Oct 27, 2013

Upgrading to Lumia 820

Last week I grabbed the opportunity to upgrade my phone (at least for the time being) from that faithful snowwhite Lumia 800 that's accompanied me to so much, and taken a *few* hits along the way to a new white Lumia 820. Oh, I know it's not a new model anymore, and that there're newer Nokias available, and that it's not high-end, and that there's newer iPhones availble too. But I like the Lumias, and I like the smaller size phones, and as a phone user, I'm not really that demanding.

I think I have listed before the features I most use on a phone (apart of using it as a phone and for texting), but let's approach the Lumia 820 from this point of view. What do I expcect from and appreciate in a phone, and how does the Lumia 820 meet those.

  • Email. No matter how much the media shouts that email is sooo last year because of Lync and Skype and whatnot, it's not. I love both and more, but I could not imagine working in a way where customers Lync m every time they have something to ask or say. Seriously! I need my peace to work. Email gives me the freedom to react when the time's right for me. And it may be in the bus or on the lake side or the sofa in between two episodes of Breaking Bad. And that goes for personal email too. I don't think I need to be available 24/7 - and besides, people can always call me.

As for Lumia 820, it meets my requirements as well as any current smartphone. Nothing new, but then again, no bigger needs either, than to be able to read and reply, search and sync. And I like it that the WinPhones separate different email accounts by deafult, unlike e.g. the iPad.

  • Calendar. I'd be lost without it! I use only one calendar, the Outlook one on the company Exchange server. I use it for work stuff and personal stuff alike. No matter how well Googles and Hotmails and whatnot claim to be able to merge their calendars on different devices into only one, I have realized that for me, this is the only real option in order to keep my mind from being scattered.

Lumia (either one) actuallky would handle the merging ok, but I still want only one calendar. And that is just fine by the phone too ;)

  • Camera. I have a semi-proper camera I use mostly. A Samsung Pro with an ok lense and possibilities for quite ok photos (yes, I'd like a better one, but it's on the very bottom of the priority list of things I'd need or want, because it still works ok for my purposes). And I have a pocked model, some years old cheapie I got in the middle of my divorce, just to have something. That one I use quite rarely. Even more so, since the phone cameras are now more or less as good.

The camera is one of the best features in Lumia 820. It comes with a high-res 8MP camera with focus assist light (a feature well appreaciated by me, for it enalbes taking good quality photos in lesser light without needing to use the flash), options to select the ISO and choose between 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratio and a few other settings. For a more detailed review, see this TechRadar article about Lumia 820 camera.

Lumia 820 also has an inbuilt (or downloadable, but at least for me, they were readily available) set of different photo lenses, or apps, such as the Nokia Panorama which proved to be a pretty able panorama photo app, Nokia Cinemagraph for creating animated photos (but I think you can only see the effects in the app, not elsewhere) and Nokia Smartcam, with fun effects for capturing movement and then applying one of several ways of handling it, e.g. removing a moving object, or overlapping the frames.

And you can download plenty more.

  • Skype and WhatsApp. I don't launch Lync on my phone almost ever, but I do use Skype on my phone occasionally (my mother lives on the other side of the world) and WhatsApp is the messaging app of choice for my daughters, ever since they had an almost 100€ SMS bill. So I, too, started using it with them, and a few others as well.

As for WhatsApp, it's just WhatsApp. But as for Skype, Lumia 820 has a front camera unlike the 800. And the incoming video was clear and sharp, unlike on ANY other device I've skyped on before!

  • News, both tech and world&local. I used to use Pulse on my phone, for lack of Flipboard. For quite some time now, the phone usage for news has been very rare, for I've used the combination of my iPad and the phone internet sharing in the morning bus. So last time I tried to read the tech news on my phone, I realized there was no Pulse no more. I downloaded Tech News Now app, and actually like it better. Also, I read the local news on Hesari app, and world news in Google news, using the browser.
Lumia 820? Not much difference, naturally. Except for the bigger screen, while the phone is still sleek.
  • OneNote, Googling, Kindle, occasional Youtube, Facebook, Twitter... Apps, apps, apps. Apart from the bigger screen, nothing special about Lumia 820 for those.

Conclusion? I fell in love with the clear a bit bigger screen and the camera - all the while understanding that there are even better ones availbale. I like the little niche feature improvements of WinPhone8 compared to 7.8. Mostly just more options in the settings and such. Oh, and the possibility to use removable storage! Which brings me to my first frustrating encounter with the phone: I needed to refer to the manual to understand where to insert the SIM; you actually need to take the back cover (and the battery) off.


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