My Reply to Forbes: Subjective, Objective, Anecdotal, Emperical

I have emailed this to different Forbes accounts, like corrections@forbes.com, but it probably won’t be read by them and I thought my efforts merited more than just a deleted email. This is directly taken from my email sent to Forbes. If you have not read the article by Jean-Baptiste then now is the time, but take it with buckets of salt, and not just a pinch.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeanbaptiste/2012/12/28/nokia-lumia-920-review-thick-heavy-hot-poor-battery-life/

Skip the first half of my reply if you want to stop hearing me rant and rave. Near the end I give reasons why the Lumia 920 is the most innovative phone, why you should still buy it, and why it is without a doubt better than the HTC 8X. (Bear in mind I am making factual points, although I have not completely escaped the realms of opinion.)

 

Dear Forbes,

First of all I would like to point out how disgraceful this ‘review’ is. I am shocked at the poor quality involved with this article, on what is a renowned website. I do not know the writers intentions with this piece but it should not have ever been published. “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett. I can tell you this, as far as I’m concerned, your reputation is going down the toilet. The reason why you should be concerned is that I am one of many who have the same view. Just read through the comments on the bottom of the article and you will get better opinion pieces and reviews than the so called ‘review’ that Jean-Baptiste wrote.

To add to the the biased piece, which is an anomaly, anecdotal, or completely subjective, and that is misleading customers and ordinary folk, only one comment is called-out by the author, and that is the only comment which says similar things to what the author said. It is probably an account made by him for all I know. At the moment there are 88 comments in total and not even a different line on this matter is presented. Basically 87 of those comments disagree; I think that is saying something, don’t you?

The author has clearly not done research either. Here is a factual mistake made: the author says that the camera is ‘PuremotionHD integrated camera’. Well here is news for you: the screen technology is called PuremotionHD+ and the camera technology is the second phase of the praised Pureview.

Now, on to the authors experience with the phone. Where to start? Oh yes, he is biased against the device, some people have even suggested he has a vendetta against Nokia, and I think he could have something against the corporation and is being genetic, taking out his anger on the device, just because of where it comes from.

I want some answers here and I have proposed many reasons why I think the article is such a lie, but I cannot comprehend the extent to which the author has written such an opinionated article, which is factually incorrect, and that has then gone on to be published by an otherwise reliable website for news.

“So when I see glorifying reviews of the Lumia 920 from around the Web – like the UK’s Independent (most advanced smartphone) or Mark Cuban‘s (crushes the iPhone 5) – I wonder if their hatred for the iPhone or Google‘s Android – or their love for Microsoft Windows – ran so deep that it distorted their reality field.” That is the most ironic thing I have read on the internet all year. The funny thing is the author genuinely can’t see that his “reality field” has been distorted beyond belief. There are dozens of articles on the internet that praise the Lumia 920, and then there is this one. Which one is correct on the most part? I think it is pretty blatant to me and 99% of your open minded readers.

Furthermore, I own the device, and it does not overheat. I have not seen any where else on the internet that says it overheats. In fact, the CPU which it runs is particularly good at staying cool. Researching the matter has informed me that one of the advantages of the CPU in the phone is that is does not overheat.

The author says it has ‘an awful camera’. What?! That is just laughable. He is against it’s low light prowess, which is a moronic point. On the other hand, if he were to point out that compared to rivals it is slightly blurry in full day light, then I would respectfully accept his point and comment that Nokia is in the process of rolling out a worldwide update that dramatically fixes that.

It is ‘bulky’ and ‘heavy’ should be no more than one point but he stretches them to two because he runs out of things to say. Besides, that really is a subjective point. It is heavier than other smart phones but that certainly is not disadvantageous and I do not even notice, let alone, care about its weight. I am aware my point of view is subjective as well, but his point should not be made like a factual statement, and the ‘review’ should certainly not hinge on that. Thickness wise it is barely thicker than the HTC 8X and it is thinner than all the Lumia’s and the N9 before it.

The statement that it has a ‘short battery life’ is incorrect. As with any device it is what and how much you use and enable, that drains the battery life of the phone. He is oblivious to the fact that having the screen on super sensitive mode, and extra brightness enhancements enabled for high sunlight, obviously drains the battery faster. Actually in my case, even with both on, my battery is good for a smartphone, and it easily lasts 24 hours, despite my normally demanding usage levels. The phone has a 2000mah battery.

He then goes on to recommend the HTC 8X, even when half of his gripes with the Lumia 920 are to do with Windows Phone 8.

To finish, I have some factual points to make which explains to you and Jean-Baptiste about why the Lumia 920 truly is one of the best smart phones out there, is the most innovative out there, and why it is certainly better than the poultry HTC 8X.

