Nokia Lumia 820 WinPho 8 review

Smaller, cheaper... nicer


The Nokia Lumia 820 is the second of Nokia's two new Windows phones. It's the neglected sibling of the flagship Lumia 920, and is barely mentioned in Nokia's presentations.  But I found it a very capable handset, with plenty to commend it. Why does this sound a bit familiar?

Nokia Lumia 820 Windows Phone 8

Nokia's Lumia 820: It's like déjà vu all over again

It's because a year ago, Nokia launched its first two Windows phones: the pricey flagship Lumia 800 and its considerably cheaper companion, the Lumia 710. Despite its lower cost, the 710 featured the same motherboard yet was smaller and more comfortable to use. The company has repeated the ploy here: the Lumia 820 processor is exactly the same as the 920, and it's also smaller and more comfortable to use. This time the price difference is much smaller and the 820 certainly isn't a 'budget' option. Or not yet, anyway.

The key differences between the 180g behemoth and the 820 are that this cheaper model features a micro SD slot and a removable battery – the latter is pretty rare nowadays. The 820 has a lower resolution ClearBlack display, compared to the glove-friendly, superfast IPS display on the 920, but I actually preferred the deep blacks and rich contrasts of the 820 - it made the 920's display look washed out. At 4.3in, the 820's display is smaller than its gigantic big brother, although this reduced size worked out easier to use.

Nokia Lumia 820 Windows Phone 8

Micro SD expansion and battery swapping too

Expandability is also a big deal – for an extra tenner, you've got yourself a 32GB phone, and the 820 can take cards up to 64GB in size. And you will need some sort of card: the phone has just 8GB built-in for OS, apps and media, and the Windows 8 Phone OS takes up well over 2GB out of the box. Once the Nokia Maps are accounted for that leaves just 5GB free. So a micro SD card is a must. The removable battery is welcome – as battery depletion starts to eat in, about a year into your contract, you'll be glad you can get a brand new battery and swap it in seconds. Just as well; the 820 has the lowest capacity of any Windows 8 Phone

The downsides of the 820 are: the lower resolution screen (which in practice, I was surprised to find I quite liked), and the use of toughened glass rather than Corning Gorilla Glass. And possibly, the weight.

At 160g, the 820 isn't light, but I was surprised to be so pleased with the experience. Why? It's commendably solid, superbly well engineered, and the build quality gives you a great deal of assurance. Some people will prefer all this to the now ubiquitous cheap plastic smartphones today. For example, both new Nokias use zirconia-based ceramic material for the camera button, power and volume keys – barely scratchable stuff – and fitted in a solid housing. It gives a satisfying click.

Nokia Lumia 820 Windows Phone 8

Appealing design and less bulky than the flagship Lumia 920

The 820 also scores over the 920 in having nicely rounded corners, which is hugely appreciated here – it's much more comfortable to pick up and hold, and less of an obstacle in your trouser pocket. That said, HTC's design with its 8x and 8S is much more attractive. HTC has comprehensively out-Lumia'd Nokia's Lumias, giving its two new Win 8 phones a beautiful, and very comfortable contoured case design, a very tactile surface, and a great choice of colours. But the two Lumias are the Volvos of smartphones – boring and dependable. If that isn't an insult.

Next page: Put on a charge

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • How ICE became a $2.8b domestic surveillance agency
    Your US tax dollars at work

    The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has spent about $2.8 billion over the past 14 years on a massive surveillance "dragnet" that uses big data and facial-recognition technology to secretly spy on most Americans, according to a report from Georgetown Law's Center on Privacy and Technology.

    The research took two years and included "hundreds" of Freedom of Information Act requests, along with reviews of ICE's contracting and procurement records. It details how ICE surveillance spending jumped from about $71 million annually in 2008 to about $388 million per year as of 2021. The network it has purchased with this $2.8 billion means that "ICE now operates as a domestic surveillance agency" and its methods cross "legal and ethical lines," the report concludes.

    ICE did not respond to The Register's request for comment.

    Continue reading
  • Fully automated AI networks less than 5 years away, reckons Juniper CEO
    You robot kids, get off my LAN

    AI will completely automate the network within five years, Juniper CEO Rami Rahim boasted during the company’s Global Summit this week.

    “I truly believe that just as there is this need today for a self-driving automobile, the future is around a self-driving network where humans literally have to do nothing,” he said. “It's probably weird for people to hear the CEO of a networking company say that… but that's exactly what we should be wishing for.”

    Rahim believes AI-driven automation is the latest phase in computer networking’s evolution, which began with the rise of TCP/IP and the internet, was accelerated by faster and more efficient silicon, and then made manageable by advances in software.

    Continue reading
  • Pictured: Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way
    We speak to scientists involved in historic first snap – and no, this isn't the M87*

    Astronomers have captured a clear image of the gigantic supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy for the first time.

    Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A* for short, is 27,000 light-years from Earth. Scientists knew for a while there was a mysterious object in the constellation of Sagittarius emitting strong radio waves, though it wasn't really discovered until the 1970s. Although astronomers managed to characterize some of the object's properties, experts weren't quite sure what exactly they were looking at.

    Years later, in 2020, the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to a pair of scientists, who mathematically proved the object must be a supermassive black hole. Now, their work has been experimentally verified in the form of the first-ever snap of Sgr A*, captured by more than 300 researchers working across 80 institutions in the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration. 

    Continue reading
  • Shopping for malware: $260 gets you a password stealer. $90 for a crypto-miner...
    We take a look at low, low subscription prices – not that we want to give anyone any ideas

    A Tor-hidden website dubbed the Eternity Project is offering a toolkit of malware, including ransomware, worms, and – coming soon – distributed denial-of-service programs, at low prices.

    According to researchers at cyber-intelligence outfit Cyble, the Eternity site's operators also have a channel on Telegram, where they provide videos detailing features and functions of the Windows malware. Once bought, it's up to the buyer how victims' computers are infected; we'll leave that to your imagination.

    The Telegram channel has about 500 subscribers, Team Cyble documented this week. Once someone decides to purchase of one or more of Eternity's malware components, they have the option to customize the final binary executable for whatever crimes they want to commit.

    Continue reading
  • Ukrainian crook jailed in US for selling thousands of stolen login credentials
    Touting info on 6,700 compromised systems will get you four years behind bars

    A Ukrainian man has been sentenced to four years in a US federal prison for selling on a dark-web marketplace stolen login credentials for more than 6,700 compromised servers.

    Glib Oleksandr Ivanov-Tolpintsev, 28, was arrested by Polish authorities in Korczowa, Poland, on October 3, 2020, and extradited to America. He pleaded guilty on February 22, and was sentenced on Thursday in a Florida federal district court. The court also ordered Ivanov-Tolpintsev, of Chernivtsi, Ukraine, to forfeit his ill-gotten gains of $82,648 from the credential theft scheme.

    The prosecution's documents [PDF] detail an unnamed, dark-web marketplace on which usernames and passwords along with personal data, including more than 330,000 dates of birth and social security numbers belonging to US residents, were bought and sold illegally.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022