Nokia Lumia Icon: Can Verizon's new Windows Phone compete?

The Nokia Lumia Icon is a high-powered device clearly designed to hold its own among market leaders such as the iPhone 5S. 

The Nokia Lumia Icon is exclusive to Verizon Wireless.

Next week will mark the official launch of the Nokia Lumia Icon, a powerful Windows-powered smart phone exclusive to Verizon Wireless. 

The Icon is intended to directly compete with popular devices such as the iPhone 5S and the Galaxy S4, and the spec sheet is certainly impressive, from the 20-megapixel PureView camera to the 5-inch HD display and 2.2GHz quad-core processor. The operating system is Windows Phone 8; the price is $199, assuming you sign up for a Verizon data and voice contract. 

But how does the phone actually handle? Well, a spate of reviews hit the Web today, and for the most part, critics have been kind. "The Nokia Icon is the best Windows Phone for Verizon, no doubt," writes Harry McCracken of Time. "Assuming you’re willing to consider a Microsoft-powered handset, it deserves your attention." (As Mr. McCracken points out the "Windows Store’s offerings fall so short of what’s available for iOS and Android.") 

And here's Jessica Dolcourt of CNET on the device's speed: 

Any way you look at it, the Nokia Lumia Icon is a fast phone. Verizon's 4G LTE can be variable, just like any network, depending on coverage strength where you are and network congestion at any given time. As a whole, though, Web sites loaded quickly... navigation was smooth and seamless across the phone OS, the phone booted up in a reasonable length of time, and games were immersive.

The question, of course, as with any smart phone that's not an iPhone or a Galaxy, is how much market penetration the Icon can actually achieve. The good news for Verizon has to do with timing: We're months away from the launch of the iPhone 6 (a device that may or may not actually exist), and a Galaxy S5 probably won't be unveiled until well into March. 

In the meantime, the Icon can soak up the spotlight. 

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