Those of you who have been following my blog and my tweets know that I’m something of a polyglot and polyphone – I program in many different languages and I’ve used many different phones. I used the Palm Pre and it’s unified contacts and messaging systems years ago, before such a feature was even a twinkle in the eye of either Apple or Microsoft. I’ve owned and developed for the original iPhone, the 3, the 3G, the 4, and the 4S. I’ve owned an iPad 1, an iPad 2, and “the new iPad formerly called the iPad 3”. I’ve owned the Samsung Windows Phone and now own the Nokia Lumia 900.
The first thing to notice about the Lumia 900 is that it is big. It’s not just that it looks big, but it feels big. It’s heavier than the iPhone and takes up substantially more palm space. Back when I first held one of the Lumias in my hands, I was originally turned off by this – the last thing I wanted was a bigger phone. Now that I’ve had a chance to use the phone for more than just a quick in-store demo, I have completely changed my mind on that. The size, weight, and overall feel of this device is absolutely perfect.
The next thing I noticed about this phone is that it’s fast. Not just kinda fast or faster than my iPhone but it is blazingly fast. No matter what I do I can’t get any of the UI to skip, jitter, pause, or have any of the other weird issues that my Samsung used to have. Couple that with the brilliant, giant display and this phone is a freaking joy to use.
Even with all of iOS’ recent advances, I still hate the walled-off silo feeling you get from each application where even the ones that have been modified to work together still feel like a hack. This is in stark contrast to the smooth, effortless way I can sift through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter updates from all of my contacts in a single place. As mentioned in previous blog posts, Windows Phone is designed specifically to get out of my way and give me what I want, when I want it, in an elegantly minimalist way.
Specific to the Nokia is the “Nokia Blue” color scheme, which is by far my favorite of any of the stock color options. Other things specific to the Nokia are a pile of awesome ring tones and notification sounds that are far better than the stock Microsoft options. Finally, the other thing that Nokia did that they deserve huge credit for is the “App Highlights” app.
I mentioned in a previous blog post that the state of the Windows Phone marketplace is disgusting at the moment. It is littered with crap, more crap, porn, some more crap, first party games, and a few gems struggling to shine in a sea of even more crap. Nokia has human curators who troll the marketplace and find the best of the best, the stuff we’re all looking for but don’t know we’re looking for it how to find it. Until the Marketplace gets better, I’ll be using the App Highlights app to find new stuff, not the Marketplace. I trust Nokia’s curators more than I do the automated ranking/relevance algorithm currently screwing the marketplace.
Something that Windows Phones have been doing for a while now that no iOS device does is bluetooth audio text-to-speech reading aloud of your incoming text messages. In addition, you can dictate outbound text messages, which makes for an awesome experience in a car that has bluetooth. I can make and receive calls and texts smoothly using nothing but audio and speech controls. The Lumia has this feature the same as other Windows Phone 7+ devices.
If you are an “app addict” like so many iOS users, where your smart phone experience has nothing to do with the phone and everything to do with the apps, then you may still find Windows Phone lacking. However, if you actually want to use the “smart” in your “smart phone”, then you’ll not find a better device than the Nokia Lumia 900.