Review: Nokia Lumia 820

Once the major forerunner among cellphones, Nokia, has lost a lot of ground ever since the age of smartphones has dawned. Nokia the former leader in cellular devices was reduced to a silent  spectator while other players like Samsung, HTC, Apple, etc. capture the Smartphone market. However, Nokia wasn’t going to just watch as it’s competitors rise to the peak. Nokia tied up with Microsoft to make Windows Phones. It launched phones like Lumia 510, 610, 710, 800 and 900 which were powered by Windows Phone 7.5. However, Nokia wasn’t successful in gaining a piece of the pie of the vast smartphone market, which they had lost to the other players. Now in 2013, Nokia is back with a better equipped Windows Phone 8 powered smartphones: Lumia 820 and Lumia 920. Both targeted at the mid and high-end segment of smartphones. DSC 0286

Today we will have an in-depth look at the Lumia 820 (Those of you waiting for a review of Lumia 920, will have to wait for some more time.. Bear with us..)

Lets turn our attention to the Technical Specifications of the Lumia 820

  1. Dual-core 1.5 GHz Krait CPU mounted on the Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon chipset.
  2. Adreno 225 GPU to pack a punch of graphics.
  3. 4.3″ AMOLED display with 480×800 resolution.
  4. Weighing a moderate 160gm.
  5. 1 GB RAM and 8 GB Internal Storage with a microSD slot expandable up to 64 GB.
  6. GSM/HSDPA/LTE Network connectivity, requiring a micro sim.
  7. 8 MP Carl Zeiss Lens with HD Video Recording at 30 fps with dual LED flash.
  8. NFC chip, Bluetooth 3.1 with A2DP.
  9. Li-Ion 1650 mAh battery

Take a look at the Photo Gallery of Nokia Lumia 820

Now let’s take a category wise in-depth look at this device

Design and Styling

The phone’s looks impressed me at it’s first sight itself. The phone is a spectacle to watch! Available in 7 colors: White, Yellow, Red, Cyan, Violet, Grey and Black gives you a number of options to choose from, contrary to most of the smartphones which come in Black only. The phone stands out from the rest smartphone because of it’s colored back panel. The problem with today’s smartphones is that they do not focus much on the aesthetics of the device and only concentrate on the Hardware configuration of the device. Breaking the tradition of a black smartphones, the Lumias provide you with a choice. The phone is quite wide and comfortable to hold in the hand. But the glossy finish of the back panel makes gripping a slight problem. The back panel is also somewhat a fingerprint magnet. But the overall designing of the device is great. Just being 160 gm in weight, makes it comfortable to hold in your hand. All the buttons are placed on the right hand side of the device. It has a medium sized volume rocker, a power button and the most important physical key that most smartphones lack: The Camera Button. The 3.5mm audio jack is at the top of the device.  The micro USB port and the speaker are at the bottom of the device.

Build Quality

Over the years, Nokia has earned a good reputation for building sturdy devices. And you can expect the same from Lumia 820. When you hold the phone in your hand, the phone feel solid though there is a slight hitch with the back panel. To open the back panel you have to push on the top right corner of the bezel to pop open the back panel. This method seems a bit brute and may damage the back panel in due time. But, you can always change the back-panel (adding it the NFC charging capabilities also) Otherwise the product seems quite sturdy and it wont pop open even if you drop it from your pocket.

Display

Being a huge 4.3″ AMOLED backlit display, it is a treat for your eyes. The display is equipped with Nokia ClearBlack Technology which makes the blacks really rich and deep. The Brightness of the screen is quite good even in direct sunlight. The viewing angle is amazing! You can see no distortion in the colors whatsoever from any possible angle. This added with the beautiful rich colors displayed on the device make it a winning combination. Every picture clicked with it’s 8MP Carl Zeiss lens looks simply stunning due to it’s amazing screen. The capacitive touch is very responsive, You can operate the device even after wearing gloves in your hands!

User Interface:

Featuring Windows Phone 8 OS on the software side, you can expect some Amazing UI fucntions. The trademark Metro start menu with live tiles of Windows can be seen on Lumia 820. The Live tiles function like a home screen widget, hence you never miss a single notification of your most-used Apps(unless you forget to configure them properly) The lock screen of the device can be configured to display information essential to you like Emails, SMS Messages, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Without any reservations, I can say that the Metro UI is simply great. The black backgrounds with the huge white texts, which are a standard to the windows phones, are really a treat for the eyes. The seamless integration of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter into the OS is really handy to use. You can post to Facebook as well as Twitter from a single Tile called as “Me”. This is the central hub of all your social media notifications. It features Xbox Live that allows you to maintain your avatars , achievements, etc across all devices and hence enhances your gaming experience. It has Nokia Maps that does a very good job with navigation.

