Some folks have had their doubts that Nokia, along with Microsoft, could make a comeback and specifically make one in the United States – a region that has long since forgotten about the Finnish handset manufacturer. The Lumia 900 is Nokia’s comeback and by large opinion, it is their one and only chance to make a dent into the smartphone market that has long eluded them. Is the Lumia 900 worthy of it’s “hero” status and massive marketing campaign that is just beginning to roll out? Here’s my review of the Lumia 900 and my own opinion on whether the device is solid enough to compete with the iPhone and Android super-phones.
Hardware & Design
There is perhaps no phone more striking to the eye than the Nokia Lumia 900. Taking its cue from the original N9 and Lumia 800, the big brother sports the same uni-body polycarbonate design and rounded edges. Measuring 2.7 inches across by 5.03 inches from top to bottom and 0.45 inches thick, the device feels great in the hand and substantial, like a premium device should. The only flaw in design that I could see is with the pop-out door which hides the micro SIM card. The door sits flush with the devices body, but seems to wiggle a bit instead of snapping in nice and tight. A minor issue, but one that should have been caught by Nokia.
The 900 sports all of its buttons on the right side of the unit. A camera marks the bottom and the power/unclock key lies in the middle with the volume rocker up top. The hardware buttons are solid and feature a rounded, chrome-finished design. They serve their purpose, but do not feel as premium as those buttons found on the HTC Titan II or iPhone 4s.
The Lumia 900 comes initially in two colors: black and cyan with a white version to be available on April 22nd and a rumored magenta version for Mothers Day.
Simply put, the Lumia 900 is the most unique-looking device on the market and is sure to turn heads.
Unlike most other platforms, the internals on Windows Phone devices do not matter nearly as much. This is because Microsoft has optimized the mobile OS to run on lower hardware just as fast as it does on high-end hardware. The Lumia 900 is no exception.
Sporting a 1.4GHz Qualcomm processor and 512RAM, the device simply screams. The 4.3-inch Clear Black AMOLED display holds a resolution of 800×480 and looks absolutely stunning running the Windows Phone OS. While high resolution support would be a welcome addition, it’s really not necessary in order to appreciate the 900. Text and graphics look crisp and vibrant and the blacks are so deep it has the illusion that the Start screen tiles are just floating over a vast empty space.
Before using the Lumia 900, early reviews panned the camera as being a mediocre effort on Nokia’s part. My own experience with the camera on the Lumia 900 is pretty decent. This camera is no slouch, but it’s also not quite on par with the cameras found on the Titan I & II and the iPhone 4 and 4s. The front camera is a 1.3MP shooter and does the job admirably. The rear camera is an 8MP shooter with Carl Zeiss optics. The pictures taken in sunlight or in areas with a good dose of light are comparable to those you might see on the iPhone 4s and HTC Titan, however, it’s when you are snapping pictures in low-light situations that reveals the faults of the camera. There are some noticeable artifacts in low-light pictures and it’s a shame. Overall, the camera is still in the upper echelon of smartphone shooters and will suit most any user.
The battery life on the Lumia 900 is surprisingly well for it being an LTE device. In most use cases, the battery would still be plenty full by the time I was ready to call it a day. Realistically, one could go a full day with heavy use and maybe a day or two on light to moderate use.
It seems kind of odd to talk about the phone aspects of a smartphone these days. Most tech blogs focus on how many cores a processor has or how high the resolution is, but forget that the device is used to make phone calls. Without going into a ton of detail, the call quality for both incoming and outgoing calls on the Lumia 900 is superb. Callers sounded crisp and loud and those on the other end noted the same. It may also be important to note that you can hold the Lumia 900 however you see fit without degradation in service or call quality. The phone just works.
To wrap up my own review of the Lumia 900 I’ll say that this is going to be my everyday smartphone for the foreseeable future. Coming from an HTC Titan, I worried that the smaller size of the device and polycarbonate shell might not feel as premium as the Titan did, but my worries were quickly laid to rest. The Lumia 900 feels great in the hand and has the look that will undoubtedly turn heads.
Every phone has it’s flaws. Some devices lose signal when you hold them in a human hand and some shatter when you accidentally drop them from just a few short feet up. The Lumia 900′s flaws are minor and unnoticeable for most users. In just a few short months, Nokia was able to craft a smartphone that people will enjoy and show off to their friends. Not only is the device capable of competing with the likes of the iPhone 4s and Galaxy Nexus, the Lumia 900 even surpasses those handsets in a number of ways. This is the Windows Phone device to have and it’s my belief that others who see this device in action will believe so as well. In the end, it will come down to personal preference. I’m a fan of the Windows Phone OS, so combining the software with a great piece of hardware makes sense for me, but I would highly recommend stopping by an AT&T or Rogers retail store and demoing a device to see if it fits you.
Note: Nokia is making the Lumia 900 globally available to other carriers and in an unlocked version very soon.More Galleries: All Galleries | Windows 7 Galleries | Windows 8 Galleries