Lumia 810 smartphone by Nokia Corp.
PRICE: $149.99 with a $50 mail-in-rebate card and a two-year service agreement from T-Mobile USA.
FEATURES: Solidly built midrange phone running Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 8 software delivers snappy performance. Provides excellent mapping and navigation apps. Live Tiles feature delivers instant notification of incoming messages. Decent battery life; mediocre screen resolution and camera; far fewer available apps than Android or iPhone.
Galaxy Note II smartphone by Samsung Corp.
PRICE: $369.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate from T Mobile USA; $299.99 from AT&T, Sprint or Verizon Wireless. Each carrier requires a twoyear contract.
FEATURES: Superthin phone with a 5.5-inch high-resolution screen. Delivers exceptional battery life. Includes stylus for on-screen drawing and note-taking. High-end front and rear cameras, but photo resolution is disappointing. Runs the latest version of Google’s Android operating system. Solidly built, but a little slick and plasticky.Hiawatha bray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Watha.