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Nokia Lumia 900 Review

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You will often hear people bemoan the fact that Windows Phone has at most 90% parity with the competition. This is true particularly for power users but what it does bring to the table is a fresh and unique interaction paradigm. At the heart of the Windows Phone experience is the panoramic layout of applications. What this means in principle is that the traditional tap through application paradigm made up of layers of screens is almost a thing of the past. Instead apps are built on a canvas and what exists as layers in application on other platforms is now a swipe away. It makes the in-app experience that much more fluent.

In terms of design Windows Phone does stand out. The UI is based around a minimalist approach, with big fonts and overhanging titles, an indicator that there is more to explore, countered by sparse use of space. The is very little detail around the OS so often one looks for cues, three dots here, a hanging font there, as a mode of instruction. I found this encouraging. There was an eagerness to explore. This does mean for some the learning curve will be steeper than expected. Thankfully the UI is consistent across system apps and third party apps, so tricks learned can be replicated elsewhere.

The home screen itself is just a single view of square tiles. Some are live, for example the messaging and email tiles, and some static. The tiles serve as widgets of sort to display relevant information, eg number of messages, missed calls, as well as being a click through to the app. Swipe left and one is presented with an alphabetical list of application. There is no support for folders

The Windows Phone paradigm is enhanced further by the existence of hubs, the People hub, the Office, Photos hub and so on. The canvas-like layout of applications means that grouping functional related applications into content hubs is the next logical step. So the People hub is a synthesis of messaging, contacts, telephony and social networking. It brings more of what you need in one place. This applies to third-party applications too. So in the Photos hub for example, there is an applications pivot screen that allows me access to Flickr and Nokia’s image editing software, Creative Studio.

Nokia Lumia 900

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By , Columnist, Johannesburg office

Published on Aug 27th, 2012 GMT +2

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