Announced this week, the Lumia 535 is the first Lumia Windows Phone not to bear the Nokia logo, but rather that of Microsoft.
In the hubbub of discussion and commentary that followed the announcement, one comment that we kept encountering was that there are simply so many Lumia handsets available now, and that it’s becoming a bit difficult to keep up with which device is which in Microsoft’s range.
With that in mind, we thought it would be helpful to put together a guide to every Lumia Windows Phone ever launched, with a brief overview on each handset (and a bonus device right at the very end). Let’s get stuck in.
One of the least known devices in the entire Lumia range – and with good reason
Ask someone to list all of the Lumia devices they can think of, and many will get close to naming them all – but one handset that is often overlooked is the Lumia 505, and with good reason. The Windows Phone 7.8 device was exclusive to one carrier: TelCel in Mexico.
Other than that, the device never saw a release anywhere else in the world. TelCel hasn’t renewed its order for another bespoke Windows Phone, unique to the carrier – so perhaps that says something about how well the Lumia 505 faired.
It was notable for offering an 8MP camera on an entry-level device with specs that otherwise mirrored the Lumia 510.
The low-cost Windows Phone 7.8 device that should never have been
In July 2012, Microsoft hosted an event called the ‘Windows Phone Summit’ in San Francisco, at which it announced its next-generation mobile OS. Windows Phone 8 drew a line under the earlier Windows Phone 7.x series of releases, rebooting the operating system with a familiar look and feel, but massive changes under the hood. WP8 was the future; WP7.x was the past.
The first handsets to launch with Windows Phone 8 onboard went on sale in October 2012 – so it was a bit of a shock to see Nokia launching the Lumia 510 just a few weeks before that. Why was it such a surprise? Because the Lumia 510 did not feature Microsoft’s latest and greatest OS, but rather the older Windows Phone 7.8, and could not be upgraded to WP8.
It was during a fuzzy period in the slow unfolding of Microsoft’s mobile strategy, when the company tried to dabble with the idea of WP8 for premium handsets and WP7.8 for low-cost devices. Needless to say, that didn’t work out. The Lumia 510 offered a 4-inch WVGA (800x480px) display, but in addition to its out-of-date OS, it was also blighted by just 4GB of onboard storage with no microSD slot, and a pitiful 256MB of RAM.
Not a Lumia highpoint.
The most successful Windows Phone of all time
When Nokia announced the Lumia 520 in February 2013, it can hardly have imagined that the handset would go on to become the most successful Windows Phone ever, and one of the best-selling Windows devices of all time.
Over twelve million units have been sold so far, thanks in no small part to astonishingly low prices in these latter stages of the handset’s life. The device debuted for €189 EUR, but prices have since fallen to as little as $40 USD.
It’s not a high-end performer by any means, but it’s an incredible package for the price, and offers an excellent high-value proposition for those seeking a solid smartphone experience while keeping an eye on their pennies.
T-Mobile fakes a twist on the 520
Don’t be fooled – the Lumia 521 is a variant of the 520 unique to T-Mobile US, but aside from the different number, there are no other changes between the two devices.
The Lumia 521 features the same dual-core 1GHz Snapdragon processor and 512MB of RAM as the 520, along with identical 4-inch WVGA (800x480px) display, 8GB storage and 5MP rear camera with no flash, and no front-facing camera either.
A rather costly upgrade to the Lumia 520
The Lumia 525 was announced about nine months after the 520, and the only real improvement was the 525’s inclusion of 1GB of RAM – twice that of the 520. But beyond that, the 525 was just a 520, and precisely shared its external dimensions and weight with its near-identical sibling.
The 525 was only made available in a selection of markets across Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, but that extra 512MB came at a price – in some markets, the Lumia 525 was sold at a premium of up to 50% compared with the 520.
The most affordable Windows Phone ever
The rate at which the Lumia 520 fell in price blazed the trial for a new generation of ultra-affordable Windows Phones, and that handset’s successor has been priced just as aggressively. The Lumia 530 was launched for €85 EUR / $115 USD / £60 GBP before taxes and subsidies, but has since dropped in price steeply, with the handset available for as little as $50 off-contract in the US.
