Nokia Lumia 900 Smartphone Review

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Design and Build Quality

It all started with the Nokia N9. That phone is largely considered the last great MeeGo-based device. MeeGo was once seen as the platform that Nokia would back in the smartphone space, but that was short-lived. It became clear that MeeGo simply didn't have the backing it needed to thrive, and Elop assumed that Nokia would fare better partnering with Microsoft (and Microsoft's marketing bank account). The N9, however, featured a beautiful polycarbonate body, that was resistant from scratches and nice to hold.

That design philosophy carried over to the Lumia 800, which was effectively an N9, but with Windows Phone. So, what makes the Lumia 900 so different than the 800? Well, it's larger. There's a 4.3-inch ClearBlack OLED display, making it practically identical in size to the Galaxy S II. At a glance, however, you could easily confuse the 800 and 900. The polycarbonate exterior is still here, with the 900 shipping in black, white and cyan (a light blue).

Nokia has long been known for superior build quality, and we're happy to report that the Lumia 900 upholds that reputation. The 900's body is smooth, delightful to hold and extremely rigid. It feels like a solid, dense, thick slab, sturdy as can be and beautiful in its simplicity. The rounded corners feel exactly like you'd expect them to, and there are no extra buttons outside of the necessary ones.

The right edge is home to a volume rocker, a power / screen lock button and a dual-stage camera shutter button. The latter is a really unique piece, and it has instantly made us long for something similar on every modern smartphone. From any place in the OS, a full depression of the camera shutter will activate the 'Camera,' and when that's loaded, you can press it halfway down to get a focus lock. Pressing it completely down snaps a photo. It's a good design, and one that'll be familiar to anyone who has used a point-and-shoot.

The micro-SIM slot, micro-USB slot and 3.5mm headphone jack reside along the flat top edge. The only unfortunate part about this trio is the micro-SIM slot, which requires a unique pin to eject it. Any small needle will do, but you can't just use your thumbnail to eject it. If you don't swap SIMs often, this may not bother you. The left edge is devoid of buttons, while the bottom is home to an extremely impressive speaker.

Around back, there's a f/2.2 Carl Zeiss lens with an 8MP sensor and an LED flash. Nokia is well known for producing great cameras in their phones, and this one is no exception. It snaps fast, focuses fast and produces images that are generally of a higher quality than your average smartphone camera.

Overall, the Nokia Lumia 900 feels a tad bit heavy, weighing 1.3 ounces more than the Galaxy S II and just under 1 ounce heavier than the iPhone 4S. But the extra heft, thankfully, feels super solid in your hand, exuding confidence and security. The weight is also nicely balanced, and again, feels more like a professionally chiseled machine than anything else.

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