Review: Nokia Lumia 820

| December 19, 2012 | 26 Replies


Its been two weeks since getting the Nokia Lumia 820, and firstly; WOW! The Lumia 920 has been getting a lot of intention, but the Lumia 820 is definitely not to be ignored. It sports a gorgeous 4.3″ AMOLED ClearBlack 480p screen, that makes web browsing, watching videos and playing games a delight. The only downfall is that it does not sport Gorilla Glass, and as such, is susceptible to scratches. (I ordered screen protectors the other day, but found one last night). It has a nice form factor, not as premium as the Fabula design, but yet doesn’t feel cheap.

The Lumia 820 has a great 8MP, f/2.2 rear camera, that takes some impressive shots. And with support for recording in 1080p, its definitely a big jump from what we saw in the the Lumia 800. It also features a front facing VGA camera for Video calling and self portraits, but it is a bit disappointing.

Perhaps the best feature of the Lumia 820 is the removable and interchangeable back cases. Not only can you swap the colour (Yellow, Green, Red, Purple, Black, Grey and Cyan are all available), but you can add features to it, such as Wireless Charging and ruggedised enforcement.

IMG_3855 copy

On the connectivity side, it has Bluetooth 3.0, Secure NFC, WiFi, GPS, and an array of Mobile Network bands, including LTE. You will also get a microUSB port for charging and media transfer, as well as the standardised 3.5MM headphone jack. There are 3 physical buttons, and three capacative buttons on the device; Power/Lock, Volume Rocker and a Camera key are the physical ones, withe Back, Home and Search being the capacatives.

Looking to the inside, we have 8GB internal memory, with a further 7GB available through Skydrive. Another great feature of the Lumia 820, is MicroSD support, for up to 64GB cards. Sadly, the external storage is for media only, so some users may find 8GB a bit measly for their app needs, but it should be fine for mass market.

The device is powered by a 1.5 GHz Dual-Core Snapdragon S4 processor, with an Adreno 225 for the GPU. Providing the juice for this power house, isΒ  a 1650 mAh BP-5T battery.


Being a second generation Lumia, it runs on Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 OS. It feels a lot more fluid than my Lumia 800, and the screen makes the live tiles look amazing. With a good app offering, and deep social integration, the Lumia 820 is a great contender in today’s smart phone world. Being a Nokia Lumia, you also get exclusive access to various apps and services, such as Nokia Music (a free music streaming service), Nokia Drive (free voice guided navigation), Nokia City Lens (augmented reality Point Of Interest browser) and more.


The improvements that WP8 brings over its predecessor is remarkable. Many new features have been added such as Rooms, Kids Corner, Screenshot, with key functions being enhanced, such as the new sizes of Live Tiles, customisability of the Lock Screen, and the ability for app’s to tie-in to TellMe (Voice recognition platform).

I really like the new style of Live Tiles. Using WP7, it was a more reserved experience, but for some reason, the various sizes to choose from has made it more pleasant. Apps can bring you useful information straight to your home screen, without having to go into the app. Think of them like app launchers, doubling as widgets. What gets cooler, is that devs can choose to create tiles for certain pages of their app. For example, 4th & Mayor, a great Foursquare client, has a live tile that goes straight to check-in, and Ebay can give you tiles for certain items. No need to go through pages and menus. Tap and go!


As mentioned above, there is also NFC, something that MS has added support for in the latest iteration of Windows Phone. It allows for not only great accessory pairing, but for Tap+Send, a new sharing feature, that uses NFC to pair with a device and send via Bluetooth. Since it is secure NFC, it can theoretically be used for Mobile Payments.

All in all, the Nokia Lumia 820 is a killer phone. If you are looking for an affordable upgrade from your current device, this phone is not to be overlooked. With the solid build quality Nokia is renowned for, their exclusive apps, microSD support, and interchangeable covers, you will be happy with your choice. Of course if Photography is more your style, perhaps take a look at the Lumia 920.


Category: Lumia, Nokia, Photos, Reviews

About the Author ()

Hi! My name is Michael. Like the others, I'm also a Student, living here in Sydney. I have a real passion for the latest technology and I'm a real Nokia buff! My aim is to keep those of you, like myself, updated with the latest in what's going on in the Nokia World. Currently sporting N9 & Lumia 820, with other Nokia devices in my posession. Get in touch on Twitter via @MFaroTusino, Google Plus or even simply drop me an email at mike.mnb[at] or tips[at]
  • Janne

    Thank you for the review!

    It is my understanding that Lumia 820 *is* Fabula design language. It is the whole simple lines, gentle curves, colorful plastics, less metallic detailing thing that is going on at Nokia right now. Some of the Asha touch stuff is not there yet in my view, nor is Lumia 610, but the entire WP8 family is Fabula if I understand correctly.

    • Michael Faro-Tusino

      Hi Janne,

      It has been mentioned it is the next evolution of Fabula, by in my eyes, Fabula is the N9/800/900/920’s pillow form. I think the 920 is fairly refined, maybe just a slight curve at the top and bottom, to be more tapered.

