Nokia Lumia 900 review

Nokia Lumia 900 review

T3 4
  • The Nokia Lumia 900 is a good-looking phone that boasts a bright 4.3in screen that shows off  the software’s distinctive live tiles

    Nokia Lumia 900 review

    Love

    • Striking Nokia design
    • Windows Phone tiles gleam
    • The battery keeps going

    Hate

    • No microSD card slot
    • Limited built-in storage
    • Not enough apps

    Windows Phone powers the Nokia Lumia 900, which we first got our hands on back at CES in January 2012.

    Microsoft’s elegant and fresh-as-paint operating system hasn’t gained market share against Apple and Android yet, but it deserves to. The brand first featured it on last year’s Nokia Lumia 800 and this model is a bigger-screened (and blue hued) version.

    Nokia is gradually making something of a comeback with its most recent phones, such as the Nokia Lumia 710 and the newer Nokia Lumia 610. The 900 is the latest in an increasingly strong lineup of Windows Phone 7 phones that includes the HTC Titan.

    Nokia Lumia 900: Build

    Nokia’s new phone has great build quality, from the individually milled speaker holes to the improved microUSB socket: the Lumia 800 had a flimsy plastic cover on the socket which was easy to damage.

    Here, the socket sits proud (and naked) on the top edge. This is a solid, handsome phone that feels good in the hand.

    Nokia Lumia 900: Features

    Nokia has a long history of cameraphones and this 8-megapixel snapper is quick and efficient. Like most phones, it can struggle in low light, though at least there’s a dual-LED flash.

    Unlike the Nokia Lumia 800, this one has a front-facing camera, too, so you can make video calls.

    Nokia’s extras include handy apps like Nokia Drive, with free downloadable maps and no need to connect to data in order to use it as a satnav.

    Nokia Music is a series of tracks you can stream for free. Of course, there’s the thousands of other Windows Phone apps but there’s still a dearth compared to Android or iOS. Mind you, the ones it does have look spectacular.

    Nokia Lumia 900: Screen

    The big display looks great, with vivid colours and pin-sharp detail. It’s smooth and responsive.

    The size means it’s immersive enough to watch video on, for short bursts at least – though it can’t compete with giant screens like the 5.3in display on the Samsung Galaxy Note.

    Nokia Lumia 900: Performance

    Compared to phones like the HTC One X, which has a quad-core 1.5GHz processor, you’d expect the Lumia 900’s single-core 1.4GHz chip to lag.

    But everything canters along happily, whatever you’re doing. Microsoft only supports single-core chips, for now. Another Redmond restriction is the absence of a memory card slot, so the phone’s 16GB storage is all you get.

    Nokia Lumia 900: Battery

     

    A problem with the phone’s predecessor was that the battery would quit too soon.

    The extra space means the Lumia 900 has a big-capacity cell, which happily runs for more than a day without complaint – though it can’t match the Motorola Razr Maxx’s stamina.

    Nokia has maximised the battery by sealing it into the phone, like on the HTC One X.

    Nokia Lumia 900: Verdict

    The combination of hardware and software on the Nokia Lumia 900 is pretty winning.

    Microsoft’s OS is shown off to its best in this handsome and appealing handset, with a screen that looks tremendous.

    Battery life is way above average, so though nightly charges are preferred, it won’t need a lunchtime top-up.

    Although it’s big and solid, it won’t feel too huge for most hands and the matte finish back feels good.

    The Nokia Lumia 900 is a beautiful and accomplished handset which shows Windows Phone at its best.

    Nokia Lumia 900 availability: Available now

    Product name price: Nokia Lumia 900 price: £480

  • Nokia and Windows Phone continue to surge towards rejoining the smartphone elite with the Lumia 900, which has 4G on board for lucky US users

    Nokia Lumia 900 review

    Love

    • Striking Nokia design
    • Windows Phone tiles gleam
    • The battery keeps going

    Hate

    • No microSD card slot
    • Limited built-in storage
    • Not enough apps

    A lot had to happen for gigantic companies Nokia and Microsoft to become plucky underdogs in the smartphone field, but the combined effort to recapture former glories was hugely evident with the launch of the recent Nokia Lumia 800, which was one of the most refreshing handsets we've seen in a while. Next up is the Nokia Lumia 900.

    The success of the Windows Phone platform is good for the smartphone industry, offering a clear way out from the Android or Apple choice users are currently faced with and Nokia is doing a lot of the leg work to make this a reality, placing its very future existence in the hands of Windows Phone.

    The latest, and third, handset combining the two companies' skills was announced at CES 2012. The Nokia Lumia 900 is, at present a US exclusive on the AT&T network and is Nokia's first 4G LTE handset. We were able to get some hands-on time on the Nokia stand.

