Let me get this out of the way: Prior to owning this phone, I was a die hard Android fan. I obtained my first Android device, the original Motorola Droid, on November 5th, 2009, from Best Buy. I loved the platform. And working in telecom, I've been fortunate enough to be able to change phones more frequently than most. My Android history is as follows: Motorola Droid, HTC Incredible, Motorola Droid X, HTC MyTouch 4G, LG G2X, HTC Sensation, HTC Incredible 2, Sony Xperia Play, and finally, the Motorola Droid Bionic. Yep, I've been through a lot of phones.
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With the Droid Bionic, I was experiencing the well-known data connection issue where the data connection would randomly drop and you'd lose internet for an unspecified time and then it would just come back up. Motorola knew about it. Verizon technical support was aware as well. No one would address it. I began to look for another device and another carrier at this point.
This is what made me look into the Windows devices. I first tried the HTC Titan. It was on sale for a penny. Great phone. Horrible internet with AT&T. Returned and decided to wait as there was an HTC II coming and it would take advantage of their high speed LTE network which is available here in Orlando. At the same time, the Nokia Lumia 900 was to be released. I preferred the 16 MP camera that the Titan II had and the 4.7 inch screen, but I didn't prefer the price of 199.99. Amazon had the price of $49.99 for the Lumia with a new line on AT&T, so I took it.
Now you know what led me here. Let me say that I've had it since April 11th of 2012, and it's been one heck of a great experience. I've genuinely been enjoying this phone to the fullest. I use it A LOT. I don't have a home computer so I'm always on my phone. Between the build and the OS, the more I use it, the more I want to use it.
The biggest challenge Microsoft, Nokia, and AT&T face with Windows Phones is that people don't know what it is or how it works. As I take you through this review, I will try and demonstrate how it works and I will relate usage to an Apple device and an Android device. Since this is a phone review and not an OS review, any references to the operating system will be brief, but mentioned with regards to the phone itself.
I have the Lumia 900 in Cyan, which is the blue version. There is a Black version and also a White version, with a rumoured Magenta version coming at some point. The screen is a pretty common 4.3" with an Amoled clearblack screen that's pretty gorgeous. The blacks on this screen are some of the best you'll ever see on any phone currently out there. The body is curved on the sides which make for a comfortable feel when you're holding it. The speaker is on the bottom of the phone and is very clear and can be somewhat loud on lower volumes. Charging port is centered on the top of the phone. Many users should like this as I'm sure people use their cup holders in their vehicle to place their phone. This allows it to sit in portrait mode without having the cable interfere with the way it's seated in the holder. Finally, you have your standard headphone jack on the top left of the phone if you're holding it with the screen facing you. Both the top of the phone and the bottom of the device are perfectly flat.
Back to the front of the phone, you have a 1 MP front facing camera in the upper left hand of the screen. There are no physical buttons on the face, which is pretty standard with Windows Phone 7.5 devices. On the lower left, you have a back arrow. In the center, you have a Windows soft button, which is like a home button (a la Apple iOS), and you have your search button on the right. Very clean looking and they are quite responsive.
If you're looking for physical buttons, they are located on the right side of the phone if you're looking at the screen. You have you Up/Down volume rocker on the top, your button for waking the screen/powering the phone off and on, and finally, a physical button for the camera, which you don't have to use as you also have the option to snap your photos by tapping the screen. Some users may balk at the idea of the wake button being on the side, but when it comes to holding the phone one handed in your left hand, as many righties do, it's VERY convenient to operate the device with all of the buttons in one place.
I'll let you be the judge of if you think this is an issue or not, but the capacious 1830mAh battery is non-removable and there is no option for additional memory other than the 16 GB onboard, of which only just over 14 GB is usable. I don't find the onboard memory to be a great disadvantage as the operating system seamlessly intergrates with Microsoft's SkyDrive and up until recently, users that had a register Live account received 25 GB of SkyDrive storage for free. It's still a great value as they include 7 GB for anyone signing up now. I have my pictures uploaded automatically and documents on the device (it IS Microsoft, so you get Office included as well) and these items get synced to my SkyDrive account also. Onboard storage hasn't been a problem for me.
