Nokia Lumia 820 review

4 Jan 2013

Nokia’s more modest Windows Phone 8 device is a well-balanced, powerful and affordable handset

Buy it now for 
4

Nokia made a big splash with its first Windows Phone 8 device, but despite its many talents, the Lumia 920 was bulky, heavy on the battery and too expensive to recommend. Nokia has addressed those concerns with its Lumia 820, a mid-range phone that’s trimmer and lighter – and much better for it.

The downsizing doesn’t bring Nokia’s new baby into line with the 131g Samsung Galaxy S III, but the 820’s 9.9mm girth and 160g weight are far more manageable than the 10.7mm, 185g Lumia 920. It isn’t the chore to hold or cram into a pocket that the 920 is, and the hard, matte finish and rounded corners lends it a comfortable yet premium feel.

Nokia Lumia 820

The latest Lumia beats its stablemate for versatility, too. While the 920 was milled from a single block of polycarbonate with no internal access, the entire casing (including buttons) of the Lumia 820 is removable, granting access to the battery and both micro-SIM and microSD card slots.

That “shell” is also replaceable, with six different colours available, prices at around £20 each and each one including a patch that allows the phone to be charged wirelessly via Nokia’s inductive charging plate (£50). Nokia says a rugged shell will be available later this year.

Display

The 820 is as sturdy and attractive as its bigger brother, then, but it’s clearly a mid-range handset. The display is a 4.3in unit and resolution is a mere 480 x 800 pixels; it feels outdated beside the Lumia 920’s 4.5in, 768 x 1,280 screen, with app icons, text and images lacking the sharpness we’ve become used to on recent high-end phones.

Nokia Lumia 820

Nokia has also used a different panel technology for the 820, and the difference is obvious when you line it up next to the 920, which uses an IPS panel. The 820’s highly saturated colours give it the edge for eye-popping games, but the larger Lumia’s more muted, realistic tones are better for viewing photographs and video. And, while the 820’s panel has perfect black levels, it tends to crush darker colours together. The Lumia 920 does a better job of handling subtle tones at the extremes of the colour spectrum.

There’s no change in the internal hardware, though, and the 820’s components don’t disappoint. The 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, Adreno 225 graphics chip and 1GB of RAM helped the phone score 906ms in the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark, not surprisingly in the same ball park as the 920ms scored by the Lumia 920. Both results are the fastest we’ve seen from any phone.

Details

Price inc VAT SIM-free: 8GB, £316 (£380 inc VAT); from free on a £21/mth, 24mth contract
Cheapest price on contract Free
Contract monthly charge £21.00
Contract period 24 months
Contract provider www.webuymobiles.net
Overall rating 4
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 4

Physical

Dimensions 124 x 68 x 9.9mm (WDH)
Weight 160g
Touchscreen yes
Primary keyboard On-screen

Core Specifications

RAM capacity 1.00GB
Camera megapixel rating 8.0mp
Front-facing camera? yes
Video capture? yes

Display

Screen size 4.3in
Resolution 480 x 800
Landscape mode? yes

Other wireless standards

Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes

Software

OS family Other

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