Look and feel
The Nokia Lumia 820 is still surprisingly bulky and heavy, but not as cumbersome as the larger Lumia 920. We liked the rounded, coloured finish, but can appreciate it isn’t a design that everyone will love.
Ease of Use
A sharp and vibrant 4.3-inch touchscreen is perfectly responsive and spacious enough to enjoy browsing the web or apps. Windows Phone 8 proves very user-friendly, especially if you’re new to the world of smartphones.
The Lumia 820’s 8MP camera with Carl Zeiss lens takes pleasingly sharp photos. The usual excellent range of Nokia-branded apps makes up in part for the meagre selection on the Windows Market.
A 1.5GHz dual-core processor backed up with 1GB of RAM keeps everything running smoothly, whether you’re enjoying your media or playing games.
The Lumia 820 will comfortably last the day with plenty of use, and you can stream around seven hours of battery from a full charge before it finally dies.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,11/23/2012 1:53:18 PM
Ease of use
Decent battery life;
Lighter than the Lumia 920;
Bright, crisp screen;
Excellent Nokia apps;
Still quite thick and heavy;
Windows Phone 8 lack of apps
Nokia’s Lumia 920 was, to put it mildly, a bit of a porker. Sporting one of the chunkiest designs of 2012, we were shocked at the sheer heft of the Lumia, even if we did gradually get used to that extra weight. The Lumia 820 is a slightly more compact model, sporting a 4.3-inch screen compared to the Lumia 920’s 4.5-incher, but it still packs a punch with its bulky build and thankfully retains most of the 920’s excellent features.
Big yellow monster
The Nokia Lumia 820 comes in a number of colours but our review model was a bright yellow beast that certainly stands out from the rest of the smartphone crowd. Some might love the vibrant design, others might think it looks like a kid’s toy. Personally we like the curved and colourful finish, which thankfully doesn’t get easily scuffed. It’s still a heavy little mobile, but not quite as hefty as the Lumia 920 (and a little slimmer to boot).
We struggled to prise the back cover off to access the precious innards, made tougher with our lack of fingernails, but eventually managed to pull it off. Inside you’ll find a removable battery as well as the Micro SIM slot. You also get a Micro SD memory card slot for expanding the 8GB of built-in storage, and you’ll definitely want to invest in a memory card if you love to download apps or carry your music collection around.
Things haven’t changed too much inside the Lumia 820 compared to its bigger bro, with the same 1.5GHz dual-core processor providing super-smooth performance. Windows Phone 8 runs like a dream, and all of the apps we tested loaded quickly and handled without a hitch. We were pleased to get over a full day’s battery life from the 820, even with plenty of emails, texts and social shenanigans, and you can stream around seven hours of video on a single charge too. The phone charges via Micro USB, and also supports wireless charging like the Lumia 920 (wireless charging pad sold separately).
Windows Phone 8 is as sociable as ever, with its People hub streaming your friends’ social updates into one handy place. You get the excellent Office app to stay productive on the move, and Nokia has thrown in plenty of its own software to maximise the Lumia 820’s usefulness. Nokia Maps is a great way to track your location and discover local services, and Nokia Drive is a voice navigation app for drivers. Nokia City Lens is another way of discovering good eateries etc in your local area, while Nokia Music is a completely free, ad-less service that allows you to download dozens of mixes and enjoy them offline.
Bear in mind that the Windows Market is still pretty bare compared to its iOS and Android rivals, so app fans will be best off with a different OS – for the meantime at least.
The Lumia 820 supports 4G LTE, so if you’re plush enough to afford the contract you can download data at incredible speeds (fast enough to stream an HD movie without any kind of stuttering). Even on a standard 3G contract, the Lumia 820 is a nifty little web browser. Its 4.3-inch screen is responsive to every swipe and poke, allowing you to zoom and slide around large websites with ease. The panel is bright with excellent viewing angles, so you can clearly read even tiny text under the harshest glare. Photos and movies also look excellent thanks to the vibrant colour reproduction.
The 8MP Carl Zeiss lens may not have the same ‘PureView’ tag as the Lumia 920’s camera, but we still found the Lumia 820 took some good snaps. Hold down the physical shutter button on the right edge and the camera app loads up automatically. Give it another poke and the camera focuses and takes a shot. There’s a pause of around a second from pushing the shutter to each photo taking, so you’ll have to keep your hand steady to avoid blurring, but our pics were both bright and vibrant when viewed back on our monitor.
Our night shots came out well, without too much noise, although we did notice a lot of lens flare when the photo included bright lights such as street lamps. You'd have to play around with the camera settings to try and offset this. A flash can be used to take shots in dimly lit interiors.
An example of lens flare using the automatic camera mode
One quite impressive feature is SmartShoot, which essentially takes a quick succession of photos over three seconds and can then be used to paste the best expression (no blinking or gurning) from each person into a single perfect shot. The only problem is that you need to remember to switch on the feature, and then get everyone to hold still for the required amount of time.
Nokia’s Lumia 820 is a slightly more compact version of the Lumia 920 that still packs in most of its best features, including wireless charging and Nokia’s fantastic range of apps. The battery life is more forgiving than the Lumia 920’s too, giving you a full day of use from a single charge.