The big picture: Nokia launches the Lumia 1020, with 41MP camera, $299 on contract

In February 2012, Nokia surprised the tech world with the announcement of the 808 PureView, a handset featuring an incredible camera with a 41-megapixel sensor. What was perhaps even more surprising was that the device ran Symbian, rather than the Windows Phone OS that the company had already launched on its first Lumia handsets. 

Fast forward almost a year to January 2013, when the first solid rumour emerged of a Lumia Windows Phone in development featuring a 41MP camera. It's been a long wait since then - and a torturous one too, with a seemingly endless stream of leaks and hearsay fuelling expectations. Today, that wait is over, as Nokia has officially unveiled the device: the Lumia 1020. 

It features a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 Krait processor, also found in the company’s Lumia 820 and 92x family, along with 2GB of RAM – the most of any Windows Phone so far. Users will get 32GB of onboard storage, although you won’t be able to expand that, given the absence of a microSD card slot.

Up-front, you’ll find a 4.5” AMOLED display, with WXGA (1280x768px resolution) – apparently the same unit found on the Lumia 925 – protected by Gorilla Glass 3. Unlike the 925, which uses an aluminium frame in its construction, the 1020 takes after the Lumia 920 with a one-piece slab of polycarbonate bodywork; as we’ve seen in the past, the 920 can take a pretty serious beating, and we’d hope that the 1020 is similarly robust.

At 10.4mm-thick at its thickest point (the camera bump), the 1020 is very slightly slimmer than the 920, but it’s also a good deal lighter at 158g, versus the 920’s 185g. It would have been thicker and heavier, were it not for the exclusion of integrated wireless charging, which is still available through an optional charging cover that snaps onto the back of the handset. Elop said that the company remains "totally committed" to wireless charging.

The star attraction is, of course, the PureView camera with a 41MP sensor and Nokia’s optical image stabilisation (OIS) technology, designed to reduce the effect of shaky hands when taking photos or recording video. The camera features 6 lenses, along with a Xenon flash for photography, and an LED flash for capturing video. 

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop showed a photo that he'd taken of two people jumping, with a Samsung Galaxy S4 and Apple iPhone 5; with the Xenon flash, he showed that the 1020 was able to 'freeze' the image, taking a much clearer photo. 

The camera can capture full-resolution 38MP (in 4:3 aspect ratio) and 34MP (16:9) images, simultaneously snapping a smaller 'over-sampled' 5MP picture with seven pixels crammed into a single ‘super-pixel’ that contains all of the detail of the full-resolution image condensed into an image with a much smaller file size.

The camera also features second-generation OIS, completely re-engineered over the previous version. Nokia says this more or less guarantees "blur-free" photos, and the same technology has now been extended to provide greatly improved stabilisation in video capture. The device also includes high-quality microphones to record 'rich audio' in video recordings. 

The company claims that it has 'reinvented zoom', allowing users to see more in their photos than their eyes can see, with the ability to zoom in closer than on any device without a loss of detail. "Shoot first, zoom later" says Elop, to "create a new story from the same image". 

In a further demo, the camera was used to literally find a needle in a haystack, zooming in to find the needle, and view it in remarkable detail. 

The camera also includes the facility to adjust a broader range of camera settings, such as changing the focal point - and viewing a live preview of that before you take the image - as well as the ability to take long-exposure shots. 

Nokia is also inviting developers to embrace its new imaging SDK to help them to take advantage of the new capabilities in the Lumia 1020, in tandem with the APIs featured in the Windows Phone 8 platform.

Underlining the photography focus of the Lumia 1020, Nokia is launching a ‘Camera Grip’ accessory designed for the device, to make the imaging experience more complete. The unit features a broader, more ergonomic grip, with a two-stage camera button, as well as a universal tripod-mount. Most interesting about this accessory is that it includes its own 1020mAh battery, designed to augment the battery life of the handset when using its camera for extended periods. 

The Lumia 1020 will be available in three colours - black, white and yellow - and will go on sale on in the United States on 26 July for $299.99 with a two-year contract. Pre-orders begin on July 16. 

Elop called AT&T "a remarkably important partner" for Nokia. AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega said that the Lumia 1020 "sets a new bar" for other devices to aspire to. He said that he had been using the device for some time, and anyone that had seen the photos that he'd taken with it had immediately said "wow!". He also confirmed that AT&T will exclusively offer the device in the US.

The handset will launch "this quarter" (by the end of September, then) in China and selected European markets, with a rollout beyond to other regions this year. As we reported earlier today, a 64GB version will be exclusively launched on Telefónica networks in Europe and Latin America. The Camera Grip will go on sale for $79 in the United States, with pricing for the handset and accessories in other markets yet to be announced.

Images via Nokia

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Is there a way to be able to revert to the default Windows Phone camera when you click the camera hardware button? A bit disappointed how there's no option to have a direct Bing Maps app because Nokia Maps was put there instead.

Thanks. I was aware of that, as I see Bing Maps comes up with Local Scout and from Bing searches, but wished that Windows Phone itself would have allowed you to pick the default mapping app (though Nokia Maps is great too), instead of relying on a third party app.