Even so, the most affordable Windows Phone ever does require some compromises of its owners, with a fixed-focus rear camera that lacks a flash, no front-facing camera to speak of, and a small 4-inch display that doesn’t match the quality of some other low-cost smartphones. Even so, at such low prices, it’s hard to argue with the value proposition of the Lumia 530 – and it looks set to be a big sales hit.
The first Windows Phone sold under the Microsoft brand
We’ve known for some time that Microsoft has been planning to phase out the use of the Nokia brand from its range, and the most significant step in that process has been the launch of the first Lumia handset wearing the Microsoft logo.
The Lumia 535 is remarkable too for offering such a high-value proposition at such a low price. It features a 5-inch qHD display, 1GB RAM, front and rear cameras and plenty more for around €110 EUR (roughly $136 USD) – and at that price, it may well represent a worthy upgrade for budget-sensitive buyers who want a bit more than what the Lumia 530 offers.
A cheap handset with weak specs
Around four months before Microsoft officially unveiled Windows Phone 8 for the first time, Nokia launched a new handset, which it called the “most affordable Lumia smartphone yet”. At around $250, the Lumia 610 ran Windows Phone 7.5 and offered some pretty basic specs, including a 3.7-inch WVGA display, single-core processor and just 256MB of RAM.
The handset’s announcement in February 2012 was undermined by Microsoft’s revelation in June of the same year that devices like the Lumia 610 would not be updated to Windows Phone 8. With such weak specs and limited OS upgrade prospects, the 610 wasn’t exactly an easy sell.
Fun design in an affordable package
The Lumia 610 is best forgotten, but the Windows Phone 8 device that replaced it – less than ten months later – was a much more compelling offering. The Lumia 620 featured a dual-core Snapdragon S4 chipset, along with a 5MP rear camera with autofocus and flash, and a front-facing camera for selfies.
The 620 also offered a rather stylish ‘Dual Shot’ design, with interchangeable shells that appeared to be finished in two different colours. The device cost around the same price as the 610 initially, but prices quickly fell to even more affordable levels.
A big screen for a low price
The Lumia 625 was notable for delivering a large form factor at a surprisingly affordable price. Although the 625 was firmly in Microsoft’s lower-end line-up, it featured a 4.7-inch IPS LCD and, significantly, also included 4G LTE support.
Costing around €220 at launch, the 625 has dropped in price dramatically since then, but still offers specs that are, in some ways, better than the Lumia 630/635 that succeeded it.
A pair of affordable Windows Phones – but they’re far from perfect
You might expect the Lumia 630 and Lumia 635 to represent a considerable step-up from the Lumia 625 that was unveiled a year earlier. But in fact, the two new devices were a step back in some regards, with no flash for the rear camera, and no front-facing camera to speak of.
The 630 offers only 3G connectivity, but the slightly pricier Lumia 635 includes support for 4G LTE networks, and each provides pretty decent performance for a low-end device, thanks to the quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chipset. But the 630/635 seem to make a lot less sense now that the more affordable Lumia 535 has arrived.
The Chinese get their own variants of the Lumia 630-series
Chinese carriers have got their own versions of the devices sold elsewhere as the Lumia 630 and 635. China Unicom gets the Lumia 636, while China Mobile gets the Lumia 638, and both handsets include TD-LTE support.
Both devices also get a very welcome upgrade over the Lumia 630/635 with 1GB of RAM onboard, but their specs are otherwise identical to their siblings.
One of the first two Nokia Windows Phones
The Lumia 800 is often thought of as ‘the first Nokia Windows Phone’, but in fact, the 710 was unveiled alongside it at the same event. The Lumia 710 was intended to be the more affordable option versus the more premium Lumia 800, and featured a 3.7-inch display, 512MB RAM, and a 1.4GHz single-core Snapdragon chipset.
The device was nice enough, and was widely available with significant carrier support around the world. But, like other Windows Phones of this era, the Lumia 710 was not upgradeable to Windows Phone 8, although it continued to be sold anyway for some time as a more affordable alternative to the first costly WP8 devices.
