Nokia Lumia 900 review

Nokia's Lumia 900 mostly delivers on the promise of Windows Phone as a viable third mobile platform.

The Nokia Lumia 900
Can the Lumia 900 save Nokia?

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Lumia 900 owners also have little to worry about when it comes to media playback – Microsoft's Zune player lives on in the heart of Windows Phone, where it is called up with a tap of the Music + Videos tile.

Nokia Lumia 900

From here, you can play music or podcasts purchased from Marketplace or synced from your computer (the latter option also includes videos).

Windows users again have the upper hand with superior Zune software on the desktop, but Microsoft offers a free Windows Phone 7 Connector application in the Mac App Store to sync iTunes media.

Files with digital rights management (DRM) protection are a no-go from iTunes, but thankfully that's now limited to movies, TV shows and music videos.

We did notice Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac was a little slow while syncing, especially compared to the same process using iOS devices with iTunes directly.

Nokia Lumia 900

A preference option allows photos to be synced from either iPhoto or Aperture, while photos and video taken with the Lumia 900 get synced back to the same application each time you connect.

Ringtones can also be synced using Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac, but you'll have to start from scratch if you have existing Tones in iTunes – the software will only recognize MP3 or WMA audio files under 40 seconds with a maximum 1MB file size, which will have to be imported as a regular music file with a very specific "ringtone" (no quotes, all lower case) under the Genre category.

Nokia Lumia 900

The Lumia 900 comes with 16GB of internal storage, which will be plenty for most people, but those of you with huge iTunes libraries or a passion for watching films on the move may find this slightly restricting.

Unfortunately there's no microSD card slot in the Lumia 900, meaning you're unable to expand on the 16GB of physical storage.

It's not all bad news, as Windows Live and Hotmail users get 25GB of free SkyDrive cloud storage, and media such as photos can be set up to automatically upload to the cloud from the Lumia 900.

A free SkyDrive app in Marketplace also allows you to view, upload to or delete from your account.


The large, 4.3-inch display on the Nokia Lumia 900 means that watching video is something that shouldn't be feared, and videos can be played back from all key formats including WMV 9, H.264, MPEG-4 and AVI.

There's a dedicated video player in the form of the Zune player app (which also includes a music player and FM radio), which we found straight forward to use.

Nokia Lumia 900

The player itself is very basic, with just the main functions available, with play/pause, skip and scrubbing options on board.

Video playback is smooth and images are generally vivid, although the clarity isn't quite in the same league as the retina-display touting iPhone 4S or Sony Xperia S with it's Bravia enhancement technology.

Quality is good enough to happily watch a feature film, although the weight of the Lumia 900 may put you off – as you're hand will begin to ache after a while of holding the handset.

Clocking in at 160g, it's significantly heavier than the 116g Samsung Galaxy S2 and 16g more than both the Xperia S and iPhone 4S.


We really liked the History pane on the Zune player, which gathers recently played tracks from all music apps, including third-party titles like Spotify and iHeartRadio; there's also a pane with convenient shortcuts to all such music-playing apps as well.

The Nokia Lumia 900 handles Apple-friendly AAC audio as well as WMA (including PlayReady DRM) from Windows.

Playback was generally very respectable, with the Lumia 900 able to produce decent quality audio and the internal speaker means you can also share you tunes with your nearest and dearest, although quality dips, especially at high volumes.

If you've got your tunes playing you can easily play/pause and skip tracks from the lock screen of the Lumia 900, as these controls have to be placed on it. Volume can also be adjusted at any point using the rocker switch on the right side of the phone.

An FM radio is also included in the Zune player, but you'll need to plug in headphones to use it, which doubles as the antenna. The radio feature worked well, with a strong, clear signal, even indoors.


Nokia Lumia 900

On the Pictures front, images are separated by camera roll and album, with the latter adding those you've synced as well as from connected services such as SkyDrive and Facebook.

We really prefer Microsoft's approach to the more isolated iOS approach, particularly the ability to view photos sorted by date or contact.

Photos can also be tagged as Favourites, which then appear on a screen of their own. Like the Zune player, photo-specific apps also get shortcuts, with Nokia offering a free Creative Studio app exclusively for their handsets.

This fun app lets you apply a variety of face warps, live styles, panoramic stitching and other effects or adjustments. It's pretty capable, but isn't likely to replace the likes of Instagram for users moving from iOS or Android.