For reasons known only to AT&T executives, the Nokia Lumia 900 launches in the U.S. today, Easter Sunday.
If you can find an AT&T store that’s open today, you can pick up the Lumia 900 for just $99 plus a two-year data contract (or $450 off contract). Or bop over to the AT&T Wireless site to order one, if you prefer. The minimum contract is $40 (for 450 minutes) plus $20 for a paltry 300MB monthly data plan or $30 for a more reasonable 3GB. In other words, you’ll be committing to at least $60 per month for the next 24 months. (The early termination fee, should you want out of your contract before then, is $325 minus $10 for each full month that you’ve been on the contract.)
Is this your next phone? There are a lot of reasons to like what Nokia is putting down with this Windows Phone 7-based handset: A big, 4.3-inch screen, an 8 megapixel rear camera and VGA front-facing camera, 4G LTE data capability, and the $99 price. In fact, it may be the cheapest way to get an LTE smartphone right now.
On the other hand, it’s running Windows Phone 7, an operating system that still lacks some of the niceties of more established mobile operating systems. Multitasking is extremely limited compared to iOS and Android, the browser has some limitations, and there are only 70,000 apps or so in the Windows Marketplace, a little more than a tenth that of the Android Market and iPhone App Store.
To help you make up your mind, we’ve rounded up a collection of the internet’s top reviews of the Lumia 900. Of course, you won’t want to miss VentureBeat’s review of the Nokia Lumia 900 on AT&T, by our own Devindra Hardawar.
And, check out the Lumia 900 specs in detail on our smartphone comparison subsite, which will also let you compare it to other smartphones. And now, on to the review roundup.
New York Times:
“The Lumia 900 is fast, beautiful and powerful, inside and out,” David Pogue writes. However, he points out that while Windows Phone 7 has many of the most popular apps, many others are missing:
Many of the essentials are there: movie apps like Netflix, IMDB and Flixster; restaurant apps like Yelp and OpenTable; check-in apps from Delta and American Airlines; popular apps like Groupon, Foursquare, Kindle, Spotify, Twitter and Facebook. A few of my other favorites also made it: RunPee (tells you when during a movie it’s safe to leave the theater without missing anything important), Speedtest (measures Internet speed) and FlightTrack (tells you everything about your flight).
And, of course, Angry Birds.
Unfortunately, there’s an even longer list of important apps that aren’t yet available for WP7 phones: Yahoo Messenger, Dropbox, Pandora, Mint, Bump, Draw Something, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Urbanspoon, Hipstamatic, Instagram, Barnes & Noble Reader, Cut the Rope, Scrabble, Words With Friends, Google Voice, AOL Radio. Bank of America has an app, but Citibank, Chase, HSBC, Capital One, American Express and other big banks don’t.
Plenty of my less famous favorites are also unavailable: Line2, Hipmunk, Nest, Word Lens, iStopMotion, Glee, Ocarina, Songify This.
Wall Street Journal:
Writing for the WSJ and AllThingsD, Walt Mossberg says that he like the phone, but concludes that ultimately it doesn’t have enough to recommend it over the iPhone 4 (also $99) or iPhone 4S, or the Android-based Galaxy II Nexus:
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.
In all, it’s a fantastic piece of technology. It just looks and feels like nothing else on the market. It hits all the right notes for me. A little bit retro, a little bit futuristic, with just a touch of quirky humanity in its otherwise very machined design. This is the Nokia I grew up with, and it’s clear the company hasn’t lost its ability to enchant through hardware.
While we wouldn’t color this AT&T debut as a failure, we wouldn’t call it a crowning achievement either. Apart from a stated preference and dedication to Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS, savvy geeks on the cusp of the next best thing won’t necessarily want what the 900 has to offer … Does the Lumia 900 fail to find its place amongst other smartphone hulks? Well, yes. But again, it’s playing in a league of Windows Phone’s single-core own. With the careful cultivation of a cultish, fashion-conscious consumer following, however, this could very well be Nokia’s greatest hit.
The LTE speeds, high-end features, and crazy-reasonable $99 price tag make the Lumia 900 a sure choice for Windows Phone fans looking for a statement piece to help them stand out. It’s also great for people on the fence with Android or iOS who are interested in trying a new operating system, and for people transitioning to their very first smartphone.
Jordan Crook compares the Lumia 900 to the iPhone 4S and concludes with an appeal to consider it, for the sake of a more competitive phone market:
Please just consider Windows Phone. You don’t have to buy it — hell, you don’t even have to like it — but giving it a chance in your mind will allow for the emergence of a third mobile ecosystem. And as competition grows, our phones will only get better and better.
The Lumia 900 is the best Windows Phone yet, and it’s the first phone I’ve seen to truly unleash the potential of the platform. If you’ve been at all interested in adopting Windows Phone, it’s the only option worth considering at this point.
But while it’s nice to finally see a true flagship Windows Phone, the platform still needs plenty of marketing and carrier support to stand a chance. … Perhaps because there’s so much at stake for all the companies involved, it feels as if the Lumia 900 is the first true Windows Phone. And I think for many consumers, that’ll likely be the case.
VB's research team is studying web-personalization... Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.