Nokia Lumia 900 Smartphone Review

Article Index

Performance: Display, Camera and Battery Life

With the release of the new iPad, resolution has become a common term. There's no Retina display here -- not even close -- as the software limit caps Windows Phone devices at 800 x 480. With a 4.3-inch display, this means that the Lumia 900 has one of the least dense displays that we've seen in recent memory. On paper, this seems like it would be a problem, but the reality is something very different. Nokia's unique ClearBlack OLED panel is a sight to behold. We've never seen blacks as black as they are here. It's as if there's no screen at all when the background is pitch black. It's really impressive.


If we had everything we wanted, yes, we'd want a Lumia 900 with more pixels. But what we have is still a fantastic display. It's gorgeous to look at, the viewing angles are spectacular and the colors are brilliant. In addition, the multitouch experience is world-class. It's every bit as good as the best screens in the Android world, as well as the iPhone 4S in iOS-land. It's immediately responsive and very good at picking up subtle touches.

     

     
Lumia 900 Camera Samples

The 8MP rear camera is on par with sensors found in high-end Android devices. It'll deliver results that are roughly the same as those found in the Galaxy S II. The Auto-Fix is a fairly nice feature, and there are quite a few Instagram-like apps for those looking to edit shots right on their phone.


 Battery Life Comparisons with WP Bench
 Details: Search 'WP Bench' in Marketplace

Nokia crams a 1840mAh battery in this phone. That's massively larger than the 1420mAh battery found in the Venue Pro, and we know why they did: LTE. Yes, the Lumia 900 has an LTE radio for the few AT&T LTE markets out there, but 4G radios suck down major amounts of battery. In a normal day -- surfing the Web, making a few calls, sending 10 to 20 texts, checking in on Foursquare and just generally keeping tabs on the world -- we managed to squeeze around 14 hours out of the device. This is with quite a bit of screen and data usage, too. Average users should easily get a few more hours of it, and light users could see 1 to 2 days of use. The battery isn't user-replaceable, so you'll need a USB port to charge it up if you start running low. All things considered, this is about par for the course for modern smartphones, and given that it's an LTE phone, we're actually satisfied with what life we squeezed out of it.

We also utilized WP Bench's Battery test, obviously to test the Nokia Lumia 900's battery life, which keeps the screen on and loops a CPU intensive task in the background.

That resulted in 4 hours and 31 minutes of life. For the sake of comparison, the Venue Pro managed 4:07, while the Samsung Focus managed 4:14 and the HTC Arrive lasted just 3:35. Remember, this is a rundown test, and it's engineered to zap the battery quickly. What's really important to realize here is that the Lumia 900 barely outperformed the other Windows Phone 7 products we've tested, but with an LTE radio enabled. In this test, the radio isn't exercised however, though it is active and available.


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