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Hands-on: Lumia 920 and 820 at AT&T Unwrapped 2012

updated 07:04 pm EDT, Thu October 4, 2012

Nokia flagship wrapped in mystery even as release nears

Electronista is on site in New York at AT&T's Unwrapped 2012 event, where the carrier and assorted manufacturers are showing off the latest phones, tablets, and other connected gadgets that will be released over the next few months. We got to spend a short bit of time with Nokia's Lumia 920, which will be coming to AT&T in November after the launch of Windows Phone 8. From what we could see, the 920 looks to be a solid offering, but Nokia 's keeping the device under pretty tight wraps even as its release appears.

We were surprised by the heft of the device. Its polycarbonate chassis feels good in the hand, even if the phone is a bit wide. It's got a good, reassuring weight to it, though it may hang a bit too heavy in the pocket for some consumers' taste. Pictures really don't do the 920 justice; it's very pleasing to the eye. The curved glass screen displays vibrant colors well matched to the phone's bright body.

We wish we could tell you a bit about how the device functions, but that's where the "under pretty tight wraps" part comes in. Aimlessly tapping around, we found our way into the Nokia City Scene app. Rather: we almost found our way into the Nokia City Scene app. The Windows Phone 8 home screen had just disappeared when a Nokia rep kindly interrupted, informing us that the 920 was "home screen viewing only." We quickly navigated back to the home screen, and were allowed to continue examining... the home screen.

It scrolls smoothly and the tiled not-Metro UI still looks quite pleasant. We've heard before that Microsoft was keeping some of the features of Windows Phone 8 under strict secrecy, and our time with the 920 bears that out. Our interest is piqued, though; we're wondering whether it's unfinished aspects of the OS or some actual secret features that Microsoft is saving for its October 26 launch.

That little bit of secrecy aside, Nokia reps were more than happy to show off the image stabilization capabilities of their PureView technology. Drop any preconceptions you may have developed in the wake of the 920's marketing fiasco: this device has some high-quality video recording tech packed inside. Nokia reps jiggled and bounced the 920, showing off the impressively stable video quality resulting from that test. In real world conditions, it should yield some high-quality candid videos.

We also got to take a look at the inductive charging pad for the two new Nokia phones. They're a bit bigger than one might think having only looked at pictures online. A Nokia rep told us they charge very the Lumia handsets very quickly, though of course we couldn't test that in our short time with the devices. Nokia has an array of charging docks, including a slim black model that won't take up too much space on any desk.

Summing up, the Lumias were interesting, and the secrecy surrounding them only served to make us anticipate their launch even more. We're looking forward to the Windows Phone 8 launch so that we can finally find out what lurks beyond that home screen.

by MacNN Staff



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