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Nokia Lumia 820 Review

Nokia Lumia 820

Posted: , by Ray S.



Software-wise, there's nothing to differentiate the Lumia 820's 8MP camera, as it simply uses the standard WP8 UI (which all WP8 phones do). Still, it's an easy to use interface that allows you to tweak a good number of settings.

The Nokia Lumia 820 uses the standard Windows Phone 8 camera interface - Nokia Lumia 820 Review
The Nokia Lumia 820 uses the standard Windows Phone 8 camera interface - Nokia Lumia 820 Review
The Nokia Lumia 820 uses the standard Windows Phone 8 camera interface - Nokia Lumia 820 Review
The Nokia Lumia 820 uses the standard Windows Phone 8 camera interface - Nokia Lumia 820 Review

The Nokia Lumia 820 uses the standard Windows Phone 8 camera interface

Unfortunately, the 820's camera is a disappointment, as the images that it produces are very washed out. Colors lack saturation to make them lively, while details are mediocre.

The same observations remain true for the photos taken indoors as well. Once again, we're treated to some washed out colors and general lack of detail even in good lighting conditions. Relatively high levels of noise are also visible, as the handset tries to compensate the incompetence of its sensor by boosting the sharpness, but, of course, nothing good comes out of that.

Video can be recorded at a maximum resolution of 1080p, but the results are equally unsatisfying. Aside from some problems with the continuous autofocus that we encountered (it can take too long for the handset to adjust it), the overall image quality is low, with insufficient details and plenty of noise. The problem with the autofocus can be seen in the embedded video sample below (the camera manages to adjust the focus around 0:15).

Nokia Lumia 820 Sample Video:

Nokia Lumia 820 Indoor Sample Video:


With Windows Phone 8 supporting mass-storage mode, it's now very easy to transfer media files to the handset. And it goes without saying that the bright and vibrant ClearBlack AMOLED screen of the Lumia 820 is great for watching video.

The earphones that Nokia has bundled with the Lumia 820 are nothing to write home about. They are OK, but if you are a connoisseur, you might want to use something fancier.

Your multimedia-centric hub is Music+Video, where you'll find your content as well as access to Microsoft's Xbox Music Store and Nokia Music. Nokia Music gives you yet another music store, a gig finder tool, and Mix Radio. The latter allows you to listen to predefined music mixes for free, or even create your own, by choosing up to three artists you want to listen to. What's more, you can even download your mix for offline use, which is a cool service. It's possible to skip songs, but there's a limitation of up to 6 skipped songs per hour.

The Music player - Nokia Lumia 820 Review
The Music player - Nokia Lumia 820 Review
The Music player - Nokia Lumia 820 Review
The Music player - Nokia Lumia 820 Review

The Music player

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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: 4328; 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: 593; 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: 1584; 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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