If you want a Windows Phone, there isn’t a true flagship device to choose from right now.
Unlike its rivals such as Samsung, Apple, and HTC, Nokia has different variations of its Lumia-branded Windows Phones on each U.S. carrier. T-Mobile and AT&T typically get Nokia’s best phones, and Verizon customers have mostly been out of luck if they wanted a premium Windows Phone experience.
Nokia’s latest phone, the $200 Lumia Icon, may not be a blockbuster product, but it’s probably you’re best option if you want to stick with Verizon and use Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 operating system. It goes on sale February 20.
Here’s a quick review.
What is it?
The Lumia Icon isn’t much to look at, just your typical black slab with a high-resolution 5-inch screen. The design is a shame, since Nokia’s phones on other carriers, like the excellent Lumia 925, are much more attractive than the Icon. The phone is well-constructed though, thanks to a tough, rubbery plastic coating and metal band around the edges. You won’t feel guilty dropping this thing.
But like many Nokia Lumia phones, the Icon is built like a tank. It weighs 167 grams and is 9.8 mm thick, making it look and feel like a lead brick next to the svelte iPhone 5S. Nokia fans seem to love the weightier feel of the Lumia phones, but I still prefer my devices to be thin and light. I’d suggest going to the store and playing around with the Icon before pulling the trigger.
What can it do?
Nokia makes some of the best smartphone cameras you can find, and the one in the Icon is no exception. The Icon has 20 MP camera that shoots clear photos, even in low-light settings. I’ve only used two smartphone cameras that can take better photos, Nokia’s own Lumia 1020 and the iPhone 5S. That’s some high praise.
Other than that, the Icon is your standard device running Windows Phone 8, which is a great operating system if you can handle a few drawbacks. The biggest problem with Windows Phones is app selection. While Microsoft’s app store is growing, developers still prefer to make their apps for iPhone and Android first. It often takes months or years for apps to arrive on Windows Phone. For example, Instagram didn’t make it to Windows Phones until December of last year, and it’s still just an early beta version with limited features. If you care about having the best apps, Windows Phones like the Icon aren’t a good choice.
That being said, I really like Windows Phone 8, and it’s a strong alternative if you don’t like Android or you’re bored with the iPhone.
If you’re a Verizon customer and want a Windows Phone, the Nokia Lumia Icon is your best choice. Not because it’s a breakthrough and stellar product, but because you really don’t have many other options. If you want the best the Windows Phone ecosystem has to offer, you’ll have to switch carriers or hope Nokia comes up with something better for Verizon customers.
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