The Nokia Lumia range which is powered by the new and exciting Windows Phone 8 operating system has caused a lot of hype in recent months. Offering an alternative to iOS and Android, the Nokia Lumia range provides users with a well-built, colourful and fun model which boasts all of the specs you’d expect one of the latest smartphones to have.
However, the flagship model, the Lumia 920, has been marketed as one of the most superior cameras on the smartphone market, with PureView optics and a Carl Zeiss lens. But after road testing the 920’s younger brother, the Lumia 820, not so long ago, I wanted to ascertain the key differences between the two phones, in order to see whether the 920 was worth the position as Nokia’s flagship model.
What’s obvious when looking at the two models is that the 920 is somewhat larger than the 820. The former has a 4.5 inch screen, whereas the smaller 820’s display measures in at 4.3 inches. Although this different seems negligible, I found that the 920 felt a great deal bigger when I held it in my hand, insofar as it actually felt slightly less comfortable to use.
What I found even more shocking when I unpackaged both handsets out of their boxes was the weight of the phones. I reviewed the Lumia 820 first, and was surprised to see just how heavy the phone felt in my hand, especially compared with other models such as the HTC One X and the Nexus 4. However, when I unpackaged the 920, I didn’t expect it to feel quite as heavy as it did. Although you’d get used to the weight of the 920, when comparing the two Lumia models, my preferences would always fall on the side of a phone which didn’t weigh my already hefty handbag down even more.
Another difference between the two handsets is the shape of the 820 and 920. Although I myself didn’t notice this until I came to photograph both phones, I was surprised at what effect the different shaped edges had on the overall feel of the phone. While the 820’s 160g felt quite heavy, the feel of the handset was softened by the rounded edges and corners, which allowed the device to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. However, while the 920 perhaps looked more modern with its pointy edges, it did make the phone dig into your hand that bit more when you were using it for a prolonged period of time.
A huge advantage of the Lumia range sporting the dynamic and colourful Windows Phone 8 OS is its vibrant PureVision technology, which make the colours and images jump out at you. And while I found that neither the 820 or 920 failed to fulfil this function, when I compared both phones closely to one another, I noticed that the 820’s display was much more vivid than the 920’s, despite the latter having an impressive 332 ppi pixel density.
In terms of specs, both the Lumia 820 and 920 share the exact same camera, both with 8 megapixels, and both with Carl Zeiss optics. While the camera is located more centrally in the 920’s handset when compared with the 820, I think this is more for design purposes than for increasing the user’s experience.
In terms of the actual photographs taken with both models, I found that the 920 produced images which were ever so slightly crisper, though that wasn’t helped by the fact that I road tested the 820 when the skies were dull during Britain’s snowiest week. Take a look for yourself at some examples of the photos:
|Nokia Lumia 920||Nokia Lumia 820|
When I conducted a controlled experiment with both cameras, however, the Lumia 920 did come out on top.
|Lumia 820 in normal light||Lumia 920 in normal light|
|Lumia 820 in dark, no flash||Lumia 920 in dark, no flash|
|Lumia 820 in dark, flash on||Lumia 920 in dark, flash on|
As you can see, there is very little difference in the images taken with the 920, even when the lighting was very low. On the other hand, the 820 struggled when the lighting levels were low, producing a poor quality photograph.
Let’s look at cost differences between Nokia’s flagship model and its younger brother. If you were to purchase the 820 SIM-free, it would cost you around £360, which isn’t a bad price for a relatively new handset. Compare this, however, to the 920, which would set you back about £525, you could argue that the differences between the two handsets do not equate to the difference in price between the models.
However, very few users can afford to spend £500 on buying the handset of their favourite models upfront. The Nokia Lumia 920 can be found on an Orange contract from as little as £26, with 200 minutes, unlimited texts and a massive 750 MB of data. The 820, on the other hand, can be acquired on a package offering 100 minutes, unlimited texts and an even bigger 1 GB of data for £21 per month. As you can see, the difference between the two phones on a pay monthly contract is quite slight, which could make having the flagship model that bit more preferable over the slightly smaller 820.
So these are the only contrasts that I could find between the Lumia 820 and 920. While the camera quality of the flagship model did prove to be superior to the 820, I didn’t find that the 920's camera quality was enough to make it stand out as the clear winner between the two handsets.
In fact, I personally found the 920’s bulkier and less ergonomic shape more difficult to hold for any length of time. However, I did like the fact that the shape of the 920’s base gives it a greater surface area, meaning that the phone’s speaker, which is located on the base of the handset, plays audio that’s not muffled in any way when the phone is laid on its side.
That said, I don’t know whether the differences between the 820 and 920 would be enough to make me pay an additional £60 per year which you might rather spend on, say, shoes, or a new set of golf clubs…
If you're interested in getting your own hands on the 820, we have Nokia Lumia 820 deals starting from as little as £20.50, including 100 minutes, unlimited texts and 500 MB of data.
Or if you think that upgrading to the 920 is worth it, our Nokia Lumia 920 deals, offering 200 minutes, unlimited texts and an impressive 750 MB of data, can be found for just £26 per month.
Written by Charlotte Kertrestel