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Nokia Lumia 820 Review

Nokia Lumia 820

Posted: , by Ray S.



The Nokia Lumia 820 doesn't have anything new to offer compared to the other Windows Phone 8 devices, at least in terms of user interface. Live Tiles are presenting you with valuable information right from the homescreen, while instead of jumping from an app to app as with other operating systems, you're jumping from hub to hub.

The standard Windows Phone 8 experience can be found on the Nokia Lumia 820 - Nokia Lumia 820 Review
The standard Windows Phone 8 experience can be found on the Nokia Lumia 820 - Nokia Lumia 820 Review
The standard Windows Phone 8 experience can be found on the Nokia Lumia 820 - Nokia Lumia 820 Review
The standard Windows Phone 8 experience can be found on the Nokia Lumia 820 - Nokia Lumia 820 Review

The standard Windows Phone 8 experience can be found on the Nokia Lumia 820

Since this is a Nokia Windows Phone, however, you get a ton of added programs that you won't get on other WP-powered devices. This includes the awesome Nokia Drive+ navigation app, as well as Nokia Maps (this should become available to other Windows Phones at some point), both of which allow you to download the maps you want for offline usage – something that you won't get with other stock map applications. We found the two programs to be very well-made, with intuitive interfaces and good performance. The Nokia Drive+ app, for example, comes with big on-screen buttons that are easy to press, which is very appropriate for use while driving. It's evident that Nokia is offering these apps with the idea that someone might actually use them, and not just as a check-box feature.

Nokia is also providing some other goodies that are exclusive to its own Lumia range, including Nokia Music, App Highlights, City Lens, Smart Shoot and more. Not all of Nokia's exclusive apps are must-haves, but most are fine tools.

Nokia Drive+ - Nokia Lumia 820 Review
Nokia Drive+ - Nokia Lumia 820 Review
Nokia Drive+ - Nokia Lumia 820 Review
Nokia Drive+ - Nokia Lumia 820 Review

Nokia Drive+


Typing on the virtual QWERTY keyboard of the Nokia Lumia 820 is a satisfying experience. The portrait option is very good, especially considering the aspect ration of the screen, which makes it a bit wider than the standard 16:9 displays that we have nowadays. As we've said in our other Windows Phone 8 reviews, we aren't really fans of the landscape layout, because it doesn't make use of all the available screen real estate, because there are some menu keys to the right of the keyboard, and some empty space to its left. Oh well, such is the reality of the Windows Phone 8 operating system. To tell you the truth, typing on the landscape QWERTY is still a likable experience.

Email - Nokia Lumia 820 Review
Nokia Lumia 820 Review
Nokia Lumia 820 Review



Processor and Memory

Like every other Windows Phone 8 device thus far, the Nokia Lumia 820 features the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus dual-core chipset with Adreno 225 GPU. The CPU is clocked at 1.5 GHz, and all of this is complemented by a healthy 1 gigabyte of RAM. As you can imagine, this guarantees a very fluid system interface. We noticed no lag or other kinds of delay while using the handset.

The Lumia 820 comes with 8GB of internal memory, but Nokia has wisely added a microSD card slot, allowing you to add a memory card of up to 32GB more.


Windows Phone 8's Internet Explorer 10 is a great mobile browser. Not only does it deliver fluid scrolling and zooming, but it also has a wonderful tab implementation and very accurate double-tap zooming. Microsoft may still have a lot of work to do on its mobile OS, but it is such details that reveal the platform's potential.

Sadly, Flash content will be out of your reach with any WP8 phone, but at least everything else will function very, very well.

Internet Explorer 10 - Nokia Lumia 820 Review
Internet Explorer 10 - Nokia Lumia 820 Review

Internet Explorer 10

As far as cellular connectivity goes, the Lumia 820 has a radio that supports LTE, as well as HSPA+ 42.2 Mbit/s down, which means it's well-armed against the other offerings in its class.

  • Options

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 01:57 4

1. ABDULGHAFOOR (Posts: 104; Member since: 04 May 2012)

Poor camera
Sub-par call quality
but still 8/10 PA rating O.o

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 02:13 3

3. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 4319; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)

8 is quite fine i should say...
Wasn't expecting Nokia to go bad on calling section...wonder what's going in their mind. Hope they fix it in the next roll out!

