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Nokia Lumia 820 review

Andrew Williams



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Nokia Lumia 820
  • Nokia Lumia 820
  • Nokia Lumia 820
  • Nokia Lumia 820
  • Nokia Lumia 820
  • Nokia Lumia 820
  • Nokia Lumia 820
  • Nokia Lumia 820
  • Nokia Lumia 820
  • Nokia Lumia 820
  • Nokia Lumia 820
  • Nokia Lumia 820
  • Nokia Lumia 820
  • Nokia Lumia 820
  • Nokia Lumia 820
  • Nokia Lumia 820
  • Nokia Lumia 820
  • Nokia Lumia 820
  • Nokia Lumia 820
  • Nokia Lumia 820
  • Nokia Lumia 820
  • Nokia Lumia 820
  • Nokia Lumia 820 sample
  • Nokia Lumia 820
  • Nokia Lumia 620


Our Score:



  • Speedy performance
  • Colourful


  • Oversaturated, low-res screen
  • Slightly unpredictable camera performance

Key Features

  • Dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon Krait CPU
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB internal memory, expandable
  • 4.3-inch 480 x 800 pixel AMOLED screen
  • Windows Phone 8 OS
  • 4G version available
  • Manufacturer: Nokia
  • Review Price: £349.99


Nokia’s Windows Phone 8 line-up for 2013 has three star attractions. The Nokia Lumia 820 is the middleweight model. It has a 4.3-inch screen, dual-core 1.5GHz processor and 8-megapixel camera. These respectable specs sit fairly happily alongside the £349.99 pre-pay price, but a disappointing screen means it’s a far less competitive package than either the great value Nokia Lumia 620 or the camera-centric Nokia Lumia 920.

Nokia Lumia 820 – Design

Nokia offers some of the most colourful phones out there, and the Nokia Lumia 820 is no different. Seven bold shades of rear covers are available for the handset, offering a much brighter look than something like the Samsung Galaxy S3.

Unlike the top-end Nokia Lumia 920, though, this is not a true unibody phone. The rear cover curves around smoothly to the screen surround, eliminating any seams that might otherwise rest under your fingers, but the rear plate is removable.

Nokia has done its best to make the Nokia Lumia 820 feel as much like a unibody phone as possible, though. The battery cover is almost flex-free when in position and is very tricky to remove. Tricky, that is, until you learn the nack of wedging a fingernail under each front corner. Try another way and it’s impressively stubborn – so stubborn that Nokia has made a video explaining how to do it.

The main benefit of a removable battery cover is that it lets Nokia incorporate a memory card slot without ruining the phone’s curves. This is an important feature in the Nokia Lumia 820, as it only has 8GB of internal memory. You’ll find both the microSD memory card slot and the microSIM slot underneath the battery which you can easily swap out for a spare if you fancy.

Functional as it is, the Nokia Lumia 820 is the least aesthetically successful of the new Lumia range. The glossy finish of our review sample, the phone’s boxy appearance and the way that the battery cover blooms out from the phone’s sides – none are style blunders, but they add up to a phone that’s neither as striking as the Nokia Lumia 920, or as cute as the Lumia 620.

Like its siblings, it’s a fairly chunky phone. At 10mm thick and 160g in weight, it won’t challenge any slimness-obsessed phones like the Motorola Razr i. However, unlike the Lumia 920, its weight isn't the first thing you notice.

The Nokia Lumia 820 also matches its Lumia brothers in terms of sockets and hardware buttons. The microUSB charge/data transfer port sits on the bottom, and the 3.5mm headphone jack up top. Nothing amiss there.

The Nokia Lumia 820’s buttons are a little more unusual, though. Windows Phone 8 phones all have hardware camera buttons, and the Nokia Lumia 820’s sits alongside the volume rocker and power button on the right edge of the phone. The power button is designed to sit snugly under your thumb, to let you easily put the phone into standby.

The three soft nav keys below the screen are also a Windows requirement. They light up when required and are decked out with 100 per cent inoffensive standard Windows icons. Some parts of a phone are better left without a stamp of personality.

Nokia Lumia 820 – Features

For a mid-range phone, the Nokia Lumia 820 is impressively future-proofed features-wise. Aside from the wireless standards of HSPA 3G, Bluetooth and GPS, the Nokia Lumia 820 also offers NFC and 4G (3G-only options are available).

NFC stands for Near-Field Communication, a nascent wireless payments standard and a way to transfer any kind of data-light information between phones and other devices. 4G is, of course, the successor to 3G. It’s much faster, offering real-world usage speeds of around 40Mbps. Only EE offers 4G in the UK at present, though, and it doesn’t come cheap. The cheapest contract that gets you the phone for free costs £36 a month.

Windows Phone 8 also lets the Nokia Lumia 820 share its mobile internet connection with other devices over Wi-Fi, although you’d better check your carrier allows this before doing so.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

gaz martin

February 9, 2013, 11:25 am

DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR, DO NOT BUY THIS PHONE. The first 820 i had broke in my pocket (cracked screen), even though it was in a case with a screen protector. I eventually got a replacement from carphone warehouse after shouting and screaming for three hours in-store.
The second handset is plauged by bugs. Sometimes it won't charge through USB for no apparent reason. The data connectivity often won't work without turning the phone off and on first. Sometimes the music player volume will zump to zero and won't turn back up until you turn it off and on. Some photos iv taken have a solid line of purple pixels across them, the list goes on...
Iv tried endlessly to tackle this with Nokia and they've done absolutely nothing. They do not know the meaning of the words "customer service", do some forum searches and you'll see what i mean.
Iv used Nokia for 15 years but when this contract runs out im never dealing with them again. Take my advice and save yourself from a ton of frustration, and being stuck with a shoddy handset for two years.

