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Nokia Lumia 820 review

The baby brother steps up

It's probably fair to say the bright, blocky live tiles of Windows Phone have become as recognisable as either an iOS or an Android homescreen. Of course, recognition doesn't always translate to acceptance, so Microsoft has tweaked and fine-tuned in an effort to bring Windows Phone 8 up to speed.

Nokia Lumia 820 review

If you've been using WP7 or 7.5, you'll immediately understand the new OS. In fact, it's fair to say this is more an incremental change than a full-blown reimagining.

The basic look and feel is carried over from WP7. You have a home screen full of live tiles and a separate, vertical-scrolling menu of all your apps. You can pin your most-used apps to the home screen and also drag and reposition the tiles in an order of your choice.

The beauty of using the Windows mobile operating system is that it takes very little time to get used to it. The inevitable downside is that, although you can change your basic colour theme, there's no option to add wallpapers or widgets à la Android.

At the beginning, you're met with the lock screen, which you can customise with a picture of your own. Unlike Android or iOS, there's no way to access any apps from the lock screen, save hitting the camera shutter button to launch the camera app.

Nokia Lumia 820 review

The lock screen does however show relevant information like your next synced calendar appointment and whether you have any messages or emails. You can also set certain apps, such as Facebook, to display your latest status update on the lock screen.

Once past the lock screen you're into the Windows interface proper. Windows Phone 8 has included smaller live tiles than Windows Phone 7 and pulled the interface across slightly, so its more centrally placed than WP7 or 7.5 which left you with a small arrow and blank space guiding you across to the app screen.

Live tiles can be moved around and resized according to preference. Full size spans the entire home screen, with half size and quarter size options also available - allowing you to efficiently divide up your screen real estate. It doesn't work quite as well as folders on iOS or Android for compartmentalising services, but does allow for a degree of customisation.

The live tiles have been given that name for a reason - most will update with new information, such as a tweet, picture or news headline, automatically. This means you can glance over your home screen and get snapshot updates on what's going on.

Nokia Lumia 820 review

Third-party apps often have their own live tile design so although for the most part you'll see a block colour of your chosen theme, this is interspersed with headlines and logos.

Swiping left takes you to the vertical list of apps on the Lumia 820. This is a quick and clear way of displaying apps but (and we pointed this out with the Lumia 920) if you're particularly app-happy then you're going to very quickly accumulate a long list and a lot of scrolling time.

Once you're familiar with the layout of the interface, you'll find yourself moving about it at some speed. The three soft-touch keys at the bottom of the phone let you either jump back a screen, go straight back to the top of the home screen or fire up Bing search for a quick internet query.

Nokia Lumia 820 review

The 4.3-inch screen is particularly sensitive and responds very quickly to pinching and swiping. The increased sensitivity of the screen also means you can use the Lumia 820 with gloves on - a feature no doubt as useful in London as it is in Helsinki, but not so much in Brisbane.

Holding down the back key brings up a thumbnail slideshow of your recently used applications and lets you quickly skip back and forth. Microsoft calls this multitasking, which is a little misleading as you can't actually close apps this way.

We've given our thoughts on Microsoft's interface before on reviews of other Windows devices, such as the Lumia 920 or the HTC 8X. It's a clean and simple interface that works, and easy enough to get to grips with.

It looks noticeably different from the horizontal, icon-focused iOS and Android systems and as such, won't appeal to everyone but there is a fair amount to discover and it works well once you start using it properly.

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