    Nokia Lumia 900: Build

     

    If you're familiar with the Nokia Lumia 800, you'll get a sense for how this device feels. It is, essentially, a bigger version of that phone. The 3.7-inch screen is superseded by a 4.3-inch AMOLED display, but the build is almost exactly the same. The iPod nano-inspired industrial design is still present, with an attractive non-painted polycarbonate unibody integrating well with the Gorilla Glass display.

    The Nokia Lumia 900 also arrives with similar matte black and the gorgeous cyan blue casings, with the prospect of more colours arriving once the device is launched.

    There are further similarities with the Lumia 800 in the placing of the neatly-integrated, unobtrusive hard camera and volume keys, on the right edge of the device and the microUSB charging port and headphone jack at the foot of the device.

    There are differences, aside from the size. The Nokia Lumia 900 brings a 1-megapixel front facing camera for 4G video conferencing and a new wide angle lens on the back of the device.

    Overall, this is one of the finer examples of smartphone design in recent years and has a really youthful look and feel - especially the blue model. Nokia has always made solid, reliable hardware but has lacked engaging software in recent years. Enter Windows Phone.

    Nokia Lumia 900: Features

    Like its older, yet smaller, sibling the Lumia 900 brings Windows Mobile 7.5, or Mango as its known in the common tongue. The upgrade in mid-2011 was a massive boon to the fledgling Windows Phone platform offering indications that reaching its obvious potential was in sight. The Mango update brought 250 new features including IE9, threaded messages, improved Xbox LIVE integration, multi-tasking and improved live tiles allowing more information to be displayed on the homescreen, as found on the HTC Titan.

    The native Windows Phone operating system really shines on Nokia's devices. We enjoyed the limited time we were given browsing through the interface. Nokia reps were pretty adamant that we weren't able to browse through apps as the final software build wasn't complete.

    In terms of other features on the device, Nokia continues its long tradition of offering massively well-specced cameras on its smartphones. The rear facing camera boasts Carl Zeiss Tessar optics (as expected). As we mentioned above, the Lumia 900 boasts a wide-angle lens, enabling you to capture more within the frame. The front-facing camera is also a new edition. HD video is present at 720p 30fps resolution.

    Other than the size increase, 4G LTE internet is the main upgrade on show, although on the show floor at CES we were unable to test for increased speeds. In terms of other connectivity there's Wi-Fi, USB 2.0, Bluetooth 2.1 and GPS.

    Nokia Lumia 900: Screen

    The 4.3-inch AMOLED screen is an absolute joy to behold. It boasts an 800x480 resolution and the same ClearBlack technology we saw on the Lumia 800. The colourful Windows Phone OS Live Tiles interface really shines through and practically beams from the device. The capacitive touchscreen was a pleasure to use, like the Lumia 800, and we had no problem typing using the Gorilla Glass display.

    Nokia Lumia 900: Performance

     

    It was difficult for us to fully gauge the performance of the Lumia 900 as our access to the interface was very limited. We were able to whizz through the live tiles, but were forbidden from opening any apps or web pages. "I can't let you open that, sir" was the standard response whenever we broke the rules and delved into Netflix, Office or Xbox LIVE.

    However, we were able to get a good look at the new ESPN app for Windows Phone which showed a really smooth, well structured UI and no signs of any lag, with the now modest 512MB RAM and 1.4GHz Scorpion processor. Whether that will hold up in the dual-core era remains to be seen.

    Nokia Lumia 900: Verdict

    Windows Phone truly arrived with the Nokia Lumia 800 and the new, larger and significantly 4G-enabled Nokia Lumia 900 is another step in the right direction for both companies. Both Nokia and Windows Phone are totally viable alternatives to the dominance of Android and iOS offering great hardware design and a well-on-the-way-to-being-great operating system.

    It's a shame that UK smartphone users are unlikely to see this device in the immediate future as it would offer stiff competition to the larger Android handsets boasting 4-inch plus screens. It would certainly give HTC's Android range something to think about.

    Nokia Lumia 900 availability: TBC

    Nokia Lumia price: TBC. AT&T in US. UK unconfirmed.

    • Nokia Lumia 900 video
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    • Video
      Nokia Lumia 900 video

      The Windows Mango Phone with LTE and 4G smarts but should the UK be jealous?

      01:08
    • Video
      Nokia Lumia 800 VS Nokia Lumia 900 video

      We’re yet to see the Nokia 900 over here in the UK but should we be excited by next Nokia Windows Phone? Here’s a spec head to head against the Lumia 800

      01:41
  • Nokia Lumia 900

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