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Nokia Lumia 820 review

The baby brother steps up

The Nokia Lumia 820 sits nicely at the crossroads between value and power. While it doesn't have the processor, camera or larger screen of its big brother the Lumia 920, it does have microSD storage, removable covers and a more attractive price tag.

The Nokia Lumia 820 isn't meant to be the flagship phone of either Nokia or the Windows Phone 8 operating system. That relieves it of a certain amount of pressure and what you're left with is a very competent handset for those that want a simple, fluid experience.

It's now been slightly sidelined by better phones at lower prices from Nokia - there's an argument that the Lumia 820 (and the Lumia 620, while we're here) could be deleted from the range and it would be a lot more streamlined.

The app selection still handicaps Windows Phone 8 devices. But if you're less of a heavy app user and more interested in using your phone to play music, read documents or take pictures then Nokia has laid on a tidy little handset that won't cost the earth during your contract.

Is it going to sway a lifelong Android or Apple user? No. But if you wanted evidence that Windows Phone 8, and more importantly Nokia, are taking steps in the right direction then this is it.

We liked

The weight and dimensions of the Nokia Lumia 820 are among its core strengths. It feels heavy enough to take a knock or three, but light enough that you don't notice it in your pocket.

Likewise, if you're one of the people that think phones are getting a little too big these days, you'll appreciate the smaller 4.3-inch AMOLED screen.

The camera, as ever, is a highlight of this Nokia handset. You're not given as many options from the get-go as you are on other phones but the addition of Nokia's Lenses is intriguing. Ideally, the camera will get more versatile as different lenses are released.

Last, but by no means least, the 4.3-inch AMOLED 800 x 480 screen is really bloody good. You won't miss the extra inches because this is a crisp, clear display that makes watching video on the move a real pleasure.

We disliked

While there aren't any giant, crushing flaws with the Nokia Lumia 820, there are a couple of minor irritations that get in the way of everyday usage.

For example, there's no notification light on the front to tell you you've got a Facebook comment, text message or email. You'll have to routinely open the phone and check the lock screen to be sure.

Another irritation was removing the Lumia 820's swappable back cover. It really shouldn't be this hard to remove a phone's casing, should it? Well according to Nokia at least, it should be. So good luck with that.

You're also going to have to make peace with a relatively short battery life (price of a good screen, eh?) and the non-existence of apps on the Windows Phone store. Nokia does a commendable job trying to plug the gaps, but these issues are still noticeable when compared to rival handsets.

Verdict

Nokia is building a solid line-up of smooth, competent Windows handsets that started with the original Lumia line-up last year and continues through to the Windows Phone 8 era. We feel the Lumia 820 is a building block for that line-up rather than its superstar focus.

Despite some definite plus points (microSD anyone?) this doesn't take the Windows Phone 8 crown from the likes of the Nokia Lumia 920 or the HTC Windows Phone 8X. Likewise we don't believe that iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy S3 users will feel they're missing out when this hits the shelves.

But sidelining it commercially is doing both the Lumia 820, and Nokia itself, a disservice. This is a well constructed, colourful handset with some excellent technological features, and it's 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.

The Windows Phone OS is maturing nicely and offers a realistic alternative to other phones on the market. Throw in some competitive pricing and you've got plenty of reasons to consider this phone.

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
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 3.0
Operating System VersionWindows Phone 8
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density217 ppi
Height123.8 mm
Width68.5 mm
Depth9.9 mm
Radio TunerNo
Battery Standby Time360 Hour
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