After a bit of an absence, Nokia has re-emerged onto the smartphone market here in the United States with three new Lumia devices. They include the Lumia 900 which will be headed to AT&T, the Lumia 710 which has found a home on T-Mobile’s network and the Lumia 800 which will be headed to Microsoft Stores around the United States, but won’t be attached to a carrier.
Because the Lumia 800 isn’t attached to a carrier, we have decided to leave it out of the conversation (for now) and focus on the two that are, those being the Lumia 710 and the Lumia 900.
For some of you, the decision between the two might end up proving to be a difficult one and we’re here to help.
So, let’s take a look at T-Mobile’s Lumia pitted head-to-head with AT&T’s, shall we?
When Nokia announced the Lumia 900 for AT&T at CES 2012, it was quite clear that this was the device that the company intends on promoting (at least here in the U.S.) as its flagship Windows Phone. And we don’t blame it. This is a very sleek, beautifully designed phone that we came away very impressed with after we went hands-on.
It’s not all looks either.
It also has a 4.3″ AMOLED ClearBlack display, a single core 1GHz processor, a large 1830 mAh battery, and an 8-megapixel camera with a wide aperture sensor and Carl Zeiss optics, and a 1.3MP front-facing camera with the same technology.
Great design. Large screen. Big battery. Fantastic camera.
Should be pretty hard to top right?
Well, believe it or not, the Lumia 710 is able to sort of/kind of hold its own here, even though it’s not a flagship phone.
Design wise, this is no contest. The Lumia 900 is the much better looking, better feeling phone.
However, in the specs department, the Lumia 710 offers a couple of things that you might like including a 3.7-inch ClearBlack LCD display, a 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, a 5MP rear camera, and 8GB of storage space.
So if you’re not into big screens, the Lumia 710 might be a better option. And it’s also worth noting that the processor is on par with the Lumia 900’s.
We’re going to give the Lumia 900 the nod here though.
Winner: Lumia 900
One of the most intriguing features about the Nokia Lumia 900 is the fact that it will be arriving on AT&T’s 4G LTE network. What this means is that it will not only be the first LTE-powered Nokia Windows Phone, but that it will also offer speeds that are up to 10 times faster than those found on a normal 3G network.
There is a problem though.
AT&T’s LTE network is only available in limited parts of the United States. Here is a list of the cities where it’s currently available:
- Austin, TX
- Athens, GA
- Atlanta, GA
- Baltimore, MD
- Boston, MA
- Charlotte, NC
- Chapel Hill, NC,
- Chicago, IL
- Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
- Houston, TX
- Indianapolis, IN
- Kansas City; MO
- Las Vegas; NV
- New York City metro area
- Oakland, CA
- Oklahoma City, OK
- Orlando, FL
- Phoenix, AZ
- Raleigh, NC
- San Antonio, TX
- San Diego, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- San Jose. CA
- San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Washington, D.C.
As you can see, the footprint isn’t very large.
On the other hand, T-Mobile’s Lumia 710 is available on the carrier’s HSPA+ 14.4Mbps network which is available in a lot more than 25 markets.
AT&T though planned ahead and made sure that the Lumia 900 would be compatible on its HSPA+ network where LTE isn’t available which means that again, the Lumia 900 gets a slight victory here.
Winner: Lumia 900
At CES 2012, Nokia had said that it would be aggressively pricing its Lumia device in the United States and it wasn’t lying. The T-Mobile Lumia 710 emerged with a paltry $50 price tag on T-Mobile and shortly after its launch, Walmart began offering up the device for a grand total of zero dollars.
Well, as long as you sign a new contract.
That’s an extremely enticing price for those looking for an entry level Windows Phone for a child or a spouse or what have you. Someone that doesn’t need the top of the line device.
But before you grab your car keys and head out the door, listen to this.
Today, a rumor dropped indicating that AT&T is going to be offering up the Lumia 900 for $99.99 with a new contract. No, you’re not dreaming. A flagship Nokia phone with 4G LTE and Windows Phone for $100.
If true, that’s a steal and it’s a price that definitely wins against free, at least in this case.
Winner: Lumia 900
Believe or not, the Lumia 710 is already out on T-Mobile. Odd, because we really haven’t seen Nokia or T-Mobile do any sort of big marketing push. It has been out since January 11th and you can find it both online and in physical retail locations.
In other words, it should be easy to find.
As for the Lumia 900, it’ll be out in March and more specifically, it has been rumored to be coming on March 18th. This means that it might be pitted against some heavy hitters.
The Mobile World Congress is slated to take place next month in Barcelona and companies like HTC and Samsung are expected to make some pretty big announcements.
But with that price tag, it definitely stands a fighting chance.
Last but not least, we have software. Both the Lumia 710 and Lumia 900, if you haven’t figured it out by now, run Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system. From the looks of things though, the phones will be running different software out of the box.
While the Lumia 710 runs Microsoft’s latest release in Windows Phone Mango, the Lumia 900 might very well be running the company’s upcoming Windows Phone update, Tango, straight from the get-go.
That gives it a bit of an advantage over the Lumia 710, even if the contents of the Tango update are still up in the air.
Unless it’s just absolutely atrocious, it’s always nice to have the latest and greatest straightaway.
Winner: Lumia 900
The clear cut winner here is the Lumia 900. It has 4G LTE, it should have Tango, and it has a fantastic design. But the biggest thing here is the price. This fight would have been a lot closer had the Lumia 900 not have just received a rumored price tag of $99.
That’s an extremely aggressive price for a flagship phone and we think, again if it’s true, that this is going to make it a hot commodity here in the United States.
But let’s not take anything away from the Lumia 710. It’s a solid phone that is available for free. It also has a 3.7-inch screen which might appeal to those of you looking to stray from the iPhone.
However, we liked the Lumia 900 at CES 2012 and we like it even more now that it’s apparently going to be extremely affordable.
Before you go, be sure to read our extensive review of the Lumia 710 and stay tuned for our full review of AT&T’s Lumia 900.