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Review: Nokia Lumia 820 for AT&T

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Dec 14, 2012, 4:13 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Lumia 820 is a welterweight contender in AT&T's smartphone lineup. It packs a powerful three-punch combo with LTE, Windows Phone 8, and an 8-megapixel camera. Here is Phone Scoop's full review.

Is It Your Type?

At $50, the Nokia Lumia 820 is an inexpensive mid-range Windows Phone for AT&T. For those looking to avoid the gargantuan dimensions of the Lumia 920, but still want a Nokia phone with Microsoft's platform, the 820 offers many of the same features in a more compact and less-expensive package.


The Nokia Lumia 820 is a bit stocky and heavy, but it's not nearly as large as the 920. It ditches features such as a unibody polycarbonate shell and instead adopts exchangeable rear covers and a more conservative shape. AT&T sent Phone Scoop a black review unit, which has a matte finish and is about as black as a black phone can be.

The toned-down appearance may not have a lot of personality, but it still looks good. There aren't extraneous design elements, nor crazy patterns just for the heck of it. Everything about the 820's hardware serves a purpose, and is put to economical use. Sometimes simple really is the way to go.


The rounded edges go a long way toward making the 820 comfortable to hold. The side surfaces slope gently into the back and are smooth save for the buttons on the right edge. The 820's outer shells come in different optional colors (red, yellow, white, cyan, and black) and finishes. Some are glossy and some are matte. The matte ones have a tiny bit more texture to them, but both are somewhat slippery. Whichever you choose, the 820 will drop into your pocket with no problem.

Aside from the Nokia logo near the top and the three Windows Phone buttons near the bottom, the front face is pitch black. It's hard to see where the display itself is when not lit up. When the display is on, you'll notice plenty of bezel around it. The three capacitive buttons work just fine, and provide a small amount of haptic feedback when pressed.

As with most other Lumia designs, all of the buttons and controls are on the right edge of the phone. The volume toggle, screen lock, and dedicated camera buttons are very well designed. They have a different texture from the outer shell and protrude the perfect amount. The travel and feedback of all three keys is perfect. The two-stage camera button, in particular, is great. My one complaint, which I've noted before in other Lumia reviews, is the positioning of the screen lock button. It's right in the middle of the side edge. That means if you grip the 820 tightly, you may accidentally turn the screen on.

The headphone jack is on the top and the microUSB port, the bottom. The speakerphone is also on the bottom edge of the phone, which means resting the phone flat on a table won't block the speaker.

The outer shell wraps around the entire device, all the way to the piece of glass on the front of the phone. It's really annoying to pull off. It requires some serious effort, and often feels as though it will break before it comes off. On the flip side, the shell isn't going to pop off if you drop the phone. The shell may be interchangeable, but Nokia clearly doesn't expect people to do it very often, or it wouldn't be such a chore.

There are a few benefits to this design. First, you can choose to change up the colors. Second, you can buy a cover that supports wireless charging. Third, you can actually access and remove the battery (unlike the 920, which has a sealed battery). Fourth, you can access the SIM card and microSD card slots, although both are under the battery.

About the author, Eric M. Zeman:

Eric has been covering the mobile telecommunications industry for 17 years at various print and online publications. He studied at Rutgers Newark and University of Kentucky, and has a degree in writing. He likes playing guitar, attending concerts, listening to music, and driving sports cars.

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Dec 27, 2012, 4:40 PM



Dec 14, 2012, 4:23 PM

ATT app

I hate when carriers push apps onto phones and take up space, if I want the app I will download it. The good thing I see with windows phone is that WE CAN UNINSTALL THE APP.
Agreed. When I found out I could uninstall the At&t pre-installed apps windows phone bumped up another notch. very nice indeed...
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