Is The Nokia Lumia 900 The Right Phone For You?

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The Lumia 900 is a special device in that it’s the beginning of a shift. At least, that’s what Microsoft and Nokia are hoping for. Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said in September that a third mobile platform would emerge to compete with Apple and Google, and to be honest the only OS that even stands a chance is Windows Phone.

That said, Nokia is putting more eggs in the Microsoft basket than any other WP7 partner, and will thus bring some of the best Windows-flavored offerings to the table. The Lumia 900 is just the beginning, so whether you consider yourself an early adopter or a late technological bloomer, it’s worth figuring out whether a reinvented Nokia and a much improved mobile Microsoft are worthy of your time and consideration.

So after some long, hard thought, I’ve come away with a sort of pros vs. cons list that may help you.

Here’s what the Lumia 900 has going for it:

  • Style: This handset is kind of like a throw-back. It’s not as thin as some competitors, and has a bulky feel in general, but the design is actually quite fresh and feels solid. It also comes in black and blue matte, which lends to that premium feel, though the ceramic-y finish on the white one felt a bit cheap to me.
  • LTE: The Lumia 900 specs can’t actually compete on paper, save for a little 4G LTE radio packed nicely in that unibody frame. Luckily, this is one of very few specs that actually make a difference to the user, and it’s only fair to note that Windows Phone 7 is already snappier than Android and iOS, so tossing in a little 4G action only sweetens the deal.
  • Windows Phone 7.5: Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it, because you may just fall in love. I did. Robin did. And plenty of others will too, once they’ve actually given Windows Phone a shot. The OS is snappy, beautiful, fully-functional, user-friendly, and finally brings something new to the table rather than a grid of icons. Features like Local Scout, threaded Messaging, and the social networking hubs, whether they’re novelties or catch-up features, work seamlessly and encourage you to use the phone more. Long story short, anyone looking for a change or simply wanting to enter into the smartphone arena should check out this emulator.

But the Lumia 900 may not win when it comes to:

  • Display: This issue is bigger than just the Lumia 900 — Microsoft has implemented some annoying requirements for WP7 partners, including a maximum display resolution of 480×800. This means that the 4.3-inch Lumia display kind of sucks. It may not be a major problem for smartphone virgins, but if you’re doing a lot of reading or video-viewing on your device, this might be a deal-breaker for you.
  • Lack of apps: The Windows Phone Marketplace has come a long ways since its inception, but that doesn’t mean it can stand toe to toe with the App Store or Google Play. Again, noobs won’t be bothered by this — they don’t know what they’re missing. But again, could be a deal-breaker for the veteran used to having the latest and greatest apps.
  • General specs: Truth be told, I believe that the spec is dead. If you couldn’t go look them up, you may notice little to no difference at all between the best spec’d phones out there and the Lumia 900. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Lumia has a lower-res screen, a single-core processor, and can only shoot 720p video. Granted, that low res screen does excellently in sunlight, Windows Phone doesn’t really need a dual-core chip, and 720p is normally just fine for the average consumer. So again, I wouldn’t base decisions off of this simply because these numbers are convoluted anyways, but I’m just laying down the facts.

As you’ll notice above, the same conclusion keeps popping up: this is a phone for brand new smartphone buyers. If you’re sick to death of our current mobile ecosystem, or need two phones, then by all means I absolutely think you’re right for the Lumia 900. But in any other situation, I’d have to look at this phone as a downgrade.

On the other hand, new smartphone buyers won’t be bothered by any of the little things, but rather enthralled by the cool new OS on the block. This is exactly what Nokia and Microsoft are banking on, as proven by the mid-range specs and ridiculously cheap price tag. And if enough noobs jump on the Lumia bandwagon, perhaps Microsoft will tweak that stupid 480×800 thing and start building truly competitive flagships at equally competitive price points so that seasoned smartphone owners can make a play at Windows Phone too.