1. The screen: PuremotionHD+ seems to be an umbrella term for a few technologies. The main one is the fact that the pixel refresh rate is the fastest and so the transition of anything on the screen is much better. It is the first device to be able to fully show 60fps without motion blur. It is 5.4x as fast as the IPhone 5 and 2.4x as fast as the Galaxy S3. Next is the fact that it uses Synaptic technology which means you can use it consistently, and perfectly accurately, with gloves on or with keys etc. Also, it has a higher PPI than the IPhone 5 with 332 compared to 326 and even despite the fact the screen is 4.5 inches compared to 4 inches big. On top of all this it has leading visibility outdoors with new optimisations and the usual Nokia CBD technology with a polarising light filter. It uses curved Gorilla Glass 2 to top it all off.

2. The camera: Pureview is in its second stage and it brings an 8.7 megapixel BSI Carl Zeiss snapper to the table. It has the famed OIS where the whole camera module is floated, which means photos are blur free and it has the best low light imaging capabilities. It also serves up by far and away the most stable video. (The point about some highlighting an issue with fuzziness or softness in full daylight, and it seems to be only an issue for preproduction review units or early adopters, is being fixed by Nokia in a software fix bundled into the Microsoft update). Along with the wide angle lens, and the new short pulse high power dual LED flash, and all the Nokia camera extras such as group shot and cinemagraph, it is the best camera on any phone, bar the 808 Pureview, but in some ways it does even trump that.

3. Audio and sound recording: the Lumia 920 has Nokia’s Rich Recording technology and it includes innovative HAAC microphones which can record sounds up to 140dB and higher sound pressure levels without distortion. HAAC also provides full audio bandwidth capabilities to match human hearing. Normal microphones typically used in high end smartphones can record up to 120dB but with heavy distortion even at that level. Also, the Lumia 920 has Dolby software and Dolby Headphone for added quality with audio overall. Nearly forgot! As a general feature Nokia added a personal sound equaliser to Nokia Windows Phone 8 devices.

4. LTE: This is not just any 4G. It is the first phone to the market with pentaband 4G.

5. Wireless charging: coming out before the Nexus 4, it is one of the first phones to adopt QI wireless charging and it is a cool and handy feature worth mentioning.

6. NFC and Bluetooth 4: yes, lots of phones now have both, but that does not make them any less a pair of stand out out features, especially when compared to the HTC 8X’s 3.1 and the IPhone 5’s lack of NFC. COUGH.

7. Materials: despite Nokia using polycarbonate in around 3 phones before the Lumia 920, it is still innovative. Here’s why: the material is sturdy and robust (good old Nokia style), it is signal transparent (why would you put metal covering over a transmitter, it is only going to help distort or diminish it), the colour is inherent to it (meaning it is coloured all the way through and scratches will not show, oh and by the way, you can’t say the same for the HTC’s material), and Nokia have made a distinct, iconic, uni-body design out of it, with a new ergonomic shape. The Lumia 920 is also the first phone to have zirconium used in it. This is a strong, scratch proof, cool looking transition metal which Nokia have made use of in the side keys and camera detailing. The phone comes in 5 colours.

8. Nokia apps: my main example is City Lens which is an innovative augmented reality app but there are countless others, such as Nokia’s true map offering, Nokia Music, Photobeamer, and other imaging additions.

9. Price: for example it is cheaper than the HTC 8X and the Iphone 5. Another quote from Warren Buffett: “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” With the Iphone 5 you are just getting the price. With the Nokia Lumia 920 you are getting the value. There aren’t even any downsides to getting the cheaper phone here.

Even ignoring all the points above, if you are just looking at the HTC 8X and the Lumia 920, then here are some more points:

10. 32GB versus 16GB

11. 2000mah versus 1800mah

12. Bluetooth 4 versus Bluetooth 3.1

13. Better scores in cpu tests

14. Polycarbonate coloured all the way through versus a knock off material with less quality to it.

Despite this probably not being read, I thought I would voice this to you,

Regards,

Matthew Paul

 

So there we have it, my reply to Forbes. At the end of the day, you do have to make up your own mind, because choosing a phone that is right for you is always going to be subjective. However, in my mind the Lumia 920 takes out a lot of the hard decision making for everyone. It does not just perform on the spec sheet like many Droid’s do, and it does not just do well in day to day use but whilst having sub-par components, small numbers on paper, or lack of features. Simply put, the Nokia Lumia 920 truly excels everywhere.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Thank you Nokia for making the phone and bringing new technologies to market, and a big thank you to those of you who read this.