Apps can be downloaded from the Windows Marketplace. However, Windows Marketplace isn’t as populated as Google Play store or Apple’s App store. This falls as an disadvantage of having a windows phone. All in all, the User Interface of the device is convenient, easy to use, beautiful and elegant.

Performance

Being powered by Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon chipset, which hosts a 1.5 GHz Dual core processor and 225 Adreno GPU, you can expect some mind blowing performance. The 1 GB of RAM on this device gives you the multi-tasking that’s expected from a smartphone. Games run without any lag and load quite fast too. I tried playing EA’s Mirrors Edge on the device and it was a breeze to play it on the device. The phone seems so fast that even if you accidentally press the windows key during the game you are switched to the start screen at that instant and when you return to the game you find it at the same exact spot where you left it. The multitasking on this device is simply out of the world. Lag is not defined in Lumia 820’s dictionary as I didn’t experience even a second of lag on the device.

Even on a powerful device like Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 you may experience a little lag while switching from power hungry games. But this device simply has no lag! Internet browsing is blazing fast with Internet Explorer.

Battery Life

The device doesn’t pack much juice in it’s battery. Being a mere 1650 mAh Battery it provides only average battery life. I have been using the device for a week without any SIM card. With an average of an hour of web browsing, 15 mins of Game playing and some Social networking the device lasted only for 26 hours which is quite less considering no network usage. Network usage amounts to the maximum battery drain and hence if you work it with an SIM card you may get about 12-14 hours of battery on Moderate usage. However, the device comes with a battery saving mode to extend battery when it falls below 20%. This mode disables all apps running in background hence reducing battery drain.

Sound Quality

The Device has a speaker set on the bottom side of the device. It is adequately Loud and has decent sound quality. However, the positioning of the speaker gets covered while playing games in Landscape mode thus blocking the sound. You have to be careful to not block the speaker while playing games. The Device has Dolby enhancements in it’s music player. Which can be activated when you insert the headphones. The sound quality is decent for a smartphone but nothing spectacular in this area. The packaged headphones do a good job if you are not an audiophile. If you are a music Enthusiast, you may want to use your Dolby capable headphones to get a better experience.

Camera

The Device boasts of a 8MP Carl Zeiss lens, which lives up to the expectation. The Pictures clicked with the device are pretty sharp and contain no noise. The Dual-LED Flash helps it to click good pictures in Low light areas. However the pictures tend to become a little grainy when zoomed or clicked in low light without flash. However, for a camera in a smartphone it delivers great pictures. Focus is assisted by flash to click sharper images and avoiding any blur. The video recording has two options 720p and 1080p to record the videos. It isn’t the best camera in this range, but it does a good job. One great feature is the Physical Camera button that most Smartphones lack these days. The camera can be accessed from sleep be long pressing the camera button. The phone also features “Smart Shoot”, which is very helpful in clicking group pictures. It clicks a burst of pictures and allows you to choose the best face for each individual and also remove objects from pictures. The phone also features an amazing panorama app which can click panorama pictures with ease. See a few sample pics clicked using the camera of Lumia 820:

CLicked with Lumia 820 without flash

Clicked by Lumia 820 – without flash

Clicked with Lumia 820 with flash

Clicked by Lumia 820 – with flash

Panorama clicked with Lumia 820

Panorama Clicked with Lumia 820

Now let’s Sum-up the review by weighting the good against the bad:-

The Good:

  • Fast Multitasking capabilities.
  • Very Smooth and Easy-to-use Interface.
  • Beautiful Looks.
  • Sturdy Build Quality.
  • Range of Color Options.
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Camera Button.

OK:

  • Satisfactory Battery life.
  • Lacks a File manager.
  • No FM Radio.

The Bad:

  • Windows Store severely lacks the variety and sheer number of apps compared to Android and iPhone.

Final Verdict:

I would like to sum up the review of this phone in simple words. This phone completely changed my opinion about Windows Phone 8. Lumia devices have a great potential and should be looked forward to. This device may not create a great impact on the smartphone market but definitely a stepping stone for Nokia as well as Windows to regain control over the smartphone market. Definitely a product worthy of the praise! Very smooth and fast UI experience and simply a great device. The only thing that may hinder users from buying the device is it’s price. Available at a decent price of around Rs. 27,000 in Online stores and around 25k at retail offline stores, this is a good buy for Windows Phone 8 lovers looking for a phone in this price-range. I would give it a strong 3.75 / 5 rating!

  • http://supers.gr Sup

    Ok, dual 1.5Ghz? This is a fast as my laptop!
    There will be times that pc’s will be useless..

  • http://www.techfreakstuff.com Sarang Kunte

    Yes dual core indeed.

  • http://jonathanhadams.com Jonathan Adams

    At least the Lumia is better than most Androids.