REVIEW: Nokia Lumia 820
After receiving a trial Nokia Lumia 820 unit from the team over at Nokia Connects I opened the packaging to find the retail packaging to take the same form as all previous Nokia Lumia devices. Opening the packaging presented me with a red Nokia Lumia 820, battery, mico-USB to USB cable, a USB mains plug and a colour matched pair of Monster Purity in-ear headphones.
My pre-power on opinions of the phone were that the screen protruded out of the front of the case slightly leaving me feeling that the rear as not deep enough. It’s somewhat of a personal thing, but I would have preferred the the screen be flush like that of the Nokia Lumia 800 screen. After giving it more thought the Nokia Lumia 900 screen protrudes in the same way as the Nokia Lumia 820, but this fits well with most users using the Nokia soft cases, with which the screen does feel flush.
Size and Weight
When it comes to screen size the Nokia Lumia 820 aligns to the Nokia Lumia 900 rather than Nokia Lumia 800, appearing to share it’s 4.3 inch (480 x 800 pixel) screen. When compared with the Nokia Lumia 920 the Nokia Lumia 820 has a little way to go as the Nokia Lumia 920 screen has increased resolution (786 x 1280 pixel).
Dimensionally, the Nokia Lumia 820 is an improvement on the Nokia Lumia 800 (116.5 x 61.2 x 12.1 mm) and 900 (127.8 x 68.5 x 11.5 mm) with it’s slim (123.8 x 68.5 x 9.9 mm) profile, making it’s bigger brother the Nokia Lumia 920 (130.3 x 70.8 x 10.7 mm) look a somewhat portly. Adding weight to the equation the Nokia Lumia 820 is a measly 160 g, equal to that of the Nokia Lumia 900, whilst substantially lighter than the Nokia Lumia 920 (185 g).
Expanding on the colour options provided for previous Nokia Lumia devices the Nokia Lumia 820 comes with a black, white, yellow or red monoblock cover which can be replaced with a wireless charging option for a easier life with additional colours available. If you’re not so interested in wireless charging, but really want to make a more personal statement Nokia have also released the design dimensions for the rear cover for people to manufacture their own with 3D printing.
The camera in the Nokia Lumia 820 is an improvement on the Nokia Lumia 800 and 900. Whilst the 8Mpix resolution is retained, zoom is increased from 3x to 4x and video resolution is improved from 1280 x 720 pixels (720p) to 1920 x 1080 pixels (1080p). This is still overshadowed by the camera capability of the Nokia Lumia 920 with it;s higher resolution (8.7Mpix) and larger focal ranger (8cm to infinity, compared to 10cm to infinity).
Camera setting have been modified also. Whilst ISO, Exposure and White Balance remain unchanged between WP7.8 and WP8 Lumia devices the remainder of the WP7.8 camera settings are removed with the exception of Scenes which has reduced options. This appears to be a simplification. This said WP8 adds aspect ratio (16:9 (default) or 4:3) and the ability to turn off the focus assist light.
Video settings are also cut-down with only White Balance (as per WP7), Continuous Focus toggle (New) and Video Mode (720p (default) or 1080p) remaining. Again this is intended to make videoing easier as everything else is done in the background.
The Memory hardware in the Nokia Lumia 820 (1 GB) provides double the RAM provided within the Nokia Lumia 800 and 900 (512 MB) although the internal harddrive is halved (8GB) compared with the Nokia Lumia 800 and 900 provide (16GB). When compared to the Nokia Lumia 920 the RAM is equal, but the internal harddrive on the Nokia Lumia 920 is 4x the size at a mammoth 32 GB.
The big saving grace for the Nokia Lumia 820 in the memory stakes is it’s microSD support with the ability to add a further 64GB of internal memory giving it the biggest memory capability of all Nokia Lumia devices. It should be noted that the micorSD is only used for music, videos and pictures with all app installs limited to the 8GB harddrive.
