Review: Nokia Lumia 822 for Verizon Wireless
The 822, like all Windows Phone devices, uses Microsoft's XBox Hub and storefront for entertainment and media. The XBox Hub includes gaming, music, and video. It's a decent app to help score some entertainment, but you'll need to use desktop software to sync your music to the device.
Nokia Music, which is exclusive to to Nokia's Windows Phones, is on board as well. Nokia Music is separate from XBox. It has its own store through which music can be purchased, and offers a wide variety of streamed radio stations, personalized recommendations, and the ability to browse through local concerts.
The 822 also includes Verizon's NFL mobile app, which lets owners watch football games, as well as get scores and news. YouTube is not included, but there are several YouTube apps in the Windows Phone Store.
I didn't have any trouble with these services at all. Music sounded good and videos looked good.
The camera launches with a long press of the dedicated button, even when the phone is locked. It’s dead-simple software that’s easy to master. The menus and controls are all self-explanatory and work well.
It is a bit on the slow side. It's definitely slower than the 820 and 810. Throw in the poor camera button and you have a bit of a problem. It's very hard to tell when the camera is going to actually open the shutter and capture the image. It takes forever to focus and there's a one-second pause between when it focuses and when it actually captures the image. It takes getting used to.
The 822, like all WP8 phones, supports “Lenses”. Lenses for the camera are third-party plug-in apps that perform specific actions with the camera. Nokia offers several of its own lenses, which are not available to other WP8 devices. Oddly, the 822 doesn't ship with any Lenses preinstalled. You have to download them from the Windows Phone Store. The ones developed by Nokia include Smart Shot, Cinemagraph, and Panorama.
Using any of the Lenses requires a few extra steps, but that's not unlike other devices that offer special shooting modes.
The camera allows users to adjust scenes, ISO, white balance, and aspect ratio, but not resolution. It's stuck at 8 megapixels. This is kind of odd.
The 822 has an 8-megapixel imager and it does a fairly good job. The biggest problem I saw was inconsistent white balance (see the sit and spin below, that background is supposed to be a neutral gray). Focus was mostly accurate, as was exposure. Indoor shots showed some grain, and reds captured outdoors tended to blow out the sensor. The majority of the shots I took were usable, however, and I found myself only tossing a few.
The 1080p HD video I captured with the 822 also looked good. White balance was more consistent, and focus and exposure were accurate. Motion was somewhat jerky, but that could be mitigated by holding still.
The Windows Phone Pictures Hub is a central repository for all the photos in your life. It pulls in all the photos from your social networks and stores them in one spot for perusing and sharing. I found it quite easy to shuffle my images between folders, as well as post them to social networks or send them up to SkyDrive for safe keeping.
The People Hub lets you crop and rotate images, but Nokia's Creative Studio takes things a little bit further. The Creative Studio app is sort of like Instagram in that it lets users apply various filters and effects to change the tone/appearance of their photos.
The Lumia 822 has the fewest Verizon apps on any handset I've ever reviewed. It ships with a data app (measures monthly data usage), MyVerizon, NFL, and Univision. That's it. Everything else is either stock Windows Phone or made by Nokia. Any of the apps can be deleted, and there's plenty of storage space available for downloads from the Windows Phone Store.
I didn't have any trouble with the 822's Bluetooth radio. It worked well across the board. I made a few calls from my car's hands-free system and they were of decent quality. My car's speakers were able to make up for the 822's quiet speaker. Music streamed to stereo Bluetooth headsets sound good, but the sound dropped in and out from time to time.
Thanks to the solid performance of the 822's LTE data radio, browsing the internet was always a good experience on the 822. Internet Explorer 10 and LTE go together well, and the 822 does a fine job of making web sites look spiffy on the bright display.
The 822 has a nice digital clock on the lock screen. It also displays the day of the week and the date. I wish the clock were bigger. It’s easy to see outdoors, though.
The GPS radio of the 822 itself performs flawlessly. It pinpointed me quickly and accurately no matter where I was. The phone comes only with Nokia Maps and its related apps. Verizon's navigation app is nowhere to be found.
Nokia Maps (which is being rebranded as “Here”) offers a wealth of features that go head-to-head with the best that Google Maps offers on Android handsets and the iPhone. It helps users manage locations, share points of interest, and route directions. Some of the others include Nokia Drive and Nokia Transit. These are individual apps that perform specific functions. Nokia Drive plots point-to-point driving directions, while Nokia Transit helps manage mass transit route planning.
Nokia City Lens
Nokia City Lens is an augmented reality application for finding nearby points of interest. It works in concert with the camera. You pan the camera around and the app shows you what's in the vicinity. It is easy to pick one of the shops or restaurants it finds to pull up more information and/or details about it.