Nokia Lumia 900 (LTE)

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Reviewed by tech_envy (Currently owns)

• Iconic and beautiful industrial design that stands out from the iPhone masses
• ClearBlack screen really shows off the beauty of the Metro UI through AMOLED black-levels
• Screen has excellent outdoor visibility
• Polycarbonate body and GorillaGlass for excellent durability
• Fast, smooth, and responsive OS
• LTE connectivity is blazing fast (where available). Solid call quality and reception.
• Exclusive access to Nokia’s excellent apps, color theme, and sounds
• Integration of Microsoft ecosystem services (Office, Xbox, Live, Zune, Bing, SkyDrive) is outstanding
• Windows Phone integration in Exchange enterprise environments is hands-down the best on the market
• Price. Value.

• Camera should be much better for a flagship device. This is the biggest drawback.
• Side buttons feel a little cheap
• Screen mounting isn’t quite as elegant as the Lumia 800
• Screen resolution isn’t competitive
• App selection is a work-in-progress
• Size and weight of the device make one-handed operation somewhat awkward
• Non-removable battery

What Nokia has managed to do with their Lumia line that no other manufacturer has done yet, is create a beautiful hardware design that seamlessly matches the design language of the software within. The Lumia 900 isn’t as thin-and-light as the Focus S, and doesn’t have the camera of the Titan II, but it’s a thoughtfully designed device with a lot going for it – especially at its price point.

A couple of notable drawbacks about the Lumia 900 are the camera and the build quality (separate from the design itself). The camera is a disappointment. There’s no other way to say it. In the Windows Phone realm, both the Focus S and the Titan II have much better cameras and compared to the iPhone 4S and the Galaxy SII, the Nokia’s camera shots just look bad. Maybe performance can be adjusted by Nokia through firmware, but I suspect this is mostly due to the exclusion of a backside-illuminated sensor which the others have. Also, it’s obvious that Nokia made a couple concessions to get the Lumia 900 to the $99 price point. The screen mounting isn’t nearly as elegant as the Lumia 800’s curved glass, the side buttons feel rather plasticy and cheap, and the vibrate motor is plain anemic.

Writing a review of a Windows Phone device is tricky because frankly the OS and the UI are polarizing. People generally love it or they hate it, but I happen to fall into the former category and genuinely appreciate its differentiation from iOS, Android, and BlackBerry.

Bottom line though is that this is still a fantastic device and it has absolutely replaced my iPhone 4S. One other tip about Windows Phone is that the more services you configure it for, the better it gets. Your contacts, messaging, sharing, and social networks come alive in a really exciting and integrated way. I can’t wait to see what Nokia brings to the table with Windows Phone 8.

The Breakdown

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  • 10
  • Design 9
  • Display 8
  • Camera(s) 5
  • Reception / call quality 10
  • Performance 9
  • Software 9
  • Battery life 8
  • Ecosystem 6
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