Nokia’s second Windows Phone 8 handset is a little bit more interesting than its flagship older brother, as it comes with some alternative design features.
We’re not going to wax lyrical about the interface, as we were given very little time to play with it. However, we did notice that a very slight amount more lag than we saw on the Lumia 920 when flicking about the apps – although we’re going to thoroughly put that down to this being a pre-production model.
If you want to learn all about the software features on board the Lumia devices we suggest you check out our in-depth hands on: Nokia Lumia 920 review for a sneaky peek of how Windows Phone 8 looks on the device.
But let’s move onto the design, shall we? And it’s quite a departure from the original Nokia Lumia 800 – in fact, we almost feel saddened that the 800, which we consider something of an icon in smartphone design, has been ‘downgraded’ to be the budget option alongside the Lumia 920.
The main difference is to the outer shell – no longer are we looking at a unibody design; instead we’re offered the choice of covers, be it to change the colour, iprove protection or allow it charge wirelessly.
The latter option is pretty cool, as there are a range of docks on offer to facilitate said functionality – plus a little bean bag from Fatboy as well.
However, the effect isn’t the most premium, as the glossy covers seem to be a little bit lightweight in the hand, although they’re a nightmare to remove from the Lumia 820 itself.
The 820 comes with very similar internals to its larger brother, wit the S4 Qualcomm chip delivering the power of two cores. This means operation should be slick once the whole phone is better optimised for Windows Phone 8.
The buttons on the side are also ceramic, and have a nice travel for when opening up the camera or locking/unlocking the phone. It fits well in the palm, although the rounded wireless charging cases we tried out did feel a little bit chunky, even though the thickness is tiny.
But it’s things like the budget feel of the camera placement that bother us – while we’re all for re-designs, this doesn’t feel very high end as a snapper.
There is one neat trick up the sleeve of the Nokia Lumia 820… well, two actually, The first is you can remove the battery, which is something Windows Phones have been notoriously loathe to do in the past.
And under there is a little surprise: a microSD card slot for all your media needs! Sure, it’s irritating you have to take out the battery to get to it, but it’s a great way to supplement the meagre 8GB of onboard storage.
We can’t help feeling like the Nokia Lumia 820 should feel a little more premium, in the same way the 800 was mostly a shrunken down version of the 900 with something of the same clout.
The 820 is a more rounded affair, which certainly lends the air of being pocket friendly. Whether this will appeal to the Windows Phone 8 buyer, although the notion of being able to switch cases to change functionality is interesting.
The Lumia 820 will live or die by its price; get this under £200 and there could be a seriously good phone out there, but if it’s more aimed at the premium user we can’t see why you wouldn’t opt for the 920 unless you love microSD slots and hate larger screens.
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