Comparison of Lumia 820 & Lumia 920

| April 8, 2013 | 16 Replies

Both Ali and myself (and I think Jay?) have had the Lumia 820 and Lumia 920 at the same time for about a month. (The Lumia 920 I have goes back on Tuesday). Many people have been asking which is better (or at least to point out differences in daily use). The best part of this post is having varying opinions on the topic. I’ll break it up into what each of us have to say.


So first up, let’s look at the design. The Lumia 920 carries on the traditional Fabula design we first saw in the Nokia N9, that later evolved in the Nokia Lumia 900. The Lumia 920 is the latest iteration of the design, adding a curved back, designed to fit into the palm of your hand comfortably. The SIM card is housed in a tray at the top of the phone, accessible via a key. The only ports on the device are the headphone jack at the top, and USB at the base. The 4.5″, 1280*768 PureMotion HD+ IPS LCD screen, is the largest and highest resolution on any Nokia to date.

The Nokia Lumia 820 however, is said to be derived from that design language: sleek lines, bright colours. The unibody construction was replaced with exchangeable colours, designed in a way that feels unibody. I love the ability of being able to change your devices colour at a whim. As it stands, I have purple, black, red and yellow shells, along with a custom 3D printed thanks to Nokia Connects! I’m a sucker for colour matching, where I match the tiles of the device to its shell, or make the tiles a colour that compliments or contrasts the back. (Currently, I am using the Yellow shell with green tiles). When you remove the back shell, you gain access to the battery, which is removable, the micro SIM and the Micro SD slot. The Lumia 820 packs a 4.3″ 800*480 WVGA AMOLED screen, which has amazing colour representation. (If only it were 720p).


While the Nokia Lumia 920 is the “flagship” device, and has some amazing specs under its belt, I still prefer the Lumia 820. I find that despite only being “480p” as some call it, the screen on the Lumia 820 is better than the Lumia 920. This is because the colour reproduction is awesome, and I find colours extremely vivid. Where as, the same image on the Lumia 920, can often look washed out, and blacks look almost grey. (Although, I must say in direct sunlight, the Lumia 920 looks AMOLED to me, if only it were like that all the time.)

The fact that I can change the colour of the device to suit my mood is awesome! With the Lumia 920, if you ever want to change colour, you need to replace the housing, which not only voids warranty, but can be costly to buy the part, as well as has great risk in sever damage to your device. The ability to add a MicroSD for all my media content is a neat feature too. Understandably, the Nokia Lumia 920 has 32GB which is huge and will be enough for most. As a guy who likes his media (TV Shows especially), the MicroSD card gives me the freedom to add content to my hearts content. (Right now my Lumia 820 reads 72GB total storage.)


Result: Lumia 820

Next we move on to the hardware. I briefly touched on it at the end of the last section. Both devices have NFC, Bluetooth, 4G LTE capabilities, WLAN, Wireless Charging (Lumia 820 requires a shell, which is sold separately), Super Sensitive Screen (use with gloves), the same Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Processor and Adreno GPU, and the list of under the hood specs goes on. Where the Lumia 920 trumps the Lumia 820 is in imaging and battery. The battery on the Lumia 920 is larger than the 820, although in my experience they last the same length of time. Both the front and rear cameras are better on the Lumia 920. The Lumia 820 has a very pathetic FFC, however has a great rear camera. I think some images turn out better. Where the Lumia 920’s rear camera excels, is night photography. Along with its larger aperture, it also harnesses a “floating lens” for Optical Image Stabilization.

The buttons, as well as the camera plate, on the Nokia Lumia 920 are made from ceramic zirconium. This new construction is supposedly scratch resistant. This fixes a massive issue I had on my N9 and Lumia 800. Sadly, the Lumia 820 doesn’t seem to have it as I have scratches on my back plate. (Which is odd as I remember reading it did). The Lumia 920 trumps the 820 in durability once again, with its Gorilla Glass screen. The Lumia 820 claims to have a scratch resistant hardened glass, yet I have scratches on mine. (Albeit, they are very fine and put a screen protector on it before it became too damaged.)

Result: Lumia 920

On the software side, both devices are exactly the same. Having the same apps on both (backup + restore feature is seriously awesome!), and the same media files, I noticed no difference in performance. The only issue I had is with my Lumia 820, where it will freeze up and reboot itself (this seems to happen when I use the device a fair bit as it is always hot when it reboots).


Result: Tie

Now we move on to Ali, who has compared the two using videos.

The first video is a hardware and design comparison, with the second looking at software.

