One of the last Nokia phones to be released before Microsoft swallows the Finnish phone company was announced today by Nokia and Verizon.
Called the Lumia Icon, it’s a sleek 5-inch LTE model with a 20 megapixel camera, advanced microphones and a relatively conservative design. Unlike the other flagship Lumia devices that come in a rainbow of colors and have distinct curved cases, the Icon is an understated slab encircled by a metal ring that doubles as an antenna.
Early glimpses of the device have circulated for weeks, especially after Verizon inadvertently posted images of the device online ahead of today’s announcement.
It’s a handsome phone but it will face tough competition from upcoming handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy 5s and a new iPhone with a larger screen that some Apple watchers expect to debut later this year.
The Icon has a 2.2 gigahertz quad-core processor, a 1080p display with a 180-degree viewing angle and a battery that offers 16 hours of talk time, according to Ifi Majid, head of North American marketing for Nokia.
Nokia is particularly proud of the tapered glass screen made of Gorilla Glass 3. Majid said it takes 40 minutes to make a single piece of glass for the device with all the grinding and polishing involved. He also noted that the matte finish on the back won’t show fingerprints.
At this point the Icon is exclusive to Verizon. It’s model number 929, succeeding the 928 that Verizon has been carrying.
Majid said Nokia “wanted them to have a really great flagship on Windows Phone and we wanted to bring a lot of innovation to them as well.”
The 20 megapixel camera uses the same “pro” camera apps that debuted on Nokia’s wild 41-megapixel Lumia 1020 that went on sale last year on AT&T’s network, but the Icon doesn’t have the distinctive bulge that the 1020′s camera required.
With the Icon, Nokia is emphasizing video recording capabilities which are improved with the use of four microphones – two on the front and two on the back – to capture stereo surround sound and louder sound with less distortion.
Verizon will offer the phone start Feb. 20 for $200 with a two-year contract. Unlocked versions won’t be sold, at least not to start. It’s available from Verizon and Microsoft stores.