Nokia Lumia 820 review

A capable little brother to the range-topping Lumia 920, but we think Nokia's more expensive Windows Phone 8 handset is worth the extra

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Page 2 of 4Nokia Lumia 820 review


Windows Mobile 8, 4.3in 480x800 display

You also get the full suite of Nokia's excellent branded apps, from the huge archive of free music in the Nokia Music app, to Nokia's turn-by-turn Drive navigation app and the City Lens augmented-reality city guide. These are all high-quality apps which you can't get on other Windows Phone handsets, and really help to swing the argument Nokia's way - the thousands of free tracks on Nokia Music, for example, are bound to be popular.

Mix Radio

Plenty of free offline music in the Nokia Music app

The Lumia 820 has the same Snapdragon S4 chipset and 1.5GHz dual-core processor as the 920, and it runs Windows Phone 8 smoothly. It's an incredibly slick mobile operating system, up there with Apple's iOS for speed and smoothness. The phone completed the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark in just 915ms, showing it won’t have a problem rendering even graphics-heavy web pages.

The Lumia 820's camera, though, is significantly lower-specification than the 920's. Gone is the PureView branding and the optical image stabilisation, although you're unlikely to notice the reduction from 8.7 to 8 megapixels.

We were hugely impressed with the Lumia 920's video capture which, thanks to the image stabilisation, was rock-steady even when we were walking around - there was barely a wobble even when we strapped the phone to a vibrating table. The Lumia 820's footage, by comparison, is just as wobbly as that from a normal smartphone, so you have to keep your hand steady.

Video footage taken indoors also shows up the Lumia 820's inferior low-light performance, with more noise and less of the smoothness of the 920's footage. It's still an impressive video camera, but not up there with its superior big brother. Photos taken in low light are nowhere near as impressive either, with more noise and significant camera shake.

Nokia Lumia 820

Photos are sharp and have a reasonable amount of detail, but we found colours muted

Although we were highly impressed with the Lumia 920's video footage, we weren't bowled over by its daylight photos, finding them well-exposed, but over-processed, which led to a loss of detail. The Lumia 820's pictures aren’t as processed so appear sharper, but the flipside is some slightly washed-out colours. It's by no means a bad camera, but certainly not up there with the best models we've seen such as the Samsung Galaxy S3 or HTC Windows Phone 8X.

The Lumia 820 is a tricky phone to rate compared to the Lumia 920, which is currently our favourite Windows Phone 8 handset. It may have a lower-resolution screen, but the display's high quality meant this didn’t worry us in everyday use. It doesn’t have the Lumia 920's classy unibody chassis, but this means you can change the look of the phone and expand the storage with a microSD card. The Lumia 820 also has better battery life and is around £100 cheaper than the Lumia 920. However, on contract there's only a couple of pounds' difference, so unless you plan to buy the phone upfront we'd spend the extra £48 over a two-year contract and take the classier, higher-resolution Lumia 920.

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