T-Mobile Nokia Lumia 810 is a solid competitor to the HTC 8X

Summary:T-Mobile is getting ready to launch a couple of Windows Phone 8 devices and after spending time with the Lumia 810 I believe it is actually a competitive device that should be considered.

I have been using the Nokia Lumia 920 and HTC Windows Phone 8X for the last couple of weeks and even though my head tells me the 920 is best I keep going back to the 8X. T-Mobile customers will soon get to choose between the HTC 8X or Nokia Lumia 810 (the Lumia 920 is an AT&T exclusive) and after using the 810 for the past several days it is not as clear of a choice as I once thought it would be. The 8X is definitely positioned at the high end with a price of $199.99 on other carriers (T-Mobile hasn't announced pricing or availability yet) while the Nokia Lumia 810 is a mid-range device that should be priced around $100 is priced at $149.99 after $50 mail-in rebate.

Check out my image gallery of the Nokia Lumia 810.

Out of the box impressions

The Nokia Lumia 810 did not come in one of those hefty, tank-like T-Mobile boxes, but it is attractive in gray and pink. Inside you will find the Lumia 810, USB A/C charger, USB cable, and some advertisements and basic instructions. There is no headset in the box and no other accessories. The black cover does not support wireless charging, but I understand there will be other covers with this support and I think the accessory lineup may help get folks in the door.

The Nokia Lumia 810 is a rather square device, but it still feels good thanks to the soft touch back cover and rounded corners. The display looks great and even though it has the same resolution as the previous Windows Phone devices you can't easily see pixels and I would have no problem using this device.

What's up with the Nokia Lumia 810, 820, and 822

Nokia announced the Lumia 820 and then we saw T-Mobile reveal the 810 and Verizon the 822. I spent a couple days with an 822 while I was using the 810 and they are both very similar devices. I like the feel of the 810 in my hand a bit more than the 822, but they are both solid mid-level smartphones. The 820 specs show a VGA front facing camera while the 810 and 822 come with 1.2 megapixel front facing cameras. The 810 and 822 also have 1800 mAh batteries while the 820 is limited to 1650 mAh.

Specifications and walk around the hardware

Specifications of the Nokia Lumia810 include:

  • Windows Phone 8 OS
  • 4.3 inch AMOLED ClearBlack display with 800x480 pixels
  • Qualcomm S4 1.5 GHz dual-core processor
  • Total integrated storage of 8GB with microSD card support
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8 megapixel camera with dual LED flash and F2.2 aperture, Carl Zeiss optics, and 1080p recording
  • 1.2 megapixel front facing camera
  • NFC, GPS, digital compass, proximity sensor, light sensor
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Removable 1,800 mAh Li-Ion polymer battery
  • Qi wireless charging capable (with optional back)
  • Dimensions of 127.8 x 68.4 x 10.9 mm and weight of 145 grams

The Lumia 810 has very similar specs to the other Windows Phone 8 devices, with the display technology being one of the major differences. Enthusiasts may actually prefer the 810 due to the microSD card slot and removable battery.

The front is dominated by the 4.3 inch ClearBlack AMOLED display and even though the resolution is the same as all last generation Windows Phone devices it still looks great. Nokia included the touch sensitivity found in the Lumia 920 on the Nokia Lumia 810. There is a toggle for the sensitivity too in case you don't need to use gloves or a fingernail with the display. The headset speaker is above the display with the front-facing camera to the left of the speaker. T-Mobile and Nokia logos are found on the upper left and right sides above the display. Below the display you will find the Back, Start, and Bing search buttons.

The 3.5mm audio jack is off to the right side on the top. The volume, power, and camera buttons are all on the right, nothing is on the left, and the microUSB port is on the bottom. The camera is centered on the upper back with the dual LED flash to the left of the camera lens (will be on top in landscape orientation).

The back cover is removable and it actually consists of the back and four sides. Under the back cover you will find the microSIM card slot with the microSD card slot positioned above it. The 1,800 mAh battery is removable.

Windows Phone 8 and Nokia software

I covered all the details of Windows Phone 8 in my other article so I won't go into all of those details here. Needless to say, it is better than Windows Phone 7 and I appreciate the differences, but it remains to be seen what the consumer will think.

This is an operator-branded device and T-Mobile includes several additional services and utilities. As I made clear in a recent article you can easily get rid of all the bloatware (you can later add it back in by visiting the T-Mobile section of the Windows Phone Store). The services that are loaded on the 810 include:

  • 411 & More
  • CallerTunes
  • My Account
  • Slacker Radio
  • T-Mobile TV

One of the benefits of buying a Nokia Lumia is all of the value-added services they provide, along with many exclusives from other developers that end up first on Nokia Lumia devices. You will find the following on the Lumia 810:

  • Nokia City Lens: Augmented reality application
  • Nokia Drive: Voice guided GPS navigation only found on Lumia devices.
  • Nokia Maps: Included on all Windows Phone 8 devices and includes ability to download maps for offline navigation for FREE.
  • Nokia Music: Awesome free service that had me drop my Spotify subscription . It's a major benefit for the Lumia.

I use my phones for navigation, and having a client I can rely upon is important. I use Google Maps and Apple Maps and find them both to work well for me. Nokia Maps has always been a favorite and their voice-guided navigation is a real benefit for consumers.

Windows Phone provides a new "Lens" feature in the camera utility and Nokia provides a couple of these in the Lumia 810. The Cinemagraph utility lets you animate still photos and is lots of fun, while the Smart Shoot utility shoots five frames for each photo and then picks the best faces to create the "perfect" shot. Panorama allows you to capture wide shots with the Lumia 810. Nokia told me there will be even more camera utilities coming to Lumia, including the existing Lumia 900.

Experiences

Before I received the Lumia 810 to test out I would have told you that the obvious choice on T-Mobile for Windows Phone was the HTC 8X. The 8X is an excellent device and I personally would still select it since it feels so good in your hand and has a great display. The Nokia Lumia 810 is a solid competitor and if you look in my image gallery you can see that the camera captures still images even better than the 8X in some cases. When you look at ALL of the added Nokia software and services (Drive, Music, City Lens), combined with the removable battery and microSD expansion capability you may find the Lumia 810 is actually a better choice for you. The Lumia 810 should also launch at half a lower price than the HTC 8X, which may be enough for some people to consider the device.

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Topics: Mobility, Microsoft, Nokia, Reviews, Smartphones

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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