The Lumia 720 was first announced alongside the cheaper 520 at the Mobile World Congress in February 2012. But while the 520 went on to become the most successful Windows Phone ever, the 720 laboured away in quiet obscurity.
The Lumia 720 was really rather good, with a 4.3-inch display, dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon chipset, and 6.1MP camera with ZEISS optics, packed into a fairly slim and light body. But the display’s resolution was just 800x480px and it only featured 512MB of RAM – quite an ask for a device priced at $300 on its release last year. The 720 gained relatively little carrier support, and cost a bit too much for most buyers to consider purchasing it off-contract.
Say cheese! Microsoft launches a ‘selfie phone’
With the most recent addition to the 700-series, Microsoft aimed to define a clearer raison d’être for this class of devices. Consequently, the new Lumia 730 and 735 have been unofficially christened Microsoft’s ‘selfie phones’, since the company has focused on the high quality of their front-facing cameras, which, it believes, is unmatched in the devices’ price range.
Each handset features a 5MP selfie-cam with a wide-angle lens, with the 730 offering 3G connectivity and dual-SIM support, and the 735 sticking with a single SIM, but adding 4G LTE support. They also come with the same quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 chipset as the cheaper Lumia 630, along with a 4.7-inch AMOLED screen with HD (1280x720px) resolution. Priced at around €199 EUR / £199 GBP internationally, the Lumia 735 is rumoured to be heading to Verizon next year.
For most people, this is where it all started
Many folks consider the Lumia 800 to be Microsoft’s first Windows Phone, but it was unveiled alongside its cheaper Lumia 710 sibling at the same event. Nonetheless, it’s the design of the Lumia 800 that is most fondly remembered, and which went on to win multiple awards.
The 800 was developed under the internal codename ‘Sea Ray’, and its design was based heavily on Nokia’s MeeGo-powered N9, which was binned when the company announced its decision to focus on Windows Phone. The device won high praise, but its camera failed to impress, and as many observers – including carriers – noted, its price was too high for what it offered, versus the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy S II and the iPhone 4s.
T-Mobile gets its very own Windows Phone (for real, this time)
T-Mobile got an exclusive Windows Phone handset in the form of the Lumia 521, but that device was no different from the 520. With the Lumia 810, however, T-Mobile went a bit further, with a device based on the Lumia 820, but with an alternative design and slightly tweaked specs.
The Lumia 810 differed from the 820 in offering a larger 1800mAh battery, and lighter (albeit slightly thicker) bodywork. Other than that, the 810 was pretty much identical to its sibling, although it is no longer on sale. Earlier this year, T-Mobile confirmed that it is not supporting any further OS updates for the device, although customers will still be able to get the latest versions of Windows Phone by signing up to the Preview for Developers program.
A decent Windows Phone – but not an exciting one
The Lumia 820 was the cheaper of the first two Windows Phone 8 devices from Nokia (the other being the Lumia 920), and it offered many features available in the more expensive handset. It included the same dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor and 1GB of RAM, and even bested the 920 by including a microSD slot, supporting cards up to 64GB.
But the 820’s design was fairly dull compared with the more visually appealing Lumia 920, and there were some aspects that fell short of expectations for an upper-mid-range device. The 8MP camera was decent (but lacked the PureView magic of the 920); the display was generously sized at 4.3-inches, but the WVGA (800x480px) resolution was unremarkable; and priced at €450/$550, Nokia didn’t exactly make it easy to love the 820, although there were still some areas in which it managed to impress.
Incidentally, along with the Lumia 810 and 822, there was one further variant of the 820 that never went on sale. The ‘Lumia 825’ was pretty much identical to the 820, and was given to a select group of developers and analysts ahead of the Windows Phone 8 launch in 2012.
Verizon puts its own spin on the Lumia 820
Like T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless also got a custom-designed version of the Lumia 820, and as with T-Mo’s Lumia 810, the 822 doesn’t differ much from the device on which it is based. Like the 810, the Lumia 822 gets a larger 1800mAh battery than the standard 820, along with unique bodywork – but aside from that, it’s the same device under the hood as the 820.
