Left: Lumia 920
Right: Lumia 820

Nokia Lumia 920 vs 820 – What’s different?

Left: Lumia 920 Right: Lumia 820

I’m sure many are trying to figure out which one is better or more suitable between the two new Lumia phones. So here is my take to aid in your decision between the two just announced Nokia Lumia 820 and Lumia 920 Windows Phone 8 phones. This is going to be really concise and to the point with my 2cents worth of comments for each.

Lumia 920 vs Lumia 820


920 is a bit bigger and heavier as can be seen by the photos. But there isn’t much in it really. Looks is a matter of taste so I’ll pass. 920 has a monocoque polycarbonate body not any different to N9, 800, 900 while the 820 is more unique with a monocoque interchangeable outer shell that can accommodate different colors, shapes, protection, features (such as wireless charging) etc.

My take – I much prefer the design and functionality of the 820 over the 920. Interchangeable shell is an awesome idea and it could mean that we may see a lot of 3rd party “shells” with different shapes and function. (e.g. shell with extended size battery etc) it also means that you don’t really have to use a separate case that could make the phone more ugly and bulky. Just buy another shell and voila!, it becomes as good as new again. This also allowed 820 to get a MicroSD card support and user-replaceable battery which the “flagship” 920 lacks. Seriously, it should have been the other way around don’t you think?

Interchangeable shells are only possible on the cheaper Lumia 820. Why Nokia? Why?


920 is bigger (4.5″) with higher WXGA (1280×768) resolution vs 820 with 4.3″ WVGA (800×480) resolution. 920 is IPS LCD (PureMotion HD+) while 820 is RGB AMOLED (CBD). Both come with Super Sensitive touch screen technology.

My take – Size difference might not be that much but the resolution difference is very big. On the 920, photos will look sharper and more detailed, fonts will look sharper and easier to read and allow you to browse full web pages easier due to better defined writing and elements while being zoomed out. Not all is lost with the 820 however as it has a very nice RGB-array AMOLED which has near infinite contrast and super deep blacks. I expect both phones to have excellent sunlight visibility although 920 should be better than the 820.


Both have the same super fast dual core CPU and 1GB RAM. Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus.

My take – Nothing much to say here really. Both use Snapdragon S4 Plus SoC with the same CPU and GPU onboard. CPU is a dual-core Krait which is blazingly fast. It’s a next generation dual-core so don’t assum that it’s not much different to the one on the iPhone4s. It’s a MUCH faster CPU that is as fast or faster than the Exynos quad-core CPU used on the Samsung Galaxy S3. In terms of the GPU, it’s Qualcomm’s Adreno 225 which is fast enough also. Technically speaking, the 820 may be faster for games due to having a lower resolution screen which is less taxing to the GPU. But really, I don’t expect any visible speed difference between the two.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Plus is powering both the Lumia 820 and Lumia 920


920 has non-expandable 32GB built-in. 820 has 8GB built-in but is expandable via MicroSD card.

My take – This is one area where I think 820 is much better than the 920. MicroSD memory card is super cheap these days so essentially, buying the 820 with 8GB built-in and spending an extra $20-30 for a 32GB MicroSD card will result in 40GB storage space while the 920 is stuck with the built-in 32GB no matter what. Although MicroSD on the 820 isn’t hot-swappable, it still is far better than not having one at all on the 920. A big mistake by Nokia I reckon. Another design over function decision which I hate.

There is no MicroSD support on the 920. But there is one on the 820. Go figure.


920 has 8.7MP BSI sensor PureView camera with 26mm equiv. FoV (at 16:9) f2.0 Carl Zeiss lens with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). 820 has a more standard 8MP camera with same 26mm equiv. FoV (at 16:9) but tiny bit slower f2.2 Carl Zeiss lens and no OIS. Both the Lumia 920 and the 820 has a more powerful high pulse dual LED flash. (Yes, the lens focal length and the flash looks different in the official Nokia specs page between the 2 phones. But Damian has personally confirmed via twitter that both cameras have the same specs for them)

My take – This is one of the major differentiators between the Lumia 920 and the rest of the competition including its little brother 820. Lumia 920 is the only current smartphone with a fixed lens that has OIS. Think of Canon IS or Nikon VR but expect as good or even better in terms of vibration reduction than their DSLR counterparts. (according to Nokia) 920 camera is labeled as PureView while 820 isn’t. I can only assume that is the case because of the better hardware used on the 920. (lens, sensor, OIS) I am unsure however if they are using any special “PureView” imaging techniques in addition to the better hardware. (which the 808 PureView utilizes) What does all this mean to the you? 920 should allow better low-light hand held photos and more stable less-shaky video recording than pretty much all mobile phones when it gets released. It means you can take slow shutter slow-sync flash photography with far less blur than any other for much better looking night portrait shots. However, do realize that it does not stop moving motion as it isn’t doing anything unique that other digital cameras has been doing for years. At least we can now enjoy the same kind of benefits as the proper digital cameras on our mobile phone. So I give big credit for Nokia in providing OIS to the mobile phones world.

