Review: The T-Mobile Nokia Lumia 810

When looking at a new device, we tend to shy away from strictly looking at the spec sheet. Sure, there are plenty of ways those powerhouse phones can dominate, but to the average user the overall experience the device offers is far more important than any quad-core processor or HD screen. With that said, we begin our look at the Nokia Lumia 810.

The Feel

The Nokia Lumia 810, for lack of a better term, feels perfect in hand. Smaller hands appreciate the 4.3" display’s compact size, while those with larger grips feel right at home with the slightly bulkier feel of the 810. The soft-touch plastic back is smooth in hand, and virtually eliminates the thought of it slipping from any surface, including a hand. The 810 has its charging port and speakers on the bottom, camera, power and volume rockers on the right and the earphone jack on the top. There is nothing on the left side of the device. Overall, the design is very pleasant and feels great in hand.

The Performance

The Nokia Lumia 810 isn’t going to win any awards in the spec department, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t perform well. Powered by Windows Phone 8, it’s easy to see why Microsoft partnered with Nokia. You can take all those iOS and Android speed tests and spec sheets and throw them out on this one. The combination of software and hardware has formed a symbiotic relationship. The 810 is the perfect blend of the hardware the average user will ever want and the software to drive it all simply and effectively. Sure, there’s no PureView camera and it doesn’t have a 12000 Gigapixel screen, but where the rubber meets the road, the Lumia 810 simply performs brilliantly.

The Experience

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Coming from Windows Phone 7, expectations for 8 were pretty high. Adjustable tiles, NFC, Data Sense and even Kid Mode were all things that jumped off the page as great additions. Honestly, except for the adjustable tiles, Windows Phone 8 like Windows Phone 7. That’s not a bad thing of course, it’s just strange that this ‘big update’ that required a complete hardware reset doesn’t feel different. Looking at the hardware support for Windows Phone 8, the added bonus of using SD storage and dual-core processors was probably the biggest improvement and the 810 takes advantage of both. Dusting off the old 32GB class 10 card and firing up the 810 for the first time yielded a flawless marriage.

The Live Tiles appeared quickly and ready for be moved. The device was aglow in T-Mobile Pink and green. The blacks were darker than normal LCD’s with Nokia Clear Black on board. The colors popped from the screen with almost perfect saturation. The Lumia 810 gets an almost perfect saturation mark as the colors were almost a bit overdone, but it is an absolutely gorgeous display. Scrolling was extremely fast and smooth. Installing Apps over T-Mobile’s HSPA+42 network went almost as fast as running the device off a 20Mbps WiFi connection. Overall, a user couldn’t have a more perfect out of the box experience with a device.

The other point to touch on during the experience portion of this review is the amazing Nokia Windows Phone Software that is available. Smart Shoot is a pretty useful imaging tool that shoots 5 images of the same group of people in rapid fire mode. You can then select which face you want from each person and stitch the perfect image together. Cinemagraph actually adds animation to your photos… You just have to try it to see how impressive it is. Nokia Music is the ultimate free offline/streaming music client for Nokia phones. Once you try it, you’ll have to decide if you still need unlimited data or not. Of course, there’s Nokia Maps, possibly the best mobile navigation software out, and the only one that offers full offline mapping now. And last but not least Nokia City Lens. Want to find a restaurant? Pick up your phone, open City Lens and tap Food. It shows you everything in town and then some…

As far as handling social media and email accounts, the 810 also handled my 5 email accounts, Facebook account, 2 Google Voice accounts (check out MetroTalk and GoVoice if you are a Google Voice user), and my 4 Twitter accounts easily and within minutes and I was connected to my social world once again. Windows Phone has done this since day one, and still continues to impress everyone that sees it with this feature.

Overall Impressions

The Nokia Lumia 810 is billed as a ‘lower end’ device by most of the reviews out there. Sure, it’s not as prolific as its big brother, the Lumia 920, but the 810 isn’t aimed at the same market. The 810 is for the business professional that needs a good camera, a solid device that takes a hit or two. A device that will deliver corporate emails and personal ones. A device that will let them keep tabs on their LinkedIn network and Facebook. It allows a quick edit to that PowerPoint before going into the office. It’s the ultimate pocket business machine, or the perfect mobile office.

The Nokia Lumia 810 is also perfect for those that are social media fanatics. The Lumia 810 and it’s HSPA+42 speeds simply make the perfect combination for music and movie lovers. With over 120,000 real Apps in the Windows Store, there’s enough entertainment to keep you busy for hours on end. The 8MP camera will capture all those moments that need to be put on Facebook or Twitter with ease. Overall, the average social mogul will appreciate how simple Windows Phone and the Nokia 810 make life.

There is an argument to be made about over-paying for the 810 at $149.99 due to the fact that the 920 is cheaper on other carriers. This becomes a moot point if you look at non-contract pricing or even the sales that are currently running on the 810. The Nokia software that is available in the Windows Phone Store adds an incredible value to the handset. These include Nokia Music (offline music listening), Nokia Maps/Drive (offline – yes no data connection needed – mapping and navigating), and many others.

As a proponent of non-contract wireless, the $499.99 non-contract price is a bit tougher sell, but one has to remember that this phone will be upgradable for quite some time. If you factor that a Lumia 800, which the 810 seems to be a perfect replacement to is still selling used for $200-300, even after the not-upgradable announcement, one has to assume that the Lumia 810 will hold its value just as well.

Overall, if you are happy with your T-Mobile coverage and are looking for that next upgrade right now, check out the Nokia Lumia 810. The device is solid, offers an amazing assortment of Nokia specific Windows Phone software and delivers an experience that impressed even this reviewer. The Nokia Lumia 810 is available now and still in stock from Amazon Wireless and T-Mobile stores to have in time for Christmas.

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