* Prices may differ from that shown
I had been using my rather out dated Sony Ericson ws800 for 2 years now and I decided it was time to upgrade. I already own an ipod so music playback wasn't that important to me I wanted something with power but style. My initial reaction was to start looking at conventional upgrades now a day's... the iPhone or Samsung galaxy but to be honest these didn't attract me very much. I continued looking around checking out the latest Ericson products, but then I came across a company I hadn't looked at for years. Nokia. I don't think I've had a Nokia phone in the last 10 years at least and started looking at their range.
I came across the Nokia Lumia 900. Initial thoughts were it looked very sleek and sexy with a modern almost tablet like look. I started looking through the specifications, 16gb hard drive, 512mb Ram and 8mp camera the standards everyone look for when buying a phone. I then noticed the operating system; Windows Phone. With all the hype on the market about IOS and android I had forgotten about this nifty little OS, just looking at its tile layout made me fall even more in love with the phone.
I walked into my local HMV store which has an orange shop built inside too and checked out the phone. I've got fairly big hands and I must say it fits perfectly however other people have said it has a bulky build for a smart phone. Just having a quick play around made me realise this was the phone I was going to be getting. I started looking at contracts to purchase it on but in the end I ended up sticking with pay as you go. The phone retails at £499.95 direct from Nokia on pay as you go but other companies such as orange in store it can drop to around £449.99 or argos at £389.99. However all the contracts I looked at all allowed the phone to be free with contract at £26 a month. I purchased it brand new on orange on eBay for £312 a massive price saving for a brand new phone.
After arriving 2 days later I was so happy and excited. I ripped through the sellers packaging and got to the initial box. It was covered in a sealed plastic wrap protecting the box from scratch damage. After removing this I was left with the blue box underneath with a picture of the phone and the name along with some numbers and I.D codes. I lifted up the lid of the box to reveal a slightly smaller plain blue box inside. I pulled that out and cut the seal tab across the front flaps.
I opened the flaps and began pulling out yet another box. It was very fiddly at first as there is no pull tab on the 3rd box and the box around it is solid, in the end I used a table knife just to lever it out a little so I could pull it out.
After the final box was out I knew this was it. I removed the top plastic/cardboard mould to keep everything secure in the box and there before me was the phone sat in a perfectly shaped mould to stop it from moving around in the box and getting damaged. I gently pulled out the phone and placed it on the table. I removed the mould it was sat in which was only around 1cm thick and revealed the hidden compartments below. There was a small box that included on the manual and warranty information and standard paperwork you get. A separate compartment housed the headphones nicely wrapped and tided in a clear plastic seal. This also included the sim key to get access to the sim slot.
Another compartment housed the charging adapter which I was surprised at. It was simply just a plug. I thought this was strange but noticed the usb port at the bottom and realised its charged through the usb both in a computer and through the plug.
-Admiring the Design-
When holding the device in your hand you can feel its heavier than other smart phones it also feels quite large but also powerful. The first thing you instantly notice is its massive 4.3" gorilla glass clear black screen. I've got the Black version of the lumia 900 and the screen really blends in with the body very well showing true black from the HD screen.
The whole body is in a rectangular shape but slightly curved to allow it to sit nicely in your hand as well lovely to look at. As a opposed to other phones on the market all the main buttons are placed on the right hand side of the phone, I thought this would be a bad point but it actually works very well and I adapted quickly to this set up. From the top of the right hand side you have the standard volume up and down buttons then nearer the centre the lock and unlock button and finally the camera shutter button. Along the left is a clear, extremely soft and nice to touch body that curves round to the back that just allows the body to flow.
Along the top of screen you have the standard "Nokia" logo and next to this a small front facing camera for video calls or using applications such as skype. I believe the front facing camera is 1.2mp so around average quality the same as on a standard laptop web cam if not better. At the top of the phone is the 3.5mm headphone jack located in the far left side of the top of the phone. Unconventional to other phones having it located on the bottom right hand side, when using this I've found it a bit annoying as it means having to stretch the cable further but also when pulling the phone out of my pocket it means having to rotate it a little annoyance but i don't tend to use it that much.
Next to the headphone jack is the usb/charging port and then next to this the sim housing. Which can only be opened with the sim key or so I've heard a paper clip. This keeps the sim protected and safe within the body of the phone however it can be a bit of a fiddle to remove.
Along the bottom of the screen is the 3 menu buttons. From the left you have have the back button which when press and held opens up multitasking and recovering apps or windows you've closed or came out of by accident. In the middle we have the iconic windows logo (Home button) which when pressed takes you back to the main start screen of the phone and finally the search button which is directly linked to bing for speedy internet searching.
