first impressions

Taking a look at Nokia's problem-solving Lumia 525

Last year, Nokia introduced the Lumia 520, a lost-cost solution to those who want a Windows Phone in emerging markets. As it turns out, demand was much higher than anyone anticipated. Nearly a year later and the 520 is one of the best-selling Windows Phones around. It’s a great low-risk way to experience Windows Phone and it opens the door to higher end options. But if the Lumia 520 had one flaw, it was the amount of RAM.

Windows Phone 8 can run easily on 512 MB devices, but some higher end games (and a handful of apps) need some good memory optimization before they can run smoothly. That usually happens, but it can take months after the initial release. Microsoft is confident this will go away as developers target 512 MB devices in the future, but up until now, there hasn’t been a low-cost 1 GB Lumia to get around this problem.

The Lumia 525 fixes that by simply bumping the RAM to 1 GB. So, can lightning strike twice for Nokia? Watch my unboxing and first impressions of Nokia's device to find out.

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I reviewed the Lumia 1520 and even did a follow up on living with the monster 6-inch Windows Phone. Today, I’m taking a look at the brand new Lumia 1320, a more budget friendly version of the high end Nokia device. Running between $350 and $400 off contract in various markets, including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, the Lumia 1320 looks to be a winner for those wanting something a bit larger.

My Lumia 1320 just showed up, so we figured we would show you folks around the latest Lumia to grace our site. So grab a hot coffee and watch the unboxing video with a quick device tour. We’ll even throw in some high quality photos as well.

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We go hands on with AT&T's latest Windows Phone, the ATIV S Neo

This past weekend, AT&T released the Samsung ATIV S Neo, their first Windows Phone 8 Samsung device. Released earlier this year on Sprint, the ATIV S Neo is a version 1.1 of the original ATIV S—more slight refinements than an overhaul.

Samsung was once again not interested in promoting their device so we had to go out and buy the phone ourselves, instead of a standard review unit. The phone runs for $99 on contract or $420 off and while many Lumia fans won’t find much to gawk over, the phone is a solid entry into the Windows Phone category.

We’ll be following up with a full review in a bit, but here are our quick impressions of the latest Windows Phone 8 device for AT&T. Check out our video tour and high resolution photos after the break!

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Another month and another Lumia device is ready to launch from our favorite Finnish Windows Phone manufacturer. This time around it is the Lumia 625, an expansion of the Lumia 6xx series including its smaller cousin the 4-inch Lumia 620.

The Lumia 625 is Nokia’s attempt to continue to hammer the entry level market for smartphones by giving users a choice in design and features. While not as feature packed as the 8xx or higher Lumia series, the 620 and 625 offer some premium features for a low cost.

The big selling point of the Lumia 625? Its massive 4.7-inch 800x480 IPS display, which contrasts dramatically with the 3.8-inch Lumia 620’s screen. In the same series you have Nokia’s largest and smallest display offerings, which is quite interesting.

Head past the break to see our unboxing video, first impressions and some high quality photos of this compelling Windows Phone.

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There's something very familiar about Sprint's new HTC 8XT Windows Phone. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

The 8XT has the fit and feel of the HTC 8X and an appearance influenced by the HTC 8S. The colored front panel gives the Windows Phone a little pop to it's appearance and If you liked the HTC 8X, you'll like the 8XT just fine.

Sprint's re-entry into the Windows Phone market measures 5.2 x 2.6 x .39 inches and weighs in at 4.9 ounces. It shares the curved backing and soft, rubbery finish the 8X has and feels rather comfortable in the hand.

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So everyone's excited about the Lumia 925, which has just been released by Nokia. Should you reside in the UK you'll be able to pick one up immediately from multiple sources, but if you're simply interested to see what all the fuss is about, we've got you covered. Hit past the break to see our initial hands-on action with the Lumia 925, as well as a few snaps.

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Another week, another unboxing and first impressions! If this didn’t take so much work, we could get used to this many devices coming out (mostly from Nokia).

This week is the low-cost but high-value Lumia 521, T-Mobile svelte variant of the Lumia 520. The phone ranges from just $30 on T-Mo’s “uncontract” to a still super cheap $150 with no strings attached. Do we really need to point out how crazy low that is for a brand spanking new Windows Phone 8 device in 2013?

Head past the break for some luscious shots of the 521 (if I can brag about my camera work) and our unboxing/hands on with the device, along with my initial thoughts.