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 02:34 6

5. josephnero (Posts: 592; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)

if it was sony would have gotten 7.lol

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 08:18

17. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

It's an updated Lumia 900, which wasn't a bad phone by itself. I'll likely get one for my T-Mobile usage (since I'm using an unlocked 900 and only getting 2G on it), but only because the 920 isn't available through T-Mobile and an unlocked 920 is beyond what I want to spend for a phone right now, since I'll be getting a 920 for my AT&T services as well shortly.
I wish they had increased the screen resolution just a bit, if only to 720. It looks good regardless, but it would be closer to the ATIV and WP8X/8S with a better screen. The camera I can live with, as the Nokia Camera Extras app alleviates many of the issues with the stock software. I'm a bit confused about the alleged call quality: the 900 has been nothing short of superb for the 7 months I've had it, and I see little reason why it would be lessened with the conversion to the 820.

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 09:04

23. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

I must say, I'm pleasantly impressed that this is a Ray-written review. Kudos!

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 01:59 6

2. tiara6918 (Posts: 2111; Member since: 26 Apr 2012)

Nokia should have done something better with the camera(knowing the pureview and 920) even though this is a mid-range device.

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 07:36

16. Gcombs (Posts: 133; Member since: 22 Aug 2011)

I agree because if you can pick up the 920 on AT&T for $100 bucks on contract Then they should have gone pureview across all devices and the same screen resolution as the 920 also.

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 08:22 1

18. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

Yeah but then all the phones would be thicker. It's good to have a bit of flexibility in the range in regards to styles, and it makes lower-cost models more approachable for a wider customer base. The 820 seems to take better photos than many mid-range smartphone cameras out there, and, price-wise, it even undercuts some of them. Folks will likely be cross-shopping other cheap smartphones like the Galaxy Exhilarate or the Pantech flavor-of-the-month, and while those are Android, the Nokia name and better camera may generate more sales.

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 02:33 10

4. AmitMajumder (Posts: 178; Member since: 21 May 2012)

For me, when it's Windows Phone, it's Nokia

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 03:01 3

10. Alex123 (Posts: 241; Member since: 17 Oct 2012)

yes, me too! I think no any competitor company done well like Nokia for the WP8, even HTC trying to copy the design but the phone still looks ugly. Nokia is the King of WP8 especially L920.

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 02:40 4

6. ShibeshMehrotra (Posts: 9; Member since: 03 Apr 2012)

Carl Zeiss optics and a weak camera? I'll believe it when I use it. Until then, that's a big question mark.

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 08:23

19. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

Seems to be the same camera as the Lumia 900, which takes good photos. Not PureView quality, but equal or better than most. Almost definitely better than what's been coming from Pantech and LG lately

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 02:41

7. lonestrider (Posts: 88; Member since: 31 Mar 2012)

Monitor in ear earphone for 820. no ear phone for 920. wow.

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 02:55

9. AmitMajumder (Posts: 178; Member since: 21 May 2012)

It's because this device is straight from Nokia. The 920 was from AT&T and they don't include earphones...

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 06:18

14. lonestrider (Posts: 88; Member since: 31 Mar 2012)

The 920 isn't exclusive for AT&T, isn't it?
So the international version should have earphones.
920 is way more expensive.

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 08:29

20. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

International version unboxing videos of the 920 indicate some pretty nice earphones come with it. However, that's the same version that's $150 more than the AT&T version, albeit unlocked. I'd save the $150 and get some aftermarket ones or use the ones I already own.
Not many on-contract phones in the U.S. come with earphones or headsets anymore in an attempt to cut costs, especially as most aren't used anyway. The iphone is the only one off the top of my head I can think of that does come with them, and they're not very good.

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 02:51 2

8. rassouli5 (Posts: 51; Member since: 16 Aug 2012)

I wish Sony was about to make Windows Phone 8 devices, despite the suckness of Android, Sony XPERIA's are superb....

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 03:27 1

11. hiBreed (Posts: 90; Member since: 29 May 2012)

whatever, its just good enough for a midrange, camera is doubtful though

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 03:30

12. jsdechavez (Posts: 758; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)

The camera seems ok.. hmmm

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 04:12

13. rsxl5 (Posts: 65; Member since: 05 Sep 2012)

As for Nokia Drive+ it's perfect that it's off line type.
BIG PLUS for Nokia but you should mention as well other everyday use things that are not well made, ie:
- you can't get map on and get directions by pointing on the map (need to know exact address to type),
- can't save POI other than the one you're are in (or I couln't find it in L900) ; so first you need to travel there and than save POI,
- once of about six/seven times it got me to the point that was not exactly what I wanted (last time happened in Poland when it took me to a desired street but the number was on the opposite side of A2 freeway),
- if for instance you're in Shanghai and you type Sheraton (they have a few in Shanghai) the first one given was the closest one (if typed in English ; if typed in Chinese it moved to the middle of the list) the second one is UK's Hartlepool (9022km away) (OS is set to English for my convenience) ; had similar stupid results while in EU two month ago (out of the blue result that is on the other side of the globe),
- and other one-language related issues.

