The Lumia 800 was the brilliantly designed handset Nokia needed to give it a shot at high-end glory, and it worked. Well, we certainly liked it. Since then the Finnish company has given us cheaper options such as the Lumia 710, which offers fantastic value for money, but how will it fair at an even higher pricepoint? Can this Lumia 900 claim a spot alongside the quad core beasts that have hit shops in the last couple of months? And is a bigger display and extra snapper worth forking out an extra $150 over the 800? We’re about to find out…
Nokia Lumia 900 – build
Oh, Nokia, you've gone and replaced the seamless curved display and polycarbonate unibody of the Lumia 800 with a raised screen that looks as though it's been stuck on with a glue stick. Bad move. Design gripes aside, the Lumia 900 is a Super Size version of the 800 – unsurprising since it was released as an LTE phone with the Americans in mind. Somehow, it comes in a smidgeon thinner at 11.5mm thick – but tipping the scales at 160g, it feels just as weighty and expensive.
Nokia Lumia 900 – screen
If we were just playing the numbers game, the Lumia 900's 4.3in 800x480 resolution screen wouldn't stand a chance against big hitters like the 1280 x 700 HTC One X. But with beautifully bright Windows Phone live tiles to distract you, the AMOLED and ClearBlack screen is by far the most 'glanceable' of the 2012 pack so far. For viewing movies, hi-res photos and pin-sharp text we'd still choose something like the iPhone 4S though.
Nokia Lumia 900 – apps
It's true that the Windows Phone Marketplace is still trailing behind the App Store and Google Play, but it has reached around 80,000 apps including nearly all of the essential downloads. But this isn't a phone for app hoarders. Instead it's perfect if you want to view all of your social feeds in one place or take advantage of excellent bespoke software, such as Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive and Nokia Music. Like the iPhone, the Lumia 900 lacks Flash support. But since it's not an iPhone, few web developers are interested in building in support for Nokia – making Flash's absence even more annoying here.
Nokia Lumia 900 – speed
If you're familiar with Windows Phone you may well be a bit bored of the sight of those dots floating across the screen as apps and pages load, but we found the Lumia 900 experience, while not blistering, fast enough to not lose patience with.
It's tricky to compare speeds between operating systems with different transitions and set-ups, but apart from slightly sluggish web browsing we couldn't fluster the 900's single-core processor during our testing. And because it’s not got a thirsty V8 under the bonnet the it turns out to be pretty fuel-efficient – this battery will give you at least a day in most circumstances and two if you’re careful.
Nokia Lumia 900 – camera
One addition the Lumia 900 can boast over the 800 is a 1.3MP forward-facing camera for Skype calls. Round back, it's the same 8MP, 720p video affair and while it might have impressive control options and a welcome camera button on the side, we were a little disappointed by some grainy shots indoors and in low light. Not to mention the photo-enhancing apps designed for iPhone and Android that you’ll be missing out on.
Nokia Lumia 900 – verdict
Don't let the bigger screen – or Nokia's numbering system – fool you, your money will be better spent on a Lumia 800 if Windows Phone has stolen your heart. At first glance, the 900 looks like the handset the 800 should have been: a worthy rival to the likes of the HTC One X. But apart from an amazing battery life, the non-US, LTE-less version of this handset doesn't really have enough to offer to steal the flagship Windows Phone crown. That said, we look forward to seeing what Nokia does next.