Unique design; bright 4.3-inch AMOLED display; neat Windows Phone interface; better battery life
No upgrade to Windows 8; dull snapper; no 1080p video capture; lacking microSD slot
A lovely handset that features a unique interface, although it’s a huge shame that there’s no possibility of a Windows 8 upgrade.
Welcome to the latest flagship phone from Nokia – and the latest Windows Phone to come on the market. A lot is expected of this handset – and it certainly looks good – but does it rely too heavily on its looks?
The Lumia 900 feels good to hold – thanks to its polycarbonate chassis, smooth surface and rounded off edges. And they’ve really thought about the ergonomics – lo and behold there’s the power key sitting right in the centre of the right-hand edge, just where your finger rests; very handy.
It’s certainly a stylish looking device and looks very like its older stablemate the Lumia 800. The screen measures 4.3 inches (bigger than the 3.7in screen on the 800). It’s not as impressive as the larger screens on the HTC One X or the Samsung Galaxy S II, but then the handset isn’t as big.
Slick and minimal is the style here – the only raised areas are the buttons that sit on the right edge – the snapper button, power key and volume rocker. You’ll find the micro-SIM slot on the top edge (it sits flush to the chassis and you need a special key to tease it out), as well as the microUSB slot for charging and syncing, and the 3.5mm audio jack. There’s no microSD slot unfortunately, but then you do get 25GB of online storage.
The operating system is Windows Phone 7.5 – it’s easy and fun to use, even if you’ve never encountered it before. The live tiles are easy to get your head around and new users will enjoy using the handset.
Pop the tiles you use most on the homepage – pictures and faces change and any calendar updates jump out at you – it’s fun and lively and easy to like. Simplicity is the name of the game here, and you can quickly link Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google accounts. It’s easy to transfer contacts over via Bluetooth, then you’ll see plenty going on in the People hub.
It’s easy to see what your friends are doing using their contact card, and linked accounts.
It’s a pity that the Nokia Lumia 900 will not get the Windows 8 upgrade when it appears later in the year – disappointing for a flagship, high-end handset. Especially if you’re signing up for a two-year contract.
Making a call only takes a few clicks, and call quality is decent. You only get the choice of one keyboard but the touchscreen is really responsive. The chip is a 1.4GHz single-core model that manages to run games and apps smoothly.
What else is on offer?
So the Lumia 900 is larger than its predecessor, but is it better? The screen is certainly improved – it’s a 4.3in AMOLED Clear Black glass touchscreen that stretches right to the edge of the body, and is as sharp as any of the screens on the high-end handsets on the shelves right now.
The resolution is the same as that on the 800 at 480x800 (that means a picture density of 217ppi, compared with the 800’s 252ppi). But the 900’s display is still wonderfully vibrant, and browsing through photos is an enjoyable experience.
Surfing the net, however, was a slow experience – it took longer to find a page than it would on an iPhone for instance, and the display is not so good for reading text. You’ll need to zoom in to read it, and then wait a few seconds to allow it to become legible. There is also a lack of Flash support so you won’t be able to access all media on the web.
However, there are some neat Microsoft features, such as Zune, Xbox Live and Office and the battery life is improved from that on the Lumia 800. You’ll get a good day out of a full charge if you’re making a few calls, emailing and doing a bit of social networking.
The snapper is simple to use, has a speedy shutter and the camera can be fired up using the key on the right side of the handset – nice for capturing spur-of-the-moment images.
The Lumia 800’s snapper wasn’t terribly impressive and the 900’s camera doesn’t have the wow factor either. It produced some blurry images, especially in low light conditions, and despite its f2.2-aperture lens and 8 megapixels, it didn’t really produce decent snaps unless we had really good lighting conditions. Details weren’t as good as those produced by the cameras on the HTC One X and iPhone 4S.
It’s also surprising at this kind of price that there is no 1080p video capture.
But on the plus side there is a front-facing snapper for taking self-portraits and making video calls. Onboard is the Tango Video Calls app, which enables free calls between Windows Phone, iOS and Android handsets, tablets and PCs.
There is no doubt this is a lovely phone with a great operating system and a fantastic screen. But when it costs £450-500, rather than the £300 of the Lumia 800, you’d expect to see far more in the way of changes and improvements. Nor is there a Windows 8 upgrade to look forward to, which puts paid to any chances of future proofing.
We’d have liked to see far more from this phone at this price – it is the top-of-the line Windows handset, but then you may prefer to wait until Windows 8 appears and see what you can get for your money – or opt to save at least 150 quid and go for the Lumia 800.
|Type of device||Smartphone|
|Operating System||Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango)|
|CPU||Qualcomm APQ8055 + MDM9200|
|Graphic chipset||3x digital zoom, dual LED flash, Carl Zeiss optics, geo-tagging|
|Screen size||4.3 inches|
|Memory card slot|
|Secondary camera||1 megapixels|
|Special camera features|
|Music player||MPEG-4, AAC , eAAC, eAAC+, MPEG-1 audio Layer3 (MP3), WMA Professional 9 and 10, DRM Playready|
|FM Radio description||FM radio|
|Video player||WMV 9, H.264/AVC, MPEG-4, 3GPP formats (H.263), AVI, VC-1, ASF|
|Browser||XHTML, DOM Level 3, HTML5, CSS 3, DOM Level 1 and 2, SVG|
|Games||Yes and downloadable|
|Other||Windows Marketplace, ESPN Sports Hub, Micro SIM|
|Colors (Standard)||Black, Aqua-marine|
|Handsfree speaker phone|
|What's in the box|
|Standby||Up to 300 hours|
|Talktime||Up to 420 minutes|
|Battery life multimedia||Up to 60 hours music playback and up to 480 minutes video playback|
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