After months of rumor and speculation, Nokia has finally unveiled its first line of Windows Phone handsets. Announced during the Nokia World 2011 keynote, the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710 are exactly what the rumors said they would be. Nokia representatives have called the phones “sleek and beautiful,” going as far as to claim that they are the “first real Windows Phones.” Those are big words, but the Finnish device manufacturer’s future is, for the most part, riding on Windows Phone.
The Lumia 800, formerly known as the “Sea Ray,” is manufactured from a single-piece injection-molded polycarbonate shell. Nokia worked hard to streamline the device, so even the ports are as small as possible. The 3.7-inch ClearBlack screen is powered by a 1.4GHz processor with a dedicated GPU, 512MB of RAM, and 16GB of internal memory. The back of the device features an 8MP Carl Zeiss camera, perfect for taking beautiful photos on the go.
The processor and screen size are fine, but we would have liked to see more storage. The Lumia 800 is visually similar to the Nokia N9, which runs MeeGo. But in many ways, it’s not as good. Sure, it runs Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango,” which is a great improvement over MeeGo. It also has a better battery life (13 hours of talk time) and faster processor. But the screen is slightly smaller and the phone lacks a front-facing camera. The RAM has been cut in half, the option for 64GB of memory isn’t available, and NFC support is nowhere to be found. Granted, Windows Phone doesn’t support NFC yet, but it would have been great if Nokia had included it out of the gate in preparation for NFC support in the future. Thankfully, the only big disappointment here is the internal memory. The rest we can live with.
Nokia’s Lumia 710 is very similar to the Lumia 800, but it only has a 5MP Carl Zeiss camera and 8GB of internal storage. It’s also much more colorful, allowing the fashion-conscious to swap out the back covers. The Finnish device manufacturer is obviously positioning this handset as the more affordable of the two. The device also features physical hardware buttons, rather than capacitive.
Nokia has been given special permission to modify the core Windows Phone OS, and the Finnish company has taken advantage of this by adding landscape support in the People and Picture Hubs. Nokia is also known for its services, which it plans to ship with Windows Phone. Nokia Drive is a free auditory turn-by-turn navigation app. It takes advantage of Nokia Maps, which is also included on the phone. Nokia Music supplements the phone’s preexisting Music + Video Hub (powered by Zune) with a “massive library of tracks and hundreds of channels from MixRadio.” Nokia is also planning an augmented reality app, called Nokia Live View. Finally, Nokia Pulse allows users to “instantly send location-tagged updates and photos to private groups of family and close friends.” Interestingly, as of today, Nokia Pulse is available for all Windows Phones.
Both devices will be released in six European markets first, but they’ll hit Hong Kong, India, Russia, Singapore, and Taiwan before the end of the year. The lack of availability in the US until early 2012 is a major disappointment, especially when Nokia needs to reassert itself and come out swinging. The Lumia 800 will run approximately €420 ($585) and come in black, cyan, and magenta, while the Lumia 710 will cost a much cheaper €270 ($376) and sport a white case with black, white, cyan, fuchsia, and yellow back covers. It should be noted that these retail prices are before carrier contract discounts. The Nokia Lumia 800 and Nokia Lumia 710 are already available for preorder on Nokia’s website.