Nokia Lumia 820: First Impressions

Windows Phone 8 continues to provide us with new devices. While much attention has been given over to the Lumia 920, the 820 has some compelling features and specs that should appeal to many. Sharing some key specifications with the higher end Windows Phone 8 devices along with options for wireless charging and expandable storage it’s certainly worth a look.

I have been using one for a few hours and so would quickly like to share my thoughts on it before it gets a full review. Read on to see and hear more..

Looks and Design

I think the 820 looks pretty smart decked out in white, I have been using the wireless capable matt case on the device. Like the Lumia 920, the 820 looks good with the black buttons, dark glass and the white of the case to set it off. This phone has a utilitarian aesthetic that gives the impression of durability and getting things done.

Lumia 820 wpcentral


The Lumia 820 feels really well made and twisting and pressing the device doesn’t initiate any nasty plastic sounds. The body is ridged and does not flex under force, the buttons feel sturdy and have a good amount of feedback when pressed, they do not creak when pressed, they just click nicely.

inside Lumia 820

The glass, unlike the Lumia 800 or the 920 is totally flat and is finished around the edges with a slightly tapered plastic surround that helps blend the phone to the outer casing.

The snap on cover takes some degree of effort to get off but is easy enough to get on, just watch those fingernails!


Like its distant cousin from another time, the the Lumia 820 gets those clear blacks and heavily saturated colours that you may have seen on the Lumia 800 due to the AMOLED panel. Deep black does look great with the surround but it is not as deep as the Lumia 800, I can still see the screen is slightly lighter in colour.

The touch response and scrolling feel much the same as both the Lumia 800 but the 920 still feels to have the edge with how well it keeps up with rapid movements.

Size and Weight

I have been using the Lumia 920 for a few weeks now and the Lumia 820 doesn’t feel very much different when in the hand. If anything I find it feels slightly denser than the 920 but that could be due to the less oval shape and the texture of the snap on case.  


It will need a full review but my quick snaps and experiments produced some very acceptable results, although even just a quick look shows it’s not up to the might of its bigger brother. It looks to be capable of taking some quick shots that look good all the same.


The Lumia 820 like the HTC 8X, 920 and the ATIV S all share the same CPU core and so its of no surprise that the 820 does a fine job here. The experience is the consistent with the Lumia 920 and the all the Windows Phone 8 devices I have used. A longer look might reveal more later when tested fully.

Sum up

The Lumia 820 is well constructed and exhibits good performance characteristics. It has a camera that should suit the casual snapper and if you like AMOLED screens this could be the device for you.  Stay tuned for a fuller review soon.

We’d love to hear what you guys think of the 820, plans for your upgrade or even your experiences with the 820. Do let us know in the comments below..

