The Nokia Lumia 920 is undeniably the shining star for the Windows Phone 8 launch. The phone is available in a variety of vibrant colors along with the more staid black and white options. For those who like a splash of color there's Nokia's signature cyan, yellow and red. Much like the very attractive Lumia 900, it has an iconic unibody polycarbonate design, Nokia exclusive apps that are truly useful and enjoyable and a surprisingly low $99 with contract price on AT&T ($449 without). That really puts the hurt on the Windows Phone 8 HTC 8X that sells for $199 in its 16 gig iteration on AT&T.
The Lumia 920 has top of the line hardware, unlike the Lumia 900 that felt dated at launch because it was hobbled by Windows Phone 7's low-ball hardware requirements. Windows Phone 8 moves to modern hardware and everything about the Lumia 920 is competitive with high end Android smartphones. It runs on a dual core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Krait CPU with a gig of RAM and 32 gigs of storage. It has an excellent rear 8.7 MP camera with a Carl Zeiss lens and BSI that excels at low light photography. There's a front camera that you can use with the preview version of Skype for Windows Phone 8 that Microsoft added to the app store today (it wasn't yet available when we made our video review).
The 4.5" IPS display runs at 1280 x 768 resolution, making it extremely competitive with the top Android phones and iPhones with Retina display. The Nokia actually edges past the iPhone 5 for pixel density by 5 ppi (332 vs. 326). We'd call that a draw, and both phones are far ahead of most others on the market in terms of pixel density. Of course, you get a significantly larger display with the Lumia 920 vs. the iPhone 5, and one that's big enough to compete with today's giant 4.7 to 4.8 inch Android smartphones. The wrap-around Gorilla Glass is attractive, though it does induce glare, but thanks to polarizing filters and a very impressive 600 nits of max brightness, it's easily viewable outdoors.
Windows Phone has always been fast, even on slow hardware. Windows Phone 8 on the Nokia Lumia 920 flies, and I've yet to find myself waiting for the phone. Live Tiles are now resizable and as always, you can uninstall carrier bloatware: bye, bye Yellow Pages Mobile!
The phone has dual band WiFi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, a solid GPS and NFC (it comes with one NFC tag). It supports wireless charging and early adopters will get a free wireless charging matte (you'll have to sign up on Nokia's site and it will be shipped to you).
Nokia's Windows Phone apps remain a strong selling point with Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive Beta offering the option to download maps for offline use and turn by turn spoken directions. Nokia Music has a cool "mix radio" feature where you can stream playlists in a wide variety of genres for free. You can even download playlist tunes for offline listening and refresh them as you see fit. Nokia City Lens is also preinstalled for you augmented reality fans.
The rear 8.7MP camera is excellent, though in our tests it hasn't trounced the top competition from Samsung and Apple. It does however edge ahead in low light and night situations. Photos are sharp and clear but not oversharpened and color saturation is pleasing though we noted the same tendency for reds to bloom that we saw in the Lumia 900. 1080p video has very good frame rates, even in low light and looks excellent.