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.