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Windows Phone

Me and My Lumia 900 – a pseudo-review

Make no mistake, I am a Windows Phone fanboy. I’m not a phone reviewer, but wanted to give a few notes on my transition from a Samsung Focus to the Nokia Lumia 900.

Pros

Beauty

The aesthetic beauty of this phone is undeniable. I find myself taking it out in public more than usual just so people can get a glimpse of it (we are talking about phones, right?). The cyan colored body reflects light differently so it seems to color shift as I go from cloudy daylight to office flourescent to homey incandescent. The hand feel is, in a word, solid. It’s as if the phone is invoking Paul Hogan, “Heh. That’s not a phone. That’s a phone.

There are no parts that give way to pressure, like a battery compartment would. Nor does the screen give in when pushed. It pushes you. Having one completely smooth side unblemished by plasticky buttons feels anthropomorphically delightful.  If you haven’t read the book, Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell, you should. In it, you’ll see so many things that Nokia got right about this phone listed in that book.

Soft Keys

One of my biggest complaints about the Samsung Focus was the soft keys found on all Windows Phones; they seemed so sensitive! Any fleeting touch would trigger them and, because of the bottom curve of the phone, you would constantly be in proximity to them while holding the phone. Anyone with a meaty thumb pad knows what I mean. My kid would be watching Netflix and in a flash be back at the home screen.  She’s really good at knowing how not to hold the phone, and she’s not even three.

The Lumia 900, in contrast, has the squared off bezel and additional room between the bottom of the phone and the buttons. This bezel not only gives something meaty to hold on to (particularly in landscape mode), but keeps your hands from hitting those buttons accidentally. Beyond that, the buttons seem less sensitive and thus less prone to tossing you over to cute animal land in Bing. That bezel is your home row and it gives your hands something to do without fear of blowing the whole thing up. It’s another design feature that helps users feel safe while using the device. You, my friendly tech geek cohort will hear your mom say, “Oh no! What did I do?” less when you loan her your phone.

Nokia Apps

The Nokia apps that I installed are App Highlights, Nokia Drive, Creative Studio, and Nokia Maps. I don’t live is a super populated area, so I’m unable to test some of the features of the Nokia Maps. My biggest plus is the Nokia Drive app which finally gives turn-by-turn driving. The Bing maps directions are great, but I really disliked having to keep tapping the screen to go to the next step. Creative Studio does the same thing with photo filters that a hundred other do, so maybe Nokia can sell that to someone for $1 billion some day.

Bigger Screen

Yup, it’s got a bigger screen than the Samsung Focus did. As a developer, I’m grateful that the resolution requirement hasn’t changed yet. I figure it will someday, but until then, I don’t need to change any of my artwork. I get to see everything a little bigger (and, if I’m being honest, I need to see things a little bigger lately).

Others

I have a Jabra CRUISER (which I highly recommend) that I use in my car to control my phone and talk hands-free. I’ve noticed that the Lumia connects to the bluetooth noticeably faster than my Focus did. And Visual Voicemail is here! I have my voicemail forward  to Google Voice where it is transcribed and sent back, so I’m not likely to use this feature much as I am not fond of voicemail. Voice Quality: every time I think the voice quality is a little weak, I realize my ear is not near the earpiece. So that’s straight up user error and the quality is superb when I’m in the zone.

Cons

It wasn’t until after I had pre-ordered the 900 that I realized it didn’t have the same curved glass screen of the Lumia 800 , which I was really looking forward to. Not only is it not curved glass, but the screen has a lip on it before stopping abruptly into the curve of the body. Instead of a dead flat surface, it has a rim. It probably works well enough to keep your beverage contained when you need an impromptu coaster (what else am I gonna use the gorilla glass for?) I’m guessing this was a cost consideration to get the phone down to the $99 street price, so I suppose its understandable. But I don’t have to like it.

This is not a con of the phone, but of the upgrade process in general. Moving from one phone to another phone is much more difficult than it should be. Things get lost. In my case, game data, SMS messages, and settings.

Conclusion

Yes, you should go out and get a Lumia 900. Now. Tomorrow. Especially now that it looks like they’re giving $100 credits to all purchasers before April 21. Get one for your mom and dad. And one for your spouse and probably a kid or two.

*drops the mike*

*picks the mike back up*

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and follow me on Twitter @kenstone. Let’s get that follower count above 100!

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I'm Ken Stone. I'm an indie developer with a focus on .NET and Windows Phone development. I have a day job, but everything I say is mine alone.

TechEd 2012July 11th, 2012
Let the learning begin.
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