As you can clearly see above, the Lumia 920 (on the right) allows for less jerky videos than what we are currently used to on our mobile phone’s video recording.


920 has a bigger non-user-replaceable 2000mAh battery while 820 has a user-replaceable 1650mAh battery.

My take – Even though 920 has a bigger battery, it also has a bigger screen which could be sapping more juice than the smaller and more efficient AMOLED sporting 820. So expect the battery life to be very similar.(Spec wise however, Nokia does state that 920 has around a 20% longer battery life overall. But there is one other big difference and that is the fact that 820’s battery is user replaceable. This means you can simply pop off the back cover, chuck in a spare fully charged battery, seat the back cover back on and off you go with another full charge. On the case of the Lumia 920, it’s pretty much the same case as iPhone or previous Lumia 800/900 phones where you either do with what you have or carry around a spare battery portable charger. I don’t know who is making the decisions at Nokia but seriously, 920 should have had a replaceable battery also. Prettiness over function is just not my style and it never was the case for Nokia either until recently. Grrrrr.


No official pricing available at the time of writing.

My take – Obviously, 920 will be more expensive than the 820. I can only expect the 920 to be around the similar price mark as the competition’s flagship cameras such as Samsung Galaxy S3.

Which one is better for you? The one you can afford really. =)

So which is better?

Lumia 920 of course. But Lumia 820 does better than 920 in some parts. So this is where I get confused as to what Nokia was thinking. Why not combine the positives from both phones and roll it into one for their flagship phone? Why make some parts of their flagship phone lacking compared to its cheaper model?

Either way, it seems you can never have something perfect in every way. Maybe some people will disagree completely with what I think. So yeah, just going by the specs, there is no doubt that the Lumia 920 is the technically superior phone.

But in saying that, if the lower resolution display of the Lumia 820 is a non-issue for you, it actually is just as powerful and just as capable as its bigger brother and in some ways is better. I’m sure many will find that the camera on the 820 to be plenty for their daily needs also. It’s not like the camera is any worse than the current crop of top-end smartphones anyways. Lastly but not least, Lumia 820 will obviously be a lot cheaper as well which I’m sure will play a big part in many people’s decision.

So there you go, at the end of the day, it all comes down to what you are comfortable paying.


Full Specs
LUMIA 820 – http://www.nokia.com/global/products/phone/lumia820/specifications/
LUMIA 920 – http://www.nokia.com/global/products/phone/lumia920/specifications/

11 thoughts on “Nokia Lumia 920 vs 820 – What’s different?”

  1. If all the positives were brought toogether, the valuation of that smartphone will be much higher.
    that is why nokia released 2 phones. They think from the point of view of a middle class human being :)

    Thanks! Thumb up 1

  2. Hey, thanks for this! I was going gaga over Nokia Lumia 920 but then something crossed my mind: Nokia Lumia 820 is also coming out together with 920; so what’s the difference?

    In my case, I’m not really solely looking at how much both phones cost; but rather I’m looking more at the versatility. After learning that 920 does not have a MicroSD slot and a user-replaceable battery, my interest is suddenly starting to shift.

    Let’s say something really bad happened to a 920 phone and it also affected the phone’s internal storage; then I’ll have to say goodbye to my data (unless it could be recovered, but I’m sure it’ll have some cost). On the other hand, if that would happen to an 820 phone, I’ll still have my data in my memory card. It’s also useful if I have to change phones.

    I know that 920 has a PureView camera, but I just thought… it’s a mobile phone. It’s primary purpose is not really to take photos and videos; I have a videocam and a DSLR camera to take care of those.

    So yeah, I don’t know… but I’m starting to like 820 more. I prioritize data a whole lot and having a memory card to take care of my data is really of big help to me.

    As for the others, it really depends on what things you prioritize. From how I’m seeing it right after I read this analysis as well as the specs of both phones, Nokia Lumia 920 is for people who prioritize design over function (maybe like those who prefer iPhone 5; no offense – Nokia phones are still indeed better than iPhones in terms of function in my opinion, so the fact that you are choosing Nokia over Apple means a lot to me). It really depends on your taste. :)

    Nice comment! Thumb up 6

    1. Correct. They did focus on the design more on the 920 which meant compromises in some other areas such as the MicroSD support and replaceable battery. But they did include the industry leading camera technology and display technology to offset it at least. =)

      Thanks! Thumb up 1

  3. I think Nokia made it not so much as to which is better but to have similar features to choose between the two. It’s not “I’ll have the 929 because it’s better” it’s more to do with features you want.

    Thanks! Thumb up 0

  4. My guess is the fixed battery was due to the camera technology needing some solid internal support that meant that swappable memory/battery/casing wasn’t possible?

    It would be nice to hear about some of the reasons behind these engineering trade-offs from Nokia.

    Thanks! Thumb up 0

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