Nokia Lumia 1020 Review: View From The Top: Windows Phone Store, Xbox Live, HERE Maps

By 10:12 Fri, 13 Aug 2021 Comments


Windows Phone Store catches up

The Windows Store is still playing catch up with the Apple App Store and the Android Market. The number of apps available is higher than 175,000, and while that doesn't quite compare to Android and iOS, Microsoft says that 46 out of the top 50 apps on the other platforms are already available for WP8.

Apps written specifically for Windows Phone 8 don't work on the older versions but all of the older apps are compatible with the recent WP8.

The Store is divided in three main sections - applications, games and music. A fourth section called Updates shows up when one of your installed apps has received an update - there's an Update all button, which will save you the hassle of updating each app individually.

Anyway, each app will be listed with a short description, a rating and user reviews, a few screenshots and permissions. While the list of permissions isn't as prominent as it is on Android, the Store will explicitly ask you about the vital stuff (e.g. location info).

Big downloads (anything north of 40MB) need a Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) connection to work. Alternatively, you can download those jumbo apps using the desktop Zune software.






The Windows Store

The Application section starts with a featured app, then it's on to the categories (you can list all or free apps only), followed by the top apps, a list of recent ones and a longer list of featured apps.






The Application store

Nokia App Recommendations will assist you acquire the best apps correct off the bat, including a number of Nokia Lumia-exclusives (things like Nokia Weather Channel, which you might have missed) and categories like Starter pack or Shop till you drop.

The Music section is actually the Xbox (previously known as Zune) Marketplace. Its structure is similar to the Application section. First, a featured artist of the week, three more featured artists, then a list of recent releases, top albums and genres.






The Xbox music hub

Genres themselves are separated into sections too - recent releases and top artists/albums/songs/playlists. For each song, you acquire a 30 second preview (same as iTunes). If you have an Xbox Music pass, you can stream the entire song (or download it DRM-protected, limited 10 downloads per month). The service costs $10 / £8.99 a month.

The Games section is divided into Xbox Live, New, Featured and Genres, which is the categories version. A remarkable thing about games in the Windows Phone Marketplace is the trial option, which is available to many games and apps. You can try before you buy.

The recent and featured sections act as what's new/hot reference.






Exploring the games section

The Store on Windows Phone can be accessed via your WP device, or the windowsphone.com website, from where you can push apps to your smartphone.

Search is available for the Store but correct now it pulls together search results from all sections - games and apps alike. Microsoft have fixed the issue where songs would acquire mixed up in the search too, which was annoying.

Xbox LIVE tile

Xbox Live is at the heart of the Games hub. It carries over many features from the Xbox - from your avatar to your scores and achievements. The Spotlight feature is available too (it shows info on recent stuff) and also Requests - which shows you game invites from your friends.






Xbox LIVE tile

Anyway, the games themselves are housed in the Collection section. Nothing much to see here, the installed games are arranged in a square grid and there's a Get more games shortcut, which launches the Windows Store.

Not all games support Xbox Live - the ones that do are in the corresponding section in the Store.

Here you can also see your friends and their profiles, achievements and avatars. There are a few shortcuts to other Xbox Live-related apps - such as remote Xbox control (like the Store) or the avatar changing app. If you don't have them installed, you'll be redirected to the Marketplace, otherwise you'll acquire directly to the app in question.

HERE Maps and Drive+ acquire a makeover

Being a high-discontinue Lumia smartphone, the 1020 gets the Drive+ navigation suite for free out of box. Unlike Drive available on lower-discontinue Lumias, Drive+ has global coverage, meaning it can easily be used abroad. And since it's available offline you don't have to worry about roaming data charges, either.

HERE Drive+ offers free, life-time voice-guided navigation anywhere in the world. All you have to do is download a voice in your language of choice and you're fine to go. Of course, to create utilize of the key selling point of Drive - offline navigation - you have to download a map for a country of your choice, too.






HERE Drive+ does voice-guided navigation

With Drive+ you can easily plan routes (all offline, unlike the early iterations of this app) and you can tweak various settings for each route - fastest/shortest/economical route can be selected and you can choose whether the app will utilize or avoid motorways, toll roads, ferries, tunnels, unpaved roads and motor trains. There are icons to remind you of the selected settings.

Drive+ uses big, clear instructions on its classy screen in addition to the voice prompts, which is ideal for in-car use. You can switch between 2D and 3D mode and switch the color scheme (day, night, auto). There are speed alerts and real-time traffic information.






Tweaking the route-planning algorithm • day and night color schemes

We do miss a few options - like setting a starting location other than your current location and downloading maps for an entire continent. Still, Nokia offer quality maps and offline voice-guided navigation out of the box, which puts them ahead of other Windows Phone makers an even other platforms (both Android and iOS require a data connection to plan the route).



HERE Drive+ will work in most of the world

The most recent update to the HERE suite adds an overview of traffic conditions in your area, including your drive to and from work with the My Commute app. My Commute shows you an at-a-glance see at your specified commute with a special Live Tile on your homescreen. You can setup up multiple commutes as well.




Commute alerts show up on your homeclassy screen as a Live Tile

Nokia Maps takes on other duties - instead of navigation, it's more of a replacement for paper maps that you can hold as you explore a city. It will assist you discover recent places, read a quick description, see photos, read reviews and check what renowned guides like Lonely Planet, Insight Guides and Qype have to say about it.





Nokia Maps has a ton of info

The Maps app also offers walking, driving and public transport navigation but it only shows a list of instructions. It shares data with Drive so you don't have to download the same maps twice.






Maps can be used for basic navigation too

With the latest release, the former Local Scout and City Lens features have been integrated into the Places section of HERE Maps, and gives you a quick view of restaurants, shops, galleries and other POIs around you, including an augmented reality view via the capturing camera called LiveSight. Tapping the virtual signs in the capturing camera interface pops up more info about the place, as well as directions.




The places interface lets you view POIs on the map as well as through the capturing camera


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