If you imagine the cell phone section of a funky, Scandinavian design shop run by avant-garde youths, the Lumia 900 would fit right in. Its lightly sculpted unibody chassis and deliberate use of color scream "lifestyle product." Bold as an exclamation mark, the Lumia 900 has pure pop-art coursing through its electrical veins.
Thanks to a close partnership between Nokia and Microsoft, the Lumia 900 runs the most recent iteration of Windows Phone OS, version 7.5 Mango. As a result, the Lumia 900 can perform every software task that other Windows Phones do, too.
Nokia doesn't have much leeway on the
software side beyond these apps
Unlike Android, Microsoft keeps its OS pretty locked down, so Nokia has little room to add its own flair on the software side, a strategy I appreciate for uniting the phone experience across devices, but one that makes it harder for manufacturers to stand out. Still, Nokia does make a mark with the nice Nokia Blue color theme (it's the Lumia 900 default) and with a suite of Marketplace apps that include Nokia Drive, Nokia Maps, Nokia Transit, and Nokia Contacts Transfer. This section also highlights partners' third-party apps, like ESPN and CNN. It's a shame that the Lumia 900 doesn't have Nokia's music app, Music Mix Radio, like its European counterparts, and I hope the right deals are signed soon. The absent app, which serves streaming radio and creates mixes, is similar to a Windows Phone feature, but it's also an alternative that could give Nokia some additional cred.
Since Windows Phone OS pretty much behaves the same on every handset, it's the extras that are important. LTE was the most crucial feature Nokia needed to sell this phone on our shores, and it'll be one of the first two Windows phones with LTE. (The HTC Titan II, which goes on sale the same day, is the other.)Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth are standards, though sadly, the Lumia 900 ships with Bluetooth 2.1, practically antique compared with the new Bluetooth 4.0 standard we're starting to see in mobile devices.Windows Phone OS handily provides e-mail and social networking integration through account log-ins in the settings, an option for linking inboxes together, and support for group messaging. There's also threaded text and multimedia messaging, and a cool feature that can weave together messages sent between IM and traditional texts. Task-switching, voice search, and scan searches with Bing are also included, as are conference calling and voice dialing. (For even more on Windows Phone OS, read my full Windows Phone 7.5 review.)