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Just as we’re wrapping up our Lumia 520 review, our Lumia 720 showed up today - in yellow no less. Huzzah! So instead of keeping it to ourselves we figured we’d unbox and give a brief tour of the newest mid-range Lumia with Windows Phone 8.

As you’ll be able to determine from the video, we’re really excited about this phone. Fetching for ~$350 off contract, the Lumia 720 has a lot going for it...

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The JBL Nokia PowerUp speaker, much like the Lumia 920, is hard to find these days with supplies running low from many retailers. In fact, cyan and white versions of the pricey accessory are quite rare with black being a lot easier to purchase.

Ours just showed up today so we figured we would give you a quick unboxing and our initial thoughts on the experience. The JBL Nokia PowerUP packs two 10W  2.5” full range drivers, Qi wireless charging, NFC for instant pairing and of course Bluetooth 2.1 streaming all for $250-299, depending on where you go.

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We just got our hands on the new HTC 8X Windows Phone from AT&T and it makes a nice first impression. Launched today with the Nokia Lumia 920 and 820, we are hearing supplies are limited for the new HTC Windows Phone.

This was the only 8X my local AT&T Store received and I was told more are due tomorrow and Monday.  You also have the option to order the 8X online over at AT&T's website.

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Samsung is back in...white...with the Focus 2 on AT&T. What do I think of it after a few hours? Let's find out.

For many of us, the original Samsung Focus (review) was our first foray into the Windows Phone world. And truth be told, it was an excellent experience. With it's 4" Super AMOLED screen, slick design, light body and decent (for the time) camera, the Samsung Focus set the precedent. Recent numbers also reflect that status with upwards of 90% of AT&Ts first generation Windows Phone being the Focus.

Today, AT&T and Samsung have released the Focus 2, a moderate update to the original design (check out today's unboxing video). Eschewing glossy black for the new hip white, dropping in a faster 1.4GHz CPU and adding 4G LTE are the most notable changes. Adding a more rounded design with some updated sensors and cameras are the more under-the-hood type differences.

So how does it stack up in the first few hours I've been toying with it? For $50 on contract or $399 off, the Focus 2 is a nimble little guy that has certainly caught my attention.

The feel of the device is really good in the hands albeit a touch slippery. The roundness of the device, while slick, makes it a joy to hold and at 4" for the screen size, it's a more natural fit. The chrome accent adds a touch of class and while the device is very plastic, it doesn't feel cheap. The buttons have an interesting layout with the volume keys to the left, power and camera to the right. While odd, it does make it less confusing than the Lumia 900's where they are all lumped together on the same side. Travel of the keys is good and they're tactile with no rattle.

The Super AMOLED screen is really brilliant but obviously not as good as the Lumia 900's. Still, it holds its own and it's great to look at while not getting to grimy.

Audio quality is moderate with very little distortion when maxed out. It's a touch tinny but not by much.

The camera is surprisingly good even at 5MP, in fact forgetting the loss of resolution, it's as good if not better than the Nokia Lumia 900's. While it doesn't really contain any advanced settings e.g. no anti-shake or panorama, photos are well detailed and pleasing to the eye. We do however recommend turning up sharpness and contrast a smidge more to make the most of it.

Any extras worth reporting on? No, not really. There are the advanced GPS settings (GLONASS) and Samsung's "extra settings" present but other than that it has the same wallpapers as other Samsung Windows Phones and their regular cheesy ringtones.

Overall though, we're impressed and like the Focus 2 a ton. It feels great in the hand, is fun to use and makes a solid addition to AT&T's lineup. I'm going to have little problem adding it to my repertoire of Windows Phones.

Check after the break for a few more pics of the device and a couple camera samples (compared to the Lumia 900)...

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Our first impressions of the new Samsung Focus 2 from AT&T

AT&T has yet another Windows Phone on their store shelves today. It is the Samsung Focus 2, a 4" Super AMOLED screened white Windows Phone.

And it's not too shabby.

We picked one up this morning at our local AT&T store and the Focus 2 makes a nice first impression. Measuring 4.79" x 2.47" x .43" and weighing in at 4.3 ounces, the Focus 2 is very comparable in size with its older brother the Samsung Focus (4.84” x 2.56” x 0.39” and 4.1 ounces).

