Nokia Lumia 900 – Hype or Hit?

Nokia is determined to conquer America judging by the amount of advertising & marketing money being spent on the launch of the Lumia 900. But does Nokia’s first 4G LTE phone live up to the hype?

Sources within AT&T say sales of the 900 have greatly exceeded the carrier’s expectations. Many stores are now completely sold out. Perhaps surprisingly, the Cyan Blue version is reportedly almost as popular as the Black version.

The carrier has also confirmed that a fix for the recently discovered data bug is now being rolled out along with a $100 rebate for affected customers. That’s outstanding customer service on the part of Nokia and is another sign they’re serious about serving phone users.

But all that aside, the question for anyone thinking of pulling the trigger on this phone is whether the hype is justified.

Let’s look at the technical details before considering the design and usability.

The Nokia Lumia 900 is kitted out with a 1.4 GHz single-core processor and 4.3-inch AMOLED display. For cameras, you’ll find an 8-megapixel shooter on the rear with 720p HD video recording and Carl Zeiss lens, while on the front there’s a larger than standard 1.3-megapixel camera for all your video conferencing and self-portrait needs.

This is a 4G LTE device so it’s compatible with the new AT&T LTE network which is rolling out across the country as well the legacy 3G service. We review the 4G performance in greater detail below.

Design

Nokia have put a lot of thought into the design of the Lumia range, especially the 900. The casing for example is a polycarbonate shell that’s as strong and durable as you want it to be while at the same time being minimalist enough to stop the device from feeling like a brick in your hand.

Run your fingers down the right side of the Lumia and you’ll find the power, volume and dedicated camera button.

Along the top side of the phone is the microUSB charging port, the microSIM card slot and 3.5mm headphone jack. The left side of the device is smooth and clear.

To sum up, this latest Nokia is a beautifully designed 4G phone that shatters the idea that a Windows Phone has to be boring.

Usability

The improvements to the Windows Phone OS since the Mango 7.5 upgrade are considerable. It now has one of the smoothest interfaces on a phone and there are enough ways to personalize it to keep most users happy but if you’re used to something like Android you may be disappointed with the lack of options on the 900.

Another area that counts against Windows phones at the moment is the comparatively small size of the app store.

At around 70,000 apps, Windows Marketplace isn’t as extensive as either the iTunes app store or Google Play but it does offer most of the popular apps. In any case, the numbers of apps is certain to increase as the platform gains a wider user base and developers hop aboard.

Camera

Picture quality is what you’d expect from an 8-megapixel camera with a Carl Zeiss lens and there’s a good set of features for editing including saturation, focus mode and contrast. The camera is good enough for casual mobile photography. If you need something more substantial take a look at the HTC Titan II or Apple iPhone 4S.

4G Network Performance

Nokia phones are renowned for having good radios inside and the Nokia Lumia 900 doesn’t disappoint. Real-life download and upload speeds hover around the 6-9 Mbps and 1.5-5Mbps range, making the mobile web a fast experience.

Call quality is excellent. Loud and clear.

Battery Life

You can’t expect to run a powerhouse phone with 4G LTE connectivity without having to recharge fairly frequently. That’s an unfortunate fact of life until we get some better battery technology from phone manufacturers.

That said, Nokia have given the Lumia 900 a decent sized 1,830 mAh battery that lasts surprisingly well even with moderate to heavy usage of web & email, some pretty hefty downloading / video streaming and a lot of camera use.

Your mileage may vary but for our money the battery life is among the best of the current choice of 4G phones.

Price

Currently, the official AT&T deal is outstanding: $99.99 with a two-year contract. Even the mighty price-discounter that is Amazon can only beat that price slightly.

Bottom Line

The Nokia Lumia 900 is a high-end Windows phone that promises a lot and generally delivers – especially when you taken into account the superb design & build, battery performance, 4G LTE and great price.

Nokia Lumia 900 - 8MP camera & Carl Zeiss f2.2/28mm lens

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