Lumia 900 Review: Is this Nokia’s Triumphant Return?

The Lumia 900 has been heralded by both Microsoft and Nokia as a breath of fresh air that will help revive the Windows Phone platform. It’s the first major offering here in the United States, with AT&T jumping on board to help promote the phone, but is all the hype really worth it? After having used the phone as my daily driver for nearly two weeks, I can say with a definitive yes. This phone is worth jumping on, especially for the $99 intro price.

Hardware

My first impressions once opening the phone and removing it from the box was how hefty it felt. Not hefty as in bulky, but the phone feels sturdy, as though it could take a beating and live through it, unlike the Galaxy S2 which feels like a wafer to me. For those of you who like thin and light, the Lumia 900 may feel a bit bulky, but I can honestly say that I much prefer the Lumia 900 to both Android handsets I’ve used.


Compared to my Galaxy S2, the Lumia 900 is slightly larger. It’s 2.7 inches across and 5.03 inches long, but the larger size never makes it feel as though its cumbersome to carry. The headphone and charging port, along with the sim door feature along the top of the phone, while the volume rocker and power and camera buttons are along the right side. The phone does take a micro sim, so for those of you considering upgrading from a phone that uses a standard sim by buying direct from AT&T, you will either need to do some cutting or get a new one.

Coming from a line of Samsung Android phones, I found the power button to be in an odd place on the Lumia 900, directly below the volume buttons, but after a few days use it was no longer awkward. The ClearBlack display is a joy to use and despite the 480 x 800 resolution, I found the screen to be gorgeous, capable of displaying images just as well as the Galaxy S2.

The phones comes equipped with 16GB of storage that is not upgradeable with an unremovable battery. Nokia advertises the phone as having a 7 hour battery life and that seems on par with what I’ve seen while using the phone. I’ve experienced no excessive battery drain and when connected to WiFi, the phone could easily go for two days or more without a charge.

Images taken with the Lumia 900 camera.

The camera on the Lumia 900 is nothing to write home about when you consider the Titan II released on the same day with a 16MP camera, but I still found it quite capable. I did experience some of the rosy tint on the camera when pointing it at white surfaces, but this didn’t manifest in the actual shots. The front-facing camera is pretty basic in what it does as well, but it’s functional, even if nothing compared to that on the iPhone.

Software

Before getting the Lumia 900, I was only vaguely familiar with how Windows Phone operated. Coming from Android I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the live tiles are very informative and I would dare say a much better alternative to having widgets plastered all over your screen.

The people hub is one of the biggest features touted for Windows Phone, with integrated Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with your contacts. That’s great if everyone you have in your phone uses Facebook and Twitter regularly, but many of the people I interact with on a daily basis are not in my phone. For this reason, I found an additional Twitter app necessary. I don’t use the people hub as much as Microsoft would have you believe you’ll use it, but that may just be a product of how I use social networking services.

I was afraid when switching from Android to Windows Phone that there would be a lack of apps available to sate my needs, coming from a much larger Marketplace. My biggest concern was finding a Google authenticator app that would allow me to leave two-step verification on for my account. Thankfully this app and many more were present, though I did have to make concessions for some, such as Mint and PayPal not being available.

Most of the apps I use to access Google’s services are third party as well, so those of you considering switching to Windows Phone from Android may not like the fact that Google has left Windows Phone out in the cold when it comes to apps for things like Maps, Music, and Gmail with labels.

Despite having to make app concessions, I’ve found my experience with the Lumia 900 very enjoyable. Some scroll stuttering does happen in thirty party apps after being left open when the screen locks again, but after a few seconds this goes away. I’m not sure if this is a software problem on Microsoft’s part or if third-party developers could implement this better, but it is definitely something to take into consideration.

Overall, I would say that the Lumia 900 is a great entry point into the US market for Nokia and for anyone interested in Windows Phone devices. It’s solidly built with a decent camera and enough hardware to get the job done. My only concern for the future of the device are the rumors circulating whether a device released now will receive the Apollo update once it’s released later this year.

 


  • The Lumia 710 was Nokia’s first major offering here in the states, but the 900 is a better flagship device.

  • Tyson I.

    “That’s great if everyone you have in your phone uses Facebook and Twitter regularly, but many of the people I interact with on a daily basis are not in my phone. For this reason, I found an additional Twitter app necessary.”

    Open your People Hub, go to Settings, and make sure “Only show posts from people visible in my contact list” is unchecked.

  • Poor turtle! He wants out!