Straying from the Nokia convention of numbering their phones, Verizon's latest Windows Phone now has a name. The Lumia Icon will be available to consumers starting February 20th for $200 on a new contract. Like the AT&T exclusive Lumia 1520 Phablet, it's a device which brings not only Nokia, but also Microsoft, to the cutting edge of mobile.
The Icon merges the boxy design of the previous Verizon exclusive 928, with the "Two Tone" build quality of the Lumia 925. The sides are aluminum, helping the phone to feel solid and rigid, and the backplate is a matte finished polycarb (plastic) which allows for wireless charging. In the hand, it's a pleasant combo with just enough heft to help the phone feel solid.
The face of the phone is a five inch 1080p "ClearBlack" AMOLED display. Colors are vibrant, detail is incredibly crisp, and the contrast ratio is incredible. For those who don't know, instead of a backlight used on LCD displays, each pixel on an AMOLED display makes its own light. When black is on the screen, those pixels are essentially off, and it's like your looking into a pool of ink. It plays well with Microsoft's Live Tile homescreen. The display also comes a "High Sensitivity" mode, allowing you to operate the touchscreen with gloves on. A nice touch as I'm playing with this gadget during a New York City winter.
That screen is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 processor, which is backed up by 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. Performance is very snappy. The Windows Phone OS was quick utilizing older dual-core processors, and moving to this quad-core, it's liquid. Apps fire up quickly, the homescreen slides like butter, and there's nary a lag or a hitch.
The camera and mics from the 1520 returns, offering up a 20MP shooter and 1080p video. Nokia utilizes a fantastic pixel crop zoom to help you get closer to the action. Even during video, the zoom wont degrade the image quality, and maintains a proper 1080p resolution. Not only are the images excellent, a lot of attention has been brought to the audio side as well. The quad microphone array is back, providing excellent noise reduction, and the ability to "focus" the mics on your subject while shooting video. The phone does a surprisingly good job of rejected unwanted elements surrounding you. I shot some video of a band playing in a bust New York City Subway. There's almost no chatter from the people around me.
As we're only a day into reviewing it, it's difficult to say what real world battery life will be like. In setting it up, and playing with it for the first time, you hit the phone a lot harder. There's a 2400mAh cell on board, which is smaller capacity than the 1520, but the smaller screen on the icon should help ease some of that load. My expectations are it should easily make it to dinner time with moderate use.
It's proving to be a very solid performer. Snappy and powerful performance, excellent build quality, and some of the best multimedia features available on any platform. If the camera is one of your most used phone features, Nokia devices are second to none. Now with the 1520 and this new Icon, Nokia+Microsoft are showing the rest of their phone can be competitive as well.