Matthew Paul

February 9, 2013, 11:47 pm

I don't know if Gaz Martin is in the pay roll of some other manufacturer, but all I can say is he is subject to his own opinion.

It is a great phone and a smart option for your money's worth. Just use the phone in a store for any period of time and make your own mind up. Do not let some random guy troll your mind.

gaz martin

February 10, 2013, 11:16 am

Im just sharing my experience.

Matthew Paul

February 10, 2013, 3:40 pm

Okay so am I. It's sad that you've had such a bad one. Nokia has always been outstanding with customer service in my experience.


February 10, 2013, 4:10 pm

I have just returned this handset having upgraded my contract. It's a shame as I don't believe the issue is with the hardware, but it's Windows Phone 8 itself. The issues I encountered included poor battery life, difficulty setting up exchange but the biggest disappointment was the management of external storage.

It seems that it is near impossible to save anything to an SD card apart when using non-native applications. The fact that you can't even download an mp3 via the browser is ridiculous in itself. There is no native UK podcast support, so when using a third party app it will down files to the internal memory rather than your SD card. In addition, the Nokia apps do the same, including Nokia Maps and Music. With only 8GB of storage you will fill it up pretty quickly, I don't know how offline playlists work in Spotify but I can only assume the same issue applies.

It's a real shame as even my old e71 could run applications from the SD card and 3rd party applications could be set to use an SD card. I really don't know what handset to upgrade to now, as I don't trust WP8 on a Lumia 920. In addition it seems the 920 suffers from battery life issues and tends to run hot. It's a shame as I would prefer to upgrade to a Nokia if possible.


March 15, 2013, 5:18 pm


In line with the remarks of many other users/victims below.

The phone is not able to meet even the minimal most expectation. The main difficulty the phone I have has is to establish basic 3G connection, It is able to do so for about an hour a day (in total), Bluetooth is not able to sync once unpaired, 802.11 connection just vanishes for no reason. The difficulties in my view are software and not hardware, but the fact that no QC is able to identify the problem prior to the phone being offered to unsuspecting clients is insulting. On the evidence up to now, I don't think Nokia will be in business for long.


March 15, 2013, 7:59 pm

The handset is really good, build quality is perfect, and nokia applications are great, the only drawback is unfortunately win 8 mobile, I really, really wish Nokia used android instead of win system, I think quality-wise these phones are matching apple, but system is crap, amount o apps is less than poor and is not really growing :-( at all. I've always been fan of nokia but now I realy feel disappointed, think will come back to E52 as works much better than 820, and will last 8 days on one charge ;-)


June 19, 2013, 9:20 am

i agree with you. nokia rocks!! unlike the 'Made in China' like samsung or any other manufacturer. hardy, user friendly and CLASSY.!! I've dropped my C7 from a rocktop when i was hiking and it still works perfectly. i drop it once or twice everyday. I love nokia!! the thing is this model has no gorilla glass. would it be an issue???

Faizz Gour

August 21, 2013, 8:39 am

dear gaz martin u don't know how to use the windows phone............ hahahahahahah


October 7, 2013, 8:59 pm

I've had this phone for about 2 months now. Overall I like it but I do have a few issues.

1. Connectivity with my computer - I take a lot of pictures and videos that I want to share with friends. I haven't got the patience to upload them singly to Facebook or wherever and email struggles to send large amounts of pictures. It's not a simple case of plugging the phone in to the computer you have to download an app which is only available if you have windows 7 or 8 on your pc/laptop. I have XP on one computer and windows 7 on my laptop which won't let me update facebook or send an email (therefore meaning I can't share my pictures/videos etc)

2. Size - It's just slightly too big to type with one hand but it's liveable

3. The case is a little smooth so I keep dropping it!! Thankfully the screen seems to be holding out but the case is starting to crack!

4. The case is ridiculous to get off! Even the guy in the Vodafone store I went to to swap contacts from my old phone couldn't get it off!!

5. Memory - Weirdly, my old phone seemed to cope reasonably well but I am constantly getting messages telling me that I have run out of memory!!

6. The Nokia Music App is unpredictable. It used to work fine but now won't always work. I've looked online and a few others have the same problems. Their solutions worked at first but alas no longer.

There's probably a couple of other things that I've forgotten (Probably not that big a deal then!!) and a lot of this probably seems like a lot of personal preference but it's stuff I wish I'd known before signing up for a 2 year contract.

As I said, overall I like it but perhaps wouldn't have got a windows phone had I known about the connectivity issues with the computer.


October 20, 2013, 8:07 am

I do also have same experience. Are you saying that there is relation between Windows Phone and Screen and build quality of Nokia phones.
I am impressed with Windows Phone OS but Nokia build quality is worst.
gaz, at least get it replaced from Nokia; but for me I had to pay a lot for getting screen replaced from Nokia Care. Very much satisfied with Nokia smart phones quality.

tushar banne

November 7, 2013, 10:50 am

Even I face the problem of data connection. First I thought it might be the service provided problem but now confirm about it. Music player problem also persist.

Dual code does not work upto the mark.. Even I keep on fighting with the bugs. But camera is appreciated and battery and rigidity is also appreciated. Maps are good. But details of area are less. Many imp places are missing on the map.

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