I was generously handed the Lumia 810 on loan from Arthur, another writer on Nokia Innovation, and as soon as I got it home, I wasted no time in setting it up ready for use as my main, daily phone. At first, it was all too easy; I transferred my contacts from my Nokia N9 via Bluetooth in under a couple of minutes, I had connected the phone to my home wifi and I had managed to set it up to link into my Facebook, Twitter and Gmail accounts, all quickly, efficiently and effortlessly. I hit a snag when I wanted to sync my Google Calendar though. While WP8 gives you the option to sync just your Gmail or your Gmail, Contacts and Calendar, there isn’t an option to do just the email and calendar. My Google contacts are a mess, and I didn’t want to sync those, so I was left with just the Gmail for a little while. After a quick browse on the web, I learned to sync my Google calendar to Hotmail, and then synced my Hotmail calendar (which I never use, so only showed the Google entries) to the 810. A bit of a workaround, but it works and works well.
The Nokia Lumia 810 is the T-Mobile version of the new Lumia 820. I am assuming that this is actually the only model of all the new Windows Phone 8 Lumias containing the compatible GSM antenna/radio allowing 3G and 4G connections on their network. I believe the other Lumias (the 920 and 820) can not use the 1700/2100 MHz range, so those devices will only be able to utilize 2G/EDGE connection if on T-Mobile, not exactly cutting-edge speeds in late 2012.
Coming from a Nokia N9, I am hoping to approach this trial with an open mind and to try and enjoy Windows Phone 8 as much as I can, forgetting the wonderful MeeGo Harmattan and getting stuck in with Nokia/Microsoft’s latest offering. I will admit though, after just 48 hours of using the 810 as my daily phone (my own sim is in the 810 and my N9 is off and in a drawer) I am already totally missing the always-on clock and notifications on the standby screen from the N9. Actually WP8 doesn’t have a standby screen – much like all Androids and iPhones – it’s just off. And there isn’t even an blinking led anywhere to alert you that something happened recently, be it a text or call, or something else. So that is still something I’m doing my best to ignore, pretending as if I never owned an N9, or any Symbian device for that matter (as the standby screen can be set to always show this stuff on most S^3 devices too).
The only other feature I miss, and something which I just can’t believe the folks at Microsoft are totally ok with, is the rather annoying lack of battery and signal indicators at the top of the screen. Oh, you can tap the top edge of the screen and they jauntily drop into view for a few moments, but then they disappear again. I actually knew this having used a Nokia Lumia 710 off and on for almost a year, and I was really hoping that WP8 would come with at least the battery and signal indicators permanently placed in view at the top of the screen. Nope. All I can say is, as a bit of a geek, I’m always wanting to know the status of these two things, and I hope that someone at Microsoft gets brave during a brainstorm meeting and just shouts out, “I wanna see the indicators! Please don’t make me tap on the phone to see them!!!” And then maybe we’ll all get to enjoy that one thing that people have been enjoying since… mobile phones were invented.
Gripes aside, the UI of the 810 is wonderful. It is so, so slick and fast, and the screen is bright and sharp – wandering around the different screens and menus is like a dream come true. It’s fast and responsive, pressing on a live tile (which I also love btw) the phone swings into elegant action, opening up Email or Photos or Marketplace in seconds, and does so with classy panache. It’s a pleasure to use and I know it’s early days, but it’s a very refreshing experience to come from Symbian and MeeGo and have things just work and work really quickly and smoothly.
So, the big question is: could I swap out the N9 for the 810? Hmm, not yet. But unlike having to use a different phone for a while and just not enjoying (like I did once when my N9 had been sent away to be ‘tweaked’ and I was left with a bloody BlackBerry!) I am enjoying using the Lumia 810 very much.
More on this in the near future, when I’ll report back on the hardware, camera and more on WP8.