March 31, 2012, 7:49 AM — AT&T will begin selling the highly-anticipated Nokia Lumia 900 smartphone on April 8th for a meager $99 (with obligatory two-year contract). The bargain price for a flagship device may boost both Nokia and Windows Phone, but it’s not the only device offered by AT&T for $99. Before choosing, consider the alternatives and see how the Lumia 900 stacks up against the $99 competition.
It is highly unusual for a marquee smartphone to be offered at such a disruptive price. Apple’s iPhone 4S, and the Android-based Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket are both $200 with two-year contract. If anything, the trend seems to be going higher, not lower. The Samsung Galaxy Note “phablet” is $300 from AT&T with contract, and flagship Android smartphones like the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx and Samsung Galaxy Nexus are both $300 with contract from Verizon.
The $100 price point is generally reserved for older devices like the iPhone 4, or the Motorola Atrix 2. So, if you’re in the market for a new AT&T smartphone, and you only want to spend $100, is the Lumia 900 the best choice, or would one of the other $100 options serve you better?
With the iPhone 4 you get a smaller display than the Lumia 900 or Atrix 2—3.7 inches compared to the larger 4.3 inches. But, the display is Apple’s “Retina” display with ridiculously high pixel-density for crisper text and clearer images. The iPhone 4 has only a 5 megapixel rear camera capable of capturing 720p HD video, and a VGA-quality front-facing camera, and now that it is no longer the premier iPhone model, it is only available with 8GB of internal storage.
If Android is more your style, the Atrix 2 is a perfectly capable smartphone as well. The Atrix 2 is the only smartphone among these three that sports a dual-core processor. It comes with the same 8GB of storage as the iPhone 4, but it is expandable up to 32GB thanks to an SD memory card slot. It has an 8 megapixel camera capable of capturing 1080p HD video, and it is a 4G device for faster wireless broadband.