VIDEO & PHOTOS: First look at the Nokia Lumia 820 & 920

Just a few minutes ago in New York, Nokia lifted the curtain on their first Windows Phone 8 devices, the Lumia 820 and Lumia 920. They’re fast, beautiful, and packed with new tech – and I’ve been lucky enough to work and play with them both for the last few days. 

The smaller of the two devices is the 4.3” 820. It’s a very natural evolution of the great design language that Nokia kicked off with the Lumia 800 (rugged but beautiful polycarbonate) and with the Lumia 710 (interchangeable backplates). Inside is an improved 8MP Carl Zeiss camera alongside a dual-core Snapdragon processor and 8GB of storage, and the display uses the same ClearBlack technology as the Lumia 900 and Lumia 800. The interchangeable backplates are what stand out for me with this phone; you can get them in seven colors (white, black, red, yellow, cyan, purple, grey), and there’s an option to add an accessory backplate that adds wireless charging. Just snap it on, drop it on a charging station, and you’re ready to roll. Pretty awesome.

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The bigger of the two phones, and the one that I’ve been spending most of my time with is the Lumia 920. It’s a big phone with a 4.5” WXGA (i.e., better than 720p) display that uses Nokia’s new PureMotion HD+ screen tech. It’s twice as responsive (and way, way brighter) than any other phone display on the market, and that makes for zero lag and smooth, fast scrolling. Couple that with the same dual-core Snapdragon processor as the 820, 1GB of onboard RAM, and a whopping 32GB of storage, and you’ve got Nokia’s biggest, baddest, most beautiful smartphone so far. They’re coming in yellow, red, white, black or grey. Oh, and did I mention that the 920 has wireless charging built in?

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The single most impressive feature on the 920 is the camera. Nokia’s integrated their incredible PureView technology to deliver a wicked fast 8MP camera that, in my experience, takes the best photos of any phone I’ve ever used. It delivers in low light – a backlit sensor and Nokia’s proprietary software mean you get clear, bright photos, without a flash, even in near-darkness – and Nokia’s unique OIS (optical image stabilization) technology basically eliminates vibration, meaning you can take a clean, crisp photo while walking, running, riding a bike, standing on the train, etc. As a dad of three little ones, I spend most of my time shooting on the run, so I’m REALLY excited to field test (playground test?) this feature.

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I shot a short hands-on video of the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 so you can get a better feel for how they look side-by-side, and to show how OIS works. Check it out:

All in all, I’m seriously impressed with the new Lumias, both inside and out. Design-wise, they’re a nice evolution of the iconic design that Nokia introduced in the Lumia 800 and Lumia 900 – solid, ergonomic, and comfortable. And inside, they’ve added technology like PureView and PureMotion HD+ that offer up real, tangible benefits like smoother, faster, more responsive navigation and professional grade photos. Combined with the power of Windows Phone 8, they’re really something special.

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