Nexus 4 vs Nokia Lumia 820
With a great hardware and attractive price tag Nexus 4 certainly is one of the most wanted devices. Even Nokia has a pretty hard time over the last few years they still manage to deliver nice looking and pretty usable devices that can compete on the market and that is one of the reasons why we have a comparison between Nexus 4 vs Nokia Lumia 820.
Nexus 4 – 133.9×68.7×9.1mm, 139g
Nokia Lumia 820 – 123.8×68.5×9.9mm, 160g
On the whole the Nexus 4 isn’t very different from its predecessor, Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus. In terms of overall shape and size it’s quite similar with the same smooth corners, though it’s a little wider, shorter and thicker and it doesn’t have the curved back panel.
Instead, the back is straight, slightly recessed and has a glass pane with a glittery texture. The build quality is decent enough and the phone feels reasonably robust, although as the older iPhone models demonstrated, a glass back panel isn’t exactly the most durable type of bodywork around if you happen to drop the handset.
Generally we find the Nexus 4’s looks are quite generic and underwhelming, with the exception of the back panel texture which is simply garish.
As a result, it doesn’t score highly on aesthetics but does reasonably well on construction, fit and finish.
That said, the exterior build isn’t the phone’s main strength as its appeal really lies in its high-spec internal hardware at a low price point.
Nokia’s Lumia 820 is a different story entirely.
The Windows Phone maker has decided to reintroduce something from the history books with removable and interchangeable back covers in a range of different colours.
These also have different functions, as all models shipped in the UK comes with a back cover which supports wireless charging via a pad accesssory.
The back panels account for a significant proportion of the phone’s bodywork, but it’s at no real disadvantage when compared to unibody equivalents because Nokia has managed to achieve a remarkably snug fit when the handset is assembled.
The bodywork is made of plastic, but it has a decent quality feel to it and seems reasonably sturdy too.
While the Lumia 820 retains Nokia’s colourful rectangular slab aesthetic it’s a bit softer than many of the company’s other offerings, such as the Lumia 800, 900 and 920 which all have very sharp corners.
However, the more rounded-off look works well with the rest of the design and the handset doesn’t come across as too bubbly or cartoony.
Our preferred choice here simply has to be the Nokia Lumia 820. It’s got much more character and is generally more interesting to look at and handle.
Winner – Nokia Lumia 820
The Nexus 4 has a 4.7-inch IPS+ capacitive multitouch display with a 1280×768 pixel resolution and a pixel density of 318 pixels-per-inch (ppi).
Visuals are crisp and brightness is well above average, contrast is good and saturation is decent enough.
Nokia’s Lumia 820 is less impressive, statistically speaking, with its 4.3-inch AMOLED featuring an 800×480 pixel resolution at 217ppi.
The results are better than you might expect though, due partly to the presence of Nokia’s ClearBlack technology which bumps things up a few notches on the colour depth, contrast and even the clarity to an extent.
However, it is not as good as the Nexus 4’s IPS+ panel.
Winner – Nexus 4
The Lumia 820 has 8GB of internal storage, which isn’t exactly vast, however, it’s also one of the few Windows Phone 8 handsets on the market currently with MicroSD capability.
Google’s Nexus 4 comes in a couple of different variants, you can either go for an 8GB model or a larger capacity 16GB version. But, be warned, the Nexus 4 has no MicroSD slot.
It’s a bit of a trade-off here, ultimately you can get a lot more storage on the Lumia 820 with MicroSD expansion combined with the onboard 8GB.
But, on the other hand, you can get more internal space on the Nexus 4, which may be preferable, but you have no option to expand it further via cards.
The Nexus 4 has the same chip as LG’s Optimus G, which is a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core APQ8064 chip clocked at 1.5GHz.
This features 2GB of dual-channel RAM, 28 nanometre (nm) semiconductor architecture and an Adreno 320 graphics processing unit (GPU).
Qualcomm hardware is also present in the Lumia 820, it has a dual-core Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 chip clocked at 1.5GHz with 1GB of dual-channel RAM, 28nm semiconductors and an Adreno 225 GPU.
While it’s true that the additional cores aren’t necessarily that much of a game-changer in general use, certainly the Qualcomm quad benchmarks better than its dual-core counterpart.
It’s also got more RAM and a beefier GPU, which should mean it’s a bit more future-proof and capable of more intensive tasks such as high-end gaming.
Winner – Nexus 4
Nokia’s Lumia 820 runs the latest version of Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system, Windows Phone 8, while the Nexus 4 uses the most up-to-date build of Google’s Android platform – version 4.2 Jelly Bean.
At this point both systems have been carefully refined to the extent that they’re each very well optimised with good stability and smooth running performance.
They’re easily on a par with Apple’s iOS which, for a good long while was the only platform to offer such a reliable and slick experience.
So the real difference is in the approach to the interface.
Windows Phone 8 uses its signature ‘Live Tiles’ which are colourful squares populating a continuous scrolling homescreen or ‘Start’ page. These act as both shortcuts to the apps and widgets which push live information and notifications to the homsecreen.
In the new build, these can now be re-sized with a choice of three sizes and you can choose from a greater range of colours. It’s a nice touch because it makes Windows Phone much more customisable than it used to be. While it’s not on a par with Android’s level of personalisation it’s a significant improvement.
Windows Phone 8 also has the People Hub app, which is easily the best aggregated social networking, email and communications suite we’ve encountered on any mobile platform.
Android is a more traditional affair with separate app shortcuts and widgets on a series of homescreen pages.
However, other interface elements such as the multitasking carousel, drop-down notifications bar and swipe-to-close functionality all contribute to a very cohesive and well-implemented user experience.
Google’s platform also has the advantage of faster app load speeds and a greater quantity of apps in the Google Play store, clocking 700,000 at last count. This means you can generally find an app you’re after fairly reliably.
Conversely Windows Phone 8 only has a 120,000–strong app collection which more often than not can leave you wanting.
We’d say on balance the Nexus 4 has the advantage here, but Windows Phone 8 and the Lumia 820 does offer a compelling experience if you want something a bit more distinctive and with social functions at the center.
Winner – Nexus 4
The Nokia Lumia 820 is a great phone and in some ways is more appealing than its premium stablemate thanks to its lighter weight and smaller proportions.
However, while Windows Phone 8 is a massive improvement over Windows Phone 7, to the point where it’s now a viable platform choice, there are still a few pitfalls.
Admittedly for many users these issues won’t pose a real problem, but for those with more specific requirements there are things to watch out for.
More importantly, the Lumia 820 is expensive when compared to the Nexus 4, which offers much more bang-for-your-buck and easily the best Android experience on the market bar none.