We're not going to lie. After spending some quality time with several Lumia 920 prototypes in Finland last September, we came away extremely impressed with the PureView-branded camera aboard Nokia's Windows Phone 8 flagship. It's the first handset to feature optical image stabilization -- the floating sensor and lens enable ultra-stable video recording and phenomenal low-light stills. Imagine our disappointment then, when upon receiving our Lumia 920 review units, the shooter failed to live up to our lofty expectations. While the OIS was performing as advertised, most photos we took suffered from an obvious lack of detail, an annoying fuzziness / softness. We reached out to Nokia and it exchanged one of our phones, but to no avail. Compounding matters, we also experienced problems with inconsistent white balance and exposure. The company never confirmed these issues, but hinted that the camera software was still being tweaked. We've been longing for an update ever since.
It's time to rejoice, because it looks like something's in the works. This weekend we obtained an exclusive set of identical pictures taken with two Lumia 920 handsets -- one setup with the existing PR1.0 firmware, the other running the upcoming PR1.1 update . Here's the great news: looking at these sample shots (see crop above), it's abundantly clear that Nokia's fixed the camera's fuzziness problem. The not-so-great news is that we're still seeing some issues with white balance. Nokia US recently hinted on Twitter that an update is scheduled "this month" and our source confirms that it's indeed PR1.1. The new software also includes many stability, LTE and web browsing improvements, plus Microsoft's own tweaks (such as declining calls via SMS). We've compiled the images (labeled with the firmware version, ISO and shutter speed) plus some composites (including 1:1 crops) for comparison in the galleries below. The originals (stripped of EXIF data at the request of our source) are available for download right here.