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Nokia Lumia 820 Review

Camera Performance

The phone consists of two cameras: an 8-megapixel camera at the back, and a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera for vanity shots and video calls. When it comes to video taking, the phone is capable of 1080p full HD, but the default setting is 720p HD.

Nokia has introduced extra features in the camera known as ‘lenses’, which are otherwise apps that add more functions to the built-in camera. ‘Smart Shoot’ for instance allows you to pick a spot on the screen that will then be removed from the subsequent picture that is taken. The Windows Phone store has more of these ‘lenses’, including a Panorama lens which allows you to take, well, panoramic pictures.

An outdoor shot of a university campus.

Outdoor photographs in bright daylight turn out sharp with good contrast. A photograph of outdoor scenery at a college campus was taken using the phone (picture above). The bright areas (especially the sky on the left) appear to be oversaturated. The zoom function works reasonably well, albeit at the cost of some image fidelity. That’s a common complaint about digital zoom, though, and hardly the fault of the developers.

My coffee cup at my office cubicle.

Indoor photography gives rise to sharper and brighter images than their outdoor counterparts. I took a picture of my coffee cup in my office cubicle (picture above). Again, the picture appears sharp, but there are some noticeably grainy areas in the shot (notably in the brown regions) on closer inspection.

You can take screenshots, but the method to doing so is slightly awkward, particularly for people who are used to Android. You need to press and hold down both the Windows and Power buttons together at the same time. Compare this to Android, where you can simply hold down the power button and choose from a list to take the screenshot.


Living with the phone

This phone harks back to the Nokia days of old where covers were easily interchangeable and a hankering for a new phone case meant a trip to the nearest Ah Beng mobile phone stall at the bus interchange. To some extent, anyway. As was previously pointed out, it takes a real effort to prise the case off, and the current range of covers is limited to those released by Nokia itself. It does, however, lend to the possibility of third-party covers in the future.

The biggest complaint about the day-to-day use of Nokia smartphones is the lack of apps, and the Lumia 820 does not escape it. While the Windows apps store does have a commendable range of apps it still pales in comparison to Android’s Google Apps store or Apple’s iTunes store. This is unfortunately a case of the classic ‘chicken or the egg’ problem where customers will not buy a Windows phone that is lacking in apps, while developers will not create apps for Windows phones if there are not enough customers who want to buy the phones in the first place.

As was previously noted, the phone is a little on the hefty side, and the weight is highly noticeable in the palm of the hand. Long-distance runners who use GPS-enabled sports apps (myself included) to map their runs would want to stay away from this phone, unless they like the feel of a brick strapped to their arms.

The Windows Phone 8 MP3 player is simple, both in its design and function. The interface is clean, and the only functions available are pause, skip, shuffle, and repeat. Tapping three dots at the bottom of the screen allows for the user to share the song or to save it to a playlist. Sound quality with the supplied earphones is good, though not up to par with higher-end earphone brands such as Shure.

When it comes to video, the video quality is excellent courtesy of its AMOLED screen. The great advantage that it has over the iPhone is its capability to handle most of the common video formats including AVI and WMV. That said, some of the rarer formats such as MKV cannot be played directly on this phone. 

VR-Zone is a leading online technology news publication reporting on bleeding edge trends in PC and mobile gadgets, with in-depth reviews and commentaries.

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