The ‘affordable flagship’
Microsoft raised a few eyebrows at the launch of the Lumia 830 in September, when it described the device as ‘the first affordable flagship’, even as minds quickly turned to the likes of the OnePlus One and other handsets that might have already staked a claim to that title. Priced at a huge $449 off-contract on AT&T, the Lumia 830’s claim seems even more ridiculous, especially given that in many ways, the 830 fails to come close to meeting flagship expectations.
It has a Snapdragon 400 processor (the same one as the lowly Lumia 630), 1GB of RAM, and a 5-inch 720p display; a true flagship would surely have no less than a Snapdragon 800, 2GB RAM and a Full HD display… much like the Lumia 930, in fact. So the 830 is neither affordable nor does it resemble anything approximating a flagship.
But it’s still a very likeable handset, with snappy performance, a beautiful and sleek body with a metallic frame and a 10MP PureView camera, and that 720p display is actually pretty good.
Nokia announced the 4.3-inch Lumia 900, running Windows Phone 7.5, in January 2012, and it went on sale in April 2012 – two months before Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8, and declared that no WP7.5 handsets could be upgraded to its new OS. Understandably, that made quite a few people rather cross, especially those who had just signed up for a two-year plan with a device that had effectively reached the end of the road as far as updates went.
Amusingly, the Lumia 900 was part of Nokia’s ‘Operation Rolling Thunder’, an aggressive push into the US market, backed up by millions of marketing dollars for Windows Phone from Microsoft and AT&T. The 900 ultimately had the opposite effect in some ways, eroding trust among the Windows Phone community, as many thought it unfair that the 900 was released with an OS that Microsoft knew would no longer receive the latest updates.
One of the best
Alongside the 820, the Lumia 920 was one of the first two Windows Phone 8 handsets, and it is widely regarded as being among the best. The device featured an excellent 8MP PureView camera with Carl Zeiss optics and outstanding low-light performance, which was praised by critics and customers alike.
The Lumia 920 also offered a generous 4.5-inch display with 1280x768px resolution, and solid performance from its dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 and 1GB RAM. The 920 also featured integrated Qi wireless charging – the first Windows Phone to do so – but it made the handset remarkably heavy, at 185g.
The weight is over
The Lumia 920 was a pretty hefty beast of a phone, so it was with some relief that Nokia unveiled the Lumia 925 a few months later. The Lumia 925 shared many of the 920’s key specs, but squeezed them into a thinner and much lighter body, weighing just 139g, and featured polycarbonate bodywork with an aluminium frame.
The Lumia 925 offered less storage than the 920, and also lacked integrated wireless charging (although a snap-on protective case enabled this feature). The 925 did get a rather more vibrant AMOLED screen than the 920 though.
Verizon’s take on the 920
As with the Lumia 820, Verizon offered its own unique version of the Lumia 920, sold exclusively on its network as the Lumia 928. The device featured a more sombre exterior design compared with the 920, but its specs were otherwise identical in most regards.
Like the 925, the 928 got an AMOLED screen rather than the 920’s LCD panel. Curiously, Verizon also specified that the 920’s LED flash be replaced by a Xenon flash on the Lumia 928 instead.
Lumia Icon (929)
Verizon gets the new Windows Phone flagship first
Expected for months to launch as the Lumia 929, the new Windows Phone flagship was actually unveiled as the Lumia Icon, and was available exclusively – that’s exclusive not just in the US, but worldwide – on Verizon Wireless. Now sold internationally as the Lumia 930, the Icon features an excellent 20MP PureView camera, along with a 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800, 2GB RAM and 5-inch AMOLED with Full HD resolution.
It’s rumoured that Verizon is no longer selling the Icon, which would mean rather a swift end to the device, after less than nine months on sale. Unlike the Lumia 930, the Icon is still waiting for the arrival of Windows Phone 8.1, four months after it began rolling out to handsets.
