Nokia Lumia 920 review

Can the Lumia 920 offer the standout Windows Phone 8 experience?

Nokia Lumia 920 review
Hands on with the flagship Windows Phone 8 handset

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The Nokia Lumia 920 shuns the stock Bing Maps which comes as standard with Windows Phone 8, with the Finnish firm instead installing its own mapping solution on the handset, originally named Nokia Maps.

Nokia Lumia 920 review

Nokia Maps, like Bing Maps, isn't such a fully-fledged offering as the excellent Google Maps, but it's a tried and tested solution which has been developed over the years on Symbian before making the jump to Windows Phone 7, and now WP8.

The Lumia 920 was able to pinpoint our location is just a couple of seconds, while panning and zooming around the maps was a smooth and lag free.

As with Google Maps, you can download sections of the world for offline viewing, however Nokia Maps makes this easier as you can download whole countries at a time, instead of the little squares in Google's version.

Hit the places icon at the bottom of the screen and the Lumia 920 will jump online and search for places of interest near your location, including restaurants, cinemas, museums and theatres.

You can also get directions using Nokia Maps, and there's a free sat nav application in the form of Nokia Drive Beta installed on Lumia 920.

The advantage of Nokia Drive over Google's Navigation offering on Android is that you can download the maps and voice instructions to the handset, removing the need for a data connection while you're travelling along – perfect for those of you who are data conscious.

Nokia Lumia 920 review

We took the Nokia Lumia 920 for a spin to Ikea, (a bit of a Scandinavian love-in), and the sat nav performed well in built up London as well as on the M1, tracking our location and speed accurately.

Nokia is trumpeting its features over the likes of Google Maps, but we prefer the search giant's version. It's got a slicker UI in our opinion, as it's less stark, and it simply has more intuitive features, such as being able to sync content across your phone and web browser.


Nokia Lumia 920 review

As far as apps are concerned on the Nokia Lumia 920 your one-stop-shop is the Windows Phone store, which when compared to Google Play and Apple's App Store struggles to compete.

Being able to purchase music via the store as well as apps and games is a nice benefit, but there's a serious lack of applications, especially if you're used to the vast libraries of over 700,000 on both iOS and Android.

The app store is relatively easy to navigate and there's a search option at the bottom of the screen if you want to jump directly to an app, but as we've said you may be disappointed with the lack of choice.

In terms of pre-installed bloatware Nokia hasn't gone too overboard on the Lumia 920.

Microsoft's Games app is also present on the Lumia 920, giving you access to your Xbox account and the Smart Glass application which allows you to control your console from your phone.

There's also a link to the games section of the Windows Phone store so you can download Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja to get you through that long commute to work.

The Nokia Care app is great for people who are not familiar with Windows Phone 8, as it provides a wide range of tips, tricks and help on using the Lumia 920.

Nokia Lumia 920 review

Simple step by step instructions accompanied by clear images provides easy to digest tutorials which even the most novice of users will be able to understand.

This is something which is certainly needed, as there are no hints on start up on how to customise your experience or go about using the Lumia 920 and the Windows Phone interface.

Nokia City Lens combines the compass, mapping information and camera to provide you with a real time heads up display of points of interest on screen.

Point the Lumia 920 down the road and you'll see what the 8MP camera can on screen, with bubbles on top showing restaurants, museums and other attractions.

Nokia Lumia 920 review

This technology isn't new and we've seen it implemented by other apps and manufacturers, but it's a novel way to explore the local area.

A big draw for those who use their smartphones business is the inclusion of the full version of the mobile Office suite – giving you access to the official Word, Excel and PowerPoint programs on your phone.

Nokia Lumia 920 review

While you can only really make text edits on the phone, graphs, images and tables all display and your work is saved to the cloud, so when you get back on your PC, your hastily made amendments on the train are all there for you to see. Magic.

Microsoft OneNote Mobile also comes installed on the Nokia Lumia 920, allowing you to take notes and make lists, and like the Office documents these can be saved to the cloud, allowing you to access them from your other connected Windows devices.

Kids Corner isn't strictly an app, it's an option housed in the settings menu which lets you set up a separate area on the Lumia 920 specifically for your kids.

You can select the apps you want them to be able to access and lock the main area of the phone so they can't accidentally send an email to your boss or make a long distance call.

Your little one can access their own area by sweeping sideways on the lockscreen, instead of the up motion you use – and away they go, playing Angry Birds and undoubtedly draining your battery.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.