      • Janne

        But if we want to use the word properly I think we need to use it like Marko Ahtisaari and Elop do, and I do think they have made it clear in interviews that Fabula is indeed a design language, far more so than just one particular design.

        And if we look how the Nokia design language has changed in the past two years (from nuanced, detailed, metallic to extremely simple, colorful, high-quality plasticy) we can see Fabula in action. Also in the way Nokia accessories are evolving.

  • StefanP

    It would be great if the AMOLED of the 820 could be utilized to permanently display a clock and all notifications, I miss this on my L920, it looks somehow dead. I am afraid MS does not allow this for the sake of a unique WP8 appearance.

  • aw6789

    I think the biggest disappointment on the L820 is the relatively low screen resolution. Granted they can’t make it 720p (as thats L920 territory), but 540*960 would have been nice, as many lower end ‘droids come with 480p screens…For me, the screen res is the only major quibble I’d have if choosing an L820.

    • keizka

      You mean mid tier Droids, surely? Truly low end droids are in the ball park of 240×320 resolution..

    • Mark

      I have an 820 and to be honest it’s not a problem. Yes, there is a little jaginess on some fonts in IE, but it’s not a deal breaker. Plus, of course, the AMOLED screen is awesome.

    • In all fairness, I’d like a 720p screen in the 820 as well. (there is one out there, the Lumia 825, look it up) But I do think the non-Pentile layout makes it good enough for a 4.3 inch screen and thus for most people.

  • jiayit

    You forgot to mention white shells. Just sayin’. And orange πŸ™‚

    that aside, I’m loving my L820. Its not as big as the 920, just nice for my medium sized hands. Although I still cannot reach the back button with 1 hand (right handed), you’ll get used to it.

  • Carbontubby

    Any issues about the lower screen res compared to the 920? Especially as it’s an AMOLED screen compared to the 920’s LCD.

    How does it compare when viewing photos, videos, websites and Office documents?

    • julep

      I’ve had the 820 for a month now and I’ve been very satisfied with the quality of the screen.
      It’s really a good display for everyday usage.

      Also, no need for screen protectors. The glass IS scratch resistant, even though it’s not Gorilla Glass trade-marked. .

      • Jup, Gorilla Glass is just a great marketing term, but there are a bunch of companies making the chemically enhanced glass that has the GG characteristics.

        If there is one disadvantage the 820 has over the 920 it should be curved vs. flat glass. Having used curved glass for a while now it feels weird whenever I use a phone that has plain flat glass.

        • krishna6233

          s..curved glass feels better

      • Michael Faro-Tusino

        If it IS that scratch resistant, how do I have scratches after 2 weeks πŸ˜‰ My N9s (12+ months) and Lumia 800 (9 months+) are scratch free. So GG works.
        The L820 hasn’t seemed to live up to that “feature”

  • thedead1440


    A side-note but does your lock-screen show a dinner with the Brisbane Qt team who now seem to be employed by Jolla?

    If so, any details for public consumption? πŸ˜€


  • Viipottaja

    Just saw a Bosnian fashion model here in Sarajevo sporting a red 820.. looked great! And the 820 looks pretty nice too. πŸ˜‰

  • Ruben

    Which is better in taking photos and videos? Lumia 820 or N9?

  • Lovemobiles

    If it runs out of 8GB internal memory, there is no way to install any more apps? can we copy the apps from PC on to the memory card? Please clarify this

    • gv

      I think only apps to the internal memory and music and fotos to the memory chip, don’t get it though you’ll be sorry, cannot use it as fone!!

    • gv

      The apps are stored on the internal memory and the photos and music are stored on the chip.
      don’t consider the 820 though as you can’t really use it as a phone due to poor call quality issues.

  • gv

    Only problem is that you can’t use it as a phone because the call quality is so cannot understand what people are saying.
    I’ve read people are on their third replacement and the problem is still persisting.
    I’ve had mine for just under a month and wish I did not have it.
    Windows OS is great though, but given the choice again I would not buy the Lumia 820.

  • Zolko

    I can nothing to say addititonally maybe the great and unique apps like cinemgraph, smartshot, etc I’m gald to have onem I’m really satisfied with it, and I can just recommend to anyone

  • Kirsi

    I have used lumia 820 phone several weeks,and like its size(not too small or too big), excellent camera apps and the Nokia City lens app. I have used camera many times and pictures looks good for my use. Also I can use it in winter time πŸ™‚

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  • Rezi Mochtar

    Hi there,

    I’m one of Nokia Lumia 820 user, and until now this is thr best mobile phone i’ve ever had. It is so responsive in any situation and what i love so much is no input lag like my previous smart phone.

    Maybe other phone who can beat this phone is Lumia 920, but i still prefer 820 because it’s size fit perfectly in my hand and pocket!

  • Steelman

    I’ve really enjoyed my Lumia 820. Windows as an operating system is extremely smooth and and I love the way you personalize the phone and really make it your own. Moreover, the camera is very good as well. The only downside is the back cover that is relatively difficult to remove.