Nokia has officially unveiled the Lumia 900, the third phone in the Lumia range and the new top-end model. It is a US-only product for now, but we’d bet a bag of wine gums that a handset virtually identical to this will come to the UK before too long. But is it worth holding off buying the Lumia 800 for? We took the new Lumia for a spin to find out.
The key differences between the Nokia Lumia 900 and the Lumia 800 are that the new model has a larger 4.3in screen – instead of 3.7in – and 4G LTE connectivity. In the UK, we’re hopelessly behind our US cousins on the 4G front so there’s no chance of this model coming to our shores any time soon. For now, it’s a stateside AT&T exclusive.
Aside from these two differences, Nokia has done all it can to keep the top-end Lumia design personality consistent. It’s all based around the polycarbonate unibody frame. It’s plastic, but is possibly the most desirable plastic-bodied phone design ever.
From first gripping the thing, there’s no mistaking the Lumia 900’s supreme build quality, and its finish is much more durable than that of most phones. The colour of the polycarbonate frame is consistent all the way through the body. Scratch its surface and you won’t see a white layer of plastic underneath a painted outer layer. Treat it mean and it’ll retain its colour.
The other defining characteristic of the Lumia 900 design is its simplicity. The sides are seam-free and the handset bears just two sockets – one for a set of headphones and a microUSB for charging and data transfer. This purity, along with the slim bezel and reasonably thin-line 11.5mm thickness, help to make the device feel compact for a 4.3in number.
The screen type is identical to that of the Lumia 800. It’s a Clear Black AMOLED display, melding the near-flawless contrast and black levels of OLED with a screen finish designed to reduce screen reflections. It won’t blast them away completely, but does help.
Although the screen size has increased, the resolution hasn’t. Microsoft still doesn’t allow Windows Phone screens greater than 800 x 480 pixels in res, so it’s not Nokia’s fault, but does result in a so-so 216dpi pixel density. As the Windows Phone OS is so very well tailored for this resolution, you won’t notice this when flicking around the Lumia 900’s menus, though.
In similar fashion, the wonderful optimisation of the Windows Phone system means a single-core processor is easily enough to make the phone fly. The Lumia 900 has a 1.4GHz CPU, and we found navigation just as snappy as other top Windows phones – making this one of the quickest mobiles available.