Microsoft and Nokia have worked to create a new smartphone that could challenge the iPhone 4S. Not just in the tech specs and operating system, but at a design level that Apple is so famous for. Nokia is already the world's leader in mobile phone sales, and the Microsoft combo could be the first step toward their being one of the top three high-end smartphone makers behind Apple and Samsung (or Motorola).

The high-end Nokia Lumia 800 debuted Oct 26 at London's Nokia World conference and is Microsoft's first foray into the top echelons of the smartphone world. It's only available in the European market starting in November and could come to the U.S. early next year. Lumia 800 has a 1.4 GHz processor, and an 8 megapixel camera, so it has some of the specs to match iPhone 4S, but the design is where it comes closest to Apple. For example, the Nokia N9 has gotten high praise for its precision and attention to detail. That device won't be coming to the U.S., but Lumia 800 is a very similar build. It's slimmer than the colorful N9 and could be the most appealing Windows Phone device to date. While the iPhone 4S comes only in black or white, the Lumia comes in either cyan, magenta or black. The Lumia has a unibody polycarbonate chassis and a curve-edge glass for its screen. Nokia even uses designer lenses for its rear facing camera. Carl Zeiss designed lenses are popular in Hollywood movie cameras, and it's another detail Nokia is widely known for.

Siri, the virtual assistant, has been a main selling point of iPhone 4S, but the Lumia 800 has a few unique features too. It runs on the new Windows Phone 7.5 OS (nicknamed Mango), and includes multitasking, an improved Web browser and a Wi-Fi hotspot mode. Nokia also packed in a bunch of extras such as Nokia Drive, a free turn-by-turn directions app for more than 100 countries, Nokia Music store with MixRadio streaming, and an ESPN sports hub exclusive to Nokia Windows Phones that lets you follow news, stats, scores from your favorite sports teams. Let's look at how iPhone 4S and Nokia Lumia 800 match up on specs.

   

Specs

Nokia Lumia 800

Apple iPhone 4S

Screen

3.7-inch

3.5-inch

Display

ClearBlack AMOLED display with 800x480 resolution

Retina Display with 960x640 resolution

Battery

9.5 hours of talk-time

8 hours of talk time

Size

116.5 x 61.2 x 12.1 mm

115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3 mm

Weight

5 ounces (142 g)

4.9 ounces (140 g)

Video

720p

1080p HD

Processor

1.4GHz

1GHz dual-core

Camera

8 megapixel rear; no front

8 megapixel rear; VGA front

RAM

512 MB

512MB

Storage

16GB

16GB, 32GB, 64GB

OS

Windows Phone 7.5

IOS 5

At a glance, Nokia Lumia 800 matches up pretty well with iPhone 4S. They're close in screen size and form factor with similar specs on the processor and camera. A closer look shows what the Lumia 800 really is; a first try by two companies who are only now getting serious about their high-end smartphones.

Since the Lumia 800 was just announced, we have to take Nokia's word on the specs. Things like battery life are greatly dependent on several factors. Additionally, despite a similar looking processor speed, it's likely the iPhone's dual-core build can zip through most tasks at higher speed than the Nokia's single-core style. There's also no secondary camera in the front, although it was expected because of the Microsoft acquisition of Skype. Finally, the 800 has no external memory card slot. This would be minor if not for the device's reliance on its 16GB of internal storage.

iPhone 4S doesn't have to look over its shoulder for the Nokia Lumia 800, but being that this was only the first try for Nokia/Microsoft, Samsung and Motorola may have one more competitor to fight for the number two smartphone maker spot.

Tell us in the comments if you're curious about what Windows Phone can do, but don't know anybody that has one yet.

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