Microsoft hasn't made much of a dent in the smartphone market, but perhaps its upcoming Windows Phone 8 operating system will change that. The OS should get some help from a couple of new Nokia handsets, the Lumia 820 and Lumia 920. Both devices run Windows Phone 8 and come in an array of brightly colored polycarbonate cases that match WP8's tiled UI. They certainly have a distinct sense of style, and the hardware looks promising.
The Lumia 920 flagship is defined by a 4.5" screen with a 1280x768 display resolution. Do the math, and that works out to 332 PPI, or about the same pixel density as the Retina display in the iPhone 4S. Like the iPhone, the 920 uses an IPS panel. The Lumia 820 has a smaller, 4.3" screen based on AMOLED technology, and it has a display resolution of just 800x480. The Lumia 820's pixel density works out to a less impressive 217 PPI.
When it introduced the new Lumias, Nokia made a big deal about the fact that their touchscreens work even when the user is wearing gloves. This Super Sensitive Touch tech comes from Synaptics, whose ClearPad Series 3 touchscreens are used by both devices. Alas, neither employs the latency-reducing Series 4 touchscreen we saw last month.
Although they have different displays, the Lumias both use dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processors clocked at 1.5GHz. Both devices come with a gig of RAM, as well, but there are some differences on the storage front. The Lumia 920 has 32GB of built-in flash, while the 820 must make do with 8GB. Only the Lumia 820 comes with a memory card slot, a feature Executive Vice President Kevin Shields says "would have defiled" the 920's design. Way to put form over function, Nokia. The 820's memory slot, which appears to reside under the case's rear cover, clearly ruins the aesthetic of that model.
Users can swap the 820's rear shell for one that offers wireless charging via a special mat. Wireless charging is built into the Lumia 920, which appears to have a fixed case. Let's hope the batteries are easily accessible on both devices. The 920's 2000 mAh battery promises 10 hours of 3G talk time, while the 820's 1650 mAh unit is rated for 8 hours.
Naturally, the Lumias support 4G broadband networks in addition to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC. They both have integrated cameras with fancy lenses, and the 920 promises blur-free videos thanks to special image stabilization tech. Nokia has already caught some flak for misrepresenting that feature in the debut video; the company has since apologized and posted an accurate depiction of the Lumia's image stabilization in action.
There's still no official word on availability or pricing, rather important details in the grand scheme of things. I suspect the latter may be tweaked in response to Apple's iPhone 5, whose announcement next week and will surely come hand-in-hand with a price cut for the current model.
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