I recently received a nice little package from Nokia just in time for the Holidays, a black AT&T branded Nokia 820 Windows Lumia Smartphone. A big thanks to Nokia for supplying the test unit.
My initial impressions after tearing into the box were great. I noticed right away how nice this phone was built. Although it has a removable back cover (the back cover can be interchanged with different colors) the phone never felt like it was made with any moving parts. As well, I think Nokia did a great job designing this phone. Unlike the LG Optimus I tested recently, the Nokia has rounded curves and feels really great to hold in the hands. I really like that Nokia kept to their simplistic yet modern design. With a screen size of 4.3″, the screen is the same size as its predecessor the Nokia Lumia 900. However unlike the 900, one handed use was never a problem for me and I do not have big hands. This is a big plus in my opinion as it’s still nice to be able to make calls or answer a quick text with one hand. This is probably due to the fact that the logos for AT&T and Nokia were made smaller at the top of the phone, which helps in the reduction in the size of the phone. Again a very nice touch from a design standpoint as large carrier and phone branding looks gaudy to me. Similarly, although the resolution and pixel density are the same as the 900, the colors seem more vibrant and more dense.
On the right side of the phone you will be able to find the camera, volume, and power button. Again, all the buttons feel very solid. On the back you will find a very capable 8 megapixel camera that can record 1080p HD video. In the front you will find a VGA 0.3 megapixel front facing camera. I would have liked to see Nokia keep the 1.3 megapixel as on the Lumia 900, but it’s not a deal breaker.
As for Windows 8, the things I like are the notifications on the lock screen and the ability to resize tiles on the home screen. Resizing makes a huge difference in the way one can interact with the phone. Firstly, you can see more information without having to constantly swipe up and down. Secondly, you get to choose how much or little information you get to display based on the size of the tile. Other than that I found it quite similar to Windows 7.5 that I had used in the past. What is still lacking, is a basic speed dial functionality and more main stream applications from the Windows app store. I’m glad to see that some apps that I use are now available like Bloomberg and the Chase Mobile app. However, I’d like to see more apps such as Youtube, Starbucks, and Grocery IQ.
One of the biggest benefits of buying a Nokia Windows smartphone is the fact that you do get a whole host of great applications written by Nokia. As always, Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive are excellent. I’m glad to see Nokia Drive implemented within the Windows system. Nokia Music is excellent, offering free internet radio. Plus you can download the playlists and make them available offline so you can listen to your radio without an internet connection. Also a new application called Nokia City Lens is available, which allows you to explore nearby events, restaurants, etc., by using the camera lens to project 3D like images of these places and there locations. All very handy indeed.
So what’s the best feature of the Nokia Lumia 820? The price. You can pick up an 820 on contract with AT&T for $49.99 or off contract for $399.99. You really can’t beat the price with the amount of features you get with this smartphone. So if you are a Windows smartphone fan and/or just need to upgrade to a well priced smartphone, than there’s no reason not to pick up the Nokia Lumia 820.