Wasn't sure if this would be another case where Nokia overrides the WP's functionality without a way to switch to the original WP version.

I love this phone, though I feel the Lumias are quickly getting fragmented, mainly by the U.S carriers. I have the Lumia 810 which was a T-Mobile exclusive. This is no longer available, but the 520 is. I just got word that the new metal 925 will be here this month which we already have the 928 here in the U.S. What I would hope is that we stop with this exclusivity. The 1020 is an amazing phone, It would be awesome if Nokia could just release 2 versions of each. Lets say the 1020 as the Polycarbonate shell version and the 1025 as the metal version. Because of this exclusivity its really hard to plan ahead as I planned to get the 925, but now wonder if the 1020 variant will eventually come to Tmobile.

Yes it is annoying (I have the 810 myself, but plan to use it for a long time since we bought it before they had the firesale ), but Nokia doesn't have the leverage over American operators as Apple and Samsung do. They have to do these things it seems.

Clever Nokia features a 41MP camera providing only 32GB internal storage and no sd card expansion. May be a 100-photos album pleases everyone well, eh?

I want to thank MS and Nokia for making it easy for me to get an htc one. After going through r 920's, one of which I still have, due to crashing and Bluetooth audio issues, they announce one phone exclusive to ATT who doesn't give a shot about them and charge $299? What an epic fail.
I have supported WP since 7, hoping they would release hi end phones and come out with one app inparticular, a credit card reader nd app like Squareup. Let me get this straight one phone, high priced, one carrier, are you ducking kidding me? Didn't you learn anything from Google? You have to flood the market, sell lots of phones then gain marketable TO GET THE friggin APPS, to flood the market , sell lost of phones to get....
Anyway, I have 2 more upgrades, we will see where WP is at by Xmas. I have a feeling they will be in the exact some place no full featured phones barely a market share and no productivity apps that actually help run a business. Don't worry I love windows 8 and that's not going any where, its just now I have to copy and paste all my music from Xbox music over to the one...
I'm out.

1. Only 1 of Nokia's phones is on AT&T, the others are on Verizon and T-Mobile. This may even make it to other carriers. But that's just the way life is in America, carriers and locking. No other country deals with this bull****.

2. High priced? What the **** do you expect for a phone with this amount of technology in it? $50 on contract?

3. This is just ONE windows phone. There's the much cheaper 520, 620, 720s. The mid end 820 and then the high end 900-1000 series. And that's just from Nokia. Then there's HTC, Samsung, etc.

4. No full featured phones? What? No productivity apps? What? Office and upcoming VPN support aren't productivity?

5. And you bought an HTC one? Good job for buying a phone from a company that just announced that a one year old phone will stop being supported. Good to see them learning from their past mistakes

Microsoft really screwing Nokia by not supporting current generation of processors and higher screen resolutions.

There should be a name for getting screwed by MS like Scroogled

I realize it has a great camera, but that hump looks pretty bad... I'd wait until Nokia manages to bring it down.

It's not just a nipple like the 925, it's an areola!

But yes, it's a nice camera with a lot of tech stuffed in there. If they could have made it flat, they would. I really want to try this phone out. Too bad it releases the day I get back from vacation.

This is a terrible looking phone. I don't know what Nokia were thinking designing this monstrosity it looks like a cheap one use holiday camera from 1998.
Who on earth wants a phone with a gigantic end to it. My god, I was thinking about buying Nokia stock a few months ago due to the low cost but I am GLAD I did not today.
May as well write Kodak on the front.
(happy 920 owner here)

Good thing your not a stock broker, b/c their stock went up even more. This phone is an amazing feat of engineering, and it shows. Also, that 'bump' is very small for being a 41 MP camera.

I don't give a tuck great camera but no one will see picks because no social site supports that high of a rest.
The camera is great the phone is good and the o's is in real danger of falling off the map. If it wasn't for all the android money it would...this phone will be a fail compared to the other flagship phones. It funny because this phone is just another 920 knock off.

londan said,
My god, I was thinking about buying Nokia stock a few months ago due to the low cost but I am GLAD I did not today.
Dumb.. Stock went up quite a bot since yesterday.. It's well inside $4 territory again so you would probably have made a handsome profit (as it would seem you'd be one to sell as soon as there's any sign of a profit)

liju said,
That's an optional camera grip case on the back. 1020 is thinner than a 920.

I doubt if the 1020 is still thinner with his shell, I doubt the connection is firm enough. I completely agree its looking s**k, I would be stopped for that reason alone, but I find a lot of points making the phone even more unacceptable(for me).

Why are you fixated on an optional accessory? 1020 at its thickest point is still thinner than a 920. You're saying it looks bad? Yeah Ok whatever floats your boat man.

Maybe your idea of a cameraphone is that crappy, inferior monstrosity called Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom.

