Review: Nokia Lumia 820

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In September 2012 Nokia presented not one but  two new smartphones. They not only announced the high-end device Lumia 920, but also the successor of the Lumia 800, the Lumia 820. I have been testing this one for about two weeks now and here are my impressions:

Please note: I will not review the OS in this review. That will be presented in the next part of the 920’s review because the 820 and the 920 have exactly the same OS

Design

The Lumia 820 has a nice shell. Unlike the Lumia 920 the 820 has rounded edges, which makes the device feel a bit better in the hand. Also the device does not have a unibody. However, that is absolutely OK as the back cover fits perfectly and it is attached to the body very firmly. This makes the whole device feel like it had a unibody. On the front there is the display which is not curved unfortunately.

As I already mentioned, the 820 has changeable back covers. These are available in two types: with and without wireless charging support. Both have the same form and look almost the same, but the wireless charging covers are a bit thicker (but it is quite noticeable) and their color is matte instead of glossy. I personally prefer the feel of the glossy covers, so I would like Nokia to bring out the wireless charging covers in glossy also.

For me the 820 feels better in the hand than the 920! The rounded edges flatter my hand and the slightly lower weight is also noticeable. Also it is smaller which makes it way more portable. Anyways, there is always something to criticize: The camera is on the absolute wrong place! Every time I take the device I touch the camera! It really needs to be placed a bit lower.

However, the device seems to be very tough. I did not do a drop test, but the device just feels solid and stable. Also the buttons have a quality feel. Same as on the Lumia 920 they are made of zirconium, a ceramic-like material, feel great and do not jiggle.

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Display

The 820 has a AMOLED screen. This makes colors look much brighter and the black much deeper. For me the colors are a little bit too saturated, but that may be because I am used to the PureMotion HD screen on the 920. However, the Lumia 820 has a resolution of only 480 by 800 which is bad for this size. Graphics and texts look a bit pixelated and unclear. Anyways, because it has a normal RGB Matrix the screen is sharper and clearer than the Lumia 800’s screen which has a PenTile Matrix. For me the screen quality is OK, nothing more.

Like the Lumia 920, the 820 has Supersensitive Touch which makes the touchscreen usable with gloves on or even with fingernails or keys. This works really well and is a great innovation!

Performance

The Lumia 820 has a 1.5GHz DualCore Snapdragon S4+ prozessor and 1gb of RAM storage. Because of this everything opens immediately and runs smooth. Because of the lower screen resolution on the 820 everything works _a little bit_ faster. However, the difference is so small that you will notice that only in a direct comparison and not in daily usage.

Call quality, speakers and battery life

When you try to call someone on a Lumia 820 you will notice its good sound quality. The great calls is on a known Nokia quality, means the voices are clear and realistic on both sites. The built in speaker however is a bit worse. It is indeed pretty loud (but lower than the 920’s speaker), but the quality is not that good.

A little disappointment was the battery life. On really heavy usage I needed to charge the phone after only 8-9 hours, which means I could not make it through a whole day. The Lumia 920 in comparison made it up to twelve.

Camera

The 820 does not have a PureView camera like the 920 or the 808, but it has a respectable 8MPX Carl Zeiss camera. Daylight shots are good: Natural, but a bit too soft. Night shots are not that good because of the lack of an OIS sensor like the 920 has. If you put the device on a tripod like I did night shots, however, look great! They are not as good as the 920’s shots because (especially in the background) there is a little murmuring and the colors are a bit unnatural, but the quality is respectable! All in all the camera is pretty basic, but better than the camera of some competitors.

Daylight

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Like I said, the pictures are too soft, but the colors are absolutely natural and there quite many details

Night, with flash

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With flash the camera captures great details. However, the darker parts are murmuring and the colors are a little bit too saturated

Night, without flash

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When the camera is on a tripod, the 820’s image quality is way better than its competitors (except Lumia 920 and 808): the camera is able to capture many details and the colors are natural. Without a tripod the pictures are blurry and unclear.

So, I had the 820 as a primary device now for about two weeks (also because my 920 is in repair… once again…) and I am happy with it. The screen could be better, but the camera does a good job and the feel of the device is absolutely amazing! The changeable covers are a nice idea and the covers fit so perfectly, that the whole device feels like it had a unibody. I give a overall rating of 7.5/10 points or 8.9/10 in its price range. This is a really good value for such a device I think and I am sure the Lumia 820 will get many happy customers all round the world.