Nokia’s Lumia 900 arrives: it’s a slightly bigger 800

It’s been a few months since Nokia launched the Lumia 800, a premium handset that bundled in the latest version of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system, 8 megapixel Carl Zeiss camera, and a chassis made out of the same stuff hockey pucks are made of.

With new phones coming from market leaders Apple and Samsung in the next couple of months, the company needs something, and Nokia thinks the new Lumia 900 is it.

From a brief hands on yesterday, we’re not so sure. Looking at it, the new 900 is basically a slightly bigger version of the now few-month old flagship 800, throwing in the same 1.4GHz processor, same Adreno 205 graphics chip, same 16GB storage with no microSD slot, same 8 megapixel Carl Zeiss rear camera with dual-LED flash, same version of Windows Phone 7.5, and same polycarbonate casing.

You may be getting the feeling that the Lumia 900 shares a lot in common with its brother, but a few things have changed.

The screen and size of the handset is now bigger, accommodating a 4.3 inch AMOLED touchscreen display, albeit using the same 480×800 resolution as its 3.7 inch brother. A front-facing 1 megapixel camera has also been added, something that was missing on the Lumia 800, and the 3G downlink now has an increased maximum 42Mbps speed.

Interestingly, one of the very things we commented on that was missing from the 800 has been added here, with wireless hotspot technology thrown into this model.

The price has stayed the same, with the new Lumia 900 arriving at the same $699 price point as its slightly smaller sibling. If it sounds like your dream phone, Optus will have it in June, while retailers will carry it outright for the recommended retail price.

Nokia didn’t just introduce one handset here, however, with a second more budget-friendly model also ready for release.

The Lumia 610 is sort of the second-fiddle for the Lumia 900, again dropping some of the experience and targeting people who don’t want to spend premium prices for a solid handset.

Like the recently-reviewed Lumia 710, the new 610 will feature a 3.7 inch screen with 480×800, 8GB storage with no microSD slot, WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS.

Unlike that budget model, the processor has been dropped to an 800MHz model, the RAM has been cut to 256MB, the maximum download speed has been shifted to 7.2Mbps, and the price has also taken a stumble, making it cheapest Windows Phone when it becomes available for $329 in July.