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Nokia Lumia 820 review


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

Review Date: 4 Jan 2013

Reviewed By: Mike Jennings

Price when reviewed: SIM-free: 8GB, £316 (£380 inc VAT); from free on a £21/mth, 24mth contract

Buy it now for: £295
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

4 stars out of 6

In real-world use, the 820 performed near-flawlessly. It ran games without any frame-rate issues, and Windows Phone 8 was almost as slick. We did notice a tiny judder when switching from the homescreen to the alphabetical list of apps, but this is a small complaint.

Other specifications comprise dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.1, with NFC and LTE nicely rounding things off. We’d prefer more storage than the miserly 8GB, and bigger battery than the 1,650mAh unit, though. Its 50% in our 24-hour rundown test is better than the 920’s 40% result but is still below average.

Nokia Lumia 820

Nokia hasn’t brought its PureView camera technology to the 820’s 8-megapixel shooter, and there’s a clear gulf in quality. While the 820 captures colourful, sharp images, the Lumia 920’s incredible camera captured even more detail with less grain, and excelled in low-light conditions. The lack of optical image stabilisation means 1080p video isn’t as smooth on the 820, either.

Our fondness for the Windows Phone 8 camera app remains undimmed, though, with its excellent selection of software “lenses”, and Nokia includes the same range of valuable software extras as on the 920. In addition to the core Windows 8 OS, you get Nokia Maps and Drive, plus Nokia Music and City Lens. Developer support is still patchy, though, with none of the apps noted in our 920 review – Instagram, Dropbox, iPlayer and Spotify – yet available in the store.

Nokia Lumia 820


Not only is the Lumia 820 an attractive smartphone but, if bought on a 3G contract, it offers excellent value for money, too. At around £21 per month, it’s cheaper than the Lumia 920 and Samsung Galaxy S III on similar deals.

We closed our Lumia 920 review by advising potential buyers to wait and see what other Windows Phone 8 handsets had to offer, but we didn’t expect Nokia’s own Lumia 820 to come along and provide the competition. The low-resolution screen, weaker camera and continued lack of apps mean it can’t compete with the best Android handsets, but the usability of Windows 8 and attractive physical design mean this well-balanced Nokia is still an attractive proposition.

Author: Mike Jennings

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User comments

Voice recognition

I have seen comments that the voice recognition actually works. Is this true?

By tirons1 on 4 Jan 2013


It works quite well for me on my 920.

By AlphaGeeK on 4 Jan 2013

Nice phone

A shame Nokia don't make an Android version.

By Alfresco on 5 Jan 2013


I had an android phone and just recently bought a Nokia Lumia 920. I don't regret it for one second. The interface is slick, the camera is excellent and the integration with Microsoft services superb. The additional Nokia apps are also great value.

By ish44 on 5 Jan 2013

Value for money

So the Lumia 820 costing £0 on a £21/ month contract gets the same value for money rating as the iPhone 5 costing £159, on a £31.00 per month...

Do I need to comment further?

By bronven on 5 Jan 2013

There is Spotify for Windows Phone

There is an app for Spotify. Might want to change the review. Here's the link:

By henry20012 on 7 Jan 2013


The clue is in the word "Value"

By dg2puk on 7 Jan 2013

Damning with faint praise.....again

I don't understand what you want from a battery, but my 920 lasts a full day easily - involving phone, browsing and newsreading, along with sundry apps.

The 'dearth' of Apps for WP8 hasn't bothered me that much. The NOKIA provided ones offer substantial added-value.
The Mapping & turn-by-turn Navigation(for instance) is far better than Apple's pathetic excuse for an Application.

Of course I'm a lot older than many and so I tend to live in the Real World, delving into the Virtual one only when it offers utility in Reality.... From a cursory glance at the WP8 App Store they seem to have plenty, and all the major ones....

By wittgenfrog on 7 Jan 2013


Apparently the new windows 8 (portico?) update improves the battery life, along with some tweaks to the camera. I guess some people won't be happy unless the update reduces the size, the weight and changes the OS though ;)

By ish44 on 7 Jan 2013


Although mentioned in passing when listing what's exposed by removing the back cover, it's odd that more is not made of the micro-sd slot.

I've had an 820 for a month-or-so now and have more music on the card than there is space for on the phone. Pictures & videos taken get stored there by default if wanted, as does music downloaded via the WP8 music app. It appears as a seperate drive to the main phone memory when plugged into USB.

A current limitation is that neither apps nor their data can be off-loaded on the card - I don't see that changing any-time soon either.

By alynsparkes on 7 Jan 2013


To quote your article on the benchmark results: "Both results are the fastest we’ve seen from any phone."

And yet it only gets 4 out of 6 (ie just above average) on performance rating? I'm guessing anything above 4 stars is reserved exclusively for apple products?

By drslothy on 10 Jan 2013

I find the windows phone useful as a phone however I am unable to install several programs which I would find useful in work since the winbdows phone will not allow me to install an "executable" program, eg firefox since this is my preferred browser, I believe the surface tablet has the same drawback

By iains2007 on 10 Jan 2013

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