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This article was published on April 4, 2012

Nokia Lumia 900 review roundup: New phone hits a double, but is no home run

Nokia Lumia 900 review roundup: New phone hits a double, but is no home run
Alex Wilhelm
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Alex Wilhelm

Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected] Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected]

And I thought that my review of the Lumia 900 wouldn’t be among the most positive. I was wrong.

Nokia, in a bid to generate a tidal wave of press, shipped Lumia 900 handsets to every major news outlet, especially those that have a presence in the tech scene. The reviews went live in one huge clump yesterday at 9 pm, Eastern. Now, the next day, we’re going to take a look at the great mass of opinions.

Why? Because this is the discussion that will lead Nokia into the phone’s real launch, on the 8th. Good press could lead to better sales. Weak reviews could hobble the phone, right out of the gate. Let’s dig in.

New York Times [Link]:

This Nokia phone and its Microsoft operating system are truly lovely — more beautiful than the iPhone or Android software, and, for most functions, just as powerful. But is that enough to make you willing to sacrifice important apps like Scrabble, Pandora and Dropbox? Is “just as good” enough to justify losing out on the universe of accessories and compatibility? I’m rooting for these long shots. They’ve done great work. But I have a sinking feeling that this breed of underdog will turn out to look more like a Pekingese than a Doberman.

USA Today [Link]:

Against the iPhone and Android, Nokia faces formidable competition. But with an attractive price, refreshing operating system and a growing supply of apps, Nokia may be well on the way to crafting a compelling comeback story.

CNet [Link]:

It won’t outsell the Samsung Galaxy S II or iPhone 4S (which together gobble up 95 percent of all smartphone profits), and the design isn’t strictly new, but the Lumia 900 is nevertheless a successful handset for the Microsoft-Nokia partnership. [However,] it’s Microsoft’s turn to help out Nokia by issuing software features that will make Windows Phone a smoother, smarter, and stronger OS that can compete more completely against the much more mature Android and iOS.

The Verge [Link]:

I think Nokia made a lot of the right decisions, but it’s almost impossible to move beyond some of Windows Phone’s shortcomings this late in the game. Try as I might to envision the Lumia 900 as my daily driver, the math never added up. There’s just too much missing, or too much that feels unfulfilling.

Mashable [Link]:

The Nokia Lumia 900, which will be in stores April 8 for the tidy sum of $99.99 (with contract), is by far the best Windows Phone ever made. Not only does it have a great screen for Metro apps, it has the hardware to really deliver on the experience they promise.

This is the device that Microsoft needs to show off how good Windows Phone can be. Sure, you don’t get Instagram (yet), but the world of possibility it opens is unlike anything else out there.

AllThingsD [Link]:

Bottom line: If you’re looking for a $100, high-end smartphone, or are a Windows Phone fan who has been waiting for better hardware, the Lumia 900 is worth considering. But the phone had just too many drawbacks in my tests to best its chief competitors.

Adding to this list is GDGT’s great total review aggregation score: 8.0. Across 10 categories and 28 reviews, the average, aggregate score is 8.0. Make of that what you will.

What does all this add up to? The Lumia 900 is no flop, people found it to be the best Windows Phone. It’s low price, however, did come with notes that its hardware is not up to the highest notch. But when taken all in, there were very few voices calling out that the Lumia 900 will take on the iPhone 4S, or the best of the Android crop on a level basis.

That must be a disappointment for Nokia. Microsoft must have been hoping for more as well. That said, the phone will sell. Its low price will do much to move it, and it will provide Nokia a good first foot back into the US market. Much like the start of Windows Phone, Nokia’s war is going to start slow, and burn for a long, long time.

Let’s see what sort of sales numbers the phone can post.

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