Nokia Lumia 820 is the mid range device by Nokia launched in their Windows 8 series of devices. The Lumia 820 is specifically designed for those consumers who do not want to shell out a lot of money, yet want a good premium device with Windows 8 experience. Nokia had been pinning lots of its hopes on this device, but with the recent announcement of the Lumia 720 at the MWC we do believe that if one device would lose out on, it would be 820. We have been playing with the Lumia 820 for a while now, and feel we are in a solid position to give our say on tthe device. Generally, we loved the construction of the device which is very much reminiscent of the Lumia family of phones, the screen worked well, and at times we genuinely believed that had this hardware been running on the likes on Android or iOS, it could easily have been one of the best devices on the planet. So how ell or bad did the phone perform, here is our full review.
Out of the box:
The packaging of the Lumia 820 is pretty standard Nokia stuff. It comes in a square box just like any Lumia phone made entirely out of card board. The box contains your Lumia 820 smart phone, documentation, standard Nokia Micro USB charger and a set of headsets. We did not really like the head sets due to fairly poor noise cancellation capabilities, but for regular general usage, they seem to suffice. If you are an avid music listener, we do recommend you to buy a better pair of headsets.
The moment you hold the Lumia 820 you know you are holding a robust device and a well constructed smart phone. We did not find any creaking in the smart phone and it felt really solid in hands. Even though the back panel is removable, which reveals a micro SD card slot and micro SIM slot and a replaceable battery, we found opening the back panel to be quite a task in itself. This made sure, we did not keep fidgeting with the back panel of the device and even though there is no uni-body construction, the device looks like a brick house. Especially the red color version we used, we loved how the back panel of the device did not really attract too many smudges thanks to a bright color and generally the phone looked neat.
We also loved the rounded corners of the device unlike the Lumia 800 which made for a lot more comfortable one handed use of the phone. The device features a 4.3 inch WVGA panel which has nice curved glass feeling to it which makes swiping across the screen feel good. The device has a front facing camera towards the right and standard capacitive buttons of Windows 8 range of devices at the bottom.
The rest of the construction is fairly standard stuff with 3.5 mm headset jack located at the top and Micro USB port at the bottom. The right side of the device has volume rockers as well as power lock/unlock button. Worth mentioning is the fact that speaker grill located at the bottom of the device was really loud and we loved some of the conference calls on the phone thanks to a very loud speaker. There is also a camera shutter button located at the bottom of the right side of the device.
No matter how good a phone may look or feel, it is pretty much a waste of money, if the device is not capable of making good phone calls. The Lumia 820 generally performed well in the calling department and even though the person on the other side could hear some disturbances, it was generally a pleasant experience. We did not really experience too many dropped calls or network issues even in regions where the signal was not at very best. In fact the call experience on the Lumia 820 was a little better than the experience I had on my personal Lumia 800 device. So thumbs up for that.
Since the screen of the Lumia 820 takes up the entire front portion of the device, it is a very important component to evaluate. The screen on the device is a throwback to old Lumia devices with a WVGA display of 800×480 resolution. Even though the screen is AMOLED and incorporates the clear black technology, we have to admit coming from a Lumia 920, we were disappointed with the overall screen quality. Outdoor visibility in the sun were good, but the WVGA resolution really did not do the device justice. At the price point at which Lumia 820 is selling, you would expect a better screen. Even though slightly older resolution means that more apps are made perfectly for this display, we do feel that eventually when the apps get updated for devices such as the Lumia 920 or even the HTC 8X, the low resolution of the Lumia 820 could become a problem. The viewing angles on the device were alright without being spectacular. However, looking at the screen without comparing it to any of the other devices, it did pretty adequate. Again, our concern is that with the launch of Lumia 720, the reports have said that screen on that is much more impressive than the Lumia 820, so you are advised to wait if going for the Lumia 820.
The Operating System:
The OS on the Lumia 820 is the Windows Phone 8.0. Strictly speaking software wise we had the same issues with the Lumia 820 that we faced with the Lumia 920. the apps were not adequate and coming from heavily using the Apple iTunes store or even the Android Play store, we found our choices to be limited and gimmicky often. Though, we ought to mention Nokia Music which hosts a terrific collection of songs, and with 1 year membership free, we loved downloading music from it. The turn by turn navigation on the device with Nokia Drive was great and especially in sub continent where we tested it, we found the maps to be accurate and extremely easy to use. We also loved the XBox 360 integration on the device and that we could use the Live ID and points that we had collected while playing games on the console. The dual core Qualcomm S4 1.5 GHz processor kept the things flowing easily and we did not feel any sort of performance issues or lags especially while we had more than 5/6 apps open. The presence of Micro SD card meant we could expand our storage according to our needs and fairly low 8GB of internal storage was never really an issue. Rest of the things worked pretty much how they do on any standard Windows Phone 8 device, though we must mention our love for customizing live tiles as well as changing accent colors of the device.
The Nokia Lumia 820 has a 8 Mega Pixel rear shooter. The camera performed alright in most situations, however, in low light conditions we did feel that if there was too much dust accumulated on the lens, it caused abnormal burning of the image while using the flash. The focus assistant is a good little add on to the camera, and generally the camera is adequate to replace your point and shoot cameras. The addition of lens feature in the camera app also is pretty neat and we look forward to having lots more of them from Nokia. The rear facing camera does record videos in 1280 P HD though we did find that while recording videos sound in the background was an issue like most of the videos recorded from a smart phone, the clarity of audio was certainly not great.
Battery Back Up:
The Nokia Lumia 820 ships with a removable 1650 mAh battery. Even though this may look pretty low by just looking at the specs, we could just about get through a day on it. Though continuous usage of 3G did drain the battery pretty fast so it became extremely important to switch the data connection off while not in use. The device also does not ship with Wireless charger unlike the Lumia 920, and you need to spend extra few bucks to avail that facility and buy the Wireless charging capable shell. This was a bit of a disappointment. Nokia could definitely have not done itself any harm by adding juice worth of another 200 mAh on this device.
Overall even though we liked the Nokia Lumia 820, we felt that the phone let us down in key areas, especially the battery back up and the screen. This became even more of an issue when we heard about the announcement of the Lumia 720 at MWC in Barcelona and felt it would be better waiting for that instead of spending on the Lumia 820. Overall though the device does perform well, but does not really stand out. You are advised to wait or look for an alternative device at the price point of about Rs 25,000 at which the Lumia 820 is currently available. But if you must have a Windows Phone 8 device in that price pocket, then the Lumia 820 is as good as it gets.
Do let us know your views about the Nokia Lumia 820 and if you agree or disagree with our review by commenting in the section below. You can also tweet in to us at @Blogtechnika or @Techverarp.