The global version of Microsoft’s newest flagship
First announced in April with the unveiling of Windows Phone 8.1, it wasn’t until July that the Lumia 930 finally went on sale, bringing the Lumia Icon to global markets for the first time. The 930 differs from the Icon in supporting GSM networks, and is also offered with bright orange or green bodywork, which Verizon did not opt for when it launched the Icon.
The 930 is otherwise identical to the Icon, to the point that the two devices also share common accessories.
The 41-megapixel Windows Phone
Viewed by many as the ‘ultimate’ Lumia, the 1020 took the remarkable 41-megapixel camera architecture from the beastly Nokia 808 PureView and squeezed it down a bit into a Windows Phone handset (which was very nearly called the Lumia 909). The complex construction of the imaging array couldn’t quite be reduced in size enough, though, leaving a sizeable camera ‘hump’ on the rear – but Nokia turned it into a distinctive and recognizable design feature of the device.
The Lumia 1020 was quite similar to the 92x series in many ways, with the same dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 chipset, and the 925’s 4.5-inch AMOLED screen. The 1020 did get 2GB of RAM though, and was also available with 64GB of storage (exclusively through Telefónica).
The 41MP camera was the real star of the show though, capable of capturing some truly magnificent pictures, and seriously challenging some DSLRs for quality in certain lighting conditions. Unfortunately, the Nokia Camera app was painfully slow in its earliest iterations (and even now, it’s still not blazing fast) but for those willing to bear that pain, the Lumia 1020 offered photos unrivaled by anything on the market.
A very big handset for those with small budgets
It’s proven to be something of an unwritten rule in recent years that small handsets are affordable with low specs, and big devices tend to be better featured, but more expensive flagships. There are exceptions to that rule, of course – particularly as handsets grow and prices fall – and one such exception is the Lumia 1320.
Available in the US from just $229 with no contract, the device features a massive 6-inch display with HD (1280x720px) resolution. However, there are some big compromises to be made on the spec sheet – it features just 1GB RAM, and runs a last-generation Qualcomm chipset, a dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4. The camera is only 5MP (but can record 1080p video), and it’s only got 8GB of storage (although it does support microSD cards up to 64GB).
For the price, it’s hard to argue with what the 1320 offers, but those with deeper pockets who are on the lookout for a phablet might want to consider the Lumia 1520 instead.
The 6-inch Lumia 1520 sits alongside the 5-inch 930 as the flagship in Microsoft’s Windows Phone range, with very similar specs to the smaller device. Both handsets include a quad-core 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 chipset with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. The 1520 does, however, offer the added advantage of a microSD slot to expand that storage further.
The handset is, quite simply, massive and not for those with small hands or short fingers. There’s also a case accessory available, with a screen cover that folds over to create a stand for the 1520 – handy for watching a movie on the train, or for flicking through photos with friends.
Nokia makes a Windows RT tablet
The Lumia brand is synonymous with Windows Phones, but of course, Nokia launched a Windows tablet too. Although Microsoft had come to dominate the tiny Windows RT market, Nokia decided to develop its own model, the Lumia 2520, which was fairly well received, and included 4G LTE support, at a time when there was no such Surface option available.
However, the device was criticized for its large and heavy keyboard dock – the only keyboard option for the Lumia 2520 – although it did at least include extra batteries, giving the tablet up to five more hours of life. It seems unlikely that a successor to the device will be built now that Microsoft is calling the shots over the Lumia line – but hey, never say never.
Bonus: Lumia 719C
The missing Lumia
There have been various Windows Phones developed internally, but which never saw the light of day, including the Nokia ‘McLaren’ flagship that was originally scheduled to be going on sale right about now. But one device came closer than others to actually being launched – indeed, Nokia even created final marketing renders for what was expected to be called the Lumia 719C.
The ‘C’ in the handset’s designation indicates that it would have been destined for the Chinese market (and specifically for China Telecom’s CDMA2000 network), and it seems to have been a local variant of the Lumia 710, albeit with a unique handset design.
Alas, the mystery of why the 719C was never released lives on – but as we’ve explored here, there are plenty of other Lumias to pick from.