It was Wednesday evening (28th of August). I had, for the last couple of weeks been patiently waiting for the Amber update, Nokia’s version of Windows Phone 8 GDR 2 release to arrive on my device. I had seen others on Twitter and other social networks saying they had just received it on their Lumias, so thought I’d do the Settings > Phone Update and “Check For Updates”. And what do you know? The progress bar appeared as the update started downloading. I was pleased!
The update took about 20-30 minutes and after the obligatory restarts I was ready to try out my Lumia 920 with Amber installed. The first thing I did was to go into settings and set Glance Screen to “Peek”. The 920 has an LCD screen, which unlike the AMOLED screens found on the 925, 1020 and 820, can not display the always on clock without the whole screen being switched on. For this reason I thought the best bet to keep power consumption down would be Peek. The other options for this is “Always On” and “Timed”. The latter allows you to set a time limit for how long the clock appears on the lock screen. Even with an LCD screen, it appears like the rest of the screen is off while the white clock, which goes red in night mode is on. I’ve had an always on clock on previous phones like the N8 and N9, and when the clocks are red they work perfectly as a night clock. Obviously this doesn’t work quite as well on the 920, but I think I could have the device by my bed in a dark room and not be distracted by the screen. Great job Nokia.
The Amber update also brings “Double Tap to Wake”. Which I find most of the time works perfectly. One thing I haven’t quite mastered is “Peeking” at the Glance Screen. When I slide my phone out of my pocket the clock does appear, but there is also a technique of waving your hand in front of the screen to bring the clock up, this I have found doesn’t work every time I’ve tried it.
There next feature I tried is the new Pro Cam app. It got a lot of coverage when the Lumia 1020 launched. It has been available to download for the 920 for a couple of weeks now but couldn’t actually be used without the Amber update. And I can say I was really impressed with the functionality it offered, especially compared to the default camera app which comes with all Windows Phone 8 devices. This isn’t to be confused with Smart Cam which allows you to remove some items from the shot. This is the one which gives you manual control of zoom, ISO levels and other functions I don’t really know how to use. But having manual zoom is great. See the shot I managed below. This has also been reframed from a larger shot.
One thing I find is that the colours produced on shots now do not seem as warm as before I installed Amber. This may not be a bad thing to some, but I have always been a fan of the slightly over saturated snaps which the 920 has produced. You can get Pro Cam from the Windows Phone Store by Clicking HERE
Another new addition I am very pleased to see arrive is Data Sense. For anyone with a data allowance it is a big deal to keep an eye on your usage. Nokia used to have an app called Counter on Windows Phone 7.5, and I was sorry this wasn’t available for my 920. But Data Sense is even better, showing you a breakdown of what apps has used how much data, so if some app is running in the background you can change that apps sync settings or switch it off in the background.
I have only had the update for one whole day so far (and two half days). I can’t say I have noticed huge differences to battery life or how background app handling has changed. If there is anything you are curious about regarding the Amber update please don’t hesitate to leave a comment under this post.
Thanks for reading.