Attractive design; Snappy performance; Fast 4G LTE speeds; Data Sense feature compresses data
Thicker than competing phones; Low-resolution display
The Nokia Lumia 822 on Verizon delivers snappy Windows Phone performance and fast 4G LTE speeds, but it's hampered by a low-resolution display.
While AT&T and T-Mobile users have enjoyed access to Windows Phones for years, Verizon customers pining for a phone of their own have had to sulk on the sidelines. No longer. With the release of the Nokia Lumia 822 ($99.99 with contract), Verizon is finally embracing Microsoft's OS. Powered by Windows Phone 8, the Lumia 822 has a dynamic Live Tile interface and Nokia exclusive apps like Nokia Drive and Nokia Music, plus a nifty feature that can help you keep from blowing through that data cap. Does Verizon's first Windows Phone have what it takes to swim in the deep end?
An 8-megapixel Carl Zeiss rear-facing camera provides the sole flourish on the all-white plastic backplate. The backplate itself can be removed, exposing the battery, microSD slot and SIM card -- a welcome change from the inaccessible batteries on other Lumia phones. The volume rocker, power button and camera button are located on the right side of the phone, a headphone jack on the top and a microUSB port on the bottom. Unfortunately, the 822's plastic design, which is also available in black or gray, picks up fingerprints more easily than the Lumia 920's unibody chassis.
At 5.0 x 2.7 x 0.44 inches and 5.1 ounces, the Lumia 822 is larger and heavier than the svelte Motorola Droid RAZR M (0.32 inches thick, 4.4 ounces), and thicker than both the LG Spectrum 2 (0.36 inches thick, 5.2 ounces) and the HTC Windows Phone 8X (0.39 inches thick, 4.6 ounces). Despite its size, however, we found that we could still use the 822 comfortably in one hand.
The phone comes with 16GB of internal storage, and can be upgraded to as much as 64GB via the microSD Card slot.
Nevertheless, the Lumia 822 boasts extremely vivid colors and generous viewing angles. When we watched a trailer for "The Hobbit" on YouTube, Galadriel's golden hair popped off the screen, and we could tilt the phone more than 45 degrees in any direction before losing clarity. The AMOLED display also made the screen easy to see in direct sunlight. What's more, thanks to its Corning Gorilla Glass 2 display, the Lumia 822 can withstand a fair amount of everyday wear and tear.
Although the bottom-mounted speakers on the Lumia 822 pump out enough sound to fill a large room, bumping the volume higher than 50 percent caused the treble to sound ragged and harsh. Listening to Iron Maiden's "Flight of Icarus" at maximum volume, Bruce Dickinson's iconic vocals rang out clearly, but the guitar, bass and drums sounded cacophonous.
Listening with headphones proved much more enjoyable. As with the Lumia 920, plugging in headphones lets you use the Lumia 822's built-in equalizer and Dolby Headphone settings. The equalizer features a number of presets, including Bass Boost, Vocal Boost, Acoustic and Hip Hop, as well as the ability to create your own custom presets. The Dolby Headphone setting simulates surround sound by bringing the bass more in line with the treble -- used in conjunction with the equalizer, this setting delivered rich audio through our ear buds.
Windows Phone 8
For instance, the Live Tile for the People App -- which links to your contacts from Hotmail, Google, Facebook, Twitter and a number of other social networks and email clients -- consists of a rapidly shifting collage of your friends' profile pictures. The Photos Tile, on the other hand, rotates between random photos from your camera roll, while the Weather Tile shifts displays the current weather and upcoming forecasts. This sense of vitality is refreshing. Whereas Android and iOS devices appear dormant until manipulated by the user, the Lumia 822 feels as if it's humming with energy beneath your fingertips.
Parents will appreciate the Kids Corner feature in Windows Phone 8. This mode enables you to decide which apps, videos, games and music your children can access. Junior will also get his own Start screen. This mode is best for younger kids because there's no browser.
As beautiful as Windows Phone 8 is, it suffers from its fair share of shortcomings and inexplicable design choices. We found it frustrating, for instance, that we couldn't see the time at the top of the screen while in most apps, and that the signal strength remained hidden unless we touched the top of screen. Even more frustrating (and baffling) was Microsoft's decision not to include a scroll bar in the music player that would allow us to instantly jump to certain points in the track -- instead, we were forced to manually fast forward or rewind. Considering that this feature has been available in the earliest iterations of both Android and iOS, its oversight seems particularly egregious.
The Wallet app aims to make shopping easier by storing your credit card, PayPal, Microsoft gift card or coupon information on your phone. Using the app, you can link cards with certain apps, meaning you won't have to worry about remembering to use PayPal when you're shopping on eBay. The app also lets you find local deals in your neighborhood through services such as Living Social, as well as purchase items using the phone's integrated NFC chip at participating vendors. Although we're wary of storing all of our credit-card information in a single place, we can see the appeal for anyone who want to aggregate various accounts.
In addition to standard Windows Phone 8 apps such as Calendar and Internet Explorer, the Lumia 822 features a number of Nokia-branded applications. Nokia City Lens (which somewhat annoyingly opens only in landscape mode) lets you explore your current area, with tabs for food, hotels, shopping, sightseeing and transportation. The app also sports an augmented reality feature that overlays the names of nearby restaurants, stores and other locations on the screen of the phone. This feature strongly reminded us of the Monocle tool on the Yelp app for iOS and Android.
