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Tech Report – Nokia Lumia 822

By Paul O’Reilly

Despite the overwhelming attention paid to the iPhone and Android-powered smartphones, I have always been a fan of the Windows mobile platform. Perhaps it’s because there is a built-in familiarity for PC users, or perhaps it’s the logic and ease-of-use of the home screen. But despite the comfort factor, two things have always prevented me from switching to a Windows phone full-time: the lack of Windows apps and the absence of Windows phones on the Verizon network.

Fortunately for Windows fans everywhere, those two issues are rapidly being resolved. The introduction of Windows Phone 8 will result in a wave of new apps, many of which are already available. And some notable phone manufacturers have finally partnered with Verizon to produce top quality Windows devices on the nation’s #1 network. One of those phones is the new 4G LTE Nokia Lumia 822.

In evaluating a smartphone, looks are everything and the Lumia 822 makes a wonderful first impression. The huge 4.3-inch OLED Gorilla Glass display is housed in a simple and smooth plastic casing. (The Lumia 822 I tested was white but it also comes in black and gray.) The on/off, volume and camera buttons are exactly where they should be and, in keeping with the shallow learning curve for Windows, everything feels accessible and easy to operate.

As far as the built-in hardware is concerned, the Lumia 822 continues Nokia’s enviable record of excellence when it comes to smartphone cameras. The 8MP rear-facing camera features a superior Carl Zeiss Tessar Lens and dual LED flash and there is a 1.2MP front-facing camera for video chat. Both cameras are equipped to capture HD video.

The Lumia 822 comes with 16MB of internal memory and can support an additional 64MB through a microSD card (sold separately). Battery life is excellent. I was able to operate the phone continuously each day on just one overnight charge, without worrying about turning off Wi-Fi or scrambling to shut down other battery-draining apps.

But despite the gratifying hardware features, it’s the surprising variety of pre-loaded apps that makes the Lumia 822 such a stand-out device. Demonstrating a long term commitment to the Windows 8 platform, Nokia has developed its own suite of apps, which include Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive+ (which uses the same technology as Verizon’s VZ Navigator app), Nokia Music, and Nokia City Lens.

The Nokia Maps and Drive+ combination turns the Lumia 822 into the reliable GPS navigation device that most non-Windows smartphone owners have come to expect. But Nokia Maps goes further, allowing you to download maps so they are available offline as well. You can also access venue maps, providing a look inside over 4,000 shopping centers, airports and other public places.

Nokia Music is perhaps the most surprising app of all, providing a completely free music streaming service to rival Pandora or any other cloud-based music platform. You can browse the music store, get recommendations and purchase your own music, or you can tune in to Mix Radio and choose from hundreds of personalized playlists. You can even download hours of free music for offline listening.

Another pre-loaded app of note is Nokia City Lens, which overlays an augmented reality view of whatever is on your camera screen. Just choose from a category like shopping, food or sights and point your camera. The screen will be dotted with points of interest that relate to your category choice. While some of the famous landmarks that City Lens found for me weren’t exactly next door (The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Stonehenge in Great Britain), it was much more successful at identifying local restaurants and stores.

Along with the Nokia apps, the Lumia 822 provides full access to the Windows store. While it still lags far behind the App Store or Google Play in terms of volume, the Windows store is adding dozens of apps each week and now features many of the apps that smartphone users consider essential. The Lumia 822 also comes with App Highlights, which makes searching for useful apps that much easier.

If you haven’t tried a Windows phone, then I highly recommend a visit to your local Verizon store to check out the Nokia Lumia 822. If you choose to buy one, it will cost you $100 with a two-year Verizon contract.

Comment by Penny, posted 1/10/2013, 11:14 PM:

How do you turn the Nokia Music off?
Comment by Brittany, posted 1/6/2013, 8:36 AM:

Ok I got a Nokia Lumia 822 and I cant figure out how to try and video chat but their is nothing on my phone that shows me to do it. Can you tell me how to get to were i need to be so i can video chat. Thank you
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