Nokia Lumia 820 Australian Hands-On: The Lumia 920's Not-So Poor Cousin

The Lumia 920 is hogging the smartphone spotlight right now. Telstra -- the 920's exclusive carrier -- sold out of device pre-orders and now people are scrounging to find one before launch day. Look a little to either side of the 920's hype, though, and you'll see its younger sibling: the Lumia 820. Saddled onto Optus and Vodafone, this junior model may not be the compromise we thought it was.

You'd think that in a pure numbers game, the Lumia 920 is just better than the Lumia 820, purely because of the name, when in fact, the two are quite comparable.

Under the hood, the Lumia 920 and the 820 both pack a dual-core, 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, 1GB of RAM and the same image of Windows Phone 8. The only real differences come on the fringes of the device.

The 820 has an 8-megapixel camera compared to the 920's 8.7-megapixel shooter with Optical Image Stabilisation. The 820 has a 4.3-inch, 800x480 display (with 217 ppi), while the 920 has a 4.5-inch, 1280x768 display (with 332 ppi) and the 820 packs 8GB worth of internal storage compared to the 920's 32GB.

Nokia has made a few feature-based concessions on the 820 to make the 920 look better in the market, but where it counts, the devices are practically identical. When we went hands-on with the 820 this week, we held it side by side with the 920 and found that the two run just as fast as each other, just as smoothly as each other and just as beautifully as each other. As far as user experience is concerned, the two might as well be the same phone.

The 920 does have a larger screen than the 820 which will push the resolution-junkies towards the premium device but weirdly, the 820 has a more vibrant display than its bigger brother. That's something we'll be investigating when we post the full review.

Where the 820 does make definite concessions is in design. Unlike the 920, the 820 has a removable case and battery. That case is rubbery to the touch and doesn't have the same sleek, premium feel that the 920 does. Although, the removable cover means you can give your 820 wireless charging abilities which it doesn't come with out of the box.

As far as first impressions go, the Lumia 820 is far from a poor-man's Lumia 920.

We'll bring you our full review shortly.


    I'd seriously consider this device if it didn't have such outdated screen resolution. Have two Lumia 920's on pre order.

      Because a 4.3" inch screen is so outdated, just because the SGSIII & The Note have massive screens doesn't mean all phones need to =/

        He didn't say screen SIZE, he said screen RESOLUTION.

        The HTC 8X has a 720 HD screen, and it's 4.3 inch. The fact is, 800x480 just isn't the right kind of screen for me, since I use my phone primarily as a portable web browser. Anything smaller than 1280x720 just involves too much scrolling to be comfortable.

          How is scrolling less than comfortable? Are you telling me you can read text at 1280x720 on a 4.x" screen? Seriously, that is perhaps the most ridiculous thing I have read this week.

            Higher PPI means less strain and, amazing, easier to read text.

            Dude.. get a phone with a high PPI and then come back and tell us how ridiculous it is...

              I've seen them, I've compared them side-by-side and seen very little advantage. Yes, the text may have been slightly crisper but there was nothing at all wrong with the lower res screen. i.e. There was no instance where one was readable and the other unreadable. We also compared a series of photos side-by-side on my Focus against a Retina iPhone at work, when the iPhone 4 was first released, and half-a-dozen artists unanimously agreed that the 800x480 AMOLED screen looked better, even the guy with the brand new iPhone.

        Huh? I prefer this size, but 800×480 bothers me on smaller devices already.

          Yet you will watch 720x576 on your TV or 640x480 from YouTube without complaint, I'm sure. 800x480 is more than enough for such a tiny screen. The advantages it offers to battery life alone far outweigh any negative aspects you might perceive. As I've said many times in the past, the 800x480 screen on my Lumia800 looks far better than the Retina iPhone 4 screen, displaying the same images. That's why I bought it.

            The only thing my Lumia 800 does better than retina is blacks and daylight readability. I can read smaller text clearly on retina, and the colours aren't as false as the 800.

            Now if I notice issues with text on my 3.8" 800, why in hell would I want a 4.3" 820 with the same resolution?

              "False"?? Don't make me laugh. Are you doing serious colour-correction on your phone? I want things to look great on my phone, and my showreel looks amazing on it. I have access to fully calibrated monitors for colour correction but that takes all the fun out of looking at things. I have no more trouble reading tiny text on my phone than on any other device I own/use. Quite the opposite in fact, thanks to the deep black background reading very small text is easy.

              "Now if I notice issues with text on my 3.8" 800, why in hell would I want a 4.3" 820 with the same resolution?" That would actually work in your favour, as it will make the small things larger and therefore easier to see. That's just common sense (which probably means it has no place here). Of course, the 820 has an LCD display, so it is not relevant to your comments on AMOLED's beautifully saturated colours.

                So you can't see that not everyone likes the saturation an AMOLED screen provides. I'm biased to the OneXL screen, but most people I know prefer the S3 screen. Each to their own.
                Don't hate on others because you can't have a higher quality screen yet. It's kinda cool having HD YouTube, Vimeo or even movie titles in HD. When you use one, you'll wonder how you ever lived with out before.

                  Everybody involved in the testing we did preferred it. Everyone who looks at my phone likes it. So no, I can't see that at all. What I can see is a bunch of brainwashed idiots trying to justify themselves.

