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The Nokia 920 Family - part one

A review by Amanda Cropp for Scoop Techlab

My husband and teenage sons claim I’m a techno-phobe which is not entirely fair: I’m not terrified of new technology; I’m just easily bamboozled by it. 

So when the idea of moving to a smartphone was mooted, I had my reservations, but owning a Nokia Lumia 920 for four months completely dispelled any fears it would be beyond my modest technical skills.

Amanda Cropp with Lumia 2

My previous cell phone was a no frills Nokia, so moving to the touchscreen Lumia was akin to the day I ditched my manual typewriter for a computer. No nostalgia, just utter delight.

The decision to buy Lumias for the whole family (joint birthday and Christmas presents) was made after the husband spent months checking out the technical specs of various smartphones, but I suspect he was more than a little influenced by a personal antipathy towards anything Apple, and constant moans from workmates about problems with their iPhones.

We’d also had a great run from our previous Nokias – my younger son’s old phone went through the washing machine in his shorts’ pocket, but was good as new after a sojourn in the hot water cupboard.

I frankly didn’t care what smartphone I got as long as it was reliable, easy to use, had a good camera, and would allow me to check my emails when I was away from the office.  Cost was also a factor– anything with fruit on it carries a noticeably higher price tag.

We’d been with Two Degrees but because it didn’t sell the Nokia Lumia 920, we shifted back to Telecom. We don’t tend to make lots of calls, so buying the handset ($999) and using the $19-a-month prepay option made sense.

Because I’m old enough to remember the first brick-sized mobile phones that weighed a tonne, I’m particularly appreciative of the advantages of my slim-line Lumia even if it is heavier than other smartphones on the market.

To begin with it felt really odd talking into a handset the size of a small hardback notebook (approx. 130 x 71 x 11 mm), but the larger high definition screen is great for internet surfing, and the tough “gorilla glass” is a bonus if you happen to drop it.

But the really big advantage is the Windows Phone 8 operating system.

The calendar function means I no longer carry a diary around with me, and my phone calendar is conveniently linked to the Outlook calendar in my laptop. The phone comes preloaded with a Microsoft Office app at no extra cost allowing me to view and create Word and Excel documents.

Scrolling through the predictive text options on my old Nokia drove me mad. Now word options appear under the text box as I type and I just tap the appropriate one.

The Lumia camera takes excellent photos and includes edit functions to enhance them even further.

Attaching photos to texts has had some unexpectedly practical uses. Faced with a broken plastic curtain rail fitting, I texted a store a photograph of said item. Within five minutes l received confirmation they had the fitting in stock, saving myself a time consuming drive around town hunting for a replacement.

Apps can be downloaded directly into the Lumia 920 via the Nokia Store without having to connect to a computer. As yet there aren’t as many local apps available for these new Windows phones, but I already have a few favourites.

I can lie in bed in the morning with the curtains still closed and decide what to wear based on what the weather app (programmed for my specific suburban location) says about the outside temperature and predictions for the rest of the day.

With the Next Bus app I type in the code number on the sign at my bus stop to find out when the next bus will arrive. This meant that on a recent cold rainy day I sheltered in the comfort of Ballantynes department store instead of freezing my butt off waiting in Christchurch’s open air bus exchange, timing the 50 metre dash to the bus to perfection.

Nokia’s Here map is the equivalent of Google maps and Nokia Drive is like an in-car GPS. They both came free with the phone, don’t require an internet or data connection to operate, and are accurate -  unlike the early Apple Map which placed Timaru airport in the Christchurch suburb of Merivale.

I’ve always eschewed on-screen games, but must confess that when I’m waiting to meet someone in a cafe, Free Flow is fun  if there’s no reading matter on hand and I’ve checked my emails.

Although the Lumia comes in five colours, it was only available here in black when we purchased ours (now yellow as well). I’d set my heart on a red one so I wouldn’t end up grubbing around for a camouflage phone in the black-lined depths of my handbag or briefcase.  I solved that issue by buying a coloured snap on case – not much choice of design, but this may change as the Lumia grows in popularity.

Other than that, the only other downside is cost – I’m very conscious of owning a $1000 piece of kit instead of a $300 phone – and we’ve kept an old pre-paid handset as a spare for activities such as mountain-biking.




Content Note: This post has been enabled by Telecom NZ , but the thoughts are the blogger's own. Find out more about the Nokia Lumia 920 here you can find out more about Windows 8 on the Telecom Network here. Scoop TechLab is a project of Scoop Independent Media www.scoop.co.nz. It is edited by Scoop Editor Alastair Thompson.


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