We began CES day two with a good hands on with the Lumia 710, Lumia 800 and Lumia 900, and a conversation about the devices with Jason Gregor and Vance Kim of Nokia. The 800 was really playing a supporting role as it’s the other two devices which will be available from T-Mobile and AT&T in the USA.
The Lumia 900 is a very nice device. It has the same polycarbonate uni-body shell like the N9 and Lumia 800. There are differences though externally. The Lumia 900 has a front facing camera at the top of the screen, the screen itself is flat rather than curved, and the flash is in the same spot as the N9 rather than the Lumia 800. Like the Lumia 800, it has 3 capacitive buttons beneath the screen. The screen is 4.3″ so significantly bigger than the N9 and Lumia 900 but it is also slightly thinner then either of these devices. This means although it’s big, it isn’t too big in the hand, and really feels quite nice to hold. One last noteworthy difference is that the Micro USB port is uncovered on the Lumia 900 whereas on the 800 and N9 it’s under a small flap, that frankly, is frustrating to have to open and close al the time, and feels like the only part of the phone likely to break, so certainly, I think this is a good decision by the designers of the Lumia 900.
Internally it will run Windows Phone 7.5 on a 1.4Ghz Qualcomm processor, with 512MB ram, and 16GB internal storage. The battery has been beefed up to 1830mAh to keep the large screen and LTE radios going for longer. The camera is the same 8MP unit as the N9 and Lumia 800 but there will be some software improvements around the camera before the Lumia 900 releases. The technology behind that screen is the same AMOLED ClearBlack screen made with Gorilla Glass and it does look great with deep blacks and colors that pop. Oh, and sadly, I can say that the rumour about it being pentaband – not true. The pentaband radio rumour probably came about because it supports LTE Band 4 (1700/2100) – this is the same as T-Mobiles 3G frequencies, but an incompatible technology.
Software wise it is the same Windows Phone 7.5 we know, but there will be at lease one unexpected difference with the compared to the Lumia 800 and 710. It will ship without Nokia Drive. AT&T wanted their navigation software installed instead. Still, you can always go to the Nokia Collection in the marketplace and install it for free.
No news on pricing or availability except to say it will be a lifetime exclusive to AT&T so don’t look for it unlocked, and that you will be able to get it from AT&T stores before the end of Q1 of this year. You should find it in both cyan and black. If you do want one and yo are not on AT&T, if you are able to unlock it, it should work on most European networks, but T-Mobile users in the USA will be stuck on 2G only.
You can see more info about the Lumia 900 from Nokia US here.
The Lumia 710 is out now for T-Mobile $50 on contract or $350 at full price. It’s aimed by Nokia at first time smartphone users. That seems appropriate for this device, which is a US exclusive on T-Mobile but will also be available in north America from Rogers in Canda.
It’s a slightly fatter version of the Nokia 603 but running Windows Phone. This brings a nicely curved shape that fits well in the hand, and with a power/lock button on the top rather than the side. It has a 3.7″ Gorilla Glass LCD screen which uses ClearBlack technology and looks really nice, although not as nice as the AMOLED in the other devices. It comes in both black and white versions with changeable back covers. Jason had a white one with yellow back and I really liked the look of it. We may find 3rd party back covers too but apparently T-Mobile has no plans to make any and also won’t stock Nokia’s in store. If you fancy a different back on your phone you might have to head to the internet.
Internally it has a 1.4Ghz processor, 512MB ram but only 8GB of memory (supplemented by the 25GB Skydrive that Microsoft will give you for getting one). Unlike the 900 it has no front facing camera and the back camera is only a 5MP with single LED flash.
An oddity is something missing at T-Mobiles request, but unlike AT&T requesting software taken out, the thing you won’t find when you get a T-Mobile one is a hands free headset. At the T-Mobile booth I was told this is because customers prefer to buy a Bluetooth set. Personally, I still think they should have left a wired one in the box.
Interestingly, the US version of the Lumia 710 will support 3G bands for both AT&T and T-Mobile even though it is a T-Mobile exclusive. This is because during development, AT&T were bidding to buy T-Mobile and so Nokia wanted to ensure compatibility with both networks – a deal which died in December, well after the hardware spec was locked down. This means the 710 will work on 3G speeds on pretty much any GSM network in the world. So any AT&T customers liking the look of the 710 can get one from T-Mobile and get it unlocked, it will work just fine on AT&T.
You can see more info about the Lumia 710 from Nokia US here.
So this is the predecessor and smaller version of the Lumia 900. It has the same curved screen as the Nokia N9, which is also AMOLED, but now only 3.7″ to make room for the Windows Phone buttons. It also has 16GB internal memory and a 1450mAh battery.
It didn’t feature much in our discussion except as a comparison to the other two devices, but it feels nice in the hand, probably the nicest of the three in my opinion. It is coming to the US unlocked in the next month or so, and also coming to Telus, the Canadian network. The US unlocked version, sadly, will only support the 3G frequencies of AT&T and not T-Mobile – a real shame in my opinion.
One thing worth a mention is that the north American releases of all these devices will come with some exclusive content. ESPN CNN, EA and Univision all have deals with Nokia, and it sounds like apps from these companies will most likely be exclusive to Nokia for at least 3 months (I don’t think they are all the same length). And of course, Nokia has people
writing apps too, like Drive, Maps and more, which will be available from the Nokia Collection in the Marketplace. Oh, and for those of you hoping to find Nokia Music here, sadly Nokia doesn’t have the right music licenses in the US yet to offer the streaming service that is available in Europe, and makes a key feature of the app. Therefore, Nokia Music won’t be included on US devices.
Overall, it was an informative and interesting chance to meet people directly involved with the products and ask questions. You can see a video of some of the conversation with Vance Kim over at Mobile Fanatics, and Nokia Innovations also has pictures and video from the breakfast. So thanks to Nokia and Nokia Connects for giving me this unique opportunity.