The design of the Nokia Lumia 920 smartphone is so similar to its predecessor, the Nokia Lumia 900, that you'd be forgiven for confusing the two. It still has the rounded shapely curves, but there are a few subtle differences. While 900 was once the biggest Windows Phone we'd seen, it's now been trumped.
Nokia has increased the screen size to a nominal 4.5in, and it now measures 71 x 130mm - about the same size as the Samsung Galaxy S III and HTC One X. Nokia advertises a thickness of 10.7mm but we measured the Lumia 920 at 12mm at its thickest point. More of an issue for us is a relatively brick-like weight of 185g. Some people like the reassurance of a weighty device but this is pushing it.
At this size, the 920 does feel quite unwieldy, but we did, eventually, get used to the sheer size of it. Pick up almost any other smartphone, and you're reminded of just how cumbersome it is. Those set on a more manageable Windows phone may want to look at the Lumia 820, or the HTC 8X and HTC Windows Phone 8S, for smaller alternatives.
Our review model came in white, and in this reviewer's opinion is the nicest white phone ever. The white chassis frames the screen perfectly while the black buttons and dark silver camera surround finish things off nicely. The Lumia 920 is also available in black, red or yellow.
We were slightly disappointed that Nokia has swapped the nice matt finish of the Lumia 900 and Nokia Lumia 800 for a glossy coating. While this doesn't look worse, just different, it does make the handset much more slippery – worryingly so if you're wearing woolly gloves.
The Lumia 920 feels every bit a high-quality and well-made piece of kit when you pick it up. The handset feels strong, albeit still a little plastic to the touch, with its one-piece polycarbonate body which sits neatly flush to the Corning Gorilla Glass front.
The uni-body design means there's no removable rear cover - and therefore no access to the battery. The only moving part is the top loading micro-SIM card tray which feels distinctly cheap and plastic. The three side-mounted buttons feel nice thanks to a smooth action.
Processor and memory
For a high-end smartphone we expect a decent array of hardware and the Lumia 920 delivers it. Inside the shiny exterior is a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of memory. This may seem under par compared to some recent Android smartphones boasting quad-core processors and 2GB of RAM, but it's sufficient to run Microsoft's mobile OS well.
Windows Phone 8 does not have much support from software developers, a theme recognised in our test centre. Unfortunately the benchmarking apps we typically use to test Android and iOS devices aren't available for Windows Phone 8.
From a user perspective Windows Phone 8 feels just as slick as it was in 7.5 Mango form. Navigation around the system happens effortlessly without lag although menus and lists tend to judder somewhat if you scroll slowly. A select few apps, however, such as Nokia Maps and Cinemagraph take a few seconds to load.
Although Windows Phone 8 now supports removable microSD cards, Nokia has decided not to bother with this feature. Luckily the only 920 offered has 32GB of built-in storage to for apps, music, video and other content.
If this doesn't sound like enough there's also cloud storage, accessed via the pre-loaded SkyDrive app. This gives you 7GB of online space for free, with more space available to rent. A useful feature with SkyDrive on the Lumia 920 is the automatic upload of content - photos and also a backup of settings, apps, Internet Explorer favourites and text messages; all rather like Apple's free iCloud service.
Considering the large physical size of the Lumia 920, it's slightly odd that it only has a 4.5in screen. Despite this being smaller than the Android competition, we were extremely impressed with the PureView HD+ display – it's one of the top features of this smartphone.
Nokia has gone for the maximum resolution supported by Windows Phone 8, which is 768 x 1280 pixels. This gives the Lumia 920 an impressive pixel density of 332ppi (even higher than the iPhone's 326ppi) so everything looks pin sharp.
The screen boasts excellent contrast and eye-popping colours. The touchscreen is very responsive, so much so that you can sometimes use it with non-smartphone gloves. The only issue with this is a potential disastrous combination: woolly gloves and the slippery gloss finish of the body.
The Lumia 920 includes a range of connectivity options. Physical ports consist of just a headphone jack and microUSB port, but there's much more on the wireless side of things. There is, as you would expect, Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n with channel bonding) and Bluetooth (3.0).
The 920 has an NFC (near-field communications) chip, DLNA (digital living network alliance) certification, but most exciting is Qi wireless charging. The Lumia 920 is said to support LTE 4G services in the UK too, although we weren't able to see how well.