• Speedy performances
  • Interchangeable back cover
  • Solid, sturdy built
  • Pros:
  • Speedy performances
  • Interchangeable back cover
  • Solid, sturdy built
  • Cons:
  • Lower-res screen
  • Camera not as well featured

For Something Less Illuminated…

The Nokia Lumia 820 has the misfortune of living under the shadow of its bigger, better brother: the Lumia 920. In that sense, the 820 doesn’t quite shine its worth of charms and wonders, though it is a more affordable Windows Phone 8 device with a few cool tricks up its sleeve.

This smaller Lumia (it’s a 4.3-incher) does, thankfully, bear Nokia’s famed sturdiness in design. It’s a little thicker and heavier than you’d expect, but the weight goes well with the solidness in built.

Contrary to most Lumia devices, the 820 doesn’t have a unibody design. Instead, you can swap the back cover out with something brighter in colour, in either matte or non-matte – even one that supports Qi wireless charging. It’s a really nice touch.

All things considered, it does feel rather disappointing to discover that the Lumia 820’s display isn’t so great. While it is very responsive, the lower-res display doesn’t provide the best viewing experience and white bits tend to appear with a slight blue tinge. At least it’s bright, though, and its viewing angles are great.

The 1.5GHz dual core Snapdragon S4 processor powering the device is among the top-tier in performance, and provides the 820 with a speedy and smooth experience. Apps run without problems here and scrolling through menus zip by like butter on ice.

But Lumia devices are all about the camera too, right? In this aspect, the Lumia 820 delivers. Pictures come out sharp and colour reproduction is great. It is, however, rather lacking compared to the 920’s camera. For starters, there’s no optical image stabilisation or a backside illuminated sensor. The lens is also an F2.2 one, compared to the 920’s F2.0.

CHIP CONCLUDE: The Nokia Lumia 820 is, ultimately, something of a mixed bag. The design quality is apparent and the interchangeable back cover is a great concept, not to mention the speedy performances. The lower-res screen and lesser-featured camera does leave things to be desired, though.

(previously published in issue April 2012)