The Nokia Lumia Icon has quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, Verizon-specific CDMA2000 1xEV-DO support, quad-band 3G with HSPA and dual-band LTE connectivity.
If you're in range of an LTE network, the Icon will do up to 150Mbps downlink and 50Mbps uplink. If not, HSDPA still offers reasonably good speeds at 21Mbps downlink and 5.76Mbps uplink.
The local connectivity is covered by dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac with DLNA and Wi-Fi Hotspot, and stereo Bluetooth 4.0. Bluetooth is no longer limited as to what it can do - there's file transfer support now.
The Wallet app also uses NFC connectivity. Unfortunately, we won't know whether that has any potential to expand beyond its out-of-the-box functionality for at least a few more months.
NFC is still useful for file sharing and it works across other platforms with NFC support. Sending a picture with a Samsung Galaxy Nexus, for instance, wasn't a problem and the same goes for web pages.
NFC comes into play with some accessories too - like the JBL PowerUp speaker that automatically starts playing when you put the Lumia Icon on top of it and will charge it too.
There is Mass Storage mode for the internal phone storage and you can upload files without needing to install any software. There is no requirement as to where you put your files (specific folders, etc.). If the phone has the appropriate app to handle a file, you'll have access to it. Since there is no WP file manager, you'll have to access the unrecognizable files only via a computer.
The phone knows music and video, as well as pictures and documents. But if you have a ZIP or a RAR file, you won't be able to attach it to emails, because there is no file manager (although a third party app is now in its beta testing stages) and there is no app to recognize this file and list it in the phone.
In addition to your phone's built-in storage, you also get at least 7GB of SkyDrive cloud space.
The Internet Explorer on the Lumia Icon is the classic Windows Phone 8 deal, which has hardly changed with the minor update of the OS. The Lumia Icon has a big enough screen for comfortable browsing and the high pixel density keeps text sharp even at low zoom levels.
As usual, the URL bar is always visible at the bottom of the screen (but the status bar at the top of the screen auto-hides, so you don't actually lose any screen real estate) and next to it is the refresh button.
The URL bar also serves as a search bar - by default, anything you type that doesn't resolve to an URL will be sent over to the Bing app. You can also pick Google as a search provider, which will open the Google search results page in the browser instead.
You can, of course, bring up the extended settings, which offer a great deal of options - tabbed browsing, recent history, favorites, share options, pin to Start, find on page and settings. The settings menu offers the usual options like location, allow cookies, delete browsing history and it prompts choosing a global preference for mobile or desktop site versions.
The Share option is interesting in that you can not only send the page address in a message, but you can share it with your Xbox (if you have it set up). This way you can easily transfer a page from your phone to your TV and continue browsing there.
The browser makes the controls in web pages look just like their equivalents in native apps. So, a web app can look just like a native app with practically no extra effort from the designer.
And finally, you can open more than six tabs simultaneously, eight or ten worked just fine (WP7.x used to have a restriction on the number of tabs).
The Internet Explorer browser on the Nokia Lumia Icon displayed stellar SunSpider and BrowserMark performance. See the results below.
Lower is better
Higher is better
By the way, Windows Phone 8 has built-in mobile data management tools called Data Sense. Its purpose is twofold - it tracks how much data each app has used and can even help you save data by compressing web pages and images before they are sent to the browser (similar to Opera's Turbo). Data Sense depends on carrier support and doesn't work yet (not even tracking data usage).
The looking glass button on the Lumia Icon brings you to the new Bing search app. At first glance, it's the same app overall - you type in a query and you get search results from the web and there's a pretty background photo with several translucent squares you can tap to learn interesting facts about the subject.
With Local Scout now integrated into the places section of Nokia Maps, there are now two search features you can quickly reach from the default Bing screen. The first one is the camera scanner, which can snap a photo of text, run OCR and translate it into another language - this is the so-called Bing Vision camera lens. The second is the song recognition feature that gives you track and artist name and takes you to the music store so you can buy the track.