April 04, 2012, 9:43 AM — When I first saw the Nokia Lumia 900 ($100 with a two-year AT&T contract, price as of April 3, 2012) at CES 2012, I proclaimed that it was the Windows Phone I'd been waiting for: Offering a premium design, a high-end camera, a gorgeous display, and LTE data speeds, the Lumia 900 seemed to be giving Windows Phone the hardware it deserves.
After spending a few days with the Lumia 900, I still stand by that statement. But is the Lumia 900 enough to convert Android and iPhone users into Windows Phone fanatics? I think it has a fighting chance--if AT&T and Microsoft can convince customers that Windows Phone is a competitive platform.
Specs and Design
The first Lumia phones we saw sort of fulfilled my wishes. The Lumia 800, the flagship phone for Europe and Asia, had that signature high-quality yet durable Nokia build, but the display seemed a bit small. It lacked a front-facing camera, too, even though the Mango update for Windows Phone adds support for dual cameras. Enter the Lumia 900: To create this model, Nokia learned which phones were doing well in the United States, and refined and added to the Lumia 800 so that it could be competitive. The company bumped up the 900's display to 4.3 inches (from 3.7 inches), tossed in a front-facing camera, and--possibly the best addition--introduced support for AT&T's speedy LTE network.
The Lumia 900 beautifully showcases the Windows Phone operating system. Similar to the Lumia 800, the 900 has a single injectable polyurethane matte-plastic build, which gives it a sturdy feel. The material is soft to the touch, but resistant to scratches (although not necessarily fingerprints). And the phone doesn't feel as if it will completely shatter if you drop it. The Lumia 900 will come in black, white, and cyan. Sadly (well, for me), it won't have a magenta version, as the Lumia 800 does. Overall, the Nokia Lumia 900's design makes it stand out from the legions of black rectangular phones, yet it also feels high-quality--a trademark of Nokia phones of the past.
One thing to note is that the battery is not removable, and you'll need the included key to open the door to the SIM card. And like all Windows Phones, the Lumia 900 does not have expandable memory; it's capped at 16GB of internal memory. The good news is that buying the Lumia 900 also gets you an account on Microsoft's SkyDrive service, with 25GB of free cloud storage.