Software and User Experience
Microsoft is working hard to ensure uniformity in Windows Phone 8. As a result, you won't see OS skins as you will with Android devices. With the exception of manufacturer- and carrier-specific apps, a lot of the features and functions on Windows Phone 8 will be the same. We'll discuss some of these additional apps here in a minute, but first we want to point out how simple it is to uninstall any of the apps you find bothersome or annoying. To remove an app (including preloaded Nokia and T-Mobile apps), simply press and hold from the app screen and select uninstall. We appreciate how easy this process really is, especially in comparison to some phones which must be jailbroken or rooted in order to remove carrier- and manufacturer-specific apps.
Taking a look at the list of apps on the Lumia 810, you'll see the standard Windows Phone 8 apps such as Alarms, Calculator, Calendar, Games, and more. You'll also find Cinemagraph, Creative Studio, ESPN, Office, T-Mobile TV, Slacker Radio, SkyDrive, and others. Overall, we didn't feel there were a lot of nuisance apps on the Lumia 810, which we definitely appreciate.
One of the new navigation features included on the Lumia 810 is known as Nokia City Lens. This feature overlays information about restaurants, shops, hotels, and other businesses to provide an augmented reality experience. It's a really cool feature that shows nearby businesses relative to where you are. As you turn and move the phone, the phone adjusts accordingly. We were impressed by Nokia City Lens, but text doesn't do it justice. Check out the video below for a better idea of how Nokia City Lens works and what it can do:
Nokia Drive provides turn-by-turn navigation and comes with free maps that can be downloaded for 166 countries and 50 languages. When you first fire up Nokia Drive, you'll need to download a voice for audible turn-by-turn directions. You'll also need to download maps. You can download all regions of the US which is 2,515.8 MB or you can choose to download individual states. Nokia Transit will help you navigate public transportation. Overall, Nokia's mapping system is definitely a great system that deserves a lot of credit, especially since its free.
You'll also find Nokia Music on the Lumia 810. The music is advertisement-free and doesn't require registration or a subscription. You can choose mixes to listen to offline and you can also create your own channels. While listening to music, you can access Nokia's MP3 store to buy and download tracks you like as well. If you allow it, Nokia Music can also use your location to find live music events near you.
Many of the features on the Lumia 810, including Nokia Drive, Nokia Transit, Cinemagraph, Smart Shoot, and others must be downloaded and/or updated in order to use for the first time. We would have preferred to skip this step, but it's a minor quibble in the scope of it all since it's generally a one-time hassle.
Like the Nokia Lumia 920, the Lumia 810 has features such as Kid's Corner, cloud backup, and Wallet. Kid's Corner lets you share apps, videos, games, and music with your child while blocking them out of unsafe areas of the phone.
The Windows Phone 8 Marketplace is still lacking in comparison to iOS and Android. While you'll find some of today's most popular apps in the store, others are lacking. Users of Google products will especially feel left out when using a Windows Phone 8 device. As of right now, Google does not offer dedicated apps for Google Drive, Gmail, Voice, or Latitude on Windows Phone 8.