Comments

  1. Hi Matthew,
    First, thank you for reading and replying to my review on Forbes of the Lumia 920.
    The review is an objective summary of my 2+ months experience with the phone and as you can see it hadn’t been good.
    It actually started catastrophically with the first unit refusing to start after just a few days! Thinking this was more of an anomaly I shared my experience with Nokia’s PR agency and they rushed a second unit to me.
    The Lumia 920 is obviously not the first phone I’ve reviewed. I’ve been testing phones since my first Motorola MicroTAC in the mid-90s. I even tested the first smartphone… the Nokia Communicator and went away impressed!
    Anyway, for the past 2 months, I’ve shown the Lumia 920 to almost everyone I met to get their first impression to complement mine. And everyone without exception mentioned its heavy weight. Even a veteran reviewer like Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal feels it is an issue worth raising.
    As for the overheating, the short battery life, the poor photo/video quality, it’s all something that I have experienced over and over. And this is not a pre-production unit, otherwise Nokia would not have sent it to me or warned me in advance.
    I used the Lumia 920 as would any “regular” person would: turn on, add my favorite apps, call/text, use it as my GPS, go on Facebook…
    WP8 is very different from my experience with iOS or Android and it took awhile to get used to. As you can see, I didn’t say much on WP8 as 1) I feel I needed more time to play with it; 2) a positive or negative comment applies to all WP8 phones (Samsung, HTC…) not just the Lumia 920. Personally, I didn’t like the WP8 interface but that’s probably another discussion.
    So aside from the WP8 – the software – I focused on the Lumia’s specific hardware features well beyond just the “specs”. On the paper, the Lumia is an extraordinary machine with a top-notch camera, a powerful CPU, an outstanding screen… But what I had in my hands for more than 2 months didn’t resemble the fact sheet.
    I don’t have a hidden agenda. I’m not a Nokia guy, or an Apple guy or an Android guy. If the Lumia 920 was really a superior smartphone, I would be the first one to shout it. And it’d be good for competition too. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
    Best Regards,
    Jean-Baptiste

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment here. I am aware you are an experienced reviewer and obviously I respect the likes of Walt Mossberg. I am not going to appeal to authority though. I do, however, think that your article should be more clearly identified as an opinion piece for the most part. I maintain that your opinion on the 180 grams of the phone is subjective. For every reviewer who comes along and flags it up, there is another who says it is a non-issue. I certainly don’t mind. As for your experience with the device, I am really surprised. The vast majority of users simply do not have the troubles with which you have been burdened with. I can only assume you have received a dud device two times! As I have said before, camera quality in full daylight conditions has been, or will be, improved via a software update. As for the phone over heating, I do not know what to say, apart from the fact that Snapdragon S4 processors are very efficient in this field, and the implementation of it is no different to that found in the HTC 8X. Searching on the internet, there are very few people who have that specified issue.

      All that my email and article was saying is that you should not have written a review stating things like: ‘What was Nokia thinking releasing such a subpar phone’, if it all pivots on an isolated experience, which with out a doubt, is in an other world compared to other findings. To make a point like the one you made above is anecdotal.

      You then disregard other reviews praising the product. You do not even think for a second that you could have had an isolated bad experience. Instead, you are willing to defenestrate other reputable websites, their reviews, and their opinions. Just because their praise is so different to your negativity does not make them wrong.

      When I read countless reviews praising the camera and other aspects of the device, and then I read your review, it begs the question: which is right or wrong, which is most like the experience I will have? You must understand that leads me and others to doubt your credibility in this instance. However, I do take your word now you have pledged you have ‘no hidden agenda’. You should rest assured that I also do not have a hidden agenda. I am not biased to Nokia in anyway, despite your coyly written last paragraph.

      Regards,

      Matthew Paul

  2. Here is a picture demonstrating the Snapdragon S4 in use:

    Here are some photos that I have found which have been taken with the Lumia 920:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/supermomost/page1/

    Here is a website that can educate everyone:
    http://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/

  3. I think the issue is not Snapdragon. It could be Nokia’s hardware design or a software issue. I hope for the second as this could be fixed easily with a software update, like the camera.

  4. Great retort Matt! I have both the HTC 8X and the Lumia 920 and I definitely think the 920 is the better of the two. The 8X has the size advantage and a better front facing camera (which is kinda more useful because it’s wide-angle) but apart from that, I loved the Lumia 920 so much that I now use it as my main phone :o)

    • Thank you. I wish I had both devices as well! I would still use the Lumia 920 though… With the 8x technically being taller than the Lumia 920 and only marginally thinner I can forgive the Lumia 920 for its size, especially considering the larger screen and other goodies.

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