The reviews are in: Nokia‘s (NOK) Lumia 900, running Microsoft‘s (MSFT) “Windows Phone 7,” goes on sale exclusively at AT&T (T) next Monday and those reviewers who’ve been granted a unit were unleashed last night to write what they thought. I’ll have my own review later this week, but for now, let’s see what they said.
Wall Street Journal: It’s a “mixed bag.” “Provides the best home yet for the attractive Windows Phone software, but still doesn’t measure up to rival smartphones.”
Engadget: It’s “yet another decent offering” in AT&T’s lineup of 4G phones, but “too plain, too ordinary,” to really be a flagship phone for Nokia.
USA Today: The competition is formidable, but at $99, and with a fresh operating system, “Nokia may be well on the way to crafting a compelling comeback story.”
Walt Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal: Despite the 900′s larger size, it was comfortable to hold. The LTE connection got 10 megabits to 15 megabits per second on the download, which Mossberg describes as being faster than most home Wifi connections. Mossberg was “underwhelmed” by the battery life, the browser, and its photo-taking ability. Regarding the camera, “despite having the same resolution as the new iPhone, took notably worse pictures of the same scenes in my tests. To my eye, colors were oversaturated, and details were less sharp.” The “ecosystem” for content is weak, with no ability to download TV shows and movies, and fewer magazine and newspaper apps. The Metro UI, however, is “refreshing.” The biggest issue for Mossberg was that on WiFi, the Web browser stalled sometimes when loading pages, something other phones didn’t do and that Nokia couldn’t explain. The screen resolution of 800 x 480 was not as sharp as the iPhone, he notes, and the polarizing filter for making the screen more readable in direct sunlight delivered only modest improvement.
Joseph Volpe, Engadget: He’s a mite disappointed that the smooth contour of the 900′s predecessor has been degraded somewhat by having the screen rise a hair above the polycarbonate frame of the device, rather than being flush with the body, as with the 800. Still, the solid construction and some fine details such as the carving of the speaker grill are pleasing. Althoug the phone is generally zippy in terms of the Windows UI, it actually scores not as well on some benchmarks. More to the point, the operating takes its own leisurely time strolling through its animations, rather than the snappy feel of some other phones, including the 800. Battery life was decent, perhaps giving real-world use of as much as 72 hours on a charge, despite the machine having a 4G LTE connection. Volpe praises the 8-megapixel camera, writing that it “displays a knack for depth of field, crisp replication of detail and balanced color.” LTE speeds on average ranged from 17 to 20 megabits per second.
Ed Baig, USA Today: he likes the software, he likes the hardware. Images with the camera were “all over the map.” Windows Phone is “fresh and different from iOS and Android and offers a strong alternative to the status quo.” he notes the weight of 5.6 means it’s not the lightest among smartphones. He got through a day of “mixed usage” with a single battery charge. The 70,000 apps available in Microsoft’s “Marketplace” store is “respectable.” Despite the single-core apps processor from Qualcomm, the phone’s performance “never felt like a laggard.”
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