Nokia Lumia 920, 820 Smartphones: 10 Things You Should Know

NEWS ANALYSIS: Nokia on Sept. 5 showed off the Lumia 920 and 820 smartphones. Their charge? Save an ailing company. Not so easy, eh?

Download the authoritative guide:

Nokia has hit a wall. The Finnish company that once dominated the mobile market, thanks to its Symbian-based phones, is now trying desperately to prove not only to customers, but to shareholders, that it can actually reverse its fortunes and regain its past glory. On Sept. 5, the company made its best argument for that yet by announcing not one, but two new smartphones-the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820-running Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 platform.

The two new Lumia smartphones are designed to carry Nokia (and maybe even Windows Phone 8) into the next year. The devices come with big displays, nice processors and some neat features to boot. And by the look of things, they'll come in at a price that should make the average smartphone buyer happy.

For those buyers-and even those who have no plans to pick up the smartphones-it's a good time to learn more about the Lumia 820 and Lumia 920. What makes them special? How will they impact the market? Here's a look at what everyone should know about the new Lumia smartphones.

1. The Lumia 920 is a true flagship

The Nokia Lumia 920 is designed to do one thing: deliver the very best Nokia Lumia experience on the market. Like the Lumia 900 that came before it, the Lumia 920 is Nokia's flagship model, and the device that the iPhone 5, which will be shown off Sept. 12, is judged against.

2. It's PureView … kinda

Nokia has made the surprising decision to call the camera in the Lumia 920 a PureView product. The PureView made its debut in a previous Nokia device that came with a 41MP camera. The Lumia 920's PureView is an 8MP camera with an improved lens that can capture more light. So while it might deliver better pictures than some competing products, don't expect it to be a show-stopper.

3. Wireless charging

Wireless charging is the future. And Nokia seems to understand that. In the Lumia 920, users will be able to eschew the use of cords to charge the device and instead deliver power wirelessly. There's just one catch: The wireless charging component will cost customers extra.

4. Yep, big displays matter

The Lumia 920 will ship with a 4.5-inch screen, according to Nokia. The Lumia 820, meanwhile, comes with a 4.3-inch display. The devices now join a growing number of products that make the iPhone's 3.5-inch screen look awfully small in comparison. More importantly, they indicate that bigger displays really do matter.

5. Windows Phone 8, of course

This is a no-brainer, but it should be noted that the Lumia 820 and Lumia 920 will ship with Windows Phone 8. That operating system, which is scheduled to hit store shelves later this year, comes with an improved start screen, near-field communication support, and a tile-based design that should make for an intuitive user experience.

6. The processor is OK

Nokia made the somewhat odd decision in the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 to deliver just dual-core processors. Considering the Galaxy S III has a quad-core chip and it's possible that the iPhone 5 will deliver the same, it would have made far more sense for Nokia to offer up quad-core processors in both products.

7. The Lumia 820 isn't such a bad value

Looking at the Lumia 820, there's not a whole lot to dismiss. The device comes with a nice, large display; it has 1GB of RAM; and it offers both 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) and Evolved High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA+) connectivity. It's certainly not for everyone, but for budget-conscious consumers, it's a great value.

8. They're Nokia's would-be saviors

Nokia is in deep trouble. The company lost more than $1 billion last quarter, and has watched its smartphone shipments plummet. What it needs now is help. And according to the company, it appears the help will come in the form of the Lumia 820 and Lumia 920. For now, those devices are Nokia's best hopes of survival.

9. Maybe even Windows Phone 8's would-be saviors

At the same time, we must acknowledge that Windows Phone isn't exactly in the best position either. The operating system is far down the list when it comes to market share, and according to many analysts, it might stay that way for a while. The Lumia, however, could change that. If the 820 and the 920 take off, look for Windows Phone 8 to rise with them.

10. No word yet on pricing or availability

All of this talk about the Lumia 820 and the Lumia 920 might make you question how much they'll launch for and when. Unfortunately, Nokia isn't saying. And don't expect that to change until Microsoft announces Windows Phone 8's release date. According to many reports, that release date will likely be in the next couple of months.

Follow Don Reisinger on Twitter by clicking here

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...