The Nokia Lumia 900 was one of the biggest highlights at CES last January. Now that the device is finally hitting store shelves, we have gotten to spend some quality time with this latest high-end Windows phone 7.5 device. While the Nokia Lumia 800 never officially landed on a carier here in the U.S., the new Lumia 900 for AT&T is more or less a suped-up Nokia Lumia 800, that comes packing support for AT&T’s super speed 4G LTE network, along with a larger 4.3″ display.
Like with the 800, the build quality of the 900 is top notch. Its polycarbonate unibody design is super slick, but we’re especially excited about its color choices! AT&T is selling a cyan, glossy white, and black version of the Lumia 900. In particular, the cyan version really pops and is sure to garner attention from passerby’s. There is also a magenta version available from Nokia, but AT&T hasn’t commented on making that model available here. But the best part about the one-piece polycarbonate body is that you’ll never have to worry about the cyan or white paint chipping off, since the build quality is so good that the color die runs through the material. Size wise, the Lumia 900 measures 2.7″ x 5.03″ x 0.45 inches thick and weighs 5.6 ounces. Overall, it’s a bit on the larger size for a smartphone, but with its rounded side profiles, the 900 is easy to grip in your hand.
The Lumia 900 packs in almost identical display technology to the Lumia 800. We say almost identical, because on paper they are both sporting an AMOLED ClearBlack glass display. However, our gripe with the 800’s display was that although it is a great display, it is PenTile based. Fortunately, the Lumia 900’s display is not PenTile. Colors, including blacks, are super vibrant and sharp on the Lumia 900. We only wish that the display got a big brighter. And last but not least, the Lumia 900’s display is a larger 4.3″ display which should hit the sweet-spot for many in terms of from-factor.
The Lumia 900 is one of the first Windows Phones to come with built-in LTE support for AT&T’s new high speed network. Sites load up super fast on the Lumia 900, making web surfing a real pleasure. The BandWidth app recorded download speeds of 13.17Mbps and 5.54 Mbps upload speeds. Those speeds are faster than my home cable internet connection! The phone also comes with an Internet Sharing feature for transforming the device into a mobile hotspot.
AT&T has just announced that three additional markets now have LTE coverage – Bryan-College Station, Texas, and Bloomington and Muncie, Ind., bringing LTE coverage to a total of 31 markets st the time of this review, and growing.
Under the hood, the Nokia Lumia 900 comes packing a 1.4 GHz processor which is standard for Windows Phone Mango devices. That hardly makes the device a speed demon in comparison to the quad-core phones coming out nowadays, but this processor is more than adequate for the power efficient Windows Phone 7.5, and it provides plenty of pep. You will be hard pressed to experience slowdowns on this device.
The rear-facing camera on the 900 is an 8MP camera that uses Carl Zeiss optics, a dual LED flash, and autofocus. Meanwhile the 900 also sports 1MP front-facing camera for video calling. The rear-facing camera is good, but not nearly as good as we would have hoped for a camera with Carl Zeiss optics. Reproduced colors tend to not be very accurate, and it requires a lot of fiddling with manual settings, like exposure, in order to take a good picture. Check out the gallery below for sample images.
The 900 comes preloaded with some non-standard apps like AT&T U-Verse mobile, Code Scanner, myWireless, Navigator, Radio, ESPN, Tango Video Calls, and YPmobile. But more notable are the nokia Collection apps like Nokia Drive which is a free GPS navigation app, Nokia Transit, and Nokia Maps. These apps have been refined and improved upon for use in the U.S.A. since we originally tested them on the 800.
Call quality on the 900 is excellent, which shouldn’t be a surprise since Nokia and AT&T say that they worked hard to ensure excellent antenna performance in the Lumia 900. Callers sound super loud and clear, and they said the same of us. The speakerphone also works very well and is able to get nice and loud.
Battery life on the Lumia 900 is not as long-lasting as the battery life we’ve seen with the Lumia 710 or HTC Radar, but it will get you through a full day of use, which is much better than most typical Android and iOS smartphones.
The Nokia Lumia 800 is a great phone, but when it was first released it was a bit rough around the edges. Fortunately, the Lumia 900 is basically a suped-up, more refined, bad-ass version of the 800 that takes advantage of AT&T’s super speedy up and coming LTE network. Unfortunately, we are a bit disappointed by the Lumia 900’s camera, but that isn’t enough of a reason not to love this phone. This could be the smartphone to help get Nokia going again as a strong player in the U.S. Because at the end of the day, the Nokia Lumia 900 brings together the best of both world’s – excellent design and form-factor, combined with the snazzy Windows Phone 7.5 OS. And if you haven’t given Windows Phone a try until now, this is really the ultimate phone to dive into it with. And if you are already a Windows Phone aficionado, you are going to covet this phone bad. Which brings us to the price of the Nokia Lumia 900 which is $99 with a 2 year contract, and just $49 on Amazon, making it quite the steal! However, rumor has it that AT&T will offer the Nokia Lumia 900 for free! Either way, the Lumia 900 is going to be an amazing value for a premium handset. But don’t just take our word for it, check out some other reviews as well on the Nokia Lumia 900.
The Good: Excellent build quality and unique design, affordable price-point, AT&T’s LTE speeds continue to blow us away as usual, Nokia’s additional apps are nice add-ons, excellent call quality
The Bad: Camera is a bit of a let-down
Nokia announced last week that they have identified a memory management issue with the Lumia 900 that in some cases could lead to a loss of data connectivity. As a gesture of good will, Nokia is offerring a $100 AT&T bill credit to everyone who purchased a Nokia Lumia 900 before April 21st. Furthermore, Nokia Lumia 900 users can now update their AT&T version Nokia Lumia 900 software through Zune and Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac. For additional details, please visit: www.nokiausa.com/