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July 11, 2013

Nokia’s Lumia 1020 sports 41 megapixel camera

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Nokia has unveiled a new handset with a 41 megapixel sensor which it claims can record “details never thought possible from a smartphone”.

It says consumers will be able to zoom in and reframe their photos without worrying about the image quality suffering.

Analysts who have tested the device said that it was “without doubt” the best smartphone camera on the market. But they added that was not a guarantee that it would be a bestseller.

My Question is: Is it a Smartphone with a 41mp camera or, a 41mp camera with a smartphone?

Satellite

Market research firm IDC recently carried out a survey of smartphone owners in 25 countries to identify what factors were most likely to drive future purchases.

The results placed camera resolution 15th on a list of 23 features. Audio quality for voice, battery life, device security and browsing came top of the poll.

Francisco Jeronimo, a mobile phone analyst at IDC said:

“Most people just look at their photos on their smartphone or via a social network on a computer – and for this the other vendors already provide very good quality. Nokia needs to convince consumers that this new handset outperforms others in low-light conditions, otherwise they would only really notice the difference if they zoomed in on the images on a large screen or printed out a poster. It may be the best smartphone out there but I doubt it will be enough to convince many users to jump platform from Android or iOS which accounted for 92% of global shipments in the last quarter.”

The Lumia 1020 marks the second time Nokia has fitted a 41MP sensor to one of its phones.

Last year it launched the Pureview 808 model, but its appeal was limited by the fact it ran the ageing Symbian operating system for which few developers are still writing software. The new handset instead runs on Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform which has more than 160,000 apps.

As well as offering highly detailed photos at up to 38MP resolution, the new phone also uses a process called “oversampling” to combine the pixels of an image into a smaller 5MP version from which it removes unwanted visual noise.

Unlike its predecessor, the Lumia 1020 can save both types at the same time, meaning that the owner does not need to worry about switching settings.

In addition, the handset’s video recording capabilities take advantage of the extra resolution, allowing the user to zoom in four times while recording a 1080p high definition video without losing quality, and six times into a 720p version.

It also adds optical image stabilisation by mounting the lens system on ball-bearings and using a gyroscope and motors to counteract any movement to prevent the problem of camera shake.

Stephen Elop, chief executive of Nokia: “We’ve also made the back the new front”

However, all this comes at a premium price. When it launches in the US it will cost $300 (£198) on top of a two-year contract.

One analyst suggested Nokia wanted the new handset to act as a “halo device”, attracting shoppers to other products in its range.

Ben Wood, chief of research at the CCS Insight consultancy said:

“Nokia is positioning the Lumia 1020 as a flagship product for the next generation of smartphones, Alone it will not transform Nokia’s fortunes but the significant media coverage it will generate centred on its innovative camera technology will be a major boost not only to the Lumia brand but also the Windows Phone platform. Its high price will undoubtedly come under scrutiny and Nokia must carefully manage this, stressing that it is a flagship product that will likely generate relatively modest volumes.”

Nokia’s boast that its device is perfect for users wanting to “shoot first, zoom later” contrasts with the approach taken by other brands.

Meanwhile, HTC introduced what it calls an “ultrapixel” sensor to its flagship One model.

Nokia said the device would go on sale on 26 July in the US, and would launch before September in parts of Europe and China.

Nokia Lumia 1020 at a glance

  • General: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, UMTS 850/900/1900/2100 MHz; HSDPA 42.2 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76Mbps; LTE bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 20 LTE Cat 3 100Mbps down, 50Mbps up
  • Form factor: Touchscreen bar
  • Dimensions: 130.4 x 71.4 x 10.4; 158 g
  • Display: 4.5″ 16M-color WXGA (768 x 1280 pixels) ClearBlack AMOLED capacitive touchscreen; PureMotion HD+, 2.5D sculpted Gorilla glass 3; Super sensitive touch
  • Chipset: 1.5GHz dual-core Krait processor, Adreno 225 GPU, 2GB of RAM
  • OS: Windows Phone 8
  • Memory: 32/64 GB of built-in storage;
  • Still camera: 41 megapixel camera with 6-lens ZEISS optics, OIS, 3x zoom, xenon and LED flashes
  • Video camera: 1080p video recording at 30fps with 2 Rich Recording mics; 1.2MP front-facing camera with 720p video
  • Connectivity: dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, stereo Bluetooth 3.0, standard microUSB port, GPS receiver with A-GPS and GLONASS, HERE Drive+ free worldwide navigation, 3.5mm audio jack, NFC
  • Battery: 2,000mAh
  • Misc: Exclusive Pro Camera app, FM Radio, built-in accelerometer, multi-touch input, proximity sensor; available in Yellow, White or Black
  • Accessories: Grip with built-in 1,020mAh battery and tripod mount, Qi wireless charging cover

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Dave Thornton

Senior Editor

Senior Editor
Been involved in technology for many years, more than I care to remember. Live in Dundee, Scotland. I like Android, Windows Phone OS, BlackBerry OS and iOS, and love writing about all things techie. Currently have a Honor 6+, Elephone P6000, Nexus 5, Chrombook C720, HTC One M7, Nokia Lumina 625, Microsoft Lumia 435, Blackberry Q10, HTC Hero and iPad mini