updated 10:30 pm EDT, Tue April 3, 2012
Nokia Lumia 900 gets positive but not needed OK
The Nokia Lumia 900 received an Apple-like simultaneous blitz of early reviews that have shown a positive overall outlook that still posed trouble for Nokia and Microsoft. Advantages from our hands-on (above) like the quality screen and beautiful design still held true. Windows Phone is still considered an accomplished operating system, and the addition of LTE like elsewhere gave it a large speed boost in speed online.
Among the more common complaints was the rear camera, which is inherited directly from the Lumia 800. Although it has a wide f2.2 aperture and an eight-megapixel sensor, reviews at AllThingsD, The Verge, and Time all panned the image quality. Colors remain "washed out," and the camera often has trouble properly focusing on close-up subjects or avoiding the "pink spots" that some phones produce in the middle of their camera shots. Engadget saw relatively balanced color but was the exception rather than the rule.
Performance also remained an issue. Windows Phone's basic interface remains very fast, but its browser still trailed well behind Android and iOS in speed, on top known limitations for video (720p) and gaming performance that come from a single-core processor.
Software reactions were mixed and no longer as positive as they once were. The hub concepts, simple layouts, and Nokia-specific bonuses like Maps and Transit were positives. The quality of its app ecosystem was a problem, though, and interface issues were now starting to be glaring. The Verge was especially damning, and noted that multitasking was behind iOS and Android,the browser didn't render as accurately, and much of the vaunted social integration was unintuitive, being much better served by individual apps.
The site's Joshua Topolsky summarized it as time to offer a true rethink of the OS and that Microsoft couldn't keep relying on the uniqueness of its OS to drive sales. "I think it's time to stop giving Windows Phone a pass," he said.
No reviews so far have given the phone a bad review, but the overall scores pointed to a solidly average device that wouldn't make the broader public reconsider its opinion on Windows Phone. While far from a disaster, it wasn't a "crowning achievement either," Engadget wrote. The reception could pose problems for AT&T's ambitions, where it hopes to have a launch bigger than the iPhone's but with a device that may be considered average next to those with dual-core processors, higher-resolution screens, and better cameras.