LTE smartphone specs shoot-out: Nokia Lumia 635 vs. EE Kestrel

The Lumia 635 is lighter and has a host of photo apps, but the Kestrel has more RAM and a screen with more pixels

The Nokia Lumia 635 has a 4.5-inch screen.

The Nokia Lumia 635 has a 4.5-inch screen.

The options are increasing for people who want an LTE smartphone, but don't want to spend a fortune or sign an expensive contract. Two new alternatives that won't drain wallets are Nokia's Lumia 635 and the Huawei-made Kestrel.

The Android-based Kestrel was announced last week by U.K. operator EE and costs £99 (US$160) with local taxes, while the Lumia 635 running Windows Phone 8.1 was announced on Wednesday and costs $189 without tax. In the U.K. that should equal about £135 with local taxes.

Processors

The two smartphones are powered by the same processor, Qualcomm's quad-core Snapdragon 400 running at 1.2GHz. The Snapdragon 400 processor was announced in June last year with the express purpose of bringing down the cost of LTE smartphones.

The screen

Both smartphones have a 4.5-inch screen, with a 960 x 540 pixel resolution on the Kestrel and 854 x 480 pixels on the Lumia 635. Large screens are no longer limited to high-end smartphones, but users who choose a more affordable device won't get the full-HD resolution that flagship models have. When vendors develop cheap smartphones they have to make hard choices, but the low resolution on the Lumia is a little too stingy on Nokia's part.

Size and weight

Since the two models have the same screen size, the weight is also close. The Kestel is slightly lighter at 145 grams versus the Lumia 635's 134 grams. The overall size of the two devices is also similar: the Kestrel measures 131 x 65.3 x 7.85 millimeters compared to the Lumia's 129.5 x 66.7 x 9.2 millimeters.

Storage and RAM

Buyers of the Kestrel and Lumia 635 will get 8GB of integrated storage, which can be expanded using microSD cards. The Lumia also has 7GB of online storage. Both models could easily have had 1GB of RAM, but Nokia has decided to go for only 512MB.

Camera

When it comes to taking photographs the two smartphones again share the same specification with a 5-megapixel camera, and video at 720p and 30 frames per second. The Kestrel also has a 1-megapixel camera on the back.

The camera has been Nokia's crutch as it has tried to differentiate its Windows Phones from competing Android-based smartphones and Apple's iPhones. The Lumia 635 may have the same basic hardware specification as the Kestrel, but Nokia has also included a number of apps to enhance the phone. For example, Refocus lets users take a photo and later choose what they want in focus by clicking on the image. There is also a Color Pop feature which will not only refocus part of an image, but also highlight the color of that particular area.

Availability

For now, the Kestrel is an EE exclusive own-brand smartphone. It goes on sale at the end of the month, while the Lumia 635 is "expected to be broadly available, including in the U.S. starting in this summer," according to Nokia. T-Mobile and AT&T said on Wednesday that they will sell the phone in the U.S.

Mobile operators are putting pressure on smartphone vendors to develop cheaper LTE smartphones, so that more users across the world start using the technology. Increasing competition between chip makers such as Qualcomm, MediaTek and Marvell is helping make low-cost products a reality.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Huawei TechnologiestelecommunicationEEAndroidmobileWindows Phonemobile applicationsAndroid OS4gconsumer electronicssmartphonesNokiaMobile OSes

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?