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Nokia Lumia 900 Review

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When looking at various aspects of the marriage of Nokia hardware and Microsoft’s software in isolation each presents a compelling argument for the device. However in this day and age and with the lockdown of Android (through the interminable rise of Samsung) and iOS, which account for over three quarters of new smartphone, it is clear a new upstart, and the combination of Nokia and Microsoft here is just that, needs to be extra compelling.

The Lumia 900 itself is a really piece of hardware but I found the loudspeaker average at best. The ‘loud’ in the moniker is superfluous, pretty evident when using the device for GPS navigation. The call quality was good. It held onto signal well and calls were clear if not particularly loud. Sound quality through wired headsets was in my opinion inferior to a device like the N8. There were sounds in songs that I pick up on the N8 that just weren’t there on the Lumia 900. Additional I find it mildly irritating that the music and ring volume are linked. Turn down music volume and it does the same to the ringing volume. Why?

Windows Phone in my view is hampered by a few shortcomings that irritated me on first the Lumia 800 when I used that device, though less so based in familiarity on the Lumia 900. I already mentioned the limited approach to transferring files from and to device. Multimedia is fine. Zune Player is a fairly decent media centre, superior to iTunes in my opinion, given that I have no issue using it with or without a Windows Phone device. But handling of other files is poor, such that the absence of Bluetooth file transfer as well as lack of support for removal storage is disappointing.

Windows Phone 7.5 introduced basic multitasking support in the form of fast app switching. This is however poorly implemented. Fast app switching only works with the multitasking card view. If you try and access an app any other way, though a tile or an app icon, the app relaunches. When the phone locks and you are connected to a Wi-Fi network, it disconnects until the phone is unlocked. This made downloading offline playlists through Nokia Mix Radio an absolute pain, having to stare at the phone to prevent it locking. Something as basic as scrobbling tracks to Last.fm is broken, as the scribblers needs to be in the foreground for this to work.

I found notifications on Windows Phone average at best. Toast notifications are used and these work really well if one is actively using the device. Beyond that one has to rely on tiles for notifications usually in the form of counters. So there is very little information another than total number of notifications. Drop down menus in Android for example are far more informative than what is on offer with Windows Phone.

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By , Columnist, Johannesburg office

Published on Aug 27th, 2012 GMT +2

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