Finally the speaker is located at the bottom of the phone along with a few bits of lettering which are a bit of an eye sore and unfortunately can't be removed.
-First Start Up and Setup-
After the un-boxing I turned the phone on as much to my surprise it had a charge about 1/3 of the battery so a good fair amount however I connected the usb cable to the charging plug and plugged it in. For some reason it can be a little fiddly and hard to get it into the socket. The phone started up and presented me with a welcome screen and set-up guide. I ran through the options setting up language, time zone and the date and time. I was then asked to sign in to my windows live account so I input my login information and it signed me in. It automatically set up my email account my emails were coming through to my phone. My Xbox live information also became integrated with the phone and the Xbox live, live tile changed to show my avatar and gamertag.
-Start Screen/main menu-
Unconventional to other devices on the market today the Lumia 900 doesn't use icons to display apps on its home screen. Instead it uses a feature called live tiles. You can create tiles for any apps or features on the phone simply by pressing and holding your finger on its name. You can then re-order the tiles by simply pressing and holding one you can move each one to a new location. Like their name live tiles are in fact live updating their on screen to show latest tweets for example if you have a twitter tile. The background colour of the tiles can also be changed within the phones settings.
However as a downside due to the tiles taking up the entire screen there is no room for a background image so you either have a black or white background for the start screen. You also can't change the size of each tile your simply stuck with the simple square, however future updates of the windows phone will allow different sized tiles.
Located on the start screen is a small arrow, you can either press this arrow or simply flick your finger across the screen to the left to open up the main menu. Like the start screen on windows this displays the names of all the applications in your phone and links to features such as settings and camera. The list is listed in alphabetical order so finding the app you need is an easy task. Finally if you have a lot of applications you can use the search button that appears next to the menu to search through them more easily.
-Connecting People... But what happened to contacts?-
Your friends, family and work lives are no longer simple contacts in your phone. They are "people" located in the constant updating people application. The people application brings your windows live contacts, facebook contacts, gmail, twitter and almost any other platform into your phone allowing you to add multiple accounts to a single person allowing you to receive updates and contact them in anyway straight from the phone rather than using a separate application. You can also choose to filter out a specific range of contacts from an account for example if you don't want your facebook friends to be in your app you can hide facebook friends. However despite its amazing use of live updating and giving you an up to date summary of each persons facebook, twitter feeds and giving you a massive array of contact methods the intial design can be annoying. For instance when I first connected my windows live ID to the phone It imported all my windows messenger contacts something I didn't want and the only way to remove them was to delete them as contacts, this also included anyone I had sent an email to and added to my contacts. Handy if you have a work email address for instance but as a teenager it was just a bunch of old contacts I never spoke to from an application I never use anymore. However now I can use the people's app like a normal contact book but I can connect people to their own facebook accounts, email accounts and give other information.
-Organizing the life around you-
The phone comes pre installed with calculator, reminders and alarm clocks it also comes with a calendar which is very powerful to customize appointments and reminders. However its layout and getting use to using it can become a little frustrating at first. However a good feature of this is it connects to your windows live calendar and Facebook calendar. It displays your friend's birthdays, meetings, Facebook events and more.
-Calls and texting-
When making calls the sound quality from the speaker is standard nothing special or sound boosts however when on speaker phone the volume can be made pretty loud without impairing on quality. I've left my phone on speaker before and been able to hear my friend from down stairs. However you still have to come fairly close and speak louder in order for the phone to pick up what you're saying when you're on speaker phone. I've also been informed by friends and family that when I've been in a call with the phone up to my ear and I'm speaking it sounds like I am talking from inside a bubble. A bad point for me is when making a call or dialling when you press the end call button the phone takes around 1 or 2 seconds to register you've pressed it which has cost me money now and then. You can still use the phone and applications whilst you're in a phone call.
When texting/emailing the keyboard is very nicely laid out in the traditional QWERTY keyboard layout. When typing in landscape the keyboard is very easy to use and is just right in sensitivity. However when pressing the backspace button if you have fairly large hands you can accidently hit the send button or enter button which can be annoying. Also instead of being predictive or not predictive you have both in one so you can start writing a word and select a full word from a list however the auto correct is horrible. Even if you over exaggerate a word such as "Woooooooo!!" it will auto correct it to "Soo" or "Woo" You have to type the word and wait 2 or 3 seconds before pressing space or anything else to carry on writing a message. When using the keyboard in vertical view it can be a little tedious if you have bigger hands as the keyboard becomes smaller and more squished together.