NB: The Lumia 820 and 920 are not identically set up (the 920 has more apps, games and media files plus the SIM card was in the 920), so thus discrepancies may be noticed.

Personally I love the 920, and since I’m the kind of guy who always wants more (cue Jeremy Clarkson shouting Powerrr! -Free Download BTW); so the 920 was what I set my eyes on when both devices were announced. For me the biggest advantage the 920 has over the 820 was the camera and the screen; I was always a fan of HD screens, especially after seeing the difference the 900 had over the 800 simply by using a Non-pentile display; I went giddy with happiness imaging what the 920’s display would be like. And I was not disappointed, the PureMotion+ HD super sensitive Clear Black Display (am I forgetting something?) screen on the 920 is a godsend, hands down the best screen I’ve ever used in terms of fluidity and response; however it wasn’t until I set the 920 side by side with the 720 back in Spain that I noticed something was off, the colors looked slightly washed out; but at the time I was too busy fawning over the 720’s brilliant viewing angles to give it a second thought.


Fast forward to last night when I was filming the 920 and the 820 side by side, I noticed that the 920’s colors weren’t as “popping” when put besides the 820; and this is where what Michael mentioned above comes into play, the 820 has admittedly better color (not colour  :P)  reproduction, making everything look generally nicer. Of course this is all relative  with either phone on their own I couldn’t really tell a difference, but side by side you could tell something was up.

Full size pic:

In terms of design, both the 920 and 820 are gorgeous, but for me the 920 has an obvious edge due to the rounded back, curved screen and stronger corners. And what could possible be one of the most ridiculous reasons for favoring a phone, the 920 can stand on it’s own without leaning on anything, on the other hand even though I’m sure many of you are opposed to having any branding or markings on your phones; I really love the “NOKIA” logo on the back of the 820.

In general both are great devices, but the 920 is the one for me simply because the larger screen is awesome (minus the color reproduction), its camera kicks ass (not that the 820’s sucks, but c’mon…) and both W.C. and NFC are built in, so no need for an extra cover.

Another picture just for fun (this one didn’t work out perfectly):

Lumia 920 and 820 color shift

Finally we move on to Jay.

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 18.16.55

This is not the sunlight visibility mode. It’s not bright enough to kick in yet.

Hey folks, I’ve not got much to add so here’s a quick summary of pros and cons of both devices for me:

Nokia Lumia 920:


  • Larger screen
  • Higher resolution (big deal for me when reading PDFs, web pages. Doesn’t affect picture viewing that much)
  • Ample internal memory (30GB available to user)
  • Wireless charging out of the box
  • Very solid build, has survived many drops
  • Great camera, especially in low light.
  • Super sensitive screen, works with gloves, pens, forks, bananas etc.
  • Eye popping sunlight visibility mode – when other people’s screens look washed out, the 920 changes the screen so it’s super visible in even the brightest sun. It’s pretty crazy.


  • Sealed battery
  • No memory card slot
  • Heavier
  • Bulkier
  • Battery life not as good as 920
  • More expensive than the 920
  • Stuck with one colour. If I ever got bored of yellow, well there’s not much I can do now is there.

Nokia Lumia 820:


  • Bright AMOLED screen (tends to make pictures look much more vibrant than when they end up on my computer screen).
  • Removable battery
  • Memory card slot (I’ve ordered a 32gb card)
  • Interchangeable covers. Maybe you’ve scratched the case or just fancy a change in style. Just clip on a new one.
  • Smaller, more compact handset
  • Cheaper than the 920
  • Great build quality
  • Camera’s pretty good
  • Super sensitive screen, works with gloves, pens, forks, bananas etc.
  • Sunlight visibility mode also present in the 820, it makes the vibrant screen even more visible in the brightest of lights.


  • Small internal memory (only about 4GB free when I got mine)
  • Wireless charging shell needs to be bought separately.
  • WVGA display
  • Smaller screen (4.3″)

How to choose?

It’s a difficult one and there’s no right or wrong answer. It all depends on who is going to use either phone.

If I was considering what would make a better upgrade for my mum and lil sis, the 920, 820 or possibly the newer 620/720/520. I didn’t want the 512MB RAM to crop up any incompatibility issues so I’m striking the latter three (the 720 would have been perfect otherwise). The 920 is just that little bit too expensive at the moment, and a little hefty perhaps. The 820 seems to be at just the right size for them.

For me, I don’t mind the size of the 920. I want that PureView OIS, higher screen resolution and more iconic fabula N9 design.


Category: Lumia, Nokia

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