Nokia look keen to claw back their share of the mobile phone market from Samsung, who overtook them in terms of market share last year, as they reveal another round of low cost phones.
First the super low cost 105 and 301 were announced, now Nokia have announced two new smartphones for the Lumia range that are aimed at emerging markets and low budget phone users.
First there is the Nokia Lumia 520, which will be the lowest priced Windows 8 phone on the market, priced at just £139.
For this low price users can expect a complete smartphone experience, there are a few setbacks but generally Nokia have tried to deliver quality alongside the low price.
Firstly there is the quite generous processing power offered by Nokia’s 4-inch budget smartphone, which was announced this week at the Mobile World Congress.
The power under the hood of the 520 comes from Qualcomm, who have provided their MSM8227 CPU for the low-end Lumia phone. This unit has two Krait cores which will hit speeds of 1GHz. This is the same processor as the HTC Windows Phone 8S, which retails for around £240.
Qualcomm’s CPU is paired with an Adreno 305 GPU as well as boasting 512MB of RAM. This combination won’t blow any minds but sounds more than adequate for web surfing, media playback and playing games.
Memory is another strong point for the 520. Internally there is an adequate 8GB available, however what’s really useful is the microSD slot, which will support cards up to the impressive size of 64GB.
Final touches on the phone that may impress include the screen resolution and operating system. The 4-inch IPS LCD features a resolution of 800 x 480, which results in a pixel density of around 233 ppi.
To put this figure in context it is not going to compare with high end devices that feature a ppi of 300-400 but it is actually higher than Nokia’s mid ranged Lumia 820 which has a ppi of 217.
Like the newer editions in the Lumia series the 520 will be powered by the refreshing and visually impressive Windows 8 OS, however unlike newer additions users will miss out on LTE (4G) web browsing.
There are a few downsides for the 520, the most significant of which is the camera. Whilst the 5MP offering isn’t too shabby, especially for the price, the lack of flash could be a deal breaker for potential users. There is also no front camera which was, along with flash, probably left out to drive down cost.
At just 1430 mAh the battery may be another aspect of the 520 which might put off potential punters. This just seems a bit meager considering the battery is to power a dual core processor on a 4-inch display, however Nokia claim that the 520 will have a standby time of 360 hours and a music playback time of 61 hours, with talk time coming in at 9.6 hours.
The second handset announced by Nokia to fit into the Lumia family is the 720, which again has market inclusion in mind.
The mid-range handset will be retailed for £250, which is around £100 cheaper than the current mid-ranged Lumia handset, the 820.
Again this price is incredibly cheap for what is on offer, as the camera on the 720 could be ranked up there with some of the best currently on offer.
The spec tells us that the 720 will feature a 6.7 megapixel camera, but before you scoff other specs have to be considered. The really impressive bit of kit in terms of the camera is the F1.9 aperture, which beats the high-end Nokia Lumia 920, the HTC One and many other leading smartphones on the market.
Aperture basically denotes how much light comes through the lens and the more light through the lens the better photos come out, especially in low light. On top of this there has been confirmation that backside-illumination (BSI) sensor design has been included, which again lets more light through the camera’s sensor, so despite not having as high MP count as others it might take sharper photos than many leading phones.
Alongside this impressive rear camera there is also a strong front-facing camera, which will offer a HD resolution of 1,280×960, with F2.4 and a slightly wider angle which will be great for photos of larger groups.
In terms of processing power the 720 has a piece of cutting edge tech at its disposal. It features Qualcomm’s SnapDragon S4 chipset, which was only unveiled earlier this year at CES. The S4 is a 1GHz dual-core processor and for a mid-range handset should clock impressive speeds.
Much like the 520 the 720 does have its downsides, the main one of which is the 512MB of RAM that accompanies the processor. This sort of RAM is to be expected on lower end models but for a mid-range phone it might prove a bit sluggish, especially for users who want to switch quickly between apps.
The 720 will hold the same 2,000mAh battery that features in the high end Lumia 920, and should perform even stronger in the newer device due to its lower spec.
An appealing aspect, especially for any clumsy phone users out there, of the 720 is the fact that it’s 4.3inch screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 2. This means most accidental drops shouldn’t result in a cracked screen.
Unlike it’s low budget cousin the 720 will feature the wireless charging which accompanied both the 820 and 920 Lumia models.
However there are similarities between the two, for example the 720 is also not LTE ready and has an internal memory of 8GB with the option to expand to 64GB through the microSD card slot.
Both handsets seem to be considerably thinner and less bulky than some other members of the Lumia family, with the 520 weighing in at 124g and the 720 coming in at 128g.
Finally both handsets will also offer the super-sensitive screens that allow for use even with gloves on, as well as being Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled.
Release date is still to be confirmed but we can expect these new additions to the Lumia family to be hitting European shelfs in the second quarter, which could mean anything from April through to June.
So there are the specs for Nokia’s two new additions to the Lumia family, clearly they’re attempting to increase their market share by offering the smartphones at deliriously low prices and aside from the cheaper 520’s sub-par camera both seem like well rounded smartphones that could appeal to large sections of the global market.