Another major factor in favour of the Nokia Lumia 820 is that, as mentioned previously, the monoblock cover is removable, providing access to the battery meaning that it can be swapped out when low, not possible in the Nokia Lumia 800, 900 or 920. This provides functionality missed by previous Nokia Symbian users. This is in addition to the improved battery life when compared with the Nokia Lumia 800 and 900, although the Nokia Lumia 920 claims longer life all be it non-replaceable.
As with all Nokia Lumia devices running on Windows Phone 8 the Nokia Lumia 820 receives some of the Bluetooth connectivity missing from Windows Phone 7 devices. Although apps are not making full use of this added functionality I am aware that Nokia Sports Tracker is soon to receive an update on Windows Phone 8 to return Bluetooth HRM support.
In addition to the Bluetooth improvements, the Nokia Lumia 820 also incorporates USB, WiFi and NFC connectivity.
As well as the ability to connect to other devices via WiFi, Nokia Lumia devices also support connection sharing by acting as a WiFi hotspot for other devices when mobile data connections are the only ones available.
There are many articles across the net explaining the positives and negatives about the Windows Phone 8 operating system and the extra functionality added on Nokia Lumia devices., so I will just focus on some of the pertinent points for me.
The main improvements in Windows Phone 8 Nokia Lumia devices, compared with Windows Phone 7 Nokia Lumia devices are listed below with a little explanation:
Bluetooth Connectivity: Within WP8 Bluetooth connectivity has been expanded to support data transfer in addition to the audio connectivity provided by WP7. (see Connectivity)
Lenses: The main difference with Lenses, compared to camera apps for WP7.8 Lumia devices is that the lenses are more embedded into the default Camera app. Whilst within the Camera app a quick tap on the circle with two opposing arrows within (left of the soft button bar when in portrait more) opens a tiles view showing all installed lenses. There are also background changes to provide the improved integration, which as always are much greater than are visible to the end user.
Lockscreen: The Lock screen now displays status info on a user selection of up to 5 apps in addition to detailed information from one app.
Tap + Send: Share photos, webpages, contacts and more or pair a phone by tapping against another NFC-capable device.
Kid’s Corner: A place on the phone where apps, videos, games and music can be shared with children with access to the Start Screen via their own easy to access the apps selected fro sharing. When enabled, the Corner can be opened by swiping left rather than up from the lock screen. The only negative observation about Kid’s Corner is that the Customise tile is not removable.
NB// Although Kid’s Corner is aimed at parents and children, it can also be used to provide a quick access second start screen for Camera Apps, Navigations Apps, Social Apps etc.
Backup: Functionality has been extended on Windows Phone 8 to enable app list and settings, text messages and photos, which can toggled on/off separately.
Company Apps: Once enabled a company can disable the SD card, encrypt the internal memory and remotely delete all content and settings. We have not been able to test this as we don’t have the IT infrastructure set-up to enable us to use this functionality.
Audio: Sadly the audio settings are limited to headphone usage which appears a little short sighted as it provides a user configurable equaliser, dolby digital sound and audio limiting. Although we love these expansions on the audio capability of WindowsPhone 7 Lumia devices, it would have been nice for it to support the phone’s built-in speakers and and BT connected audio devices.
Extras and Info: Nokia Lumia devices have a number of extras provided by Nokia to tweak different areas f the Windows Phone 8 operating system.
The Nokia Lumia 820 is a very accomplished device. Although it may not be pushing the boundaries of technology from Nokia like the Nokia Lumia 920 or future rumoured Nokia Lumia 10xx we came to love it in a very short time. When you look at Nokia’s pricing for the Lumia 820 it becomes a very interesting proposition.
If you are not persuaded to buy the Nokia Lumia 920 as a result of its low light camera capability and higher resolution screen, we are left thinking that the Nokia Lumia 820 is the phone for you.
- Wireless Charging capability.
- 64GB mircoSD support
- Addition of Dolby and equaliser for headphone audio
- Bluetooth functionality expanded to support data connections.
- Removable/replaceable battery
- Wireless Charging monoblock casing sold separately and not part of initial phone purchase.
- Small internal harddrive (8GB)
- Lack of improved audio support when not using headphones