Nokia’s Lumia 900 reviewed: big, shiny, and very sturdy


Nokia’s flagship Lumia 800 hasn’t been out very long in Australia, so we’re a little surprised to see a new model ready to take its place at the head of the table already.

Based on the same design that made the Lumia 800 such a top model, we’re expecting some good things here, and for the most part, it’s a feeling that stays with you when using the handset.

Like the 800, the build quality is noticeable when you pick up the handset, with a solid and sturdy unibody plastic chassis. It’s even more solid than HTC’s One X and One XL handsets, exuding a feeling that not even Apple can manage from its iPhone.

People with smaller hands may not like the size, however, as the heft and massive 4.3 inch size make it a touch on the weighty side. It’s not as well balanced as the 3.7 inch Lumia 800, and it also manages to be heavier, with a weight of 160 grams compared to 142 grams of the 3.7 inch 800.

The screen is pretty much the main reason why this handset is so big, and while the size is less than the 4.7 and 4.8 inch screens we’re seeing on Android handsets right now, it’s still a big screen. Nokia’s ClearBlack technology coupled with the AMOLED makes the colours very crisp, providing strong contrast in pretty much anything showing on the display.

With this technology in a big display, it’s a little underwhelming that you have such a comparatively low resolution to work with. At 800×480, the screen isn’t the same high quality display we’re seeing on competing devices from Android manufacturers or the iPhone, with many now supporting 960×540 and above.

That’s not necessarily a Nokia problem, though, as screen resolutions are set by Microsoft for all Windows Phone devices. Still, this means the text on webpages may require some zooming for better clarity.

Making and taking calls, you find that the speaker performance is also excellent, providing some of the loudest volume we’ve heard to date. Typing on the on-screen keyboard is also great, with solid responsitivity coupled with spelling suggestions.

Web performance was reasonably snappy for us in Sydney’s CBD, fetching between 10-12Mbps on download tests. That should be fast enough for most, though it’s a far cry from the theoretical maximum on offer from this new 42Mbps maximum dual-channel 3G device.

Like the other Nokia Lumia devices, you’ll find a few extra pieces of software bundled in, with Nokia’s GPS navigation software “Nokia Drive”, the maps app “Nokia Maps”, and access to the streaming music solution “Nokia Music”. Microsoft Office support is also included, as is access to Microsoft’s Marketplace for downloading apps and games for the handset.

Over in the performance area, the phone is quite speedy, zipping to and from menus just as quickly as the Lumia 800 would. That’s hardly unsurprising given how similar the phones are, and it’s further proof that phones don’t necessarily need dual- or quad-core processors to work quickly.

Interestingly, while the performance is great, the battery performance is mediocre, managing about a day with making phone calls, sending texts, surfing the web, a touch of social networking, and listening to music. The phone does feature a battery saver option, and with it, we managed roughly two days.

We would like to see more memory in this handset, though. A storage size of 16GB is relatively small these days, especially with no microSD slot for expanding the size and only roughly 13GB of that size available for you to use.