Mobile Talk: Why Nokia’s Lumia 820 is better than the Lumia 920

Features Paul Briden 16:51, 8 Feb 2013

Paul Briden explains why Nokia's mid-level Lumia 820 is more enjoyable to use than the flagship Lumia 920

Not long ago I wrote about how living with the Nokia Lumia 920 flagship was a fairly bland experience.

To sum up, I just don’t use the camera, which means the added bulk becomes needless dead-weight, while Windows Phone 8 left a lot to be desired in terms of app content and functionality.

Now, however, due to a lack of available Android handsets in the office, I’ve switched to the Lumia 820, the middle-child of Nokia’s Windows Phone 8 range.

And things are better, surprisingly.

Not much better of course, Windows Phone 8 still has that ‘tumbleweed’ vibe about it, but in terms of the phone’s exterior build it’s a much more rewarding device to use on a daily basis.

The size is way more manageable, I can span the touchscreen easily with my thumb, meaning one-handed texting and navigation is actually plausible here, where on the Lumia 920 I could not.

The Lumia 820 is substantially lighter and having carried the brick-like Lumia 920 around for months I’m now finding I have to keep checking to make sure I haven’t actually forgotten my phone.

I also find the shape of the handset sits more comfortably in the hand, I generally think it looks nicer and the matte finish on the interchangeable back panel is a really welcome change over my white Lumia 920’s slippery gloss coating.

It still has the advantage of wireless charging with the standard back cover and the display, while not quite as impressive as its bigger brother’s, is still excellent.

Performance and speed is the same as the Lumia 920 because it's running more or less the same hardware. It's great in certain areas such as navigating the UI and running apps once you’re actually in them.

I’ve had no problems at all with running Windows Phone 8 generally, although app load speeds are still a bit of stumbling block – I get the impression this is less about hardware though.

My only gripe would be that the battery life is noticeably shorter than I’m used to with both the Lumia 920 and indeed other phones running Android. This is even with automatic screen brightness turned on – although admittedly I haven’t been using the battery saver mode.

Windows Phone 8 is still disappointing as a smartphone operating system, however, it does function well as a kind of ‘enhanced feature phone’ if you simply want to use basic phone functions with a spot of browsing and an easy-to-use touch interface.

This is something which lends itself better to the Lumia 820’s more manageable form factor – on the Lumia 920 the limited experience makes the phone seem unnecessarily bloated unless you’re an absolute camera nut who's willing to put up with it for the sake of incredible pictures and video.

The really important thing here is that Windows Phone still has a chance to make good with forthcoming updates, and if it does the Lumia 820 will be a fantastic phone.

The Lumia 920 will remain an unwieldy monster even if its display and camera are amazing and even if the software and app ecosystem improve with time.

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