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back to article Nokia Lumia 900 WinPho 7 smartphone

So you’re trying to revive the fortunes of what was, until a few weeks ago, the biggest mobile phone manufacturer on the planet. You’ve launched a handset or two with a new operating system and they’ve gone down quite well. So what next? How about taking one of those handsets and releasing a near-identical one, different only in …

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Anonymous Coward

so

This is the phone Siri claims as the best in the world?

Weird, I didn't realise Nokia still made phones.

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Re: so

Who will buy it when the new Samsung, new iPhone and HTC are its competitors?

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Devil

Silly!!

You know they make phones... for the geriatric community... Nokia is Suomi for "The Granny Phone Company!"... the slogan for Lumia should be "Now Granny can cop a feel too!"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: so

Someone who has had all of those before? people do like change sometimes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: so

I'm going to buy one of these...but I'm waiting for Windows 8 to come out. Before that I'm sticking with Android.

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Meh

Re: so

Wait - you didn't realize the World's largest phone maker made phones? Do you get out much?

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Anonymous Coward

75%?

For a phone that has two year old specs ruling an os three or more years behind iOS or android yet costs around the same as the htc one X? Are you serious?

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Stop

Re: 75%?

Indeed. It's really a 55% but Microsoft's influence over inflates the score.

Anyone that's USED one of these will know it's littered with problems, ranging from usability problems (try using the keyboard with telephone banking), to hard locks that require a battery pull (ooops, no removable battery, hard reset....) Added to the well documented sluggish UI, dire app selection, reception problems, it's a turd of a phone, which considering Nokia are promoting as their flagship is not good.

My advice, steer well clear of Windows Phone. This time next year it's going to be as relevant as WebOS.

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WTF?

Re: 75%?

With respect (always a good start to a comment) that's horseshit.

I've had a lumia 800 since practically launch, and while the battery life stank to high heaven for a long while, it's pretty much on a par with my other halfs iphone 4 now. The UI is slick - never had any stutter or sluggishness at all, reception is great - and I'm on three, which is always a coverage challenge... As for Apps - sure, there are less there, but apple and android practically had a three year headstart - what do you expect?

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Re: 75%?

Don't know why you got voted down. It does have 2 year old specs. It's a single core device in a market where dual core is common place and even quad core is coming along. Windows Phone 8 supposedly supports multi core devices.

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Re: 75%?

Oh do grow up Barry.

It got a fair score. It's worse than the other high-end phones, but not dramatically so. I'd argue a better phone (superior address book for example), but a worse mobile computer.

As to your list of well documented problems... Some evidence please? Don't bother about backing up the app selection bit though, I wouldn't go as far as dire - but MS are a long way behind here.

The UI isn't sluggish, all reviews I've seen say it's fast, and in my personal experience I've never seen lag on Win7, and I have on every pre-ICS Android I've ever used.

Reception problems? I get better performance at home than on any other smartphone I've tried. Not seen it mentioned in reviews either.

So turd of a phone it ain't. Though I wouldn't pay over £400 for it, when there's the iPhone 4 at that price, which is clearly a problem for Nokia.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 75%?

AND..... there's less shit in the market place.

Who needs a talking cat, a strobe, or the rest of the shit pumped out for iOS/Droid?

Tho our points will fall on deaf ears. The small minority actually make considered decisions, the ifan(nys) will never change because I think that they are not capable.

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Re: 75%?

It sounds like you are getting this phone confused with a Windows Mobile 6.5 device. It is not everyone's cup of tea, but that is preference, not driven by actual facts.

The UI is slick, fluid and responsive. I own, and use daily a Nokia Lumia 800, iPhone 4 and an Android device, they are all good and I would be hard pressed to chose between then, but WP7 (especially the 800/900) is a worthy contender.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 75%?

Nope, i'm not getting " confused with a Windows Mobile 6.5 device."

Lumia 800. Carphone Warehouse got given thousands of them to give to their staff. Most of them chucked them in the drawer to gather dust. The few that didn't were less than impressed and told me about the serious usability problems.

What's also interesting is the sheer number of these things Microsoft/Nokia re bribing everyone with. I wonder how many GENUINE paying Lumia customers there are. Much less than the sales figures suggest. Write a nice review, get a Lumia, tweet about Android security problems, get a Lumia and so on....

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Go

Re: 75%? (@BarryShitPeas)

Doesn't this boil your blood? ;-)

http://wmpoweruser.com/official-the-register-app-now-available-in-windows-phone-marketplace/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 75%?

Buy an N9, they are great :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 75%?

