Nokia’s Lumia Icon: A Quality Windows Phone Packed with Extras
The Lumia Icon is a great little phone. It marries the Windows Phone’s bright and friendly UI with an expertly made piece of hardware chock-full of goodies.
It’s sturdily and beautifully built, has excellent photo and video capabilities, and is packed with loving extras like wireless charging and a “Super Sensitive” touchscreen that works even if you’re wearing gloves.
If you’re on Verizon (or if your contract is up elsewhere) and you’ve been thinking of making the jump from iOS or Android to the third-place mobile operating system, Nokia’s little powerhouse makes a compelling argument.
For those who’d dismiss a Windows Phone out of hand: I understand. Microsoft’s current phone operating system arrived late in the game, into a market crowded with excellent iPhones running iOS and a number of great Android phones. But Windows Phone 8 is a fully functioning and quite original mobile operating system. The Live Tile feature brings key, dynamic information to the front of the device — and a redesign manages to cram even more onto a smartphone display.
And about those apps: True, there aren’t as many. For most users, that’s OK. Microsoft has made a big push to bring top-tier properties into its ecosystem, so most mainstream products are on Windows Phone. Those looking to discover the latest apps from tiny startups might be disappointed.
The biggest thing the operating system has going for it, though, is an exclusive partner in Nokia. The Finnish company knows how to build a phone and has been on a hot streak, with strong phones like the Lumia 920 and the 1020. The Icon has certainly inherited those good genes.
The phone’s design isn’t quite as eye-popping as those phones’ rounded unibodies, but the Icon still looks good — and a metal chassis, polycarbonate body and Gorilla Glass screen add durability. It’s a sturdy phone that can probably take a drop or two (not that we wanted to be the first to try).
The 5-inch display splits the difference between the other recent Nokia offerings, and it feels just right. It’s big enough for watching video, but it’s not as unwieldy as the spate of recent 6-inch “phablet” offerings. And Windows 8’s bright-red tiles (the default Verizon-friendly theme) pop on the high-res display.