which can come in handy. There’s option to switch between 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratio. While Nokia smart shoot clicks a series of photos and helps you choose the best one, Nokia Cinemagraph takes small clips and convert them to GIFs.
The fast lens helps in capturing good low light pictures as well, thanks to the focus assist light. Though it might be a little grainy, it’s not a deal breaker and clearly trumps others in its class. Here is link to the comparison with the Nexus 4. The phone is equipped with a lot of photo apps. Nokia Glam Me, takes self-portraits only and as the name suggests polishes the photo with some touches. Further tweaking to the photo is available at the hands of the user. Options to increase the tone, adjust softness, making your eyes look bigger and even whitening your teeth are available. Head to the end of the post for more Camera Samples.
Connectivity and Browser
The Lumia 720 comes packaged with Internet Explorer and the browser is pretty powerful. It took whatever sites I threw at it without a problem. The one thing I would like to complain about is the images on zooming in might appear grainy. The browser was capable of handling HTML5, was also able to play HTML5 embedded videos.
Music Player/ Video Player
Apart from having the usual music player, the Lumia 720 has something called Nokia Music. This is nothing but Nokia’s very own music service and it comes free with the phone. All you need to do is register and then you are provided with unlimited music streaming and free music downloads. The Nokia Music store has a huge collection of songs across various genres. The Nokia Music app also provides you suggestions based on your music history, which is a nice touch. There are a plenty of equalizer presets, one can also define a custom one. When the screen is locked with music playing in the background, on wake a mini widget like music player with controls appears on top of the screen.
Apart from the Nokia Music app, you also get a Music Player which essentially just plays music with the same layout as the Nokia Music. But one thing missing here is an equalizer, so I’d rather stick to Nokia Music. Sadly, there is no FM radio, which comes as a surprise as Nokia doesn’t usually miss such basic features.
The Video Player is pretty powerful, I was able to play DivX, avi, mp4 and full HD movies as well. The layout is pretty minimalistic and doesn’t intervene with the video. You get your basic play/pause, forward and backward controls with a timeline and a full screen toggle button.
Apps/ AppsStore/ Office
The Lumia 720 comes pre-loaded with Microsoft Office, this is very helpful and one doesn’t have to look around for third party apps. This is such a blessing in disguise. Word, Excel and PowerPoint are the apps which are available, and all documents can be synced with SkyDrive for easy access through Desktop and Phone. Editing is allowed only for Word and Excel while only viewing is permitted for PowerPoint files.
Windows Phone Store is slowly catching up with its rivals and it recently crossed the 100,000 mark too. Microsoft claims that most the Top selling apps are available for WP8. It has also the basic apps a sedate user need, while pro users may complain about some powerful apps missing. The phone comes with some very common games preinstalled. Xbox live is the Games Hub rival of Apple Games Center, the user can create a profile and avatars. Xbox Live keeps track of yours and friends’ profile, gaming achievements and avatars.
Another nice feature on WP8 is there is no need for a separate app for Gmail and Facebook. Just add your Gmail/Facebook account through setting menu and voila you are done. All your Facebook News feeds, mails, contacts are synced to the phone. The only drawback is that it’ll take time getting used viewing these as all the details are displayed in WP8 fashion, in black and white Metro style. Another issue is that if you’re a heavy Gmail user who likes a threaded conversation, just be prepared to give this up: the Windows Phone mail app doesn’t work very well with Gmail (or some might say it’s the other way round), and it breaks conversation threading.
The Lumia 720 come pre-loaded with Nokia’s proprietary Here Maps, Bing maps is totally out (which is a really good thing). The Here maps is great and is on par with the industry standard Google Maps, the maps are pretty accurate and I didn’t have any problem finding places of interests. The maps come with four different types of views: Maps, satellite, public transport and traffic. In Bangalore, the public transport gave me only the Metro route. Traffic view, like in Google Maps, gives you a color coded guidance of traffic around your city. Green for smooth flowing, Red for slow and Orange for moderate. One nice feature with I liked is it gives you guides of certain prominent buildings. The building with the guide is highlighted as a transparent building, zoom in and you can it shows you where the lifts, elevators, showrooms and restrooms (very useful feature in a big mall) are located. Click on the building and you can get a floor wise guide of all the facilities in the building.
Nokia Here Drive is a turn by turn navigation app. Sadly it wasn’t working on this device as it is not yet available in India. Supposedly it provides turn by turn voice guided navigation and also provides the same capability offline.