I have an iPhone 4s, a lumia 710, lumia 800 and now an htc one s. The lumias are rubbish compared to the other two. All ui and no substance. Not to mention the so called multitasking is total crap. Even Skype can't get their app running in the background, thereby rendering it useless, and they are owned by ms. Even ms think its crap so are using a different kernel for wp8.

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Linux

Re: 75%? (@BarryShitPeas)

Well it explains why they gave it a over generous review and score.

What saddens me is they we will have to suffer even more deluded WP idiots and shills now...

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Re: 75%?

The *real* point is WHY have Apple and Android had a three year head-start? Do you think the average consumer will ponder and sympathize that their Lumia <<insert model here>> doesn't have a rich eco-system because both iOS and Android have had a "head-start"?

They'll simply look around at the competition at the same price-point or less and think "where's the value proposition?". Ok. Admittedly, they probably *won't* think "value proposition", but you the meaning ;)

FWIW, I personally prefer iOS compared to Android - however, the Apple tax and the relative performance between comparable iOS and Android handsets means that there was no way I was going to pay stupid money when I could get a HTC Desire on contract for 2 years (expires this Autumn) for circa £20 p/m (voice, text and 'net).

Anecdotal evidence, I still do not believe I have genuinely seen a Nokia Lumia or an advert in the wild. Given that I live in London and commute to the Heathrow everyday, the marketing of these devices is truly dreadful.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 75%?

101 REASONS NOT TO BUY A WINDOWS PHONE 7.5

http://my-symbian.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=44034

If half of these are true it should be 75% - 50.5 = 25.5%

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Anonymous Coward

@ 101 REASONS...

yeah, and read the amiga users group on why not to buy a pc

dead os anoraks fail to see future rolling over them shock

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 75%?

FFS, why do you care about specs. It's what it actually does for you that matters. It's a phone not a gaming rig.

WP7 doesn't need high specs because it's well optimised and uses lots of GPU acceleration. Similar to the iPhone. Only Android needs multi-core and big specs to try and work around the lags in the UI.

Each phone platform has their strengths and weaknesses, I agree about lack of start screen customisation on WP7, it needs the ability to have more than one tile page for example. Android is much better in this respect. And iOS is still the best all-rounder.

I own the Lumia 800 by the way.

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Re: 101 reasons

I read those 101 reasons not to buy a Windows Phone, some are accurate but most are nonsense. For example, I don't regard ordering apps in alphabetical order as a flaw at all, let alone some kind of massive dealbreaker

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Anonymous Coward

David Phelan the reviewer describes widows tiles as looking tremendous, but I be he doesn't have one of these or will be buying one in the future.

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Angel

I keep it with me for the fact that it has a great battery and plays Windows Media files. I use my iPhone for important things like calls and Angry Birds.

Personally, I love the Windows Phone, I would even switch over completely if Microsoft would start filtering out the crap apps like "$0.99 for 20 high quality porn pics" from categories like "Family and Productivity" in the app store, I just can't be bothered to try and find the app I'm interested in.

Also, Microsoft needs to make an iPhone migration tool and they need to get FaceBook the hell out of my contacts list.

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Anonymous Coward

wow

Some people buy anything these days, I have a broken fridge, it really nice, would you like to buy it?

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Tiles look tremendous until you realise you have exactly one set of tiles arranged in a long vertical list. The only customisation you have is to reorder them around. Some tiles offer feedback (e.g. saying you have 3 new messages) but you can't interact with them. If you have too many tiles you can look forward to throwing the list around to reach the ones at the bottom.

It's just primitive compared to an Android phone where you can have multiple screens and you can place buttons, shortcuts, folders and widgets in any way you please on them.

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Anonymous Coward

Good guess!

But, thats all it is.

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Anonymous Coward

"get FaceBook the hell out of my contacts list."

You can stop it from syncing those conatcts.

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@ DrXym

Android has got by far the best customisation options for the UI. The tiles are worse than I expected, moving to WinMo from Android. Although I didn't use them as much as some, but the options for having a full home screen of an email inbox/calendar were great. I'd argue that WinMo it's still better than iOS though. But I also agree, once you've got more than 2 pages of tiles, you need a separate home screen, rather than a big scrolling list.

With bigger text and less info on the tiles WinMo has worse information density. But I find it easier to use on the move (important in a mobile). There's less distracting busy-ness onscreen, and it's far easier to read in sunlight, without reading glasses. I definitely think WinPho is the answer for those who struggle with fiddly small text on phones.

The smartphone for the blind-as-a-bat doesn't really have a marketing ring to it though...

But the stock email, text, address book and phone apps are far better than Android. And though it is a mobile computer, it's also a phone. So if you only use a few apps, the tiles are quite nice. Tiles for what you use on the front page, app list on the second.

