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Nokia Lumia 1020 Review – Pros and Cons

Updated on September 3, 2013

A camera is usually included with a smartphone. Unfortunately, this camera tends to be of inferior quality when compared to most digital cameras. This the reason why some cameras have chosen to include a better camera than what is often found on most smartphones. One of these smartphones is the Nokia Lumia 1020.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 is geared towards those who want or need to have better photos than what is available using a standard smartphone. The camera is therefore the dominant feature on the phone around which everything else revolves. Depending on your needs, this can be both good and bad.

Good: the camera of the Nokia Lumia 1020 can substitute for a digital camera

The most obvious feature of the Nokia that draws immediate attention is of course the camera, which at 41 megapixels may be one of the best, if not the best camera currently available on a smartphone. It's certainly one of the largest in terms of megapixels.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 is meant to take better photos than your usual smartphone and it accomplishes this feat successfully. No, the quality is not comparable to that of a professional DSLR, but it is comparable to the average digital camera that most consumers use.

If you are one of those people who carried a digital camera with them in addition to their smartphone because the smartphone camera didn't meet their standards, then the Nokia Lumia 1020 allows them to leave their digital camera at home without sacrificing photo quality. With the Nokia, you are able to carry a single device that can actually replace a digital camera.


Good: the camera lens of the Nokia Lumia 1020 is made by Carl Zeiss

Unlike most smartphones whose camera lens can sometimes be made by an unknown manufacturer, the Nokia 1020 camera lens is made by Carl Zeiss. This brand is well known for their professional quality lenses in which they have specialized for many decades.

Even for a digital cameras, the presence of a Carl Zeiss lens is a premium feature for which you usually have to pay extra. On the Lumia 1020, it comes included to ensure that photos are of the highest quality without making any compromises as is often done with most smartphone camera lenses.

Good: the camera of the Nokia 1020 comes with optical image stabilization (OIS)

The Nokia Lumia camera comes with optical image stabilization, which is another feature that is more commonly found with more expensive high-end digital cameras. Very rarely do you see this feature included with smartphones.

While it may not be apparent to most people, but the hands tend to shake ever so slightly. This causes the slight blurring of photos, which reduces the sharpness and hence quality of photos. Optical image stabilization of the camera lens compensates for the movements of the hands to increase the sharpness of photos.


Good: the Nokia Lumia 1020 is well designed

The camera is well integrated into the smartphone with just a small protrusion. It would have been better if the camera was completely level to make the phone completely flat. However, it's still well integrated and doesn't look like they just slapped on the camera as is the case with other smartphones.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 also comes with accessories that you can use to get a better grip if you need it. The camera also doesn't have any obvious moving parts. Time will tell, but it looks like it will hold up well under constant use.

Neutral: the camera of the Nokia Lumia 1020 may be more than what most people need

It's not clear if 41 megapixels is really needed. Most smartphones have less than 10 megapixels and not everyone may have a need for such a huge jump. Size of photos in terms of megapixels is not everything and the huge size does take up lots of storage space.

You will have to decide for yourself if 41 megapixels is really needed, but most people will probably find that less is more than enough for their needs. If you do need such a size for cropping or some other use, the Nokia does an admirable job.

Neutral: the internal storage of the Nokia Lumia is not expandable

The Nokia Lumia 1020 does not come with the ability to install a MicroSD card to expand internal storage. The standard version of the Nokia does come with 32 gigabytes. That may seem like a lot, but keep in mind that photos of the Lumia 1020 are huge.

If you need more storage, you will need to use external storage. Fortunately, the Nokia 1020 comes with 7 gigabytes of free cloud storage, which uses the Internet to store data. That's your only option, because there is no way to expand the storage of the Nokia itself.


Bad: the camera of the Nokia Lumia 1020 is slower than usual

The camera seems to need more time to take photos than is usual the case with most smartphones. It may have something to do with the large sensor size. The photos are big, but they also take a lot of time to process. Had they been smaller, the camera would probably need less time and be faster.

It's not a problem if you have plenty of time to take a photo, but it will be a problem in situations where you don't have a lot of time. In that case, the opportunity may have already passed by the time the camera is ready to shoot.

Bad: the Windows Phone operating system of the Nokia 1020 has fewer apps available

The Nokia Lumia 1020 comes with Windows Phone 8 as its operating system, which has much less markets share as compared to Android and iOS. Windows Phone is actually not bad in my opinion. In some ways, it's even better than the two previous operating systems which dominate the market.

For instance, the bigger tiles of Windows are more user friendly than smaller icons because they are easier to press in my opinion. On the other hand, there are far fewer apps available for Windows in comparison to other operating systems.

Many developers of apps tend to release a version only for Android or iOS, which means that you're out of luck if you use Windows on your smartphone. This is a significant weakness of Windows because it limits what you can do with your smartphone.

4 stars for Nokia Lumia 1020

Summary and comparison of the Nokia Lumia 1020 strengths and weaknesses

The Nokia Lumia 1020 is in my opinion a niche product, which is both good and bad. It's only suitable for that segment of the population that requires a better camera than what is usually available with other smartphones.

Most people could probably do without such a camera, which will help them save some money. Besides the camera, the Nokia Lumia 1020 is merely a good smartphone. You can get an equivalent phone that's much cheaper if you don't need the camera. The only reason therefore to buy the Lumia 1020 is for its camera.

However, for those that need it, the Nokia Lumia is an excellent product. It really does take pictures which are a cut above the competition. It's also well designed and feels good in the hand. As long as you need those photos, you won't regret having the Nokia Lumia 1020.


  • very good camera
  • good integrated design
  • lots of features
  • good smartphone


  • limited availability of Windows Phone apps
  • storage expansion only possible through Internet
  • not affordable to everyone

Nokia Lumia 1020 specifications

Smart Phone
Operating System
Windows Phone 8
Dual-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon™ S4
Adreno 225
Band (varies by version)
LTE 800 / 900 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600 - RM-875
LTE 700 / 850 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 - RM-877
HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 - RM-875, RM-877
HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 - RM-876
EDGE/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900
Dimension (H X W X D)
130.4mm x 71.4mm x 10.4mm
About 158g
4.5-inch Multi-Touch AMOLED /w Gorilla Glass 3
LCD Resolution,
HD (1280 X 768, 334 PPI)
Rear camera
41 MP, Optical image stabilization, PureView, Backside-illuminated image sensor, 6-lens optics, High resolution zoom 3x
Carl Zeiss Tessar lens
Sensor size: 1/1.5 inch
Main camera f-number/aperture: f/2.2
Camera focal length: 26.0 mm
Camera minimum focus range: 15.0 cm
Flash type: Xenon flash
Flash operating range: 4.0 m
Full-HD video, 1080p@30fps
Front camera
1.2MP Camera, 720p@30fps
2 Gigabytes (GB)
Flash memory
32GB (Plus 7GB Free Cloud Storage)
Memory card slot
microUSB, USB 2.0, 3.5 earjack
Wireless Connectivity
Bluetooth 3.0, WiFi a/b/g/n, NFC
FM radio
Ambient light sensor, Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyroscope, Proximity sensor, Magnetometer
Lithium-ion 2000mAh


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    Post Comment

    • profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thank you! I'm just trying to give people my own opinion.

    • profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thanks! Samsung also makes good phones.

    • toptengamer profile image

      Brandon Hart 

      5 years ago from The Game

      Solid review. It's good to find someone that posts real pictures.

    • KenDeanAgudo profile image

      Kenneth C Agudo 

      5 years ago from Tiwi, Philippines

      my classmate have phone like this, it was beautiful but i prefer samsung. Your review is great! keep it up


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