Hey, Nokia: Verizon Wireless customers missed you. The new Lumia 822 ($99.99 direct) is the first Nokia phone to hit the carrier in three years. It’s a solid effort, and gives you a relatively inexpensive way into the new Windows Phone 8 world. But it’s not the standout phone Nokia—or, for that matter, Microsoft—needs on Verizon Wireless to really showcase the platform.
Design and Connectivity
The Nokia Lumia 822 is very similar to the Lumia 810 over on T-Mobile. For more details on the phone itself, go read that review first. Here, I’ll mostly go over the differences between the two models. The Lumia 822′s body looks a lot different than the Lumia 810′s. That’s sort of a good thing, as the Lumia 822 has a white, rounded form that looks distinctive next to the utterly unremarkable Lumia 810′s rectangular black housing. That said, it’s still a fairly cheap-feeling plastic phone, with the exception of the glass screen. It measures 5.03 by 2.69 by 0.42 inches (HWD) and weighs 4.99 ounces, which makes it ever so slightly thinner and lighter than the Lumia 810.
You still get the same 4.3-inch, 800-by-480-pixel ClearBlack OLED screen, which is beautifully vivid but decidedly low-res next to today’s high-definition 720p phones. The right side of the phone contains a Volume rocker, a Power button, and a Camera shortcut button. The removable back panel contains a Carl Zeiss lens, a dual LED flash, and a 4G LTE logo. With the appropriate optional cover, the Nokia Lumia 822 also supports wireless charging, which I’m not a huge fan of, since you’re buying an extra charging pad and then still plugging it into the wall. But some people definitely appreciate the convenience, and it’s nice the Lumia 822 supports it.
The Lumia 822 is a dual-band EV-DO Rev. A (850/1900 MHz), quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900MHz), and quad-band UMTS (850/900/1900/2100MHz) device with 4G LTE data and 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi. That makes it a true world phone, and one that also supports simultaneous voice and data, unlike the Apple iPhone 5 on Verizon. The Lumia 822 can also act as a mobile hotspot for up to eight devices with the appropriate data plan. Test LTE speeds were quite poor in Manhattan, at 3-5Mbps down and 2-4Mbps up. But an iPhone 5 I had on hand also struggled to break 6Mbps down on Verizon, so something was obviously up with the carrier’s network during testing.
Voice Quality, OS, and Apps
Voice quality was good through the earpiece, with a clean, crisp tone and decent gain available. Transmissions through the microphone were a little thin and choppy, but I’ll chalk it up to the same issues plaguing Verizon’s network on test day. Reception was solid. We’re still testing the Lumia 822′s battery on LTE and will update this review as soon as we have a result.
As before, Nokia developed some exclusive apps for Windows Phone 8, and they’re not your garden-variety bloatware. Nokia Drive delivers solid, turn-by-turn, voice-enabled GPS navigation, while Nokia Transit offers public transportation info, and Nokia Maps is a general workhorse app for finding things while on the go. The Lumia 822′s 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor is an excellent performer, and turns in fast benchmark results and contributes to a zippy feel in day-to-day usage.
Unique to Verizon Wireless, the Lumia 822 includes Data Sense, which monitors your data usage on an app-by-app basis, and then compresses data to and from your phone whenever possible. Microsoft claims a 45 percent reduction in data, although we’ll have to see how that bears out over the long haul. Either way, it’s a good direction to head in, now that the major U.S. carriers are moving to tiered, limited monthly data plans, and lets you at least think about going with a lower-cost plan.
Windows Phone 8 itself is a powerful OS with a distinctive and genuinely useful interface, as we’ve found on numerous occasions. The latest version includes live tiles in different sizes, which helps when configuring your home screen and lock screens. Microsoft’s app store is up to 100,000 apps, but many of them don’t match popular apps you’ll find on Android and iOS phones. And while there are good games on Windows Phone, there’s nothing quite on the level you’ll find on the top two smartphone platforms.
Multimedia, Camera, and Conclusions
Otherwise, the Lumia 822 shares the rest of the Lumia 810′s characteristics. There’s 16GB of internal storage, with 9.78GB free for user programs and media. There’s also a microSD card slot—a welcome improvement on earlier Windows Phone devices—that accepts 64GB cards; my 32GB SanDisk card worked fine. Music and video tracks play back beautifully, with easy-to-navigate interfaces and smooth performance.
The 8-megapixel camera has a Carl Zeiss lens, wide-angle capability, autofocus, and a dual LED flash. Nokia knows its cameras, and the results show in the Lumia 822′s solid photos and video recordings, even though it’s not quite the same camera as the one in the higher-end Lumia 920 on AT&T. There’s also a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera for video chats; it’s better than the VGA sensor in the Lumia 810.
I’m rating the Lumia 822 half a point higher than I did on T-Mobile, thanks to the Lumia 822′s slightly lighter and more interesting form factor, the Data Sense app, fast LTE connectivity, and improved front-facing camera. The most direct Android comparison on Verizon is the Motorola Droid Razr M, which has the same processor and screen size, but manages to be smaller, lighter, have a sharper screen, and access to over 600,000 Android apps. The Droid Razr M’s camera isn’t quite as good as the one in the Lumia 822, though. The Samsung Galaxy Stellar is free on Verizon, and offers much of the Droid Razr M’s goodness, albeit with a slightly inferior screen, processor, and camera.
Our Editors’ Choice smartphone on Verizon Wireless remains the Apple iPhone 5, which lets you access the best app catalog on the planet, and has a smooth, slick interface that’s completely different than Windows Phone but just as powerful. That said, a more direct comparison is the Apple iPhone 4S, which costs the same $99.99 as the Lumia 822; it loses LTE (a big deal) and steps down to a smaller 3.5-inch screen, albeit with higher resolution, and still has a better camera.
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|Service Provider||Verizon Wireless|
|Screen Details||800-by-480-pixel, 16M color, OLED capacitive touch screen|
|Bands||850, 900, 1800, 1900, 2100, 700|
|Operating System||Windows Phone|
|Network||GSM, CDMA, UMTS, LTE|
|High-Speed Data||EDGE, EVDO Rev A, LTE, HSPA+ 21|
|Form Factor||Candy Bar|
|Processor Speed||1.5 GHz|
|Screen Size||4.3 inches|
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon S4|
|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||9.78 GB|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc