Nokia Lumia 900 – Hardware Review

There are so many reviews on the internet of all the latest devices talking about all their specifications, dimensions, and more, but very few are “Experience” reviews. This is exactly what I wish to portray in my reviews, how these devices are to live with, not just facts and figures. I will split the review into two parts, Hardware and Software.

It seems like these days the only devices people talk about are iPhones, the S3 and Blackberries. I am not surprised because they are good devices, but I have always wondered what has Nokia been up to. I see various devices coming out, yet haven’t been hearing about them other than in Advertisements or on the internet. I never got a hand’s on experience with their latest devices, just their older ones, but thanks to Nokia here in Dubai, they happily sent me a Lumia 900 to play around with for a few weeks! it certainly excited me!

Before I begin, here is a quick run through the device’s specifications:

1.4 Ghz Scorpion Qualcomm APQ8055 Snapdragon, running on Microsoft Windows Phone 7.5 Tango with 512 MB RAM
4.3″ AMOLED ClearBlack Glass Corning® Gorilla® Glass Touchscreen with a One-Piece Polycarbonate Body
8 Megapixel Camera with Carl Zeiss optics and Dual LED Flash on the back (720p Video @ 30FPS)
1 Megapixel Camera on the front for Video Calling
Micro-SIM with up to LTE Capability
1830 mAh Battery (not removable)
Magnetometer, A-GPS, Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Bluetooth 2.1 and WLAN IEEE 802.11 b/g/n

So, now that the technical details are out of the way, lets take a look at the box! (Unboxing Video coming soon)

The box slides open, and as soon as I did, a blue Nokia Lumia 900 all fresh in plastic was waiting. Modern packaging and very simplistic. Putting the phone aside, I was eager to see what else was in the box.

Right under the phone is the Sim Door Key which ejects the SIM Card door on the top of the phone, which shall be shown later on in the review.

Under that, comes the Manuals and other instructions. I do get the feeling big companies like Nokia and Apple understand that people don’t really read manuals so they do not waste so much printing thick booklets anymore.

The Unit I got, weirdly, did not have a headset. Under the Manuals, I got a white USB Cable and a Wall Charger.

Now that the box is out of the way, time to take a look at the device itself!

The device is a very good looking device, very simplistic. the front has three buttons which are capacitive. Back, Home and Search, which are illumiated.

The beauty continues all the way to the back. There is absolutely nothing but clear Polycarbonate matte-ness (if that is even a word) and the 8 Megapixel Camera.

On the top of the device, you get (From left to right) the 3.5 MM Headphone Jack, a Microphone, Micro-USB port, and the Sim Door. How it works is, you poke in the Key and the Door pops out. Attach the Sim to the door and slide it back in. One of the things I experienced is that popping in a Sim card with the device on, doesn’t work. It only recognized the Sim after a restart.

In keeping with the simplistic style of the device, the bottom has nothing but a speaker grill.

On the right side of the device is where all the buttons exist for the device. From the left there is the Camera button, On/Off/Lock button in the middle and the volume keys. They keys are quite nice, easy to press and responsive.

That is pretty much all the physical information of the device, but I haven’t really spoken much about the experience yet, but thats whats I am about to share right now.

The device (Physically) is amazing. The body. being just 1 piece, makes it look very solid but it isn’t just looks, keeping with Nokia’s history of build quality, the device was solid as a rock, no rattles, shakes, squeek or anything. The best part of the Polycarbonate body is that it is Matte and this means very little fingerprint madnes like we usually experience in a lot of phones today being all shiny and glossy. Also, the Polycarbonate is said to be the same color throughout, thus meaning, if there is a scratch, it wouldn’t reveal the color of the materials underneath, it would still be blue if the phone is blue, making scratches less visible. The device is big with it’s 4.3″ Screen but is not as big as devices that are like Mini Tablets. it isn’t all perfect though, one thing that I did not like was that the edges were rather hard, I wouldn’t say sharp but like it still is a stiff edge. One thing that I can picture is dropping this phone, a strong edge might cause damage or be damaged easily. Another thing I noticed in my few weeks with the device was, if they went with Polycarbonate for the Build Quality, Scratch Durability, toughness and went with Corning Gorilla Glass for the front that apparently is really scratch resistant (I have seen videos on youtube where they do insane things and it survives), why did they use ordinary Chrome around the Camera lense? I have used the device for a few weeks, and I already have had a few scratches!

The device isn’t too heavy tipping the scales at 160 Grams, which is quite alright for it’s size. The size isn’t very big, but the strong edges make it look bigger than it is.

The Battery isn’t removable, which is an unusual move by Nokia since they have a history of always being the most practical manufacturer, but they are moving with the times. I personally, never needed to switch batteries so it never really concerned me, but in return of a device without a removable battery, the battery life ought to be good. So how was it? Pretty decent. The device did last with me a whole day of about 10-12 hours with ease, usually leaving 20-30% battery life remaining and my usual routine involves calls, chats, few emails, little browsing and texts. Another slight limitation was a lack of a Memory Card Slot, not too sure why Nokia isn’t giving these flexibilities to the consumer.

As far as the overall feel of owning the device, it is awesome! Especially the Blue one I had. It gets attention! people are very used to seeing Blackberries, iPhones and random Samsung devices, and I kept getting people asking, what is that? is that a Case? but the biggest surprise on their faces is when I tell them it is a Nokia! People are apparently like shocked to know Nokia still makes phones for some reason. Which sucks because the Lumia 900 is actually a great device! but people are impressed! I have been getting a lot of people liking the device’s feel, the color, the shape, etc

One of the best things I liked about the device physicaly, aside from the awesome Polycarbonate One-Piece body, is the screen. I shall discuss this more when I do the software part of the review, but the screen’s ClearBlack is amazing, 90% I cannot tell where the screen begins from the Black Bezzel! The Blacks are so Clear (I guess its fair enough to call it ClearBlack then)

An observation I had though, was I did not like that the Charging/USB port being on the top. I have had plenty of devices where the ports were on the top, bottom, and even sides and the only positon where it was ever comfortable to use the device or to make calls was when the port was at the bottom.

I think I have covered most of my thoughts and opinions about the hardware aspects of the Nokia Lumia 900, and I shall continue the review soon discussing all the Software Aspects of the device, give updates on the review and overall conclusive thoughts on the device at the end. Stay tuned at ihab’s tech!

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