Review: Nokia Lumia 900 PDF Print E-mail

The Nokia Lumia 900 is Nokia’s flagship Windows Phone. The design is very similar to the MeeGo-based N9 and of course, the Lumia 800.

 It has the same polycarbonate unibody that is guaranteed to turn a few heads, and is available in black, cyan and white.

There are several features that differentiate the Lumia 900 from the 800. Firstly, and most noticeably, is its larger size. Unlike the Lumia 800, it doesn’t sit comfortably in the hand and feels slightly too big. However, some handsets by competitor manufacturers that are in the market right now are even bigger.

The display is a 4.3-inch AMOLED ClearBlack Gorilla Glass touchscreen, which is flat, and not curved like the Lumia 800. It also has a front-facing, 1-megapixel camera, a first for the Lumia range.

The buttons sit on the right hand side of the phone and allow for volume control (up and down); power and camera. On the top left, you will find a 3.5mm audio jack, followed by the charging port and a micro SIM slot. The speakers are situated at the base, while the back features an 8-megapixel camera and dual LED flash. Unlike the Lumia 800, the charging port is not hidden beneath a flap, which is quite a relief.

Windows Phone

The handset runs on the Windows Phone 7.5 operating system, but the biggest disappointment is that it won’t be able to run Windows Phone 8, which is expected to launch later this year. The phone will, however, run Windows Phone 7.8.

The unique live tiles on the homescreen look visually appealing, and are fully customisable. It displays dynamic content from apps that you can set to push content.

The larger display felt like it was eating through the battery really fast, especially when compared to the Lumia 800 – which is odd, since the Lumia 900 boasts a higher capacity battery.

Setting up contacts was simple and done via the preloaded Contacts Transfer app over Bluetooth. Once you sync Facebook and Twitter contacts, you can stitch contacts together from various platforms, which is rather convenient.

Apps

All Nokia Windows Phone handsets come preloaded with Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive and Nokia Music.

One of the best music offerings locally is the Mix Radio feature, which allows a user to stream music straight out of the box, no sign-up required.  Another fantastic feature is the ability to download playlists for offline play.

If you want to make use of the Nokia Drive app, which offers turn by turn voice navigation, a word of advice is to set it up before you get on the road. You have many voice options to choose from, which you need to download before proceeding. Nokia fans, remember Surfer Dude? He is always my first choice, and makes sitting in traffic more bearable.

The Windows Phone Marketplace has finally broken the six-digit barrier and offers more than 100,000 apps (that’s double the figure from December 2011). Popular titles such as Draw Something and Words with Friends will be coming soon.

When it comes to social networks, the built-in People Hub is the best way to view feeds across all platforms. To get going, you sign in to whatever accounts you want to link to on your handset (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Windows Live, etc). You can then choose which networks to pull feeds from on the People Hub, e.g. you don’t have to display LinkedIn feeds in your stream, as it is usually a duplicate from another network.

If you go into a contact card, you will be able to see their feeds across the various networks that you happen to be friends with/followers of them. You also have the option to interact directly from this panel.

Camera

The Lumia 900 features a Carl Zeiss 8-megapixel camera and dual LED flash, which makes carrying a point-and-shoot obsolete. The dedicated camera button makes all the difference, and pressing it down halfway allows you to focus before taking a picture. There has definitely been an improvement of video quality since the Lumia 800. Video is shot in 720p at 30 frames per second, with various scene mode options. Sticking to natural light always works best.

What’s inside

The Lumia 900 is powered by a 1.4GHz Qualcomm Scorpion processor, comes with 16GB internal non-expandable flash memory and 512MB of RAM. The phone was fast and ran apps without freezing or crashing. Listening to music on Mix Radio in offline mode didn’t affect the browsing speeds of the phone, or scrolling between live tiles.

Connectivity

The phone offers Bluetooth 2.1, WiFi, HSPA+. Another nifty feature is the ability to tether. You can share your 3G internet connection with up to five other devices.

Conclusion

The Lumia 900 is a smartphone that removes all complications from the smartphone experience. It is easy to set up straight out of the box and comes preloaded with all the necessary apps to get you going. It’s also one those handsets that doesn’t eat through your data before you know what’s happening. It’s a great transition phone for existing Nokia users, but if you’re serious about your phone and want the latest updates and new features, the lack of Windows Phone 8 support will be the ultimate deciding factor.

IN SUMMARY

Pros: Fast processor; slick user-interface; easy to set up.
Cons: Only available through MTN; won’t run Windows Phone 8.
Rating: 7.5/10
Price: R369 on MTN Anytime 200 + 75MB of data x 24 months.
Contact: MTN - www.mtn.co.za 

Older news items: