First impressions of Nokia’s new Lumia 900

Nokia Lumia 900 - CES 2012

Nokia hasn’t had much of a presence in the United States and Canada for a few years now, but it’s about to mount its comeback, and its platform of choice is Microsoft’s Windows Phone. At its pre-CES conference yesterday, Nokia unveiled the Lumia 900, its new smartphone designed specifically for the North American market. What does that mean? Well, it’s mostly a Lumia 800 with a larger screen. Fortunately, the Lumia 800 is a damn nice phone.

As we reported yesterday, the Lumia 900 comes with a 4.3-inch AMOLED screen with Nokia’s “ClearBlack” technology, which is supposed to make the blacks even…blacker. We haven’t noticed much of a difference from other AMOLED screens, but the blacks certainly are black. All AMOLED screens have very good black levels because the screen can actually shut off pixels that aren’t needed.

We weren’t allowed to actually hold the Lumia 900, but we did a fair amount of oggling at it while representatives demonstrated its new features. The device is almost identical to the Lumia 800 in all aspects from its thickness (pretty thin) to its black and cyan color variations. Nokia did improve the USB charging port up top, removing the silly hatch that covered it up. The screen doesn’t appear to curve around the sides of the phone like the Lumia 800. Instead, there is a thin strip of rubber or plastic covering the edges of the screen.

Nokia Lumia 900 - side - CES 2012
Nokia Lumia 900 - full spread - CES 2012

Windows Phone looks and runs great on the phone. We wish it was coming to Verizon, but alas it will be an AT&T exclusive. Luckily, it will be one of AT&T’s first 4G LTE phones (there are a couple out now, but the LTE network isn’t available in many cities yet). Nokia’s apps are present (like Nokia Drive turn-by-turn navigation) as are some standard AT&T apps, but we did notice an oddity. An app called “Nokia City Lens” was installed. This could be a developer app, or it could be a new exclusive app, perhaps something like Google Places or Microsoft’s Local Scout app. Could Nokia be working on a new take on finding local places of interest?

Overall, the Lumia 900 looks like it will be a great choice for AT&T subscribers. Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.5 OS might just be my favorite OS currently and Nokia might be the best choice for those who drive since it comes with a free turn-by-turn app, which helps put the OS more on par with Android in terms of services. There are plenty of Windows Phone apps (about 50,000) and most of the big names are there, so that shouldn’t be a huge concern for ya unless there’s a specific app that you need. It would be nice if Windows Phone would support dual-core and quad-core processors, but the Lumia 900 certainly isn’t sluggish when running most apps and the 4G LTE connectivity will certainly help with Web browsing and data intensive apps.

We’ll have more on the Lumia 900 when it hits shelves “sometime in the next few months.”

The video below shows the phone in action.   

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