Nokia Lumia 810 and 820 review

Nokia managed to implement Windows 8 Mobile into a sleek, modern handset that’s comfortable to hold and use. The use of tiles makes one handed use of the phone easy and efficient.

Some Tips

  • Before you start, find yourself a Wi-Fi connection. You don’t want all the required downloads sucking up your bandwidth (depending on carrier, you may or may not have data caps). Depending on your location, 4G connection maybe faster than your Wi-Fi connection.
  • Remember that old Hotmail account? You’re going to have to dust it off to get your phone setup.
  • The default options are a bit intrusive if your concern is privacy so read them carefully before blazing through.
  • By default, Windows 8 Mobile rotates images from your Cameraroll into the front page tile. If you’re in the habit of sexting pictures, you might want to learn how to change that.

T-Mobile Nokia Lumia 810 quirks

It wouldn’t let me install The Weather Channel app at all. After the prompt to allow location info access, it takes me to a screen prompting me to create an Xbox account which ask for your birthday. I entered a birthday and it just gets stuck on downloading. Turning the phone off/on did not resolve it nor did moving to another Wi-Fi location. There were no issues installing the same app on the AT&T Lumia 820 phone.
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The pre-installed T-Mobile TV app did not work. On execution, it reports “Cannot schedule background agent because there are already the maximum number running; to add one please go to settings and disable one. full error message: BNS Error: The API can only be called from deployed app”. Skipping past this message opens the app which initially yield unresponsive buttons. Eventually, the prompt to accept the 30 day free trial appeared. Choose carefully since you will be charged $9.99/mo (or $12.99 for HD devices) if you don’t cancel.

Price

Price is a big consideration in any phone purchase. The Lumia 820 is currently $50 from AT&T while the Lumia 810 is $150 from T-Mobile but keep in mind the much better Nokia Lumia 920 is only $100 from AT&T and that includes wireless charging. To enable wireless charging for the Lumia 810/820, you have to spend another $25 for the back plate. Even without looking at other manufacturers, it’s a tough sell for the Lumia 810/820 when the flagship Nokia 920 phone is just a little bit more. If you throw other manufacturers into the mix, now you’re looking at the best selling Samsung Galaxy SIII or iPhone 5 at $200. For a short time, Walmart even had the Apple iPhone 5 for $127. Over the 2 year contract life of a smart phone, the $100 difference is very small. In the final analysis, the Lumia 810/820 is best suited for a very specific niche category of users who want a small, simple to use phone which is strong on transit navigation. For technical users looking for more features and a vast app store, other alternatives exist for just a little bit more.

Conclusions

The Lumia 810/820 is a mid-range smart phone best suited for those new to smart phones. If you are coming from an Apple iPhone or Android phone, you may find the app store lacking and the quirks frustrating. If turn-by-turn voice navigation is important to you, this is not the phone for you unless you can use the U.S. English voice file with street names. However, if you travel primarily by public transit or by foot, Nokia navigation shines on this front. Battery life is excellent and the OS is responsive with a pleasing interface. If I had to choose one mobile phone for travelling abroad, I would choose a Lumia 810/820 over an iPhone or Android phone. The combination of downloadable maps (with walking directions) and Bing Vision would be an invaluable tool in foreign countries.