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In what world is the Lumia 521 comparable to the Galaxy S4? In Microsoft's world, of course!

The latest Windows Phone ad hopes to convince you to turn away from devices like the Samsung Galaxy S4, and instead turn to its budget Lumia 521. Yes, really.
May 31, 2013
Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5 drop test aa (18)

You think your new Samsung Galaxy S4 is pretty hot stuff, right? After all, it has mind-blowing processing power, plenty of great Samsung customizations, an amazing 1080p display and Google’s latest and greatest Android Jelly Bean 4.2.

My friend, Samsung and Google are fooling you! You’re being double-Scroogled! Instead, you should ditch the Galaxy S4, and run to the Nokia Lumia 521 with open arms.

Sounds like I’ve lost my mind, doesn’t it? The idea of comparing a dual-core, low-end Windows Phone 8 smartphone to a quad-core (or octa for some), high-end Android phone is absolutely nuts, but that isn’t standing in Microsoft’s way.

The latest Windows Phone promotional video is designed to reach out to folks that are considering the purchase of a smartphone, but don’t necessary want to pay a lot to do it. At just $150 (or less in some cases), the Nokia Lumia 521 is admitedely a well-priced dual-core smartphone and it makes sense that Microsoft would want to promote it as a low-cost alternative to other devices on the market. What doesn’t make sense is the way Microsoft goes about it.

Microsoft’s goal in the video is to show us that for Lumia 521’s low price, you could get the WP8-based handset, accessories and a laptop for the same cost as the Samsung Galaxy S4. It is certainly a cute commercial idea, but one that ultimately falls a little flat.

Microsoft twisting facts to sell more Windows Phone 8 devices

The problem with the advertisement is that Microsoft twists the facts to make the Lumia 521 seem like the “obvious choice”. First, they start by talking about how the Galaxy S4 is $759.99 outright. That might be true at Best Buy, but through places like Amazon, it’s actually only $650.

Also keep in mind that this ad is aimed primarily at buyers in the United States, you know, folks that largely still tend to choose subsidized handsets over buying outright. So the $760 $650 quickly drops even further, with the average person spending about $199.99 upfront.

Leaving price aside, the big kicker is that Microsoft also tries to paint the Lumia 521 (full specs here) as a performance equal to the Galaxy S4. The ad even implies the 521 might be better than the S4:

“Samsung’s new Galaxy S4 has a good camera, a good display, thousands of apps, and the ability to keep you connected to the weather, sports, news, and all of the people you care about”.
“The new Nokia Lumia 521 also has a good camera, a good display, thousands of apps, and the ability to keep you connected to the weather, sports, news, and all of the people you care about and because it’s a Windows Phone, it does so arguably better than Android”.

I applaud Nokia for creating a reasonably attractive low-end, low-cost handset, but Microsoft, what were you thinking with this commercial?

All this ad accomplishes is the use of smoke and mirrors to portray the Nokia Lumia 521 as a premium handset. What happens when these customers buy the Lumia 521 and quickly figure out that it doesn’t live up to your promises?