Nokia has struck the right balance with the Lumia 720, it’s solidly built with a great Camera and a refreshing UI. I feel that WP8 has a great potential ahead, it just needs more support from us users. If one can live with the limitations of the apps available, this shouldn’t fail to impress anyone. It’s a great phone for first time buyers; while the funky Red and Blue suits college kids and the Black and white will suit professionals. It could be a very good second phone for those who like to experiment with phones. Solid build quality, great camera and refreshing UI: Put all these together and I say Nokia has got a winner on their hands.
I love getting my News fix throughout the day, when I’ve got a moment to spare. My usual favorites are Flipboard and Zite, but I’m always looking out new ways to discover news instead of just sticking to my standard reading list.
News Republic’s latest version has just been added to my list after more than three weeks of using it. I seem to be favoring it more than Flipboard on my iPad. News Republic has quite a few topic you can follow and get updates on your opening screen. Since it’s a news reading app, it serves it function well, and I won’t go into much details there. I’ll just highlight two of my favorite features of the app.
One of the features I really Like about the app are the list based news viewer, which allows reading of the news item, and give a list of other news on the left side. So instead of flipping through stuff I don’t want to read, I can go directly and select the ones I want to. Saves a lot of time on a hype day, with a lot of sites publishing the same news items, and I really don’t want to read the same thing again and again.
Another feature I really love is the Offline reading capability. Given that my iPad is just the WiFi model, this is a killer feature which downloads news items from my favorite topics and has it ready for my reading pleasure during my commutes to work. To save bandwidth which downloading items offline, I can also choose to not download images.
Personally, I feel that News Republic on the iPad really Rocks! Of course, not all versions of the app are equal. Your mileage will vary on the Android and Windows Phone version, so try them out and see if you like it.
Is photography your passion or hobby? Then check out this latest contest from Nokia & Burton. All you need to do is to submit your photos, taken on any device, and send it to them via their contest website. The theme for the photo is Low Light Urban City or Street Style photography. The Last date for submission is 10th July, so go get clicking!
Check out the details in the email we received from the folks at Nokia Connects:
We wanted to get in touch to let you know about an awesome competition Nokia and Burton are running as we’d love to get you and your community involved!
We’ve partnered with Talenthouse and Dazed & Confused Magazine to give three aspiring photographers the chance to join Nokia’s official AAA team at the 2013 Burton High Fives event in New Zealand. The final winners work will be featured in the September 2013 print issue of the UK’s most influential style magazine, Dazed & Confused.
We’re inviting aspiring photographers across the globe to share a new appreciation of their surroundings by submitting a photo inspired by ‘urban city and street style’, captured in ‘low light’ conditions. 50 finalists will then be chosen to receive the new Nokia Lumia 925 on trial and challenged to upload their low light photos, captured on the device, to their Talenthouse portfolios.
In the good news department, Microsoft is finally working on a newer and better Facebook for Windows Phone. The current version of Facebook on the Windows Phone store is quite antiquated and doesn’t work very well at all. Windows Phone users have been complaining about the app’s bad usability, which is evident in the app reviews on the Windows Phone Store.
Here’s what the Windows Phone Blog has to say about the beta app, “Today we’re launching a new program designed to help speed up delivery of new features in the official Facebook app for Windows Phone and need sharp-eyed, energetic volunteers to download a beta version of our next release and tell us how to make it better.”
The beta app is a major update from the older one, with the “Metro” style UI being discarded for the standard Facebook Timeline UI which is the staple on the major platforms. It also seems more responsive and faster as well. Photos go hi-res, both on the timeline and when you upload. At the same time, I find a few features still missing or not working as expected.
The good part of the beta app is that you can report these anomalies to Microsoft, so they can add or fix features as they progress along with the beta program. To do this, head over to Settings>About and then click on the “send feedback” button to send that in.
Since this is a beta version, there could be issues with the app, so I’d suggest that you install this beta version along the official Facebook app on your phone, and don’t replace it yet. This way you can access Facebook on the official app in case the beta app goes kaput.
Nokia India has introduced a new micro-site called the Switch Hub, which gets you all the information required for you to switch to the Nokia Lumia 920. If you are thinking of getting the Lumia 920, head over to Nokia India’s Switch Hub page, and get all the info you need in the form of Videos tips and you can “Ask Sid” your question to get information about the Lumia 920’s wireless charging capabilities, navigation, entertainment, connectivity and more.
The Switch Hub also allows potential buyers to search for the nearest store to pick up a shiny new Lumia 920 as well. You can also check out their Facebook Page, where you can get more videos and customer testimonials as well.