I can't say i admire your taste. I wonder how you find this 1020 beautiful. Ok i'm wrong about the thickness, it's not a thicker one but it is a thick one. And the design of the patch on the back of the phone looks foreign for me. I also am stucked by the storage. No expansions. 41 MP photos may take up to 12.3 Mb's room each, (my 12mp xperia z's photo takes 3.6mb). The 32Gb looks small. But leave the looking and the os alone, which are mostly about personal tastes, the camera itself is awesome.

full res images are about 10MB, so unless you plan on keeping hundreds and hundreds of those on the phone there won't be an issue.

So stop crying.

To be fair I didn't know it was an optional grip.
I'd highly recommend Nokia only publish those pictures of it in photography magazines.

Well, it is quite clearly explained in the paragraph below the image;

"Underlining the photography focus of the Lumia 1020, Nokia is launching a ‘Camera Grip' accessory designed for the device, to make the imaging experience more complete. The unit features a broader, more ergonomic grip, with a two-stage camera button, as well as a universal tripod-mount. Most interesting about this accessory is that it includes its own 1020mAh battery, designed to augment the battery life of the handset when using its camera for extended periods."

Plus the fact this is generally very obviously and clearly explained and advertised. So it's more a matter of you jumping the gun here.

Can you clarify that? Why....just because the android makers continue to put unrealistic specs in a phone for no reason doesn't mean that it is a joke. I still can't fathom why we need a 8 core, 8gb ram, 128gb hd, 4000mAh phone. If the phone and os is optimized to use the 2000 mAh battery properly then that should be fine.

Real life Battery life is the most important thing, most phones can survive a full days heavy usage. All of them really need charged once a day.

Exactly. Properly configure the hardware and optimize the software to use the battery correctly. When that is done then the battery should last all day using all of the available features.

We don't need this in cars or computers either. If you call a phone a flagship most of it needs to be cutting edge.....this is a camera with an old phone.

2 Things -

1)They excluded the wireless charging because it would be thicker and heavier? I don't doubt that, but I highly doubt it would have increased it enough to make a noticeable difference. If other devices can cram it into such a small space, why does Nokia have such a hard time?

2) Exclusive to AT&T, dumb, dumb, dumb

Like the vast number of iPhone users care about that. No idea 32GB is not enough when you also have much more on SkyDrive if you really need it

LightEco said,
1)They excluded the wireless charging because it would be thicker and heavier?
2) Exclusive to AT&T, dumb, dumb, dumb
1/ Personally they decides to go with optional because once Apple decides to put wireless charging in their phone they either go with their own patented design/tech (which Nokia can also use as they have a mutual agreement with Apple) or they use something no one else uses just to **** everyone off.. Obviously the world at large will then adopt the iCharge format/tech and Nokia can then release a compatible shell just like that..

2/ Without AT&T there would not be WP in the US and I have no doubt Nokia signed a deal for AT&T to get exclusivity on flagships devices and in return AT&T will order a minimum amount of devices which will give Nokia room to release worldwide.

ir0nw0lf said,
3) No microSD slot. Bad bad bad. Instant show stopper for lots of people.

You can just set your photos to auto-upload to Skyrim and you're all set.

Dot Matrix said,

Skyrim is a cloud service now?

Sorry, you know I meant Skydrive. I was probably too excited about the Steam sale when I wrote that.

No MicroSD is indeed a deal breaker for me as well. Such an easy thing to include, I suspect trying to once again push consumers towards the cloud. Beyond stupid. Overall a very nice device, which will no instantly be dismissed by a large chunk of possible buyers.

Hahaiah said,
No MicroSD is indeed a deal breaker for me as well. Such an easy thing to include, I suspect trying to once again push consumers towards the cloud. Beyond stupid. Overall a very nice device, which will no instantly be dismissed by a large chunk of possible buyers.

Compared to the cloud, SD slots are a breaking point, though. They can break, get lost/stolen, stop working, collect dust, etc.

Don't find that a convincing argument in any way shape or form. You could always not use the SD slot if you're that clumsy or unlucky.

King Mustard said,
Xenon, yes! Oh how I've hated LED flash for the years it's been in dominance.

Even my Lumia 800 has Xenon flash - kind of standard since N-Series.

So what is the news on Windows Phone 8.1? Will it be out sometime this year? I want to make the switch but after playing around with a Lumia 920 I couldn't see myself using it because it lacks a lot of the basic features that iOS has. Not to mention the lack of apps, but that is a story for another day.

Liking the sound of this its just.. the ecosystem. What good is 41 mega pixels if I can't upload my food photos to instagram? ._.

Joswin said,
Liking the sound of this its just.. the ecosystem. What good is 41 mega pixels if I can't upload my food photos to instagram? ._.

Well, it's an Instagram problem that Instagram doesn't allow high resolution images to be uploaded.

Joswin said,
Liking the sound of this its just.. the ecosystem. What good is 41 mega pixels if I can't upload my food photos to instagram? ._.

There's a app on the Windows Phone called Instance. It's really good!

The live demos they did were good, really did well to show the abilities it has along with the sample images and videos they showed.

Well - that is the name of the new generation of Nokia phones equipped with Windows Phone but its not to bad to make the word lumia standing for phones - better people talk about lumia than to talk about 520 925 and 1020