Nokia Lumia Icon: The Best Windows Phone So Far

Simply put, Nokia's latest Windows Phone, the $200 Lumia Icon for Verizon, is solid. It's solidly built, and sits solidly atop all other available Windows Phones. And, yes, it even ships with a solid app lineup, with most of its software bearing the Nokia name.

By Mark Hachman
Thu, February 20, 2014

PC World — Simply put, Nokia's latest Windows Phone, the $200 Lumia Icon for Verizon, is solid. It's solidly built, and sits solidly atop all other available Windows Phones. And, yes, it even ships with a solid app lineup, with most of its software bearing the Nokia name.

Nevertheless, for a phone whose legacy includes the 41-megapixel Lumia 1020, the Icon suffers one flaw that should give you pause: noticeable shutter lag of more than a second from the phone's 20-megapixel sensor. Although the Lumia Icon includes a wealth of manual settings within the Nokia Camera app--along with a nice mix of associated creative software--none of it matters if you can't capture the original shot.

Nokia Lumia Icon, mobile phone, smartphone
Lumia Icon and Lumia 1520

Aside from the terrible shutter lag, people with smaller hands will find the Icon a noticeable step down from the Lumia 1520, Nokia's 2013 phablet, but in the best possible way.A While theA Icon shares the 1920x1080 resolution of the Lumia 1520, it's much smaller:A 5.39 inches by 2.79 inches by just 9.9 mm (0.39 inches). The 1520, meanwhile, is a 6-inch device.A Shrinking the display size produces a corresponding increase in pixel density to 441 pixels per square inch--that's 35 percent more pixel density than the iPhone 5s' "retina display." The Icon is small enough for most people toA traverse one-handedA with just a thumb, tracing the phone's Gorilla Glass 3 from edge to edge.

As noted above, the Icon feels solid. It's a mix of polycarbonate and metal that weighs 5.86 ounces, or 20 percent less than the 1520. I would recommend a case, however, as even the matte finish still won't stop the Icon from slipping from a careless palm.A

The Icon's 2.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon CPU is identical to what you'll find in the Lumia 1520. In the newer phone, it launches and runs apps in a snap. It's a sealed phone, so there's no slot for removable storage, but the 32GB of internal storage is supplemented by 7GB of free OneDrive cloud storage. As far as battery performance goes, the Icon survived 7 hours and 50 minutes of continuous video playback during our homegrown rundown test.

Besides the size, the other noticeable difference between the 1520 and the Icon is the newer phone's OLED display, which offers deep blacks and high contrast ratio. Outside, you shouldn't have any problem reading the Icon's display, even in full sunlight. And like earlier Nokia phones, the Icon's display includesA Sunlight Readability Enhancement and High Brightness Mode, two features specifically designed for outdoor use.A The difference may be slight, but web pages and other white backgrounds do look better rendered on the OLED screen.

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