Google maps are the best as for now (no matter if you look for destination in English or Chinese or other language).

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 08:33

21. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

Using the Local Search function in Bing or Nokia Maps instead of Nokia Drive can alleviate most of the issues you're describing, then just copy the address to Drive. I am a bit disappointed (Lumia 900 owner) that Maps isn't the same app for both driving and searching as it is on the Symbian Nokias, which makes things much easier to do. It isn't bad, and is still top-notch for what it does, it just lacks the integration I'm used to in the Symbian version.
As for saving POIs, it should be saved in your search history on Drive, or you can add a POI as a favorite then delete it when done using it.

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 09:28

24. rsxl5 (Posts: 65; Member since: 05 Sep 2012)

Using the Local Search function in Bing or Nokia Maps - works as a work around (at least for Sheraton search).

As for saving POIs - they are but I do not see a way to add them to favorites (w/o traveling to the POI).

Was using Google maps on SE Arc for about 2 years and using L900 Nokia Drive is like a step back for me but if on a Roaming trip it's cost saver.

IMO, it's ridiculous as well that if I type in Chinese I get result transcribed in OS language only (nevertheless all data are in the database in Chinese as well ; visible if you switch mobile language to Chinese).

Why there is an assumption that one person speaks only one language even if he inputs in another one :)
Google maps present you both names (localized and transcribed) so even if you can't read Chinese you can make graphical match if needed :)

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 07:25 2

15. snowgator (Posts: 3604; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)

The call quality scares me. If I get a WP 8, it is out of pocket. Not paying for sub-par call quality.

Luckily, even a sub-par Nokia camera will most likely be at least a slght step up from my Focus S, which is truly just fair.

Wonder if I will see the High Df screens of the 920 and top end Android and just cross this off my list or if the screen will at least hold it's own.

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 08:43

22. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

I'm guessing the call quality is a fluke. This is essentially a reskinned 900 with a MicroSD slot and improved guts. I've had a 900 for 7 months and the calling quality has been superb. I wish the loudspeaker were able to get louder, but otherwise it's been more than satisfactory. You do have a return period to try out the device, typically 14-30 days depending on place of purchase.
That said, the 920 is $50 more, and with all its improvements is absolutely worth it.

posted on 26 Jan 2013, 19:06

30. sbergman (Posts: 6; Member since: 26 Jan 2013)

This is the only site i have read of the "bad" call quality. Although, a user in his review reported the same.

I find it hard to believe that NOKIA does not give call quality to suich phones. Do you have any news?

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 10:22

25. 7thspaceman (Posts: 1583; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)

I like the phone case design of the Lumia 820 better than the Nokia Lumia 920 because it has rounded off edges. the Lumia 920 is too much a copy cat of the lumia 900 to me I am not saying it's a bad looking smart phones but sooner or later Nokia has to move away from that case design because people will get tired of it.

posted on 13 Nov 2012, 18:08

26. MC1123 (Posts: 1256; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)

nokia lumia 920 all the way!!!

hey PA its not that bad! i think its the camera of N9 which isnt that bad!

i wish nokia will bring N8's camera to lumia too! even though pureview is great! but hoping they'll power their mid-range or higher mid-range with N8's camera!

posted on 14 Nov 2012, 00:41

27. pliskin1 (Posts: 59; Member since: 17 Oct 2012)

Was gonna get this as my first smartphone, but the lack of flash worries me, and the call quality.

posted on 14 Nov 2012, 07:50

28. FranksGT (Posts: 167; Member since: 29 Aug 2012)

This phone is quite ugly! Bulky, blank, bad camera, to many cons to even get a mid range phone like this. Screen PPI is horrible. What was nokia thinking?

posted on 21 Jan 2013, 07:29

29. saminsomniac (Posts: 1; Member since: 21 Jan 2013)

To all the haters, lumias look bad as it can ever be through photos. The story is very different in the real world. Take in hands any lumia and a galaxy. You'll feel it.

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Nokia Lumia 820

Nokia Lumia 820

OS: Windows Phone 8
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
Display4.3 inches, 480 x 800 pixels (217 ppi) AMOLED
Camera8 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus, Dual-core, 1500 MHz, Krait processor
Size4.87 x 2.70 x 0.39 inches
(123.8 x 68.5 x 9.9 mm)
5.64 oz  (160 g)
Battery1650 mAh, 15.4 hours talk time

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