Photo: Steve Kovach, Business Insider
I really wanted to like the Nokia Lumia 900. Unfortunately, Nokia and Microsoft’s partnership resulted in just a mediocre device. (You can read my full, detailed review of the Nokia Lumia 900 right here.)
But it’s not totally bad. While the phone is far from perfect, there’s still a lot to like about the Lumia 900.
I spent a week with Nokia’s newest flagship smartphone, using it almost exclusively. Keep reading to see everything I liked and didn’t like about my experience.
The Lumia 900 is arguably one of, if not the, most attractive smartphones out there. From the day I first saw it at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, I knew this phone would turn heads. Instead of the boring old cookie cutter rectangular plastic design found in many other smartphones, the Lumia is made from a single piece of durable polycarbonate plastic. It just screams quality and it's a delight to hold.
Personally, I'm not too crazy about the flagship blue colour, but luckily the Lumia 900 comes in black and glossy white. (Both are very pretty.)
By today's premium smartphone standards, the Lumia 900's screen is downright disgusting. It has a 4.3-inch display with a 800X480 pixel resolution. Compare that to the iPhone's 3.5-inch display packing a 960x640 resolution.
The result is grainy text and blurry images. It's just plain ugly.
Mark this date down. I'm about to praise AT&T's network.
Well, just it's new 4G LTE data network, which provides the fastest download speeds possible for the Lumia 900. It's impressive. At times it's even faster than your cable or DSL modem. Plus, the Lumia 900 doubles as a hotspot for your Wi-Fi devices, giving you insanely fast speeds on the go.
Unfortunately, AT&T's LTE network is pretty small right now. You can only get it in about 30 cities. Make sure you check if you're town is covered before you buy the Lumia 900.
While Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Evernote, and Netflix are all there, the Windows Phone app ecosystem still suffers from a huge lack of developer interest.
Simply put, if you're a Lumia 900 owner, you're not going to get the newest and best apps as soon as they launch.
Developers still prefer to make stuff for iPhone and Android first. It's getting a little better, but don't count on killer apps like Instagram any time soon.
On the other hand, some apps on Windows Phone look a lot better than their iOS and Android counterparts. Spotify and Foursquare are perhaps the two best examples. Both apps were redesigned from the ground up to match Windows Phone's gorgeous 'Metro' style. And it's not just about the looks. All that attention to detail makes these apps easier to use too.
Nokia made a big fuss about the Lumia 900's fancy Carl Zeiss camera lens. Unfortunately, it doesn't perform very well. The Lumia 900 camera only shoots HD video at 720p. Most other premium smartphones nowadays can shoot full 1080p HD video.
The Lumia 900's camera can snap photos at 8 MP, but the colours tend to look a bit off. You can see a photo I shot the other day to the right.
One of my favourite Windows Phone features is the way it lets you suck in information from all your social networks and view it in one place. Once you log into your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, you can check updates from all those networks in the 'Me' or 'People' apps. You can also have the phone automatically pull in your Facebook photos.
It's often much easier than opening up each individual app to see what's going on with your friends.
Taking a look at the Lumia 900's spec sheet, you can see it's hardly a powerhouse like other premium smartphones out there. It only has a 1.4 GHz single-core processor and 512 of RAM. That can translate to a slow, jerky experience when using a bunch of apps or surfing large web pages.
I experienced a good amount of slowdowns and app crashes during my testing. Part of that could be the Windows Phone software, but the Lumia 900's weak guts certainly don't help.
Flaws aside, the Lumia 900 is a decent value at just $100 with a two-year contract from AT&T. (Some retailers are even offering the phone for free if you're a new AT&T customer.)
Plus, it's tough to find too many other 4G LTE devices for that price. Verizon, for example, tends to price its LTE phones at $300.
If you like to run a bunch of apps at once and switch between them, you're going to have a tough time with the Lumia 900. Windows Phone isn't exactly a powerhouse when it comes to multitasking. In order to see your running apps, you have to press and hold the back arrow function key and swipe through them.
As far as I can tell, there's no easy way to force close an app either. Instead, you have to launch another new app to bump an older running app out of the multitasking list.
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