Robert Brand
  • Its definitely a nice device. Have one on my second line. Smooth, quick, screen looks amazing.
  • A short question here..  Will 820 or WP8 devices(having SD slot) have the option to save apps on the SD card or it's just on the phone memory?
  • Just to memory. SD takes music, photos etc
  • You can only store documents and multimedia files on the external storage card.
  • Still don't like the look of it. Give me an HTC 8X with Nokia apps and 920 camera and I would be as happy as a pig in poo. Alas this is but only a dream so the HTC 8X it is!
  • Don't forget exchangeable back covers, wireless charging and memory expansion options.. :) RB
  • And 32GB internal memory option.
  • And 32GB internal memory option.
  • That's true. I wad torn between the 820 920 but decided on the 920 in white. I love it!!!
  • I never did care for the sharp corners on the Lumia series. Problem solved with a snap on case that makes rounded corners!
  • haha. Exactly my thoughts!
  • At T-Mobile I thought it was a no-brainer. The HTC 8X is only $50 more with higher end specs and looks much nicer as well especially when it comes to thickness.
    When will we see HTC locations be released? That would be good alternative although Nokia Drive supposedly would also be released for all WP8 devices.
  • The HTC 8X just looks soooo much better than the 820. Don't need a large memory, got 25gb sky drive. Don't want changeable covers, got a 610 and it feels cheap, its not got that solid feel. Wireless charging? Meh neither here or there on that one. But as said before I will miss the Nokia apps.
  • You do get the nokia maps app.  Which is cool.  Something, right?
  • I´m waiting for my Lumia 820 to be on stock on Clove, i preordered 2 weeks ago, but still no news 
  • Most of us in the UK can't get it.
  • Have you tried phones 4 u? I walked in two days ago and walked out with an 820 without being in the store 10 mins!
    Try harder !
  • I picked mine up in Phones4U at the weekend too, SIM free, only took a few minutes. Then a quick walk down the road to Vodafone to exchange my SIM for a micro-SIM, and everything was up and working (though I did have a few problems with the Vodafone access point, the pre-configured details were incorrect and so I had no cellular data access at first, the nice people in the Vodafone shop soon sorted this out for me).
    Carphone Warehouse apparently have them SIM free too.
  • Why not just get the 920??
  • Not everyone wants 4.5 inch screen
  • Plenty of reasons. People might want expandable memory, don't like the size/bulk of the 920, would like the exchangeable back plates, the lower price etc.
  • Expandable memory is the exact reason I got an 820 over the 920. I had said after using an Infuse that I could not go to a screen smaller than 4.5. The Ativ S would have been my perfect device. But it isn't available for ATT for the foreseeable future. So it was either the 920 with its huge screen and mammoth specs or the 820 and a slightly smaller screen, but expandable memory. I have a s@@t load of music and use ny phone as my primary camera. So it was really a no brainer. The 820 is a really beautiful phone. I'm not a Nokia fanboy by any means. But kudos for really well designed devices
  • there is barely any size difference between the 920 and 820 though. I handled the 920 in a shop, and up against my 710 - the 920 is slim and not that large. the size thing is a red herring
  • Maybe people don't want to be tied to a network that's more a notwork. EE only works in the big cities in the UK, and even at that its not comprehensive through the locations. When reverting to 3G for calls or out of 4G coverage its fairly thin on the ground and will struggle. I left Orange (now part of EE) as they siphoned off 3G capacity to make it available for 4G meaning less spectrum available for more customers post merger. After 9 years I called it quits, there's only so many months your tariff is free before you realise that its not even worth that cause you cant make or receive calls in a city centre.
  • Ha lol ^ "notwork" EE sucks big time!
  • ok, i have this beauty for a week now and have not much to complain. Maybe battery is going down little quicker, u have to charge it at least once a day. I also compared it to Lumia 810 from t-mobile and must say, 810 is way to go. It's a little bigger, but better battery life.
      BTW, new promo is coming from T-Mobile, This friday and saturday (16-17) all smartphones for FREE !!!
  • I saw a commercial, and it only listed android phones. Here is to hoping it will cover WP too for those on T Mo
  • WP 8 too is free this Friday and Saturday, getting a Nokia 810 tomorrow and the phone is a lot nicer than 820.
  • The two are virtually identical but for the slightly different shape of the shell.
  • they dont. 810 is bigger than 820, battery is better capacity on 810, fron facing camera is better on 810, also design is different.
    I'm going to get 810 fist thing at the morning.
