Nokia Lumia 900: The pros and cons

April 4, 2012

Microsoft and Nokia have a lot riding on the Nokia Lumia 900, the new flagship Windows Phone handset. The handset represents one of Microsoft’s biggest pushes to get Windows phones in the minds of consumers — an effort that’s being helped along by a huge advertising push from AT&T.

For a complete review you can check out The Post’s Joshua Topolsky’s latest column, but here are some quick hits for those looking for a little shopping advice.

Pro: This phone looks good. When you pull it out of your pocket, friends who are interested in gadgets are going to react — and likely in a positive way. The phone feels well-built and fits well in hand for long conversations or marathon texting sessions.

Con: It’s a bit form over function. The hardware is great, but the software needs some work, as does the Microsoft app ecosystem. And this may sound nit-picky, but I don’t like the layout of the buttons on this phone. The power button is far too easy to hit by accident, and I often ended up locking the phone screen when I wanted to hit the volume rocker.

Pro: It’s not an iPhone or and Android. If you’ve tried and rejected both of these platforms, Windows Phone is certainly anything but more of the same. The entire user interface is different, built along the blocky appearance that’s pulling Microsoft products together these days. While I’m not a complete fan of the amount of scrolling required by the off-set tiles on Windows Phone, I do have to say that it lends itself well to one-thumb scrolling.

Con: It’s a Windows Phone. Don’t get me wrong, I like a lot of what Windows is doing and I like that Windows Phone looks and feels markedly different from iOS and Android phones. But at the end of the day, smartphones need content and the content just isn’t there yet.

There are also, as Topolsky notes, places where it just takes too many steps to do simple things such as checking social media messages.

Pro: The Nokia Lumia 900 is a great deal. It’s got LTE, a solid display, an 8 MP camera, and runs apps smoothly and largely without issue.

Con: It’s not necessarily the best deal out there. For example, if you really, truly, want an iPhone but don’t think you can afford one, the iPhone 4 is still just $99 on contract as well. Is last year’s iPhone better than this year’s cutting edge Windows Phone? As I said before, content is key and it’s hard to beat Apple when it comes to a full-featured app store. That said, the iPhone 4 doesn’t have the advantage of LTE or an 8 MP camera, so it depends on what your priorities are.

Who shouldn’t buy it: Love your iPhone? Love your Android? This probably isn’t for you. Windows Phone is an interesting platform that may still have a chance to grow into something extraordinary, but if you’re switching from either iOS or Android, you’re going to notice some serious gaps.

Who should buy it: If you’re in the market for a new smartphone, aren’t impressed with Android or Apple, this is worth consideration — especially for $99. The phone is also particularly good for Microsoft fans who already use Bing or SkyDrive on a regular basis and would like to have those integrated, by default, into their phones.

More stories from The Washington Post:

Joshua Topolsky: Microsoft’s big bet on the smartphone market has software issues

Ideas@Innovations: Google glasses get a preview (VIDEO)

BlackBerry remains official Washington’s smartphone even as its maker’s fortunes decline

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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