Monday, January 21, 2013

Nokia Lumia 822 showcases Windows Phone 8 from Microsoft

I've had another experience where a particular smartphone was just a joy to carry around. This time, it was the Nokia Lumia 822 from Verizon Wireless.

Maybe it was the live tiles of Windows Phone 8 or the seamless integration with everything Microsoft, such as Windows Live and all the features surrounding it. Whatever it was, I took a likening to the Lumia 822 and now I must say "well done" to Nokia and Microsoft.

Nokia has been around for the long term and most of us remember them as always having quality hardware. Although the Finnish crew have been making mobile phones since the early 1990s and used to be the King of cell phones, the smartphone craze from Apple's iPhone and Google's Android platform caused Nokia to fall by the wayside.

Microsoft has been around since 1975 and needed something significant and exciting in the mobile communications arena.

So these two giants teamed up in 2011 to create market-leading mobile products. Before the year was out, the Lumia 710 was announced as being the first Windows phone from Nokia in the United States, but it was running Windows Phone 7. About a year later in September, the Lumia line of devices was announced for Windows Phone 8.

The Lumia 822 is the upgraded version of the 820, which was announced in September along with the flagship Lumia 920. Now I'm pretty familiar with Android devices and I carry the iPhone 5, but the live tiles on the WP8 devices, such as the Lumia 822, are pretty ingenious.

You can make your start screen as personal as you like, with your favorite things just a touch away. That's why so many WP8 fans are having so much fun with their devices. The live tiles work very well giving the very latest updates and information. Live tiles are a winner. Simple as that.

The other feature I found really enjoyable on the Lumia 822 is the integration between the phone and your Windows Live account. Every photo taken with the 8 megapixel camera goes to Windows Live without a hitch. Your email account is just a tap away, along with any calendar appointments.

Then you have the People tile that pulls in all you social networks into one list. This became my favorite morning pastime with a cup of coffee — just seeing what's going on in Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn — all in one stream.

When you compare my iPhone with it's 4-inch display to the Lumia 822's 4.3-inch display, I found typing and texting to be much easier. Having the extra space around the characters makes a difference and the suggested words feature on the Lumia speeds things along by saving keystrokes.

The Lumia is a little heavier at 4.99 ounces compared with my guy at 3.65 ounces, but the extra weight didn't bother me all, mainly due to the rounded corners and quality feel of the Nokia hardware. It simply feels good in your hand.

The 1.25 gigahertz processor of the Lumia 822 falls right in line with some of the other WP8 devices, such at its sibling, the Lumia 920, and the HTC 8X. But the latter devices trump the Lumia 822 with better screen resolution and the 920 has a higher-rated camera at 8.7 megapixels. During a surprise snowfall in my town, I had fun with the Carl Zeiss lens on the Lumia 822's 8 MP camera. Nice pictures is what I can say.

As for apps, the Lumia 822 comes with ESPN, My Verizon Mobile, NFL Mobile, The Weather Channel, Nokia City Lens and a few others. Then you can shop among the 120,000 or so in the Windows 8 store. That's nowhere near the 600,000 to 700,000 apps found in the Google Play and Apple stores, but I found a few of my favorites that worked well on the Lumia 822.

The Nokia Wireless Charging Pad allows you to put your phone down on a plate to charge the battery.

The Lumia 822 can be made even better with accessories, such as a Nokia Wireless Charging Cover or Charging Pad and a JBL Wireless Speaker.

You would think you might need a couple of hundred bucks to snag a Lumia 822, especially after considering all the features I've mentioned, but it's a bargain at $49.99 with a contract.

For the past of couple of years, the smartphone arena has been ruled by the iPhone and Android, while other platforms revamped their offerings. Things are changing now.

At this point, the Lumia 822 could be the deal of the year, as we wait on Samsung's next move with the Galaxy line of devices and the upcoming new BlackBerry 10 smartphones that will be announced on Jan. 30. Let's also not forget that Google made a $12.5 billion play for Motorola about a year ago and we're yet to see what they're up to for a new smartphone from the twosome.

The Windows Phone 8 devices are off to a good start while things are calm and the Lumia 822 is one good example of what's available.

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