Nokia Reveals Budget Friendly 520 and 720 Lumia Smartphones [Hands-On]

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Nokia took the opportunity of the world’s largest stage for mobile technology to introduce a few new affordable smartphones that we should be seeing sometime this year.

The Nokia Lumia 720 will come in as a midrange Windows 8 phone with a high-end camera. That camera will feature a 6.7 MP lens with Carl Zeiss optics and f/1.9 aperture. The front-facing camera will be 1.3 MP and, like the rear-facing camera, will have a wide-angle lens.

Inside, there’ll be a Snapdragon S4 processor, a holdover from last year’s mobile phones, but by no means poor in the way of providing processing power to a phone. You’ll see a 4.3” WVGA 800 x 480 IPS display, which is probably the most glaring indication that this is, by some measure, a budget smartphone. 8 GB of storage come standard on the phone, which can be expanded using a MicroSD card. NFC will also be baked in. There will be no 4G connectivity of any sort, but the battery life will be much longer than high-end, high-powered smartphones. The 720 will be out in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Vietnam during Q1, followed by other markets in Europe, Africa, and Asia, including China and India, in Q2. It’ll be priced at €249, excluding taxes and subsidies.

The Nokia Lumia 520 is set to be Nokia’s cheapest Windows 8 phone. This one will also run on a Snapdragon S4, and will have a 4” IPS display, with the same resolution as the 720. You’ll have a 5 MP rear-facing camera with f/2.4 aperture, albeit with no Carl Zeiss optical technology. It also looks like there won’t be a front-facing camera on this one, and you’ll also have to do without NFC and 4G connectivity. There’s the same 8 GB of storage, and there will be a MicroSD card slot. The 520 will come out in Hong Kong and Vietnam in Q1, followed by a wider global release in Q2, which should include the United States via T-Mobile, as the Lumia 521. The 520 will sell for €139 before taxes and subsidies. Pricing and availability for the Lumia 521 is still unknown.

Both of those phones will come loaded with the Here suite of apps – that’s the new name given to all of Nokia’s location and navigation services, like Maps, Transit, and Drive. Nokia is saying those services will become available to non-Nokia Windows 8 phones in the future. Here Maps will also feature LiveSight, Nokia’s own augmented reality technology.

Nokia also announced the Nokia 105 and Nokia 301, both of which are basic cell phones aimed strictly at emerging markets. The 105 will become available in some markets around the globe sometime during Q1 for €15. The 301 will be along the same lines as the 105, but will have 3.5G connectivity for use with the Nokia Xpress browser, and a better camera. That one has a planned global Q2 release, and will sell for €65.

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