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Nokia Lumia 820 review

The baby brother steps up

Our Verdict

This is a well constructed, colourful handset with some excellent technological features, Windows Phone is maturing nicely, and the 820 has got a really palatable price point to boot. It's been overshadowed by others in the range, but that doesn't mean it isn't still a class act.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 8 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 8 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 15.40 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 800 x 480
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Attractive design
  • microSD support
  • Great screen
  • Powerful camera

Against

  • Poor internal storage
  • Limited battery life
  • Windows apps lacking
  • Impossible to remove the casing

The Nokia Lumia 820 isn't meant as the Finnish firm's flagship handset - that accolade belongs to the Nokia Lumia 920 - but this colourful Windows Phone 8 smartphone is impressive nonetheless.

The Nokia Lumia 820 carries plenty of unique features and costs less than the Lumia 920, making it a tempting offer for anyone considering making the move to Microsoft's OS.

It's now part of a quintet, with the Nokia Lumia 520, 620 and 720 also joining the Windows Phone 8 party at Casa del Nokia.

It goes without saying Nokia is pinning a lot of hope on this phone. Apple's iPhone 5 and Samsung's Galaxy S3 are kicking up dust both in terms of sales and as standard bearers for their respective operating systems - plus both have big updates coming soon.

Nokia Lumia 820 review

In the UK, you can now pick the Lumia 820 up free from £17 per month on Tesco, albeit with only 300 minutes and 500MBof data, on a 24 month contract. Alternatively the SIM-free version of the phone has now dropped to a very palatable £280, making this a much more attractive phone indeed.

Australians can enjoy the phone for AUD$649 outright, or for $0 up front on a $50 plan over 24 months. Optus customers - who get the benefit of 4G - can grab the handset for $0 up front on a $35 plan.

There's a reasonable amount of power on offer at that price thanks to the dual core 1.5Ghz Snapdragon processor and Adreno 225 GPU. Windows OS is a typically smooth operating system the Lumia 820 runs off 1GB of RAM which keeps things nice and slick.

Nokia Lumia 820 review

Outwardly though, this is a different-looking phone from the Lumia 920. The unibody is gone, replaced with a removable plastic back that lets you change the colour of the handset. Our review model came with a bright yellow rear cover, although red, black, magenta, blue, white and grey are also available.

Hopefully over time third-party designs will become available allowing you to customise your handset just like the Nokia's of old.

Nokia Lumia 820 review

Unfortunately, the back cover is also where we run into our first problem with the Lumia 820. Basically you'll need fingernails like Wolverine to claw the cover back from the body of the phone. It took the TechRadar team several amusing minutes trying to remove the casing in order to insert our SIM to begin using the phone.

Once you're happy with the casing, and you've spent the required ten minutes struggling to get your Micro SIM installed, you'll be able to sit back and notice that at 160g, the Lumia 820 isn't as heavy as its bigger brother.

Nokia Lumia 820 review

It's also got slightly smaller dimensions - but at 124 x 69 x 10mm with a 4.3-inch AMOLED screen we wouldn't go so far as to call it tiny.

Compare it to the rest of the new Lumia range, and you can see that the Lumia 820 might struggle to stand out.

Nokia Lumia 820 review
From left to right: Lumia 520, Lumia 620, Lumia 720 and Lumia 820

It's a chunkier beast than the rest in the range, and only really deserves its place as 'best of the non-920 bunch) by way of the dual-core Krait Qualcomm processor and OLED ClearBlack display compared to the standard dual core and LCD screen of the 720.

Nokia Lumia 820 review

The curved sides and rounded corners of the handset make the 820 comfortable to hold and certainly give it a friendly appearance. We could easily wrap our hand around the Lumia 820 and access the physical buttons, which are all located along the right hand side of the phone.

Nokia Lumia 820 review

You get a volume rocker at the top, followed by the power on/off button in the centre and then a physical camera shutter button - something we're always happy to see on a smartphone. All the buttons can be easily flicked with either the thumb of your right hand or the fingers of your left, depending on which you use to hold the phone.

One point though, the plastic backing on the Lumia 820 is completely smooth which looks nice but doesn't offer any great amount of grip.

Nokia Lumia 820 review

The front of the phone is minimal in terms of design, with just the Nokia lettering at the top and the three standard Windows phone soft touch keys at the bottom. While the 4.3-inch AMOLED, 800 x 480 screen is up to Nokia's usual high standard, there's definitely a noticeable black bezel around the display.

Usually this doesn't cause too much concern, but given the near edge-to-edge displays of handsets like the Motorola Razr i and the iPhone 5, it's becoming more of an issue.

Nokia Lumia 820 review

The display isn't as large as other smartphones out there. It won't compete with the 4.7-inch HTC One or Samsung Galaxy S4 or the 4.5-inch Lumia 920, for screen real estate but compromises with portability.

Screen size itself is becoming far more of a subjective issue anyway with a device on offer at pretty much every stage from pocket-friendly smartphone to sofa-surfing tablet.

Nokia Lumia 820 review

The top and bottom of the Lumia 820 are given over to the 3.5mm headphone jack and the micro-USB charging and connection port respectively. There's also a small speaker to the right of the micro-USB port which we felt didn't look as nicely uniform as the dual speaker vents on the Lumia 920.

Overall build quality is as good as you would expect given Nokia's long history of mobile phone craftsmanship. While we would expect the casing to scratch fairly easily if this phone took a tumble, there's a reassuring heft to the handset that suggests the internal workings would stay protected.

Nokia Lumia 820 review

Importantly then, first impressions are quite good. It's a good looking, feature-packed phone from a pair of companies that really have something to prove this time around. So, how does it fare when we dip below the surface?

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported64 GB
Built-in Memory8 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyEDGE, GPRS, HSDPA, HSUPA, HSPA+
SAR Value0.79 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyLumia
Cellular Generation4G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100, LTE 800, LTE 900, LTE 1800, LTE 2100, LTE 2600
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack
Operating SystemWindows Mobile
Brand NameNokia
Battery Talk Time15.40 Hour
Product Model820
Screen Size10.9 cm (4.3")
Screen Resolution800 x 480
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)160 g
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityChina RoHS, EU RoHS, REACH, WEEE
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Operating System VersionWindows Phone 8
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
RealtoneYes
Call FeaturesCall Log, Call Waiting, Conference Call, Call Divert, Call Forwarding
Pixel Density217 ppi
Height123.8 mm
Width68.5 mm
Depth9.9 mm
Radio TunerNo
ManufacturerNokia
Product NameLumia 820 Smartphone
Processor Speed1.50 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon
Product LineLumia
Screen TypeOLED
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Digital Compass, Ambient Light Sensor, Orientation Sensor, Magnetometer
Manufacturer Part NumberA00008995
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.nokia.co.uk
Marketing InformationExplore the world with Nokia Lumia

Every day in every city around the world, people are pursuing their own adventures, big or small. Explore the world around you with amazing camera technology, exclusive Live Tile apps and unique design features. This is Lumia.

Package Contents
  • Lumia 820 Smartphone
  • MicroUSB Charger AC-50
  • Battery BP-5T
  • Charging and Data Cable CA-190CD
  • Headset WH-208
  • Product User's Guide
Limited Warranty2 Year