Lumia 900 - A 3 Week Review

It’s been three weeks since I received my new Nokia Lumia 900 and I thought I’d give some feedback from the perspective of a few weeks out. As a reminder, I previously used a Samsung Focus as my daily driver. I previously blogged about this phone in my pseudo-review.


I really have gotten used to the buttons all being on the same side of the phone. It took some effort to re-acquaint myself with the lock/unlock button being in the middle of the phone but it’s second nature now. The volume rocker on the right side of the phone was a little weird at first, but what I like most about this layout is that it has given the left side of the phone an unblemished existence. It’s the part of the phone I find myself, uhm, caressing.

As I said in my earlier post, the soft buttons are less sensitive and given the bezel of the cyan frame, I rarely hit those soft keys by accident. It still happens a little when I get carried away in Fruit Ninja. I love holding this phone in landscape mode while playing games or composing a text message. The squared off corners give you something substantial to hold onto; I don’t feel like the phone is going to slip away like the Focus.

The earpiece is better on the Lumia than the Focus. Mainly, it’s louder. I always had the Focus’s volume cranked to 30, but my Lumia’s volume setting hovers around 15. It took me a little while to feel the position of the earpiece with my ear, but now that I’ve got it, it’s great. Same goes for the speakerphone.

The front facing camera is a feature that I don’t use now, but I’m glad I have for the future. Neither my wife nor I travel for work and we see each other every night, meaning I don’t have a lot of use for it as far as video calling goes. I suspect it will get a lot of use when I’m at Tech-Ed in June and now that Skype has been fully released for Windows Phone, I’m sure we’ll use that more often. We might use it more if she got cell reception in her office. Blame her office building for that.

Visual Voicemail is a nice to have, at least for my wife. I send my voicemail off to Google Voice so that I get the transcription for free (AT&T charges for that), but my wife came from an iPhone where she used Visual Voicemail. Having it on the phone made it easier for her to switch without changing her workflow.


A smartphone camera is one of those features that I tend to not care about that much. I use mine a little, but not enough to make or break a phone choice decision. Word on the street is that the camera is a bit of a let down. If I really want to take a picture, I reach for my Canon 7D and take a Picture – capital P. So while the Lumia’s camera has an 8 MP camera and F/2.2 28mm lens, I don’t really care. Which is also why I don’t quibble about the picture quality. It looks fine to me while looking on my phone. If I’m taking pictures of my kid’s birthday party to post on Flickr, I let my SLR do the work with its 28-135 mm lens and 18 megapixels. It’s impossible to get kids to stand still. At least with the SLR the shutter speed will slow them down. So, no, I don’t expect a camera phone to rock like the camera that cost me 17 times as much as the phone did.


There is some sort of rattle when the phone vibrates. At times I thought it was the photo shutter release and its 2 step functionality. Then I thought it was something at the top of the phone, near the SIM door. I’m really not sure where it is, so I just turned off vibrations and now I don’t have to worry about it.

I’m still not thrilled about the lip on the phone’s surface. I’d also like to see more color choices. Today the rumored Magenta Lumia 900 became a little more real, but my wife would have loved for that one to have come out at launch.

I did not suffer from the data bug that others suffered from. In fact, for a whole day, I hadn’t realized that I hadn’t setup the WiFi for one of the locations I spend a lot of time in, meaning that entire day I only used the cell data. As a programmer, I give a lot of credit to Nokia for getting that update rolled out as quickly as they did.  As for the $100 credit for purchasing a Lumia 900 before April 21, I feel like they wanted to give this phone away for free and that bug gave them the perfect opportunity to do just that. Giving it away for free right out would have undermined the idea that this is a premium phone.

But Will it Upgrade?

If this phone is not upgradable to Windows Phone 8, then that’s a big bummer. I hope that there is a very good reason for them to not enable an upgrade. Since I’m a Windows Phone developer, I expect that if it doesn’t upgrade, I’ll need to get a Windows 8 phone at some point for development purposes. It’ll be nice to my budget if I can just use what I already have. If my apps don’t work on Windows Phone 8, then that’s a whole other issue.

Get Yours Now

If you’ve got a Windows Phone already with a contract that’s up for renewal, I’d buy this phone now. If you don’t have a Windows Phone yet, definitely buy this phone. We don’t know anything about Windows Phone 8 or its release date. Verizon says in time for Christmas but that’s still 6 months out at least. If your contract is not up, then I wouldn’t switch. Mango is no different and so there aren’t that many reasons to fork over cash to upgrade sooner.