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@DrXym: e.g. saying you have 3 new messages

Always makes me laugh when the fans and astroturfers bang on about tiles showing message counts as if that was a good use of so much space. My Xperia doesn't stop at showing a message count on the various mail and sms launch icons, if I put them in a folder it shows the count on the tiny sub-icons on the folder icon. That's 4 possible counter displays in *each single launch icon*.

...leaving more space for widgets with actual information in them ;)

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Facepalm

You are describing a Symbian^3/Belle device

But then again that and Android is pretty close in many points. I, too, dislike the tiles in WP. For my taste they are too uniform and nervous. You lose the advantages of swiftly navigating by shape and or color.

But you have to hand it to them: those phones are really wicked fast and the interface itself is very smooth. Despite "yesterday's hardware".

I am not too keen on ever faster CPUs in everything just to have a faster CPU. It tends to make developers extra lazy and produce inefficient code, see personal computers. If you time travelled to the early 90s and told the Commodore / Atari crowd about the enourmous waste of RAM and CPU cycles these days they would shoot themselves.

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Meh

Is this a review or an apology for missing features and outdated hardware? It reads like an apology with all the blame going to the operating system.

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Devil

Outdated hardware?

Tell me why my phone has to have more cores and more MHz. Windows phone uses GPU acceleration, so it cannot be for the UI or graphics in general. For the browser? Games are the only application I can think of that could demand a more CPU performance at the moment. Perhaps you can point to me why my "outdated" (2011 Android) phone needs a faster CPU.

I can only conclude that people have carried the cores-and-MHz meme from the desktop world into the mobile world, where it only applies tenuously. In fact, with Atom and ARM making inroads into the desktop world, "good enough" is starting to apply there as well.

Here's waiting for fridge and toaster epeen competitions to start.

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Re: Outdated hardware?

You probably don't need more than one core if you use your phone one app at a time and don't intend to play high performance games or whatever. However if you want to run more than one app or play a game which is physics heavy or whatever then you do.

I've also written apps where a worker thread has done something compute heavy and having two cores means the worker can do its own thing separate from the GUI reducing the time for a result to appear.

The problem with Windows Phone 7.5 is that you CANNOT run more than one app at a time even if you have a good reason to and the kernel does not support more than one core anyway. So even multithreading doesn't yield much in the way of benefits.

So the phone hardware is limited because of the OS. My understanding is Windows Phone 8 (Apollo) will support multi core but the same gimped "suspend in background" behaviour is maintained at least for Metro style apps. Supposedly native app support may appear so who knows, maybe multitasking will be available in some form.

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Re: Outdated hardware?

WinRT (and presumably Apollo) makes a big deal about Async APIs, definitely a step forward in my experience so far in designing to make effective use of multi-core.

Suspend in background WP/Metro style is supposedly about avoiding power drain and for most apps not a problem if care given to time to resurrection. Found it a nuisance for some heavyweight app functionality. Also annoying using apps which don't restore store state exactly, sets the bar higher for design. As far as I know, going native doesn't help.

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1 Core 2xF MHz or 2 Cores F MHz

Both strategies would provide about equal performance and power use if manufactured with same process. In real life, the single core part has to be made with a much more expensive process to run at twice the frequency of a dual core part. There are savings in die area because only half the number of transistors are required and because the transistors are smaller. Despite that, the 2 core part is still cheaper.

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Re: Outdated hardware?

Ummm, you CAN run more than one app at a time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Outdated hardware?

I'm holding out for the 8-core hyperthreaded version. I already have a nice backpack to carry the battery around in.

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Def
Bronze badge

Re: Outdated hardware?

"Tell me why my phone has to have more cores and more MHz..."

Let me tell you why.

My current phone (a Nokia N73) has been with me for about five years. I've replaced the battery, and switched providers a couple of times. It's not particularly smart, but it does the job. Assuming nothing bad happens to it, I'll probably keep it until the current battery starts to die. (I currently have to charge it, on average, once every five or six days.)

When I do upgrade, I will probably buy a smart phone. I will probably use it for a lot more things than making calls and sending text messages. I will install software. Games too. With a bit of luck, it will last me five+ years as well. Five years after I buy it, I will still want to install new software and maybe play the odd game now and again. And I want that software and those games to be usable. Sure, they might not be as fast as whatever hardware is 'current' in five years time, but I would hope that by buying cutting edge hardware today, I will be putting off the day when I will be forced to upgrade.

So yes, if I were going to upgrade today, I could buy a single core, low resolution screened device with no SD card option. Or, I could buy something 'better'.

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Nifty ?

The nifty windows phone OS ?

Is that a new use of the word nifty I missed out on ?

