It's not the newest kid on the block, but Nokia's Lumia 920 is still the current flagship in the Windows Phone range.

Other manufacturers might disagree, but Nokia has packed the 920 with some enhancements to give it an edge over other models that have similar-sized screens and processing power.

The most notable of these improvements is the PureView camera technology that offers a low-light performance others can only dream of, but the other Nokia exclusive applications can't be ignored either.

Design

The design of the 920 isn't really anything new, given the release of the 800 and 900 models before it that had the same polycarbonate unibody design. However, that's not a bad thing, and the 920 is more a natural progression - a process that works fine for Apple.

The plastic casing allows Nokia to release the phone in a range of bright colours (as well as black, if the loud colours are too extravagant for you) and I certainly couldn't help but get noticed with the yellow model I received!

Side by side with HTC's 8S, or the 8X, which also comes with a choice of colours, Nokia still comes out top for making the boldest statement, with the whole rear casing sporting your chosen hue, complete with colour-coded in-ear headphones to match.

A large, 4.5-inch, 768x1280 pixel HD display completes the package, with illuminated buttons below that are also reflective to stand out even when not lit.

The 920 is a nice phone to look at, and the curved casing makes it even nicer to hold. It is quite weighty, but not in a way that makes it uncomfortable or hard to carry in a pocket.

Key Features

Powering the 920 is Qualcomm's dual-core S4 processor, clocked at 1.5GHz. This is accompanied by an Adreno 225 GPU and 2GB of RAM to aid multitasking. It's not quite as powerful as the latest quad-core variant in use in the Android Google Nexus 4, or many other new smartphones shipping this year (including the HTC One with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 600 CPU), but it's still more than capable of ensuring that the operating system is always slick and smooth. What the phone lacks, however, is a memory card slot - limiting you to internal storage only, although 32GB should keep most people happy.

The screen benefits from a higher level of sensitivity than ordinary screens, so you can operate it with a fingernail, or even when wearing gloves. Nokia has also used a 'ClearBlack' display, which is basically a polarised filter on the screen to reduce glare and reflections. Along with 4G support (which is also ready to be used on the other networks launching 4G in the summer of 2013), the phone is also packed with a 2,000mAh battery so you should be able to make it through a whole day without being caught short.

And then there's that PureView camera, which leads me on nicely to...

Camera

For some years, Sony Ericsson ruled the roost by introducing better image sensors, improved lenses, post-processing software to enhance photos (contrast, saturation etc), and the Xenon flash to make it possible to take snaps in all conditions.

Nokia lagged behind until the N95 came along and showed it too was serious about imaging. In addition to its tie-up with Carl Zeiss, Nokia launched the PureView name in 2012, used for any device that offers exceptional camera performance.

In the case of the 920, this means optical stabilisation and incredible performance in low-light - of a level that would be impressive even for an expensive DSLR. It means there's no need for a battery-killing Xenon flash for indoor shots, or relying solely on an LED lamp that barely lights up things more than a metre or two away.

The performance is quite stunning, with very little light required to produce a photo that's clear of noise and amazingly well-defined. Sure, it can't work miracles and take photos in total darkness, but you really can turn the lights down low before the photos start to fade out. So low that you'll find it hard to see anything until a soft press of the camera button illuminates the LED to aid focussing.

Unfortunately, the low-light ability doesn't extend to video recording, but you do still have an LED lamp that can help. The phone records in full HD at 30 frames per second.

Photos and videos can also be set to automatically upload to your free SkyDrive cloud storage space, but by default the phone is set to reduce photos to 1280x720 pixels to reduce data consumption. If you're using wi-fi, or have a high data allowance, you can opt to upload your media in full resolution.

Gaming

Thanks to Xbox, Microsoft has been gradually building up quite a large range of Windows Phone games, but they can be quite hard to find on the app store. Looking at the top games for January reveals titles that have been out, in some cases, for well over a year.

Games that have been available for some time will have more downloads, yet - great as the original Angry Birds is - newer users (and existing ones) might want to find something new. Fortunately, Nokia has its own app recommendation service that offers up an ever-changing list of things that you can simply sit and watch until something catches your eye.

I did feel that an over-sensitive accelerometer made some games, such as Asphalt 5, a bit hard to play, but many games allow you to adjust the settings. Not every title has yet been optimised for the higher resolution, though, having originally been designed for Windows Phone 7 devices maxing out at 480x800 pixels.

Thanks to the phone's large screen, powerful processor, and super-sensitive touchscreen, I was able to enjoy a number of games without having to spend a penny. One big benefit of Windows Phone is the ability to get a trial version of just about everything (a developer would be mad not to offer this). It's quick and easy to select a game to download and then go off to do something else while it downloads in the background, or you go and find something else to try.

Very soon you'll have the Games menu full of games, and with 32GB of storage space you shouldn't run the risk of running out of space unless you want your 920 to double up as a portable media player too.

When you're signed in with your Xbox LIVE account you can also enjoy multiplayer games, and interact with your avatar.

The good

Besides the above-mentioned features, Windows Phone now has more customisation options on the start screen, with adjustable sizes for icons. Live tiles continue to relay useful information, and a unified inbox delivers your email, Tweets, Facebook updates, and more in a single location. There's also a mode to offer restricted access to selected apps or games for your children. [You can see more of the Windows Phone 8 features here]

Nokia has kitted out the 920 with plenty of its own apps, from Nokia Drive (its turn-by-turn navigation software) to Nokia Music, Creative Studio (picture editor), Maps (with high-quality Navteq maps), City Lens (an augmented reality app to show nearby locations), and two more apps to supplement the camera - Smart Shoot and Cinemagraph. These apps, some of which will be made available to all Windows Phone users in the future, currently give potential customers of Microsoft's OS a very big incentive to buy a Nokia device.

Although still struggling to build up a large share of the market, Windows Phone has a pleasing and easy to understand user interface and plenty of the main apps you might expect to find on rival operating systems.

The bad

The Lumia 920 is pretty heavy at 185g, but this isn't really enough to be a deal-breaker, especially for anyone who is used to carrying a tablet or has owned a mobile phone more than a few years ago. Then there's the lack of a card slot, although the problem is greatly reduced by having 32GB of storage space inside.

Summary

The Lumia 920 trounces every other Windows Phone on sale sale today, primarily because of the awesome camera and a very bright and high-definition display. With Windows Phone set up so well for social networking, it's the perfect phone for use at parties, bars, and clubs. Those activities may well be the main reason for choosing this phone. As ever, the problem facing Nokia and Microsoft is the relatively poor sales and the feeling that Windows Phone 8 isn't a major player. But, with some new apps being released on Windows Phone at the same time as Android and iOS, this might be changing, and if there's a solid future for Windows Phone I can't think of any better phone to be enjoying it on.