Finally my favorite Panorama app arrives for Windows Phone 8. I’m a long time Photosynth user, way back when Windows Phone 7 didn’t even exist. In fact most non-iDevice users may not know that Photosynth from Microsoft was first released for the iPhone way before Windows Phone was even released. My complaint last year was that Microsoft was dragging their feet while getting Photosynth for Windows Phone 7 and this year that Photosynth was notably missing from the Windows Phone 8 yet again!
Finally Microsoft has announced that Photosynth is now officially available for WP8 users through the Windows Phone Store. For those of you who haven’t yet tried it or know about the app are advised to first go download it!
The app allows you to create immersive panorama spheres which you can later explore by scrolling both sides and even up and down. It’s almost like being there. The best part is that it’s quite easy to capture the photo. All you need to do is to keep moving your camera around and up and down to capture the entire scene, while the app guides you and auto clicks the scene. Once you’ve captured the entire site, the app stitches up the entire scene allows you to preview it and save it to your phone. You can then share it from there with your friends through Facebook, Twitter and Email. To give you an idea of how the final image comes, here’s one I captured quite a while back with Photosynth.
Do keep in mind that Photosynth like most panorama captures work well when you’re not trying to capture very near by objects, but from a distance.
The Photosynth blog also mentions that the new features for Windows Phone 8 are:
Camera lens integration – Quickly capture and view panoramas by launching Photosynth directly from the built-in camera app
View shared panoramas – View panoramas shared with you via email, Facebook, or Twitter directly on your mobile device
More camera controls – Adjust for various lighting conditions by using new exposure and white balance locking options
One of the first games I tried on my new Nokia Lumia 920 is a game from Microsoft called Wordament. I took it for a spin, just because it was a preloaded game on the phone. Little did I suspect that point that I’d soon be hooked on this game. iOS users can also enjoy this game, since it’s available on iTunes as well.
Wordament is a simple enough game to start off with. You are presented with a 4 by 4 grid of alphabet tiles and you have to find words by sliding your fingers over letters which are adjacent to each other. Check the image below to see how the Game tiles look. Just moving your fingers over the letters PARING, selects and adds the word to the your list of words which you found.
Oh. Did I mention yet that you have just Two minutes to find as many words as you can? Wordament is also a real-time game which means players around the world are competing to find as many words as they can within that two minute time window. It’s quite easy to find around 10-15 words per game, but then that’s below par, since most of the times have upwards of 200 words which you can find with in the grid, some of the being real obscure words as well.
As soon as the time is up, you can then look at how many words you found, and how many you missed out on and tapping on the words in the list of words you didn’t find, shows you how you could have made those words on the grid. After that, you are taken to the word score screen, where the app shows you where you stand among all the other players online.
Being a Microsoft Xbox game, you can also sign in with your Xbox creds both on the Windows Phone and iOS versions of the app and have your achievements uploaded to your XBox account. It’s also free, so if you have a few minutes to spare, go get it. Fingers crossed that you don’t get addicted to the game like I did. Download links are available for Windows Phone and iOS right after a few tips to help you score better.
Wordament Tips for Scoring:
Just playing the game straight up may not help you get the best of scores, or the number of words you can find. Here are a few tips to help you score better and come higher up on the world ranking:
Check the top of the tiles to see if there are any “Themes” for the game. Finding words based on those themes get you extra points.
If you get to a point where you can seem to find any more words, touch the rotate icon at the botton right of the screen to rotate the tiles. Believe me this helps finding those extra words you missed out on.
Two minutes is not a lot of time. Once you are immersed in the game, you’ll find yourself easily running out of time, so lock in those finds as soon as possible.
Words with uncommon letters like (U,W,X, Z, Y) get you more points, so try finding as many words with these letters as you can.
Find plurals of the words. In the grid above – RAT, RATS, RATE, RATES are all scoring words so get them all!
If you have more tips on how to score better on Wordament, do let us know by leaving a comment.
The long wait for the Nokia Lumia 920 in India is almost over. It looks like Mobigyaan has published a screenshot of what is supposedly a chat with a Nokia Customer Care Executive who’s mentioned that the Nokia Lumia 920 and the 820 is to be launched in India on the 11th of January, just a few days away.
We’ve also got an invite for an event on the 10th of January, which doesn’t spell out what it’s supposed to be, but the title of the invite – “Are you ready to Switch” does drop a strong hint. Putting two and two together, there’s a very strong possibility of the Indian launch happening this week. Let’s see if their new range of Lumia phones running on Windows Phone 8 can take help them gain their Indian marketshare.