Nokia Lumia 820 hands-on (one week on)

The Nokia Lumia 820 is a 4.3-inch smartphone running Windows Phone 8 and while it may be thought of as an update to the Nokia Lumia 900, we’ve found it so much more. Find out how we’re getting on with it in our Nokia Lumia 820 hands-on – one week on.

The Nokia Lumia 920 may be the new flagship smartphone of the Windows Phone 8 range but if you’re looking for something a little more cost-effective and with a slightly smaller screen, we think the Nokia Lumia 820 more than fits the bill.

We’ve been using it for a little over a week now and have come to understand it’s subtle charms. Here we take a look at what has been impressing us the most over the last seven days.

Where to buy your Nokia Lumia 820 

Nokia Lumia 820 review: Design

You can see the Nokia Lumia lineage in the overall shape of the Nokia Lumia 820 but it still comes across with a look and feel all its own. The 4.3-inch screen dominates the front of the phone, with the three virtual keys being a practical size but with far less space around them compared to the Nokia Lumia 900, for example. This makes the Nokia Lumia 820 much more compact, making it easier to carry around.

We really like the rounded corners of the interchangeable shell and the contrast in colour between the polycarbonate body, the function buttons on the side and the glass and metal of the main device itself.

The rounded sides aren’t just about the look of the Nokia Lumia 820, as they also help make it sit smoother in the hand. Overall, there simply isn’t a smartphone that looks as cool or distinctive as the new Nokia Lumia handsets right now.

Nokia Lumia 820 review: Screen

The Nokia Lumia 820 comes with a standard 800 x 480-pixel resolution, which we’re accustomed to after using it on the previous generation of Nokia Lumia handsets. However, if you’re looking for a higher resolution screen you may be a little disappointed.

However, we’ve found the screen bright and clear and certainly very easy to read. The thing that has impressed us the most about the Nokia Lumia 820 screen, though is how legible it is when using it out and about. If you’ve checked out our Panorama or Nokia City Lens reviews you’ll see for yourself how legible the screen is, courtesy of the latest Nokia ClearBlack technology.

Nokia Lumia 820 review: Performance

The Nokia Lumia 820 is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor and is backed by 1GB of RAM. What this boils down to in every day use is a smartphone that is quick and agile and doesn’t show signs of lagging once you’ve opened a number of apps, unlike some rival platforms out there.

It seems quite easy for journalists to dismiss Windows Phone 8 for not really doing anything flashy or unique but that’s exactly why we like it, it feels designed for every day use, not to grab headlines. We’ve found that Windows Phone 8 very much takes what we knew about the platform and builds on it. So, while everything feels familiar there is still plenty to discover, from simple tricks such as changing the size of Live Tiles, or personalising the Lock screen, for example, to new features such as Kids Corner, or even the increased security courtesy of Bitlocker encryption

The Nokia Lumia 820 pretty much follows the same development route as Windows Phone 8, while the Nokia Lumia 920 has been grabbing the headlines, this handset just gets on with the job in hand, being a nicely designed and highly responsive smartphone.

Nokia Lumia 820 review: Build quality

You can’t fault Nokia for its build quality and the Nokia Lumia 820 is another great example. Sure, it feels heavy in the hand compared to similar sized smartphones but we’ve been impressed with just how reassuringly solid and well built this handset feels. Take the shell off the back and you’ll see the metal body of the phone encasing all the components. We’ve no doubt it will certainly stand up to plenty of abuse, and if you know you’re going to treat it rough you can always opt to buy the rugged shell, to make it even more impervious to pain!

Overall, we’re really impress with how the Nokia Lumia 820 has performed. Considering it may have passed under the radar compared to the features present on the Nokia Lumia 920, there is plenty to get excited about on his smartphone and with prices starting as little as £20.50 a month, it’s also highly affordable.

  • Ayush Jain

    Brilliant phone

  • Paul Stevenson

    I too have the 820 and I’m very impressed by and large. Wanted it as a stop gap to the 920 but I think I may keep it. I’ve put a screen protector on it as I have read they didn’t put a Gorilla Glass screen on it. I hate screen protectors so will be keen to see how other people’s screens hold up. If Nokia’s scratch resistant screens seem to do the job well then I’ll happily remove it!

  • Scott Leong

    I guess I’ll find out myself on Wednesday, when this phone is scheduled to arrive on my doorstep. I decided to get it no contract from the MS Store online for $349 + shipping…