Business, Hardware

Nokia Lumia 1020: Latest and Best in the PureView Line

Leaks had absolutely no mercy on this unit, but Nokia still managed to reveal some features that will surely surprise someone who hasn?t followed tech-related media recently. At a small event in New York City, Nokia officially unveiled their latest device in the PureView line, a kind of successor to the 808 PureView when it comes to raw camera features.

Lumia 1020 packs in two independently evolved branches of the PureView technology, with one (oversampling) found in their Symbian unit 808 PureView and the other one (optical image stabilization) being present in their Lumia 92x line of products. Both branches were developed with having best possible photo results on a mobile device, according to the company. However, none of these earlier branches are actually identical to what is wrapped inside the 1020. For instance, OIS system in the latest PureView actually has to use miniature ball bearings and motors in order to stabilize the heavy 6-element ZEISS lens during long exposures and video recording. Sharp eye will also notice the recent rebranding of the well-respected lens manufacturer.

Nokia Lumia 1020

It is almost too easy to forget that this smartphone contains a 41MP imaging monster given how slim (and Lumia 920-alike) the whole device appears to be, though it is worth having in mind it got squeezed a bit, when compared to the 808 PureView. Yes, innards behind the lens system do not contain the same 1/1.2? sensor found in the first PureView device but a 1/1.5? sized unit. With it, pixel size has shrunk to 1.1 microns (from 1.4 in 808), but aside from that the sensor itself received a range of upgrades ? it is now of a BSI (Back Side Illumination, for better low-light snaps) type and it uses a newly developed white balance technology. One can read more on the tech involved in the official white paper document (.pdf format).

Lumia 1020 Image Sample
1/25 sec, ISO 400, original resolution 7712×4352. Full image samples available on the link.

At the end, all of this serves to capture 34MP or 38MP image files (or lossless zoom 1080p video) at 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios respectively. Of course, what users might want to use is the oversampling ? for instance at 5MP, where every single pixel in that image will be created using up to data from seven pixels of the sensor. Logically (and with some neat algorithms involved), resulting images will be sharper and with less noise. Once the device gets in our hands, we will surely compare the image quality in detail and in various conditions. As the 808 was a true multimedia monster of a device, it is worth noting that the 1020 isn?t coming short ? as it also includes the HAAC recording technology, which was a part of a recent dispute with HTC:

Aside from the big thing when it comes to hardware, there is one on the software side of the Lumia 1020 as well – manual camera control. To put it mildly, it is outstanding, with all of the options available in a simple circular interface overlay: white balance, ISO, exposure compensation, manual exposure settings many 808 owners always wanted to have and a manual focusing touchscreen ring, which could be used for some proper artsy shots and videos.

When Nokia first launched the 808 PureView, it was clear to many that it is merely a test bed for what will come at some point in the future. It was a true niche product. Will Lumia 1020 be a success remains to be seen, but it might seem a proper choice for camera-savvy users. At the very end of July, unit will appear on AT&T shelves priced at $299 on a 2-year contract.

Full specifications 

Networks: GSM: 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 1900 MHz, WCDMA: 2100 MHz, 1900 MHz, 850 MHz, 900 MHz, LTE network bands: 1, 3, 7, 20, 8

Display: 4.5? AMOLED WXGA (1280×768), 2.5 D sculpted Corning Gorilla 3 Glass, ClearBlack, high brightness mode, sunlight readability, super sensitive touch

Battery: 2000 mAh battery, wireless charging supported via cover

Processor: 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon 

Main camera: PureView 41-megapixel with optical image stabilization, Resolution: 7712 x 5360. Includes Nokia Pro Camera. Xenon flash for still images, LED flash for video

Front facing camera: HD 1.2-megapixel wide angle

Memory: 2GB RAM, 32GB internal memory; 7GB free SkyDrive cloud storage

I/O USB2.0, BT 3.0, NFC with SIM based security, WLAN a/b/g/n, A-GPS and Glonass, 3.5 mm audio connector

Size/weight 130.4 x 71.4 x 10.4mm, Weight: 158g

Camera Grip
Optional Camera Grip accessory adds 1020mAh of battery juice and ability to mount the unit on a standard tripod