As it stands, there are only two Nokia Windows Phone devices available for consumers living in the United States. The first to launch was the Nokia Lumia 710 which arrived back in January on T-Mobile’s network. The second of the two devices is the Nokia Lumia 800, a device that went on sale elsewhere in the world in 2011 but just recently arrived in the United States.
The duo will soon be joined by another Lumia device from Nokia which will arrive in the form of the Nokia Lumia 900 for AT&T.
Originally announced at CES 2012, the Lumia 900 figures to be the Finnish company’s first flagship Windows Phone smartphone in the United States. And while we haven’t been able to get an extensive hands-on with it quite yet, we thought highly enough of it to award the phone our Best in Show for CES 2012.
And while we’ve already taken a look at how the Nokia 900 fares against the Nokia 710, it’s now time to compare it to the Lumia 800.
Have a look at our Lumia 900 hands-on video from CES 2012:
The Lumia 800 variant that launched in the U.S. is extremely similar to the one that launched elsewhere in the world. And guess what? We’ve already reviewed it. Here, you’ll see our lengthy video review of the Nokia Lumia 800:
As many of you know, there is a wide selection of hardware when it comes to the Android platform. However, when it comes to Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform, there isn’t as much of a variety. Microsoft purposefully did that and it’s looking extremely smart. Just ask Motorola who has blamed slow Android updates on hardware. By keeping the hardware similar and simple, Microsoft is able to, among other things, get all of its phones updated in a timely fashion.
You probably see where this is going.
While the Lumia 900 and Lumia 800 are different phones, they share a lot in common.
Let’s start with the Lumia 900.
It features an extremely sleek design that measures in at 11.5mm thick. It’s comfortable to hold and it doesn’t feel cheap. In addition to looking pretty, the Lumia 900 has a number of enticing features on board.
Up front, we have a 4.3″ AMOLED ClearBlack display. It’s powered by a single core 1GHz processor. It also sports a large 1830 mAh battery, 8-megapixel camera with a wide aperture sensor and Carl Zeiss optics, and a 1.3MP front-facing camera with the same technology.
Nokia is known for its hardware that the Lumia 900 does not disappoint.
A lot of the design aesthetics that are found on the Lumia 900 come from the Lumia 800. And that’s a good thing. The unibody design on the Lumia 800 is built to last and it’s a pleasure to hold. The phone is a little thicker than the Lumia 900 as it checks in with a 12.5mm thin design.
You can find out more about the creation of the Nokia Lumia 800’s design in the video below:
Needless to say, a lot of care and effort went into the phone’s build, and it shows. Same goes for the Lumia 900.
Now, there are differences here.
The Lumia 800’s screen, while still of the same caliber in terms of resolution (480×800), is much smaller and sits at 3.7-inches. For reference, the iPhone’s display is 3.5-inches, so just a hair bigger than that. It also has a smaller battery which checks in at 1450mAh.
Other specifications include a single-core 1GHz Scorpion processor from Qualcomm, 512MB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, an 8MP rear camera with Carl Zeiss optics and dual-LED flash, and a front-facing camera for video chatting.
While the Nokia Lumia 800 is going to be running Windows Phone 7.5 Mango out of the box, the Lumia 900 has been rumored to be coming with Microsoft’s Windows Phone Tango update. Neither Microsoft nor Nokia has confirmed this so, right now, assume that it’s going to be arriving in March with Mango on board.
Both phones will likely feature Nokia-branded applications like Nokia Drive which is an application that provides turn-by-turn voice-guided GPS navigation instruction in a number of countries and different languages.
Nokia Maps will also be on board as well.
Another major difference between the two phones is the connectivity. The Nokia Lumia 900 will be one of the first 4G LTE Windows Phones here in the United States when it arrives on AT&T next month. That means that it will be able to access the carrier’s LTE network, where it’s available, and pull down data speeds that are up to 10 times faster than normal 3G speeds.
If you’re curious about the difference, have a look at this video pitting an iPhone 4S against the Motorola Droid Bionic, a 4G LTE phone for Verizon. If you’ve never seen 4G LTE speeds, it will likely blow your mind.
As for the Lumia 800, it’s going to be sold unlocked. That’s right. Nokia has decided not to sell the device on any specific carrier, choosing to instead offer it without any attachment to a carrier. And while that brings an expensive price tag, it also means that you won’t have to sign any sort of contract.
The phone though has been optimized for use with AT&T’s 3G network.
Sorry, no 4G LTE speeds here.
Finally, we get to pricing where these phones are probably the farthest apart. While we still don’t have an official price for the Lumia 900, or a release date for that matter, we have heard that it will be launching on AT&T’s 4G LTE network on March 18th for $99.99 on-contract.
Nokia said that it would be aggressive in pricing its Windows Phones in the United States and it appears that it will be sticking to that sentiment with the release of the Lumia 900.
The Lumia 800 apparently didn’t get that message though.
Nokia and Microsoft are currently selling the unlocked phone for $899.
The phone comes in a bundle packed in with some nice accessories like the Nokia Play 360 Wireless Speaker, a Purity HD Stereo Headset, and a Bluetooth headset. Nokia and Microsoft have not yet commented on whether or not the phone will be sold without the bundle so for now, this is how much you’re going to have to pay if you want to get your hands on this phone.
Which Should You Buy?
Ultimately, the decision is going to be up to you and we suggest going in and getting hands-on with both devices before you make up your mind.
However, most people don’t have an extra $1000 to spend on a smartphone bundle so until the Lumia 800 is sold separately, the price and the 4G LTE capabilities of the Lumia 900 will win out here for most of you.
But, if you happen to have the cash to burn and you don’t want to sign your name on the dotted line of a two year contract (it’s unclear if the Lumia 900 will be sold off-contract), the Lumia 800 is a very solid choice.