-Internet browsing & Video Streaming-
Internet Explorer is built into windows phone 7.5 and the Lumia 900. Compared to Apples Safari it's almost just as fast but depends on your internet or mobile connection. You can have up to 6 tabs open which you can switch between by using the tabs screen. Unlike safari there is no back button built into internet explorer and instead you have to use the back button on the phone its self which if you use different applications or move to a text message it will bring you back to that as opposed to just staying within internet explorer.
Using Youtube's mobile site or application or other video streaming websites you are able to stream in true HD again depending on your internet connection but the Lumia is full HD ready supporting 1280 x 720 (720p).
The phones comes with a pair of 3.5mm headphones which are of standard quality like most headphones received with phones. When playing audio through the speakers it can be a little lower in quality however i've played a wide range of music genres and never experienced any crackling or disruption. For a mobile speaker its good quality and the volume can be increased to quite a high amount without affect quality that much.
"Microsoft Office - Windows Phone"
Built into the Lumia you have a full version of Microsoft Office Mobile. This gives you access to Word, Excel, Notes and Powerpoint. I have found this extremely useful when in lectures or needing to jot down notes in a meeting quickly. I've also found I can upload coursework and presentations to my skydrive (which you get free storage with the Lumia around 2GB) and edit make changes on the go and then attach them to an email and off to my lecturer they go. This has proven to be a life saver as opposed to getting a laptop out and finding a internet connection.
I've only mainly used Word, Excel and notes and they are all very powerful having the key features from their desktop counter parts. However only a brief help description is available on the phone and it can be a little confusing to start using at first.
This handy little app is amazing! It locates you and gives you information on restaurants, shops, cinemas, activities, train stations and more. Being in strange areas or visiting other towns this has been a massive help. You can select a place you like to receive contact details and address but also get a real time google maps/nokia maps directions to your destination by walking or car. Perfect if your in a new place or just looking for an activity.
After signing in with your windows live ID you are automatically signed into xbox live through the phone. You can check your friends, send and read messages and change your avatar. You can also download extra features for free such as companion so you can control your xbox through your Lumia! Using it as a remote control. The xbox live feature of the phone also allows you to download windows based games onto your phone like windows live on PC so you can bump up your gamer score whilst on the move. It also houses all other forms of games downloaded from Marketplace.
The equivalent of the app store or android store marketplace is the windows store to download apps, games and music. Unlike the massive selection of android and IOS, windows marketplace only houses around 100,000 different applications to download.
The Lumia 900 comes with a front facing 8mp camera with a built in LED light source for night shooting. Although the phone can view HD it cannot shoot HD video however still image resolution can be up to 3264 x 2448. It only comes with a 3 times digital zoom which drastically reduces quality the further you move the zoom in. Also when taking photos I've noticed the photos don't seem to be of 8mp quality and fiddling with the advanced camera settings are needed to achieve a perfect photo. However for budding photographers this camera might not be appealing to you. Although you do get a wide variety of settings to edit your photos you can combine this with the Nokia creative studio to enhance and add more effects to your photographs.
When recording in video, you have a large timer which takes up ¾ of the screen which can become annoying you are also locked to the zoom you have before starting the recording which can be annoying if things are going to be moving around or away from you such as being at the zoo or a concert.
After taking pictures or photos you can immediately upload them straight to your facebook account without leaving the gallery on the phone; a handy feature to share photos quickly.
I've been using this phone for around 2 months now and although it took around a week to get used to its been an excellent upgrade. The built in office features are perfect for my student life and work life whilst the built in social aspects of people make catching up and speaking to friends. From a social aspect I believe the Lumia is the most connected phone as other devices have only begun to integrate Facebook as where the Lumia brings all social aspects into one handy little application, it can just be a little confusing to use at first.
I've used the camera a few times but I find using a handheld camera gives so much better quality but I use the camera for quick shots and videos. Using the calendar has also proved kind of helpful however I tend to use the apple calendar on my iPod to organise things.
Overall this has been an amazing phone and I can't see myself switching any time soon apart from maybe up to the Lumia 920 for the wireless charging. One downside is the variety of applications available but that's not a major issue. I've found the battery life to be a little annoying of only holding around 8 hours from a full charge, but taking a usb charger is an easy way to charge it almost anywhere I go. I highly recommend this phone to students looking to work on the go and want to stand out with a new future proof and original system housed in a sleek and modern body. The Lumia 900 is going to be a large contender in the smart phone market from what I've seen.
*If there is anything you feel i've missed or would like me to talk about please feel free to message me and i will be happy to add it in.