The battery is killer on this phone. I'm surprised at how long it actually lasts. It is definitely better than any Android I've had, hands down. I would put it on par with the iPhone, if not better. Also, the 1.4 GHz single core processor may help. Don't let the single core fool you. This device is fast and runs smoother than may Android phones with multiple cores. Finally, there's 512 MB of memory that's standard on this device.
First and foremost, it's called a phone. Luckily, it performs very well as one. Earpiece volume is good and callers sound clear. Mouthpiece is questionable at times. Users have said I can come across as hard to hear as I'm moving about, but when I'm using a BT headset, they hear me clear as day, and that's my preference for talking anyways, but with a plan of 450 minutes, I only talk around 125 minutes a month, so not a major concern. Due to the speaker on the bottom of the phone being of good quality, the speaker phone works well also. Decent volume to hear your caller and they sound very clear as well.
Again, high praises for the screen. It shows up very clear, even in direct sunlight. Probably the best I've had on any of the phones in recent years. Some of you may balk at the low screen resolution of 800 x 480, but this is a standard of the operating system as designated by Microsoft, and not Nokia. But let me make this clear...do not let that deter you. I've used this phone next to my Droid Bionic, which was a significantly higher resolution, and let me tell you that this screen popped and was just more dynamic overall. The resolution has not been an issue. Anything displayed on it is gorgeous. Whether it be an application, Netflix, or Internet Explorer 9, you won't be disappointed.
Speaking of web browsing, yes, this phone comes with a mobile version of IE 9. I will say this to get it out of the way, much like iOS, there is no Flash available on this device. Android users might not like that, but iOS users are already used to it. There are a handful of sites that I can't visit anymore, but they aren't missed. Also, I haven't had a need to download a 3rd party browser like I've always done in the past on Android (Dolphin, by the way). Some users have reported issues they don't like with the browser. No dedicated back button being a big item of debate. Then, you have your anti-IE crowd as always. Personally, I enjoy the browser and have no issues.
Finally, when it comes to using this phone, you can't do so without talking about apps. Besides, this is why people get smartphones these days. Windows Phone Marketplace just broke 100,000 apps. Both Android and iOS are either near or above the 500,000 mark. This can be a turn off for some. As to what I previously used, my most common needs are either built into the OS, are coming out as official apps each week, or there is an equivalent (and sometimes, better) alternative that I've found. I used to keep 100+ apps on my Android devices, but why? I still don't know. My most common apps were Facebook and Twitter, and those are integrated into the operating system, making it a much more user friendly interface. When it comes to posting to your social networks, Windows Phone makes it a smooth process that doesn't always require an app to do something. That's a nice change.
I really like my Nokia Lumia 900. Most users that see this phone in the wild or play with it like the phone. If you want a comparison to the other major players, it's more iOS than it is Android. While there are several models of the OS, there is a standard in place which keeps consistency in line. This is a good thing. I also don't need to reboot my device like I was always doing with Android. I've had no lockups or random restarts. The phone also starts up and shuts down very quickly...very un-Android like. Compared to iOS, it's much easier to get things done. An app isn't required for everything, and it comes across as less screen taps to accomplish similar tasks. Nokia and Microsoft have put a lot of effort into this phone and it shows. Are there some minor items that people won't like? Sure, but that's on any phone. No, this phone isn't the kitchen sink like Android can be and it doesn't have as many apps as iOS or Android for that matter. What does matter is that Nokia built a solid product that feels good in the hand, is quick and smooth, and lasts most of the day. The apps are growing every day, for those that are app happy, and they are of decent quality. All I can really say is pick one up and try it. You'll see why the Nokia Lumia is different, and why it could potentially replace your existing phone.
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Amount Paid (US$): 49.99
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