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Thursday, October 27, 2011, 11:00 am PT (02:00 pm ET)

Nokia Windows Phone 7 Lumia 800 vs Apple iPhone 4S

Nokia's first Windows Phone 7 device offers specifications somewhere between Apple's iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, but is missing some key hardware and software features and will only debut in Europe, effectively leaving the US market to Apple and Android this holiday season.

Nokia recently revealed two new phones running Microsoft's Windows Phone 7.5 Mango platform: a lower end Lumia 710 and the top of the line Lumia 800. Both phones are GSM/UMTS/HSPA only, and will initially be sold only in Europe and parts of Asia this year.

That makes the devices only potentially functional on AT&T if imported to the US, but Nokia hasn't yet released plans to bring the devices to America. The company has never established a significant presence in the US for its smartphones.

Nokia has indicated that may eventually build CDMA or LTE versions of its phones for sale in the US next year. Worldwide, Nokia's leadership as a smartphone vendor once established its Symbian OS as the leading platform for more sophisticated mobile devices, but that dominance has collapsed since the arrival of Apple's Phone in 2007.

In China, Apple has now passed Nokia as the brand consumers express a preference for, leaving Nokia now tasked with rebuilding its presence using Microsoft's year-old Windows Phone 7 platform, which over the past year has seen very limited adoption.

Nokia's Lumia 800 is based upon the company's N9, a MeeGo Linux phone released in June of this year after Nokia announced its plans this spring to shift from Linux and Symbian to Windows Phone 7. Nokia made no plans to sell the N9 in the US, focusing on bringing WP7 to market instead. The Lumia 800 is a cross of the two.

Lumia

Nokia's new Lumia 800 (left) and Lumia 710 are its first Windows Phones.


Nokia Lumia 800 vs iPhone 4S hardware

The new Lumia 800 is not a global CDMA/GSM phone like iPhone 4S, but does match its HSDPA 14.4 Mbps download potential on European networks. It has the same 512MB of RAM and uses a faster clocked but simpler, single core Qualcomm chip, putting it somewhere between Apple's iPhone 4 and 4S in terms of general performance but considerably worse than both in graphics performance.

The model is offered only in a 16GB capacity, and lacks the SD Card slot and removable battery that many previous Nokia buyers expressed a preference for over the iPhone's built in storage and battery.

The Lumia 800 offers similar camera specifications to the iPhone 4S, but has a dual flash and lacks a front facing camera for video conferencing. It also has no support for HDR photos, 1080p video capture, nor HDMI video output, nor wireless video output similar to Apple's AirPlay. It also lacks a gyroscope for accurate motion control.

Nokia uses a AMOLED display that is slightly larger than the Phone, but offers a lower 480x800 resolution than the iPhone 4/4S' 960x640 display, and at 252 ppi, it falls considerably short of Apple's 326 ppi Retina Display in terms of sharpness.



Nokia rates the model as having a longer 3G talk time but a shorter 2G talk time compared to Apple's own iPhone ratings, although the battery life tests between Apple and Nokia are not standardized and therefore not necessarily comparable. Nokia also does not outline a rated battery life for WiFi web browsing, watching video or listening to music as Apple does.

Compared to the previous N9, the similar Lumia 800 includes half as much RAM and no 64GB storage option, but a slightly larger (but still integrated) battery. This indicates Nokia is aiming at establishing even its higher end model at a price point affordable to the mass market. It plans to sell the model for 420 Euros (about $580), making it about the same price as iPhone 4 (which is $599 unlocked in the US for the new 8GB version) and slightly cheaper than $699 and up iPhone 4S.

However, Apple reportedly commands 40 percent greater subsidies from carriers, which would tend to make Apple's devices appear $200 cheaper than alternatives in the same market.

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