  • Well a "free" (would have to go back on a 2-yr plan after over a decade) 810 is cheaper than a $500+ Rogers unlocked 920. Maybe I'll just go with the 810 and call it a day. I wish I had better options, but this tops the list if it happens.
  • Where did you get the White Shell from? 820 is a very nice phone can't wait to read the full WPCentral Review. Soon very soon I will have mine.
  • That is a charging shell, and those are sold seperately:
  • I got mine in white from the box. The product is sold in Red, Yellow, White and Black and then other shells are accessories. CPW sell them in the wireless & nfc shell so no faffing around.
  • Looks pretty nice although I like the slick look of the 810. Where im from it only cost around 50$ less than 920 with and with out contract! Too expensive for me, so I jump straight to Lumia 920 YELLOW!
  • Love it
  • I have one and love it. I had an 800 and a 900 and prefer it to both. Battery life of WP8 makes the battery life far superior to my 900. My only worry is the lack of Gorilla Glass. I don't like screen protectors but am using one on this, just in case.
  • Are you sure about the lack of Gorilla Glass? It doesn't feel like plastic. And I've used keys and pens on the screen, and it didn't scratch.
  • It can still be glass and not be Gorilla Glass.
  • its no gorilla glass!! a Nokia rep told me this! I think its no normal glass either maybe just a cheaper noname variant of gorilla glass?
  • The looks aren't really greatI, I especially miss the curved screen of the 800. But the smooth round edges make it really comfortable to use, the gloss makes it kindy sticky, so it's less likely to slip out of your hand. And the sturdiness is outstanding - even though the cover is detachable it feels like the phone is monolithic - you can't twist and or bend it at all. Just like with the 800/900, you can safely fall asleep and wake up with the phone under your ass not being cracked or broken. The screen is awesome, much better than in the 800, and the blacks do blend with the bezel when brightness is set to medium-automatic. And you can use it with gloves.  The 8X can't do any of that, making it a midrange phone like the 820, and not high-end like the 920.
    P.S. Too bad the sound on 820 sucks as bad as it sucked in the 800. You can even hear interference in the loudspeaker when there's high CPU load, like in old crappy desktop PCs.  
  • I'm just miffed that the 820 doesn't have gorilla glass
  • You can use it with gloves? Really? Correct me if in wrong but only the 920 has super sensitive screen that can be used with gloves
  • 820 has Super Sensitive Settings has well just like the 920
  • Yes, you can. And they don't have to be leather, works with cotton or wool too.
  • If you press hard enough on the screen you'll hear it click. Theyve married a capacitive layer to the physics of a resistive screen.
  • You only have to press hard when unlocking. After that it works easily with gloves without pressing. I guess it's designed that way to prevent accidental unlocking.
  • Nice looking device. I live my 920 so I would have to imagine this phone being great as well.
  • Definetely my next device...
  • I've had my 820 for almost a week. Ended up with black as I got such a good price from Tesco online (UK supermarket) - I can afford to get a colour cover from savings. I agree with others - very solid. Screen text is crisp, photos on screen look natural. Sound over headphones is great. I am hoping battery life stretches with a few more cycles. Does an average day at the moment, but easy to hammer it eg with Nokia Drive. My old phone was HTC Mozart and comparisons show how far we have come in 2 years. Nokia is much faster, brighter screen and WP8 an improvement in most respects.
  • Went to the AT&T store last night for some phone shopping. They were sold out of black 920s (for a second time, apparently) so mine is on order, but I was also helping my mom and my brother pick out new phones (family plan).
    My brother thought apps were too important to him, so he went with an HTC OneX, but my mom was really impressed with the 820, and bought it. Take that as you will, but the simplicity of the interface, combined with the large fonts and tiles, really sold her on it. She also liked the rounded corners and matte case, she felt like it felt sturdier than any of the other phones she looked at, saying that the even the iphone 4 felt cheap and fragile by comparison.
  • Such a lovely phone. This was the one I originally had designs on, but I just ordered a Lumia 810 since I'm on T-Mobile. Of course, I'm also enamoured with the 920 as well! I think any of the new Lumias should appeal to WP folks.
  • My wife's 820 should be arriving today, while I am (not so) patiently awaiting the arrival of my Yellow 920. The 820 should be a superb upgrade over her Focus. I'm looking forward to surprising her with the new device.
  • Just need even more confirmation, that the 820 has super sensitive touch and can be used with gloves (tryout fleece!).
