We take a hands-on look at Nokia's first Windows Phones, the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710, set for release in Australia next month.
As we covered a little while back, the long-awaited local debut of Nokia's first Windows Phones
will soon take place, with Nokia and Microsoft gearing up for next month's launch with a special media preview event today in Sydney. March will see the release of the first two handsets in Nokia's Windows Phone range: the Lumia 800, the flagship model we've discussed previously, which outwardly resembles last year's Nokia N9
; and also the budget-oriented Lumia 710.
From Nokia's marketing point of view, the star of the show is unreservedly the Lumia 800 (above), which will retail for $699. With a snappy Windows Phone 7.5 Mango UI, it's decidedly colourful if you opt for the blue or magenta options (it's also available in black) and will definitely stand out more than the relatively staid WP7 handsets we've seen thus far from HTC and LG. The Lumia 800's unibody casing houses a 1.4GHz single-core processor, 3.7-inch 800 x 480 WVGA display, 16GB onboard storage, 512MB RAM and 8MP camera.
Eager to augment the WP7 platform's visibility -- which is still undeniably a distant choice for users behind Apple's iOS and devices running Google's Android OS -- Microsoft is clearly trying to make the most of Windows Phone's PC brand heritage, with David McLean, Microsoft's Regional Director for Entertainment and Devices, today hinting at how the company's smartphone OS may evolve to tie progressively more into Windows 8 later in the year: "In Australia the vast majority of consumers use a PC running Windows. This phone is an extension of that brand: The only phone where you'll be able to prepare yourselves for what's coming next
But while the Lumia 800 is soaking up most of the attention, the humbler 710 (above), which will retail for $379, is also worth a mention. Unlike the 800, which will be available on plans from all carriers, the 710 will only be offered by Optus and Virgin Mobile (but will also be available outright at retail). It runs Mango on the same 3.7-inch WVGA display via the same processor but downsizes onboard storage to 8GB, while the camera resolution drops to 5MP. The Lumia 710 will be available in black or white, with changeable rear covers available in a range of colours if you're so inclined.