Trialling a Nokia Lumia 820–Day 1

By Sami Mughal

Thanks to an aggressive marketing campaign from Nokia Connects (@nokia_connects), I am trying out a new Nokia Lumia 820. The message from them was simple: Had enough of your old phone? Want to try something new? Why not give something totally different a try? Try a Nokia Lumia 820, which features the Windows Phone 8 OS. While I wasn’t approached directly by them, I did find an online form and applied. Soon I had heard from them, and while I wanted a Lumia 920, they told me it had a long waiting list (or my convincing skills weren’t good enough) and they offered me a Lumia 820 instead. I thought I might as well give it a go. A day later and this arrives for me:

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Now I have to say, I have had Windows Phones before. I had one of those MDA Varios back in the days of Windows CE, and had an Xperia X1 before it went Android, featuring Windows Phone 6.5 if I remember correctly. While the first one was way ahead of its time, featuring a horrible battery life and apps, the second was the opposite. It was the time of Androids and iPhones, and this phone was struggling to provide me a decent Twitter app. Needless to say it did not survive very long. Times have changed, and we have a brand new Windows interface, and things are different. Windows Phone now represents a totally different experience, and probably the only things that remind me of the old systems are the integration with the Windows Live services.

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Weirdly, the phone came with a European charger. I have enough Micro-USB chargers with me, so this would not be a problem. Also, the headphones are bright red to go with the crimson colour of the phone.

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Once the phone boots up and walks you through a few settings, it is quite easy to get going. There are instructions on how to get your contacts off of iPhone or Android systems, and it didn’t take me long to copy all my contacts across. It tries to be helpful and walk you through the system, but frankly the system is too different to have got used to it in a day.

Here are my initial impressions throughout the day:

  • Importing of contacts is very easy.
  • The OS is not very intuitive, or let’s just say, I am too used to the Android or iOS notification bar. WP8 lacks that, and instead uses live tiles to tell you about what is waiting for you.
  • It lets you connect to Twitter and Facebook (among others) straight away, but these are not apps. It all appears under the ‘ME’ tile where you can see new mentions and notifications, and also see tweets appear as a newsfeed. Not really what I wanted to use.
  • To use Twitter and Facebook, hence, you do need to install the apps separately.
  • The Twitter app is a bit primitive, does not let you see favourites, RTs or follows. Using the browser to access the Twitter website is not very good either.
  • The charger packed in has a whopping 1.3A power output. That is more than most chargers. Typically you get 700mA, and sometimes 1A.
  • The camera is okay. It isn’t something that will be worth forgetting your camera at home. The camera on the HTC ONE X is a lot better.
  • WP8 lacks the DROPBOX app. It does give you 7GB free on SKYDRIVE as soon as you sign up.
  • A lot of apps that you’ll expect to be free on Android are paid for on Windows Marketplace.
  • Had to choose my own APN to get data on the phone. It was a bit annoying.
  • Testing does not tell you how many characters you are in till you hit 130.
  • The MARKETPLACE works, but not very impressive.

Overall the tiles feel quite LOUD and in your face. The new interface will definitely take getting used to. However, if you want a smartphone that doesn’t overwhelm with you a lot of features, this is the product for you. Not sure if this is a good thing though. If you want a dumb smartphone, you might as well stick with a regular phone.

This pretty much covers my impressions on day 1.

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2 thoughts on “Trialling a Nokia Lumia 820–Day 1

    1. It is probably one of those ones that will take a little getting used to… It also needs developers to develop apps for… It almost seems BB are trying harder for this than MS!

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