                Wow, let me spell it out for you. Smaller things = bigger = easier to read? So those small pixels are bigger on a larger screen with the same resolution? This is meant to make "small" text easier to read?

                Try to let that sink into your head and stop being a total moron with your posts.

                  I'm sorry but that is not necessarily how it works. e.g. If you change the resolution of your computer monitor, everything on the display gets larger or smaller. It doesn't use more or less pixels to remain the same size, it continues to use exactly the same number of pixels to draw each letter/word/phrase/sentence/paragraph/page.

                  Obviously Apple have enough control with iOS to double the DPI for retina devices but it remains to be seen how it will work with WP8. For all any of us knows, these high density screens might well display everything at the same DPI as lower res screens, as happens with PCs, which will make some text incredibly tiny and far less readable than it is on an 800x480 screen. i.e. a 1280x768 screen might just show 50% more content than an 800x480 screen. WP8 may include the same scaling factor settings we see in Windows but that is no guarantee at all of easier to read anything.

    Hmm, not what I expected at all, I was expecting the 820 would essentially be a 800 with a slight upgrade to support windows 8 and other minor changes. The features missing from the 820, compared to 920 sound like they wouldn't make a difference to me. I'm not easily impressed, but WOW, A BLUE PHONE!

    "Although, the removable cover means you can give your 820 wireless charging abilities which it doesn’t come with out of the box."

    Can anyone explain this? Is there a hack you can do to smartphones to give them wireless charging?

      There is a hack but you needn't use it on the 820. Nokia sells cases that enable wireless charging on the 820.

      The phone it self does not support Wireless Charging, you are required to buy a piece of hardware (in this instance a case) which has the Wireless charging functions.

      You can see the case in one of the images on the post.

    Good review, hanging out for my red 920 to arrive from Telstra.

    Last edited 22/11/12 1:35 pm

      I get the feeling Red is going to be very popular.

        No doubt. It sold out quickest with Telstra (around 2-3 hours) with yellow second.

          Curious. Nokia told me that yellow went first, closely followed by red.

            Hmm. I was following the launch pretty closely (i.e. refreshing page every 30 mins, even though my purchase already went through) and I do vividly remember Red having sold out before Yellow, Yellow coming in a very close second.

            I could be wrong, and I do know Nokia do want Yellow to be the signature colour for the Lumia 920, however I'd still take their official answer over mine.

            Whirlpool indicated that the red sold out a good 30 minutes before yellow. The thread was pretty much a live chat of the pre order launch. Then they had more yellow go up later but no red.

    What are the dimension/weight comparison between the 920/820? Also does it get a sd slot?

      If there was an SD slot, I am sure @lukehopewell would've mentioned it. I don't think a single Windows 7 or 8 Phone has an SD slot, and probably won't in the future.

      But weight I am interested in knowing about too.

        Yes the 820 has a microSD slot, supporting up to 64 GB

          Reeeally? That's interesting, never thought we'd see that come to a Windows Phone. Thanks for correcting me.

            All Windows Phone support an SD card.. Kind off... They are all locked away to stop people from upgrading them with cheap less quality cards, I believe the first Samsung Focus was one of the main devices with upgradeable memory AFAIK.

            But Yes WP8 supports it much better than WP7 did...

            One would guess the full review will cover it in more detail,

            Yeah Windows Phone 8 brings support for SD cards, definitely a welcome addition :)

            My first Windows phone, a Samsung Focus from the US, had a microSD slot. The only caveat was that once it was installed, it integrated into the system memory and could not be removed without losing data.

          I thought it only supported up to 32gb. And a search on Google reveals.. 160 g for the 820.. vs 185 g for the 920.

            I wonder how much the inductive charging back cover adds to the weight?

        820 has an SD slot, expandable up to 64gb.
        920 doesn't, fixed at 32gb.

        Nope. It does have an SD slot, something the 920 doesn't have. WP8 supports sd cards and USB storage.

          Well derp. This is what happens when I don't refresh before posting...

      Thanks guys!

      Funny the weights are so close but oh well!

    Interesting, but I think I'll still stick with the 920. Gonna go to the local T-life store next Tuesday morning around 7am and wait till they open. Can't wait to get my grubby hands on a yellow 920!!!!.

    800x480 doesn't sound as good as 720p, but my current Omnia 7 is a 4" 800x480 Amoled and the screen is not bad at all, I still rate it over the iphone for crispness and vibrancy, although the one on the S3 is awesome.

      I do love the colours on my Omnia 7 too, though i've noticed it's got a slight screen burn of the People hub LOL That and i'm starting to notice the pixels now, so i think it's time for me to upgrade.

        Yeah I'm kinda struggling to find reasons to upgrade from the Omnia 7 to the 920... Especially if its life can be extended with WP7.8.
        Hmmm :/

          Good point, i guess i'll wait until 7.8 to decide.

    Screen res of 920 is reason alone you would buy it. Still putting that crapulent 800 x 480 in an otherwise top notch phone in late 2012, is a crime.

      Yep I agree.

      Nokia need to put their phones on a diet as well - despite having a smaller screen, it's thicker and heaver than both the Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5.

    Well of course it's bigger/heavier than the iPhone 5, the i5 is 4".

    I do agree but I bet you we'll see the 940 with a significantly smaller bezel to reduce the size of the phone. Weight I don't care about at all.

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