The Focus 2 fits comfortably in the hand and has a compact feel, especially after using the HTC Titan II for the past month. Screen quality is as you would expect from a Super AMOLED screen, rich saturation and contrast. I'm partial to a larger screen but the 4" screen on the Focus 2 looks nice. I still have reservations on having a white Windows Phone but we'll see how well things hold up over the next few days.

The Focus 2 is powered by a 1750mah battery and moves along rather nicely with the 1.4ghz processor. The Focus 2 is fitted with 8gb of memory, a 5mp rear camera, VGA front facing camera, and is 4G LTE compatible. Now before you moan and groan about the Focus 2 only having 8gb of storage, remember this is an entry level Windows Phone. Plus with SkyDrive gaining momentum, you have a solid off-device storage option.

Overall, the AT&T Samsung Focus 2 makes a nice first impression. We're going to take the Focus 2 out for a test drive over the next few days and will get a full review up on the site shortly. With the Focus 2 running $49.99 under contract, we'll also see how the Focus 2 compares to the Nokia Lumia 900 (as well as the Lumia 710) to see how these two sub-$100 Windows Phones match up.

Stay tuned, there's more to come and after the break, check out our unboxing video...

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The FedEx truck dropped of AT&T's latest Windows Phone from HTC earlier today. While Nokia's Lumia 900 is getting most of the spotlight, the HTC Titan II is quietly landing on AT&T's store shelves on April 8th and it makes a very impressive first impression.

Okay... here's the tell of the tape. The Titan II measures in at 5.2 x 2.7 x .50 inches and weighs only 5.18 ounces. The original Titan measures in at 5.14 x 2.78 x .39 and weighs 5.6 ounces. And for those curious, the Nokia Lumia 900 measures in at 5.03 x 2.7 x .45 inches and weighs 5.6 ounces. These three phones are extremely comparable in size, weight and feel.

The Titan II's 4.7" Super LCD looks great and is backed by a 1.5GHz Snapdragon processor.  You'll find 512mb of RAM and 16GB of storage under the hood. Speaking of the 4.7" screen, it has a unique shape in that as the face of the Titan II reaches the three front buttons, it curves out. Not really sure why it's designed this way but it gives the Titan II just enough contour to make it feel really good in the hand.

Unlike the Titan, the Titan II does not have a removable battery. There is a SIM card cover but no battery access. And where the Titan has a bare metal back, the Titan II has a rubbery finish on the back that gives the Windows Phone a little more gripability.

HTC has done a very good job at improving upon the design of the Titan with this new Windows Phone. The volume, camera and power buttons are textured to give them a better feel, the 3.5mm headphone jack isn't as recessed to give you a better connection, and the unibody design just works.

Oh... did I forget to mention the 16mp rear camera?  I'm really curious to see how the Titan II's camera performs.  The Titan II uses the same BSI Sensor that is found on the HTC Titan and Radar which helps handle low light situations a lot better.  My main curiosity is how well the small sensor handles the larger resolutions.

Titan II or Lumia 900? I've got both and based on fit and feel alone, it's a coin toss. Over the next few days I'll take the Titan II out for a test run and get a full review up on the site shortly. From there, we'll also take a look at both the Lumia 900 and Titan II side by side to give you a better idea how these two Windows Phones compare.

Stay tuned for there is definitely more to come.

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Woo, it only took a couple of weeks to get our Mugen 1950mAh battery for the HTC Titan, but it's finally here.

The battery has about 350mAh of more juice than the standard 1600mAh battery that the Titan comes with, giving it a claimed 22% more power on the go. Will it live up to the hype? We'll put it through its paces over the next week or so to get some good cycles out of it and compare it to our standard battery (we'll use WP Bench as well as the Battery reporting feature of Windows Phone).

So far though we haven't had any issues and all is working well. The battery is a tiny bit heavier and clearly slightly larger than the standard. Oh and Mugen was great when our inept local USPS office decided to send it back to China (hence the delay), so kudos on easy customers support.

For those looking for even more power, there's the redonkulous 3600mAh battery now available too. Clearly that one will have a "hump" on it though.

Update: It appears is you use the discount code "YOUHTC" you'll get a nice 7% discount on the price of the battery.  Not sure how long the discount will last but the original discount code "FACEBOOK" has expired.  Thanks MadSci2 for the tip!

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The Nokia Lumia 710 is expected to hit T-Mobile's shelve on January 11, 2012 and will run just under $50 after contractual discounts . It will be the first Nokia Windows Phone for the U.S. Market and we've gotten our hands on one.