    What about direct comparison of lowlight capabilities of lumia 800/820/920?
  • Mine has. Do you need video proof?
  • And still one thing to ask: can appdata be stored on SD storage?
    Just have to think of Nokia drive and offline maps (need nearly whole Europe, 4 gb at least)...
  • No
  • I played with the 820 in my local Carphone warehouse and took some pics in store. The camera on the 820 was very noticeable better for indoor shots on standard settings that both my 800 and the 900 they had in store.
    Its on my list along with the Ativ and 920 tbh.
  • Do exchangable shells come with the package or need to buy them separately??
  • Separately... Well you get one included, but no extras unless it's a special deal
  • But does the one included have an NFC antenna or not? I'm still confused about that, and don't know how to make sure. I don't have any other NFC-enabled device to verify functionality.
  • Is that a new eBay app on the phone?
  • I'm on Verizon (I know, sucks to be me) so I'm going with the 822 if I upgrade.  I was going 8X, but I think the Nokia apps and quality has the advantage now.  I assume all things Nokia 8xx are the same except appearances, so I await your review of the 822.
  • The 822 has a better FFC than the 820, and 16GB of internal storage instead of 8GB.
  • I can't imagine a worse camera that 820's FFC.
  • the 820s FFC is actually pretty good I tested it in a saturn store! A Worse camera? lets see... LG Optimus black FFC
  • What's good about it? It takes pictures worse than the camera in my three years old laptop or a six years old feature phone. Here, take a look at this pixelfest:
  • The 822 also has Gorilla Glass.
  • Seeing how the back shell is quite a bit thicker than the one on (say..) Samsung phones, and how it makes the real inner construction of the phone thicker (and heavier) than if it was just covered by a thin layer of plastic, could you guys maybe do us two favours:
    1. Weigh the shell (sans wireless charging) on a scale, maybe in grams if possible, so that we can see whether the phone itself really is heavy and how much weight the shell adds (with the option to hope that maybe in the future, aftermarket shells could appear which could be thinner or lighter or of different materials, for example). Alternatively, you could also weigh the phone without the shell (and the shell seperately), so we don't have to do the math and have two numbers.
    2. Measure the thickness of the phone without the shell.
    Would be cool, as I haven't seen anyone do that yet, and it was the first thing I thought of when I saw this phone, the shell and the weight. Waited weeks to see anyone do it, but no luck.
  • I'm too lazy to find a scale, but I had to open it up to pop the battery after the phone froze while I was playing XBL Uno, and I can tell you that:
    - the shell itslef is actually very light and thin. It's even a bit seethrough when detached from the phone. Probably weighs only a couple of grams. The shape and material make it really solid when put on the phone.
    - there seems to be quite a lot of space under the shell, especially under the bulky edges. The ridge needed for the cover to hold adds at least 1 mm to every side of the phone, and the case stand out circa 2mm. My estimate is that the phone could be like 5 mm shorter and narrower if it weren't for the shells, which are an elaborate plot to make you pay an additional 20 pounds for the wirelesss charging feature. And if it weren't for the thick camera thing, which sticks out higher than the shell, and the space reserved for the wireless charging gizmo under the shell, the phone could probably be 2 mm thinner.
  • Does anyone know this for sure. It has a MicroSD slot but, is it a MicroSDXC slot (support to 64gb or even 128gb cards) ?
  • I have a 64Gb card in mine and its working fine. Although wirth pointing out that if like me you have just moved from Android, then whilst at first glance it looks like you can move the card and all the media on it directly from one to the other, in practice you really need to reformat the SD card for use with WP8, or you end up with all sorts of issues with USB data transfer and settings app launchion only every second time.
    But yep, 64Gb seems just fine as of 2 days playing.
  • There are ridges on it or it is rigid? Just wondering... =P
  • I thought the 820 could only take 32Gb card? Can it take more? If so, what's the best brand?
  • Sandisk or Kingston... get those from Amazon.
  • Thanks for that. Is it still 32Gb or can it take 64Gb? Cheers
  • I got my wife the 820 and I have the 920. I have to say that the 820 IMO is a beautiful device. The screen look incredible and it feels great in the hand. Performance is great too. I think Nokia did a great job with the 820, and for 49.99 on AT&T, who can beat that!?
  • Its a nice device. Waiting for this device to be launched in India. Does this device has any bug issues in software as wit 920 and 8x which has random reboots??