My Finn friend Kari, tells me Nokia is a town in Finland that used to make gum boots.
They might have considered going back to boots, after Apple and Samsung ate up much of their home and business market in the late 00’s, and into the current decade. My Samsung Omnia 7, bought two years ago in April 2011, was my first Windows Phone, and first time I’d diverged from Nokia since 1999.
My E71 had become dated, and there was no Nokia to speak of in April ’11. They had just recently announced the death of Mee-Go & adoption of Windows phone, but that meant a wait of some 8-12 months for the new Nokia WP7s to reach Australia.
I didn’t like the “walled garden” of the iPhone 4 (my wife has one from her work, and neither of us like the interface very much), and while the diverse array of Android phones gave me lots of options for technical tasks and apps, I felt the whole platform was a bit of a mess.
I picked the Samsung because it had the best screen, and it’s still going strong.
My white-cased Nokia Lumia 820 arrived just over a week ago. I’ve decided to trust in Nokia toughness and not put it in a case. The white/black contrast really stands out, in a subtle manner.
If phones can be beautiful, the 820 is so. Simple and elegant in form and contrast. The 820 has the left side completely unblemished, with the three physical buttons on the right side, USB micro on the bottom, and 3.5mm audio jack on top. The case has smooth edges, which while pretty, can cause some minor quibbles I’ll mention later.
Unlike the Omnia 7, there’s no physical START button. Without a protective cover, the Nokia is around the same height and width as the 4″ Samsung, but thinner (and is similar in dimensions with the bigger 4.3″ screen). The Nokia feels a bit heavier, but can’t be called heavy. I understand what the reviewers say, when they describe it as feeling “solid” or “secure” in the hand.
The Lumia 820 Battery seems comparable or a bit better than the Omnia 7, i.e. last a whole day of moderate to heavy use, and get charged up each night.
The lack of a physical START button has two disadvantages over the Omnia 7 – it makes it very hard me to orient the phone in my hand without being able to see it (such as when I was feeling for it in my pocket or beside my bed in the dark), and it requires me to wake the phone with my thumb in the unnatural position on the side, rather than resting at the bottom of the screen.
These are minor negatives for the 820.
The screen is gorgeous. Bright, so clear, and fits a 4.3 into a similar space as the Omnia 7. The aspect ratio seems wider than the Omnia 7.
The phone is loud and clear – voice quality seems at least as good as the Samsung. The included ear buds are a big improvement on my iPod headphones.
Windows Phone 8 feels like it’s nearly zero transition from Windows Phone 7.8. I struggled to think of anything I was missing from WP7.8. I haven’t yet tried out some of the WP8 features such as “Rooms” in the People app, and some old favourites like Rowi and Amazing Weather look similar or improved in WP8.
A bonus is Pandora for WP8, something not available for WP7.8.
I’ve had a look over the Nokia apps, and while there looks to be some useful stuff in there, have yet to find a use for them. They seem mostly to be of use when travelling, or in an unfamiliar area. I already have a good idea of where to find Thai food close to my home, thanks Nokia.
The phone is fast with no noticeable lag. The built-in storage is low, but I have the ability to add plenty of space with a Micro SD card.
My first impressions of the camera are that it’s an improvement on the Samsung Omnia 7, but it wasn’t well regarded for its camera even versus the other WP7 phones at its launch. Low-light photos are noisy & have wild white balance variations – which is what you’d expect from a mobile phone.
I knew that if I wanted a spiffy camera in my phone, I was going to have to buy a Lumia 920. I’m fine with the 820 camera for what I need it for – quick pop-snaps of my daughter, my work, my sport and my work, ready to be shared with Facebook, Twitter, Email or via Photo e-Albums.
Am I glad that I bought the Nokia 820? Well within days of me buying this phone the 720 was announced, with similar specifications for a lower retail price.
But as I like to update my phones only every two years or so, a little bit of future-proofing with a faster chip and 4G capability will keep me happier longer.
I’m expecting to enjoy my Nokia Lumia 820 for the next two years, and that’s what’s important to me.
So there you have it, Pete, @BigIcePete on twitter, sharing his first impressions of the Lumia 820 with the WinPhan community. Not all winphans were able to jump from WP7 to WP8, immediately, although a lot of us that have, have actually forgotten a lot of the misgivings we had, improvements that we thought were needed. Thanks to Pete for the reminder, and sharing his story with us