Edit: 21/12/2012 I'm downgrading this phone to 2 stars today. The reason is that one of my primary uses of a smart phone is listening to music. Having synchronised my music collection to the phone myself and many others are finding that the music collection on the phone contains duplicate albums with some songs in one version of the album and some in another. I'm also finding over time some albums disappear even though the individual songs are present. A Microsoft Support article blames this on use of XBox music synchronisation with the cloud somehow conflicting with what you synchronise from a PC. I don't use XBox music and have the option to try and improve album info. using it disabled. So there is currently a bug in the music processing in Windows Phone 8 which also affects the Nokia Music app making the music experience on the phone pretty unusable. This is seriously going backwards from Windows Phone 7.5 and Zune (Zune no longer used for Windows Phone 8) where music management worked very well. Get on and fix it quick Microsoft and I'll amend this review at some point in the future. ----------------- I'm finding it hard to come up with criticisms for this phone. Sure you could have a higher resolution display, but the resolution you get does the job brilliantly on a large but not overly large screen that also happens to have stunning contrast and colours. I find the larger Lumia 920 too big with squared corners and it's not comfortable to hold. The Lumia 820 is just the right balance between large screen and portability for me. It slips easily in the pocket, very pleasant to hold with buttons falling in just the right places to be ergonomic. The back cover is of a good quality mat effect plastic that is not slippery to hold and feels good in the hand. It is tricky to remove but most people will only to do this once when fitting the sim card and memory expansion card (I use Sandisk Ultra 32GB Class 10 Micro SD Card with SD Adapter - The Ultra is higher speed suitable for video capture storage). With this 32GB memory expansion I can take my whole music collection with me and still have over 10GB for video and photo storage. There is another reason I pass on the Lumia 920 (and iPhone), no memory expansion slot. My previous phone was a HTC HD7 Windows Phone 7. I thought long and hard about moving to Android or iPhone for the greater collection of Apps but when it came to the crunch I simply could not move away from the Windows Phone 7/8 user interface. In my opinion it is a master piece of a man machine interface. Slick, fast, intuitive, ergonomic, good looking, pleasurable to use and fairly easy to learn for the new comer. I can't overstate how usefull I find the live tile concept and how easy live tiles are to set up. The iPhone doesn't look like a very smart smart phone in comparison, you get a load of pretty looking icons that give you no information about the state of your comminications or information services. Some Android widgets might get you some of the way there. Between business, personal and clients I have 5 email accounts on live tiles and there all there on my home screen so I can see if email has come in without having to go beyond the home screen. There is even a bit of summary information for up to 5 apps of your choice on the lock screen. Then there is the calendar appointments live tile showing next appointment, tap that and your in the calendar app presents you with a combined view of however many calendars you connect to (2 gmail calendars, 3 exchange calendars) all colour coded. "People" are your contacts with and you can link profiles for the same person from multiple sources. So people is a view of your contacts from Facebook (the most likely source that profile pictures will be imported from automatically for you), gmail, Microsoft Exchange and your Microsoft account (aka Windows Live ID / Hotmail). You can choose whether to include contacts or not from each of the email accounts you set up. The Windows 7/8 people hub "what's new" is widely regarded as the best Facebook solution on a smart phone and can be combined with feeds from other services like twitter so it's all in one place. Browse around to a specific person's history and you can see a view on all the contact you've had with them, calls, texts etc., look up their "whats new" and see just what they have been posting on facebook/twitter.
Windows Phone 7/8 receives criticism for a more limited apps store compared to iPhone and Android. In reality it is rare I find I come up short for an app and Nokia has added some of it's own in the Nokia Collection. Nokia Drive is worth a mention. From a short drive using it it seems to be a genuine match for a mid-high end sat nav device. Nokia City Lense, "augments reality" through the phones camera to show information about what is around you. It works very well in the city. Compared to my previous HTC HD7 wi-fi reception on the Nokia is considerably stronger and more reliable and the whole web browsing experience faster. That will be partly due to a more powerful processor in the newer phone. On the "basic" job of making calls the Lumia 820 also makes an impression with background noise suppression at the other end of the line so good if the caller is not speaking you begin to wonder if they have hung up. Callers voices also sound natural, almost like they are actually standing next to you when they speak. Battery life is proving to be comparible with other smart phones I've used. So used heavily enough it will be on it's last legs by the time I'm home in the evening. The wireless charging plate helps here. Optional in some markets but on contract from O2 in the UK you get the charging plate and wireless charging phone back cover as part of the deal. I can place the phone on the plate and it's charging while I'm not using it with no wires getting in the way if I need to use the phone. Not so helpful if your on the move all out of an office all the time. Not sure I'd pay £66 extra for the charging plate and phone cover but I do really like it now I have it. The one criticism I can come up with will only apply to people who regularly need to swap over batteries in their phone during the day. The cover is too tricky to remove to be doing it frequently. There will be many who have been too plumbed in to the Apple or Android "infrastructure" for too long or have already bought too many apps from those markets to want to make a change to something new. For anyone else I would suggest giving Windows Phone 8 a try. If you like Samsung Galaxy S III hardware there will be a Windows Phone 8 version of that available. Microsoft and Nokia deserve to do well here for turning out a product like this. It's a shame they left it so late to come up with a real contender in a market where they are minority players right now.
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