The expectations were very high regarding Nokia’s Windows Phones probably comparable to Apple’s next iPhone which turned out to be the 4S rather than the 5 and the shock waves are coming in after the official unveiling of the Nokia Lumia 710 and 800. Are the two Nokia Windows Phones really a disappointment?
Of course no manufacturer can please all the segments of a market that is so varied by definition. While some users want something in particular, others will most probably not like the manufacturer’s choice. That’s why we are lucky to have a variety of options at all times. Does Nokia have what it takes?
The screen size factor
It’s really a thing of personal preference (and nothing else) when it comes down to screen sizes. Some love smaller screens and some are fans of bigger ones. What works is really depending on your tastes and there really isn’t a general sweet spot when it comes to display dimensions. Apple is sticking to its 3.5 inch display on the iPhone 4S (believing it is the optimal dimension for one-handed operation) while other manufacturers went as high as 5.3-inches in the case of the Galaxy Note or 4.7 on the HTC Titan.
Many will be happy about the 3.7-inch screens on the Lumias just as many will probably find them too small. Did you know that the majority of wave-one Windows Phones had sub-four-inch-displays? Aside from the one-handed operation, there is also a technical issue to consider. Windows Phone is currently only supporting WVGA resolution and, as such, it really makes a huge difference whether your screen is 4.7-inches or 3.7-inches. Just think about the PPI. 198.5 PPI on the Titan vs 252.15 PPI on the Lumias.
While still talking about the display, Nokia’s ClearBlack AMOLED display really delivers. We’ve seen it in action on the Nokia N9 and, compared to the Super AMOLED Plus on the Galaxy S II, it really is up there, competing head to head with the latest and greatest Android display.
The design factor
We’re not sure whether Nokia is trying to reduce production and R&D costs or is just recycling designs but the Nokia Lumia 800 is looking just like the Nokia N9 and the Nokia Lumia 710 looks like the Nokia 603‘s twin brother. We’ll be honest here and give Nokia the benefit of the doubt in (maybe) having in mind successful designs and applying them to same-category but different-platform-powered phones.
The Nokia factor
Nokia is a strong brand but, as a company, it had its fair share of roller-coaster ride. Many regard Microsoft as being Nokia’s last chance (and vice versa). What we’ve learned over the years from the Finnish manufacturer is the exceptional build quality, great cameras and the attention to detail. Nokia phones have set out a standard when it comes to quality, let it be premium or budget products. Will the branding at the top of the phones be enough for them to compete with other manufacturers which are already on the market, like HTC or Samsung? The answer probably varies with your geographical location.
The Navigation factor
Yes, there are third party turn-by-turn navigation solutions out there and Bing itself is doing a great job in getting you from A to B. Here’s where Nokia Maps come in, as they’re known for being one of the best maps around. Nokia is bundling free, voice-guided, 3D, turn-by-turn navigation software in its Lumia phones, just as it did/does with its Symbian devices and the MeeGopowered N9. It will probably not be a wow-factor that on its own can help you make your mind up but how about if we couple it with some others?
The Camera factor
This alone is a real heavy-weight. We all have to agree that current Windows Phones aren’t excellent camera-phones mainly because the hardware used isn’t the best around, maybe because the software isn’t fully optimized to take advantage of the imaging hardware.
Nokia’s top-class camera-phones all come with Carl Zeiss optics, and we really don’t need to elaborate on what that means. As with any high-end Nokia camera-phone (like the N9 or the N8), the Lumia 800 comes with an f2.2 camera using Carl Zeiss Tessar optics which are marketed to bring exceptional image and video quality with a simple press of a button. Will the Lumia 800 top other Windows Phones out there in terms of camera quality? Probably yes, camera is one of the main selling point of premium Nokia devices.
We’ve seen pros and cons and it will be really interesting to see whether Nokia will manage to get back on track. We’ve got big names here: Microsoft and Nokia. Those should account for something! Then there’s the Nokia quality plus the exclusive offerings like Nokia Maps, which come as a premium but free bundle once you get a phone made by the Finnish company. Let us know of your thoughts on whether the Nokia-factor is enough for both Nokia and Microsoft to really get back in the game.