I now have a Nokia Lumia 1020 because I was so impressed with the Lumia 625, impressed enough to request a higher-end review model. I will be honest and say that the only real reason to test the 1020 is the camera which is what most reviewers talk about anyway when it comes to Windows Phone. If you read an example set of reviews of this phone, you would hardly believe there is an operating system behind the camera, or apps, or a phone at all, but there is.
After a mere 24 hours I must say that I find the Lumia 1020 experience most fulfilling, and by association Windows Phone 8.1. I installed the latest software update as soon as I received the phone and it really is something to behold. The flexibility of the home screen is now quite impressive and with just enough personalisation to make it sit nicely between the rigidness of iOS and the chaos that is Android. Microsoft is quickly getting this area right and the feeling flows throughout the system. Put simply, it is a joy to use and feels like a phone should to me. Don't get me wrong, I am not jumping to Windows Phone or anything, but as an OS it really has nailed the user experience for touch, gestures and whatever other movements your fingers can make with a phone.
The 1020 itself is incredibly well built and feels solid as a rock. I even like the bold yellow colouring. The silly hump at the back is a pain in the backside when trying to lie the phone on a flat surface, but of course we all know why it is there. It's there to power the camera which I have not had much time with yet, but I will update on the photography features at a later date.
I won't be writing a review of this phone as that would be silly so late in the game, but I will have a shot at comparing it to the competition in terms of hardware and software. A Galaxy S5 is also sat on my desk and I must say that in the short time I have played with it, I have been completely nonplussed by the experience. It feels like every Galaxy that has come before it albeit with some improved specs and there really is little to like in my opinion. Sometimes phones need to be about the emotions they bring out and the 1020 does a much better job of clinging to me than the S5, and dare I say it the 5s.
There are problems, lots of little issues that make transferring content a pain, and lots of misses in terms of apps, but if you are willing to bend there is a lot to like here. I'm going to take my time with this one and see if I can find enough advantages over the 5s to make me think hard. The better screen and sound quality are the first two I spotted, but there is a long way to go and so we will see what happens.
One thing I am sure of is that Microsoft is on a roll at the moment in many different areas and that things are starting to bunch up in the smartphone market in particular. It is still all about Apple and Samsung (Google?), but I for one would like to see a third contender doing some damage and first impressions of the Lumia 1020 and Windows Phone 8.1 suggest that many of the building blocks are already in place and working well. More another day...