Sunday, December 4, 2011

Nokia Lumia 800 and N9; same form factor, different audience

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Summary: The Lumia 800 is available outside the U.S., but there are several of us here that are getting the chance to use them and test them out.

I tested out the Nokia N9 MeeGo device a few weeks ago and liked it so much I bought my own cyan (blue) one from an Australian seller on ebay. The hardware is fantastic (just read every online review) and thus I was pleased to see Nokia use virtually the same hardware in the Nokia Lumia 800 that I just received for evaluation for a few weeks. You can check out several photos of the N9 and Lumia 800 in my image gallery along with a hands-on video and some initial thoughts below.

The Nokia Lumia 800 comes in the same retail box as the Nokia N9 with the Lumia 800, USB cable, USB A/C charger, stereo headset, case, and Quick Start Guide. The case/cover matches the color of the device, black in this case, and offers some protection of the hardware. Then again, it is so sleek that it is tough to wrap it in anything.

It’s great to see so many people finally understanding how good Windows Phone can be now that they have the Lumia 800 in hand. The hardware is top notch and extremely pocketable and caressable.

Specifications for the Nokia Lumia 800 include the following:

Windows Phone 7.5 operating systemQuad-band 3G radio and quad-band GSM radio (no support for T-Mobile USA)1.4 GHz Qualcomm processor3.7 inch 800×480 pixels AMOLED displayAntiglare polarizer and Gorilla Glass integrationPreinstalled 16GB internal storage512 MB RAM8 megapixel camera with dual-LED flash and Carl Zeiss opticsProximity sensor, light sensor and digital compassIntegrated A-GPSWi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n)Bluetooth 2.13.5 mm headset jack1450 mAh lithium-ion batteryDimensions: 116.5 x 61.2 x 12.1 mm and 142 grams

The differences between the Lumia 800 and Nokia N9 include the processor (1.4 GHz vs 1 GHz), screen size (3.7 vs 3.9 inches), RAM (512 MB vs 1 GB), NFC (not included in the Lumia 800), wireless radios (Lumia 800 is quad-band and N9 is pentaband), internal storage (Lumia 800 is 16GB only while N9 has a 64GB option), and front facing camera (Lumia 800 doesn’t have one). So as you can see the N9 best the Lumia 800 in most every specification difference.

The Nokia Lumia 800 external hardware is the same as the N9 with the exception of the camera capture button, touch capacitive buttons (reduces the viewable display size), and front facing camera. They both have the door for the microUSB port and the funky slider tray for the microSIM card.

As regular readers know, I am a major Windows Phone fan and Mango flies on the Lumia 800. I definitely see a difference in going from a 4.3 inch display down to a 3.7 inch display though and am not sure I could live with it full time. I think I would rather see the 900 series of Nokia Windows Phone devices that are rumored to have a 4.3 inch display.

Nokia includes their Nokia Maps software with Nokia Drive on the Lumia 800 and it offers an excellent navigation experience. The Nokia Music found on the Lumia 800 in the U.S. does not include the Mix experience that I detailed sets it apart from other Windows Phone devices. Thus, you will not find a free music experience and I imagine it has to do with the fact that U.S. consumers get a full Zune experience. I am not sure if it will be this way in 2012 when we officially get Nokia WP device, but that remains to be seen.

The Nokia N9 is not officially coming to the U.S. from Nokia, but you can find them on ebay, Amazon, and through other importers. The Nokia N9 is a pentaband device so it will work with 3G on T-Mobile and AT&T. The Nokia Lumia 800 is available outside the U.S. and does not support 3G data on T-Mobile.

These are excellent devices for the smartphone enthusiast, but the average consumer will want to wait until 2012 when Nokia announces their U.S. devices.

After using the Lumia 800 for a day, I am happy to say that it makes my Nokia N9 purchase even more valid and justifiable. Here is why I personally prefer the N9 over the Lumia 800 for use in the U.S. on T-Mobile:

3G data on T-Mobile, AT&T, and around the world (a true Nokia world phone)Double tap to turn on display without needing to ever press the on/off buttonMulti-tasking beast where I have had over 27 apps running at once with a slick display to switch between themTime shown on black screen when locked (sometimes the simple things mean a lot)Awesome swipe to go to a notification (starting to get bothered by no real meaningful notifications in Windows Phone)Integrated services and ability to interact with them (WP has many of these too, but MeeGo still does it better)Swype keyboard is coming soon, along with other great updates not delayed by carriersBeing part of a very enthusiastic community of a device that the community refuses to let die out

Matthew Miller started using a Pilot 1000 in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since.

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