The last Nokia app, Nokia Music, functions like a combination of Microsoft Music, Pandora and Gigbeat. Using the app, you can purchase and download songs from Nokia's catalog of 15 million tracks, stream music on custom radio channels, or buy tickets to shows that are playing locally through Songkick. The robust selection of songs available through Nokia Music goes a long way toward assuaging the fact that Pandora won't be available on Windows Phone 8 until January 2013.
Only two Verizon-specific apps are included on the Lumia 822. The first is My Verizon Mobile, which lets you view your usage, pay your bill and change your voicemail password. The second, NFL Mobile, gives football fans the ability to track their favorite teams, view game highlights and live stream the NFL Network at no additional cost.
Bundled third-party apps include ESPN and Univision, an official app for the Spanish-language television network. Thankfully, unlike the preloaded crapware on most Android devices, these apps can be uninstalled.
On the WP Bench app, which measures CPU and GPU performance, the Lumia 822 scored 246.2. This not only beats the average by more than 100 points, it outpaces the Windows Phone 8X and Lumia 920, which achieved scores of 235 and 237, respectively.
We also ran the AnTuTu Benchmark app, which measures CPU performance, 2D graphics, and read/write performance. The Lumia 822 scored 10,143, which falls well behind both the Lumia 810 (11,074) and the unlocked version of the HTC Windows Phone 8X (11,609).
Like the Lumia 920 and the Windows Phone 8X, the Lumia 820 launched the camera app in just over 2 seconds from a blank screen. Opening apps and swiping between screens proved equally smooth.
4G LTE and Web Browsing
The Lumia 822 has built-in NFC, so you can transfer data from the phone to other devices. However, the process is somewhat cumbersome. In order to share a photo, you have to open it, press the three dots on the screen to access settings and select Tap+Send from the Share menu options. With Android devices, it's much simpler; simply tap on the image while the two devices are touching.
Camera and Camcorder
Photos taken with the Lumia 822's 8-megapixel rear-facing camera proved colorful, if not extraordinarily sharp. When we took pictures of tchotchkes in our office, the bright blue finish on a plastic Cyclops bobblehead popped off the screen, but we noticed some graininess in background, particularly in areas of a solid color. Outdoors, the camera fared much better. A photo of a scooter parked on Fifth Avenue appeared bright and crisp, and we could only discern pixelation in much smaller figures across the street.
Nokia also offers a free Lens app through the Windows Phone Store called Smart Shoot that lets you shoot a series of pictures in quick succession and then choose the best photo of the bunch. Two innovative features of this app are Face Change and Remove Objects. Face Change automatically identifies faces in each of the photo, and then lets you choose the "best face" of each person in the picture, After choosing, the app automatically stitches the best face onto the photo.
Remove Objects behaves much the same way, except instead of identifying faces, it looks for objects that appear in one photo but not another. It then highlights those objects and gives you the option to "remove" them from the photo -- in effect, merging the photo in which the object did not appear with photo you've chosen as the best. It's a neat feature that will make it easy to remove random objects or people from an otherwise perfect photo.
Captured 1080p video of traffic on Fifth Avenue appeared vibrant and smooth. The bright yellow taxis stood in stark contrast to the beige office buildings, and we could easily make out the text on street signs and on food trucks. The camera quickly adjusted to differences in light exposure as we tilted it toward the sky and back again to the ground.
Pictures taken with the 1.3-megapixel rear-facing camera appeared surprisingly colorful and sharp. Our red flannel shirt contrasted nicely with our pale complexion, and we could easily discern fine details such as the crow's feet at the corner of our eyes.
Call Quality and Battery Life
On the LAPTOP Battery Test, the Lumia 822's 1,800-mAh battery lasted a respectable 6 hours and 52 minutes on Verizon's LTE network. That's nearly 45 minutes longer than the smartphone average, and two hours longer than the Samsung ATIV Odyssey. However, on the Peacekeeper battery test, the Lumia 822's time of 3:54 device came up short compared to the HTC Windows Phone 8X (5:04).
The Lumia 822 lets you charge the device wirelessly, but unlike the Lumia 920, this capability isn't built into the device. You'll have to purchase a separate Nokia Wireless Charging Cover ($39.99, available in black or white), as well as a charging plate ($49.99) or pillow ($79.99), to take advantage of this technology. In our experience, the added cost is worth it, as devices charge fairly quickly and it's intuitive to use. We just wish the technology was integrated in the Lumia 822 as it is on the 920.
Frequent flyers and caffeine addicts will be pleased to know that Nokia plans to place wireless charging stations at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf shops (which has more than 850 stores) and Virgin Atlantic lounges.
|Form Factor||Candybar Touchscreen|
|Operating System||Windows Phone 8|
|Networks||CDMA1x/EV-DO Rev A, LTE/DO Rx diversity Global Network: GSM (850MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 1900MHz), UMTS (850MHz, 900MHz, 1900MHz, 2100MHz)|
|CPU||1.5-GHz Snapdragon S4|
|Memory Expansion Type||microSD Card|
|Display (main)||4.3 inches/800 x 480 AMOLED|
|Bluetooth Type||Bluetooth 3.0|
|Front Camera Resolution||1.3MP|
|Camera Resolution||8 MP|
|Audio formats supported||WMA|
|Audio formats supported||MP3|
|Audio formats supported||AMR-NB|
|Audio formats supported||AMR WB|
|Audio formats supported||AAC-LC|
|Audio formats supported||AAC+|
|Talk / Standby Time||Up to 15.07 hrs OR/Up to 20.25 days|
|Size||5.0 x 2.7 x 0.44 inches|
|SAR Rating (Head)||1.23 W/kg|
|SAR Rating (Body)||1.03 W/kg|