Nokia Lumia 820 Review

Introduction and Design

These are tough times for Nokia. Probably the toughest ones yet. At the same time, they are very exciting, because this is pushing the manufacturer to come up with its best smartphones yet.

Powered by Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 OS, however, Nokia's new Lumia handsets aren't expected to make that much of a splash in today's industry landscape, which is densely populated by iPhones and all kinds of Android devices. Considering Windows Phone 8's unproven status, could it really be the tool that Nokia needs to regain its lost positions?

In our opinion, this is still up in the air, because no one knows if there's going to be a sudden increase of WP8 device sales now that Microsoft has finally launched its Windows 8 OS. Love it or hate it, Nokia has bet the house on the Windows ecosystem, and the chances right now seem to be 50/50.

With all that in mind, we're quite excited to be reviewing the Nokia Lumia 820 – the mid-range model in the manufacturer's starting WP8 line-up. Almost as important as its beefier sibling, the Lumia 920, the 820 can give us a relatively good idea of where Nokia is going nowadays.


Picking up the Lumia 820 for the first time, it immediately becomes obvious that this is 100% Nokia. What we mean is that the manufacturer is known for its extremely well-made phones that can withstand all kinds of harsh treatment, and this phone is definitely not an exception. Well, we can't guarantee that the screen won't break if you drop this device on something hard, but the Lumia 820 does feel very solid and well-built. The handset is not super-slim, though is still has an athletic profile, and it's also relatively heavy at 5.64oz (160g). To put this into perspective, the HTC Windows Phone 8X weighs 4.59oz (130g), and the Apple iPhone 5 weighs 3.95oz (112g). We thoroughly enjoy holding and using the Lumia 820. We can't say that it's as awesome as the aluminum casing of the iPhone 5, but it's better than the soft-touch coating of the Windows Phone 8X. The Lumia 820 is made of polycarbonate, so it's still just plastic, but it feels very well in the hand. The handset is built like a tank, so to speak.

You can compare the Nokia Lumia 820 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Reaffirming our positive impressions are the physical keys situated on the right side of the device: the volume rocker, power/lock key and two-step camera shutter. All of them have a very good travel leave you with absolutely no hesitations as to whether or not you've pressed the key.

The back side of the Lumia 820 is home to the 8MP Carl Zeiss camera with dual LED flash. Other than that, it's completely clean, save for the subtle Nokia logo at the bottom. Speaking of the logo, we really like how Nokia has aligned the front logo to the right, instead of positioning it in the center. It gives the phone a unique and recognizable look.

We'd like to congratulate Nokia for building such a sturdy device. It's a breath of fresh air in these days of skinny and featherlight smartphones. The Nokia Lumia 820 has an appealing and polished design that's pleasant to look at and hold.


The Lumia 820 is armed with a 4.3” display with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. This translates into a pixel density of 217 ppi, which is far from today's “Retina” standards, but you shouldn't be worried about the screen's resolution. We can safely say that everything is still fine and easy to read. If you look closely, you'll be able to notice some fuzziness in the smaller text, but it's nothing distracting and can in no way ruin the experience.

Nokia has used its ClearBlack AMOLED tech for the screen of the Lumia 820, and the result is quite pleasing. The display is very bright, brighter than most other AMOLEDs, and even the color temperature is decent. It's still an AMOLED screen, though, meaning that it gravitates towards the colder side, but is more accurate than what you'll get from a quality AMOLED screen like the one of the Galaxy S III, for example.

An interesting feature of the Lumia 820's display is its ability to become super-sensitive. With this option activated, you can easily use your handset even when wearing gloves. We tested it and it works flawlessly. It is such kind of attention to detail that defines the quality of the user experience with a smartphone.

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