Gift Guide: Nokia Lumia 820

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Short Version

The Nokia Lumia 820 is a Windows Phone 8-powered smartphone, with a generously sized 4.3-inch screen. It packs 4G/LTE and is powered by a dual-core Snapdragon chip. As well as running the latest version of Microsoft’s mobile OS, WP8, it comes loaded with Nokia apps including Nokia Maps, turn-by-turn sat-nav Nokia Drive and subscription-free music service Mix Radio.

Long Version

Features:

  • 4.3 inch ClearBlack display
  • Dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor
  • 4G/LTE
  • 8-megapixel camera, Carl Zeiss lens
  • Interchangeable backplates in range of colours
  • Expandable memory (MicroSD card)
  • Windows Phone 8 OS
  • Suite of Nokia apps: Nokia Maps, Drive, City Lens, Mix Radio

Info:

  • MSRP: From $50 on two-year contract/From £25 per month on two-year contract; £360 SIM-free/£380 pay-as-you-go
  • Available: Now
  • Retailers: AT&T (U.S.); EE, O2, Carphone Warehouse, Phones4u, Clove (U.K.)

The Nokia Lumia 820 is…

… a mid-range Windows Phone 8 handset made by Nokia. It’s a more affordable offering than the flagship Lumia 920. The biggest difference between the two — apart from the price — is that the camera is not quite so fancy, lacking the PureView tech that’s inside the 920 (so there are no stabilizing springs to smooth out shaky camera footage). You do still get a Carl Zeiss lens. Elsewhere the 820 offers a middling resolution (800 x 480) and a rather plain (bland) design — but you can jazz things up by opting for one of the brightly coloured backplates. It’s also possible to get a backplate with support for wireless charging. Like the 920, the 820 includes 4G and has a dual-core Snapdragon chip under the hood.

The Lumia 820 runs the latest version of Microsoft’s OS, WP8, which is built on a different kernel than Windows Phone 7. Despite this you can still run apps built for WP7. As with all of Nokia’s Windows Phone handsets, the Lumia 820 is preloaded with a suite of Nokia apps, including its fully featured sat-nav app, Nokia Drive; Nokia Maps and Mix Radio, Nokia’s subscription-free streaming music service.

Buy the Nokia Lumia 820 for…

… Windows Phone fans stuck on the wrong side of the WP7 vs. WP8 schism.

The Lumia 820 won’t wow high-end gadget fans, being as it’s a middling offering rather than a flagship handset, but it delivers almost the same software experience as the Lumia 920 for a more affordable price tag.

Because…

… the Lumia 820 is neither the slickest nor sexiest Windows Phone handset around, but it runs the latest iteration of Windows Phone so will get future OS updates. Add to that, given Nokia’s software additions — a fully featured streaming music service, sat-nav app, rich maps and more — you’re gifting a fair amount of functionality for a mid-range smartphone price.

Of course you can pick up an iPhone 4 for less, or an iPhone 4S for a similar price (not to mention the scores of app-packed Android phones available at this price range) so make sure your intended recipient is a dyed-in-the-wool Windows Phone fan.