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Sony Xperia SP vs Nokia Lumia 820 – Battle of the entry level LTE phones

It’s always a tricky one comparing old and new smartphones, but with the Lumia 820 and Sony Xperia SP both delivering LTE at the more affordable end of the price-point spectrum, a comparison makes perfect sense. Aside from the super-fast internet though, they couldn’t be more different with the Sony Xperia SP packing Android and an LCD display while the Nokia Lumia 820 is all about its OLED and sports Windows Phone 8 on the inside. Read on for our written comparison and enjoy our video comparison below:

Sony Xperia SP vs Nokia Lumia 820: Design

The designs of these phones take totally different approaches. The Nokia Lumia 820 is bulbous, the Sony Xperia SP angular. 

Both phones can be customised. The Nokia Lumia 820 has removable back covers available in different colours while the Sony Xperia SP has an illuminating strip along the base which beams different colours depending on what’s on your screen.

We’re partial to the Lumia 820’s feel in the hand, with both being pretty beefy, though prefer the more defined look of Sony’s Xperia SP.

Sony Xperia SP vs Nokia Lumia 820: Screen

The Nokia Lumia 820 doesn’t really stand a chance on the resolution front with its WVGA 4.3-inch display. Still, thanks to its AMOLED screen technology, its colours and blacks are deeper than those of the Sony Xperia SP.

The Xperia SP uses Sony’s Mobile Bravia Engine 2 on its LCD panel for maximum saturation. The resolution gives it an impressive sharpness, though we’re not the biggest fans of the slightly washed out look when side by side with the Lumia 820 and its mediocre viewing angles.

Still, the SP wins. If you’re on EE and have LTE, you’ll want a bigger, sharper screen for web pages and HD resolution for streaming HD YouTube content and video.

Sony Xperia SP vs Nokia Lumia 820: Operating System

In the Windows Phone 8 corner sits the curvaceous Nokia Lumia 820, and in the Android corner it’s none other than Sony’s beefy Xperia SP. 

Do you want ease or apps? Because that’s ultimately what the decision will be.

If it’s ease you’re after then the Nokia Lumia 820 and Windows Phone 8 are a perfect choice. Nokia loads up its Lumia phones with nothing short of a premium suite of apps. Offline mapping, satellite navigation and downloadable music, pick up a Lumia 820 and it’ll all be on board.

If you’re an app-centric mobile user, want Instagram, want Facebook’s Chat Heads and want decent Google Drive integration, the Sony Xperia SP has it all. Complete with Sony’s refined take on the Android 4.1.2, you can choose how many homescreens you have, customise your apps alphabetically or in your own order and even pair it with your Dual-Shock PS3 controller.

It’s therefore going to be the SP for the gamers, app fans and people who enjoy customising their phones head to toe. The Windows Phone 8 clad Lumia 820 will be the right choice if you want something altogether easier, out of the box.

Sony Xperia SP vs Nokia Lumia 820: Connectivity and storage

Without killing the element of surprise, this round is a draw.

Both phones pack NFC, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a GPS and of course, LTE. Perhaps the only reason the Sony Xperia SP might edge ahead is app support improving connectivity.

Support for Dropbox and FTP through downloadable means may prove invaluable to certain users.

Both are also excellent web browsers. The Nokia Lumia 820 benchmarks better and loads pages instantly, but the Sony Xperia SP delivers a larger, higher resolution screen – perfect for text reading. Chrome users will like the fact Google’s web browser is aboard the Xperia SP, syncing bookmarks and browsing history with your Google account.

Sony Xperia SP vs Nokia Lumia 820: Performance and battery

With a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor in both the Xperia SP and the Lumia 820, performance will be great across both devices. 

Despite being the less powerful of the two, at 1.5GHz the Nokia Lumia 820 still operates flawlessly. Thanks to Windows Phone 8 being so efficient and the 1GB of RAM on board, it zips through the live tile UI and even the operating system’s most demanding games with no problem whatsoever.

Taking a look at the Xperia SP and the 1.7GHz processor isn’t really better or worse. There’s the same 1GB RAM under the hood and once again, UI operation is smooth, with games handled commendably. 

The difference here lies in the fact that the selection of games available for Android is so much more extensive than that on Windows Phone 8. From first person shooters like Nova 3, through to racing games like Need For Speed, it’s all there.

Battery life on the Sony Xperia SP is also considerably better, with its giant 2370mAh cell. This is even bigger than Sony’s flagship, impressive stuff when you consider it has a smaller screen, less powerful processor and lower resolution.

Sony Xperia SP vs Nokia Lumia 820: Conclusion

Anyone who wants the simplest OS that won’t require too much app store dipping, the Nokia Lumia 820 is brilliant. Nokia crams it full of features like a voice guided global satnav and free music. It is pricey though when you consider the raw specs you get.

Anyone else, it’s the Xperia SP all the way. If you’re spec oriented, it’s better on paper and it also offers a better camera experience, fantastic app support and incredible gaming support. 

It’s also better value for money on a 4G contract, with EE currently offering it for a tasty £26 per month in contrast to the £31 per month Lumia 820. That said, if you’re buying offline, you’ll probably be able to pick up the Nokia Lumia 820 for less.

If you still haven’t made your mind up, we’ve got both phones in the offices so fire us a comment or question below.

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