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Nokia Lumia 900 first impressions and head-to-head with the Lumia 800

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While Samsung has dominated the headlines with the launch of its Galaxy S3 device this week, V3 also managed to get its hands on the eagerly awaited Lumia 900 from Nokia set to be released in the UK later this month.

The firm will be hoping that the device can help turn its fortunes around, as it faces a tough financial future and sales of its first high-end device, the Lumia 800, have proved lacklustre, particularly in the UK.

One of the V3 team is an active user of the Lumia 800, though, and so with the 900 arriving in the office, it was the perfect opportunity to compare the two devices and give the 900 a once over.

The first thing you notice about the Lumia 900 is its size, both compared with the 800 and on the market as whole, with its 4.3in screen in the same category as the HTC One, the recently launched Galaxy S3 and dwarfing the 3.7in screen of the Lumina 800 (as shown below).

Nokia Lumia 900 next to Lumia 800

This helps make text input for emails, texts and web browsing easier than the Lumia 800, although as users of the world's millions upon millions of iPhone users know, smaller screens don't make it that much harder to input text either.

While it certainly feels sizeable in the hand, it weighs just 160g, only 18g more than the 800 despite the huge difference in size.

Anyone upgrading from the Lumia 800 or a similar sized device, such as the iPhone, will take some time to get used to the larger size, but in time is likely to enjoy the increased display area for web browsing, gaming and photos.

Another notable difference to the 800 is the inclusion of a front-facing camera with a 1.3-megapixel lens - a feature not available on the 800 - allowing full use of the recently launched Skype app to make video calls with contacts on other devices.

For taking pictures, the phone has the same 8-megapixel camera as the Lumia 800, which is more than adequate for taking high-quality images under various conditions.

The 900 also comes pre-loaded with the Tango version of the Windows Phone operating system, which offers a number of tweaks designed to improve the speed performance of the system, although the Lumia 800 is hardly slow either.

Beyond this, though, there is little notably different about the device, boasting exactly the same design of button placement and volume controls as the 800, just expanded over the larger size unit.

This isn't a bad thing, though, as the Lumia design is nice to look at, sits comfortably in the hand, and is certainly no worse than any Android device, which are all fairly identikit in their design, and offers a nice alternative to the iPhone's style.

The issue for Nokia is not the hardware, really, it never has been, it's convincing the average member of the public to put aside their lust for iPhones or Android devices, and getting them to realise the Windows Phone software is worth the plunge.

To do this, it's going to take some serious marketing spend, combined with word of mouth from the small pool of Lumia users convincing their friends of the benefits of the system's live tile functionality, to show there is another way from the iOS and Android two-horse race disappearing into the distance.

Check back next week for a full review of the Lumia 900 on V3.

04 May 2012

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