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Nokia Lumia 820 review

Wed Nov 21 2012, 14:57

Operating system
The Nokia Lumia 920 arrives running the latest version of Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 operating system, which in recent months has become as familiar as IOS and Android, despite attracting a much smaller proportion of smartphone buyers.

We're not sure why Windows Phone 8 isn't more popular than it is, as we're fans of Microsoft's quirky Live Tile interface, which has been vastly improved in Windows Phone 8.

Microsoft's blocky tiles are now resizable, which although that sounds like a minor change, makes the Windows Phone experience much more personal. There are a bunch of new colours to choose from, though, which while another tiny change, makes Microsoft's mobile operating system much more customisable.

That's not all there is to love about the Windows Phone 8 user interface. Unlike Apple's app icons, Microsoft's Live Tiles flicker when they are updated, letting you know when you've received a Facebook notification or email, for example. Speaking of email, setting up email accounts on Windows Phone 8 is a breeze compared to rival operating systems, and we managed to set up our Microsoft Exchange account in a matter of seconds.

Nokia Lumia 820 Windows Phone 8

While we're fans of the Windows Phone 8 interface, we're not so won over by Microsoft's app offering, which might go part way to explaining why Windows Phone isn't all that popular. People switching from IOS or Android might be in for a shock, for example, as the Windows Store is still missing popular apps such as music streaming app Spotify and photo-sharing app Instagram.

However, Nokia has provided the Lumia 820 with a bunch of its own apps. If we were talking about HTC or Samsung, we'd probably bemoan the custom apps, but Nokia's apps are actually great.

Nokia's City Lens app is one of our favourites. This augmented reality camera app displays nearby hotspots, be they restaurants, pubs or cinemas, as you move the camera around. We tested the app in Central London, and were impressed with its accuracy.

Nokia's Maps app is also great, putting Apple's home grown offering to shame. Unlike its rival's IOS app, Nokia Maps provides detailed satellite images of the whole of London, along with detailed traffic information, public transport directions and, even better, accurate directions.

Nokia Lumia 820 Maps

While we bemoaned the lack of Spotify, it's worth noting that Nokia Music comes preloaded on the Lumia 820 handset, offering a decent substitute for Spotify with its intuitive interface and huge catalogue of tracks.

Next: Performance, camera


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