First impressions? The 710 is a very nice, compact Windows Phone. Feels solid in the hand and the screen looks great.

The Lumia 710 is slightly smaller than T-Mobile's other Windows Phone, the HTC Radar, separated by only tenths of an inch. The Lumia 710 has a 3.7" screen while the Radar sports a 3.8" screen.  The Lumia 710 is also very similar in size to the AT&T Samsung Focus Flash with the Flash being slightly smaller and lighter in size.

 

  Nokia Lumia 710 HTC Radar Samsung Focus Flash Size 4.69 x 2.46 x .49 4.7 x 2.4 x .43 4.57 x 2.31 x .27 Weight 4.4 ounces 4.83 ounces 4.1 ounces

The Lumia 710 is fitted with 512mb RAM, 8GB of storage, a 5mp camera, and 1300mah battery.  As with other second generation Windows Phones, the Lumia 710 comes across as a well built, solid phone but due to smaller storage space, the lack of a front facing camera and other specs it may not appeal to everyone.

We'll take the Lumia 710 out for a test drive over the next few days and get a full review up on the site shortly thereafter. If there's anything in particular you'd like us to look at, speak up in the comments.

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The TITAN has finally landed on AT&T! Possibly one of the most talked about and anticipated second-generation Windows Phones, the HTC Titan (we're not capitalizing it every time, sorry) lives up to its name. It's also hard to find in stores.  But the massive 4.7" inch device with a 1.5GHz CPU, 8MP rear camera (arguably the best of the lot), a 1.3MP front camera and 16GB of storage (12.5GB available) is certainly worthy of your time to hunt down.

We managed to get our grubby hands on it and we go over it in the video after the break, comparing it to the int'l version.

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AT&T, as expected, released the Samsung Focus Flash and Focus S today. We've already shared our first impressions on the Focus S and now we turn our sites on the Focus Flash.

The Focus Flash is a compact Windows Phone sporting a 3.7" Super AMOLED screen. The phone comes across as well built and comfortable in the hand. The Flash weighs in at 4.1 ounces which is strangely .2 ounces heavier than the larger Focus S.  It's virtually identical to the Omnia 7 and comparable in feel to the HTC Surround (but thinner and lighter) and the HTC Radar (tad shorter).  The phone is 4G compatible which will be a nice thing once 4G service becomes more widely available.

Having only tinkered with the Flash for a short time it makes a nice impression. Here are my initial reservations. First the size may not appeal to everyone. If you like compact phones, you'll love the Flash. Next, the Flash is fitted with 8GB of storage and doesn't have an expansion slot. After all is said and done with preloaded software, you are left with just over 6GB of storage left. Some may see this as too restrictive.

Even though there are some reservations with the Focus Flash, the Windows Phone makes a nice first impression. The screen looks fantastic, the 1.4GHz processor moves things along nicely, and I like the physical Start button.

The Focus Flash is running about $399 out of contract from AT&T and we've seen contractual discounts dropping the price as low as $.01 (here at AmazonWireless).  Could we tag the Flash as a Windows Phone for the budget minded?

I'll echo Dan's earlier thoughts in that it's nearly impossible to say which is the best Windows Phone out there. HTC, Nokia, and Samsung have all stepped it up by producing quality second generation phones. Again, this means you don't have to worry about the quality of the phones but instead, concentrate on finding the Windows Phone that fits your personal needs/tastes best.

Look for a full review of the AT&T Samsung Focus Flash in a few days.

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We mentioned last night on Twitter we have a lot of new phones here at WPCentral. First up was the Radar 4G, next is the Lumia 800 and today we have the HTC Titan (look for some new Samsung stuff too).

The HTC Titan is expected to launch here in the US on AT&T in the coming weeks, so we figured we give the unlocked version a go. The device is quite massive with a 4.7" Super LCD screen, 1.5GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM, 12.6GB of available storage, an 8MP rear camera with a 1.3MP front facing one and a solid, smooth case.

Here's the phone's strengths: beautifully designed, excellent cameras, gorgeous screen and it's fast. But is it too big? You'll see it compared to the HD7 in the video and yes, while it is large, it's not too noticeable. Then again, if you're on a subway or in a metro region, you will get some head turns and stares when you pull it out to check your email.

More coming up in the next few days. Throw our your questions and we'll try to answer 'em either in comments or in the review.

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