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Anonymous Coward

Lost

I don't get your rating system at all, what are you exactly reviewing here?

So why 75% what is it that makes this phone score 15pp less than the one x or iphone?

is it the hardware? if so what difference does it make? I mean my 3 year old S1 HD2 is as fast as the one x (excluding games) is the screen different? build quality? you mention the lack of storage upgrade so is that the reason for the low score? but then I see you say its ok because the iphone is the same and that too scores 90%?

is it that App stores that brings it down, well that's not really reviewing the phone, you could say that the one x is crap because of all the malware on the marketplace, you could say that but youd be wrong to make that the fault of the phone..

So my question to you is this, do you review and score your phones based on your preconceived ideas of windows phone? then try to remain neutral (which you do a reasonable job of) but in doing so lose the perspective of what the phone is like

In my mind this is nothing but a half hearted review, probably where the reviewer couldn't really be bothered or didn't really care for it, but was given the test unit by someone and in order to keep that someone happy you gave them a "sitting on the fence" review

before I get bombed for posting a pro MS comment, im not saying it should be better or worse, im saying that there is absolutely no context to the scoring and the review is little more than reading the PR material from 3rd party sources or simply taking wild stabs in the dark guessing what its like based on pictures.

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Re: Lost

It's a review of the phone against the competition. So the Microsoft app store isn't all that great. It's apparently up to 80,000 apps now, but a lot of the main ones still aren't there, and there's a lot of rubbish ones (as there are on all stores). That's a definite black mark against it, and should be. If you get a top-end Android/iPhone for a similar price, you've got access to many more good apps. Given this is a tech site, that should probably be worth -10% alone.

Lack of storage is a big minus too. Obviously on the iPhone you've got to pay more to get it, but the option is there to go up to 64GB. With Android you have SD cards (so even better). So a top-end phone should at least have the option of more. Nokia are obviously cutting corners to try and keep manufacturing costs down - by only having one model. I've got 20GB of music, not including podcasts. I'm not that unusual. This is no good to replace my mp3 player.

So I think the review was fair, and gave good reasons. Otherwise he said it's decent. The thing is, you can't complain that if it's a good phone it should get full marks. Because it'll be over £400. And for that money you can get 3 or 4 good phones (if a decent phone is all you want). For that cash it's got to be a good pocket computer as well.

Disclosure time:

I have a Nokia Lumia 710. If I wanted lots of apps, I'd not have got it. Because the app store's not yet good enough. Although I think I'd agree with the review that the UI on apps is generally better and more consistent than either iOS or Android ones.

I'm surprised this only has the same 1.4Ghz processor as mine. Though in the 3 weeks I've had it, it's never lagged once. I'd argue that Android needs dual core processors because it's less well written, and all the pre-ICS androids I've used have suffered from lag. And to be fair to MS here, they've just re-written their OS to need less memory/processor speed.

For the £130 I paid, I think the Lumia 710 is brilliant. I want a good phone first, with acceptable email and maps and a bit of web. It far surpasses that - and is better than any Android at the price. If I used apps on a phone the same way I do on my iPad, then I'd go iOS, or Android if I couldn't get it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lost

"It's apparently up to 80,000 apps now, but a lot of the main ones still aren't there...."

This is because the companies who pay for app dev still concentrate on iPhone!!

The largest OS user base is droid, but apps are still developed for iOS first. If that doesn't speak volumes...

"This is no good to replace my mp3 player." I thought this was a phone, not an MP3 player?

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Re: Obviously!

Doesn't matter if it's the companies paying for app development's fault or not. If I want apps and they're not there, then I'm unhappy. 'Droid gets less development because less money is made on the Android marketplace. iOS users pay more for apps. That comes down to userbase + demographics of same. If Windows phones sell more at the lower end of the market, then this problem will continue. I don't use many phone apps, so I don't care, but for those that do it's a major consideration. I wouldn't recommend WinMo to anyone that uses lots of apps - even though I think it's a really good OS.

It should be able to replace my mp3 player! I shouldn't need to carry 2 devices. Just the addition of an SD card slot would solve this problem. They make me install bloody Zune on my PC to set it up (presumably so they can sell me music), so they bloody well ought to make it do that job! I know I'm unusual in having 20GB of music, but it ain't rocket surgery!

As happens, the battery drain means I probably wouldn't dump my mp3 player yet, whatever phone I have. I need the it primarily as a work phone, personal phone second, all else is gravy. But I'd like to be able to.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lost

ok, in which case im going to now say that all Android phones are poor because of the threat of malware available to them through the marketplace and Googles data mining.

That sounds fair now doesn't it? no?

Im sorry, I see what your saying but its rubbish, you cant compare phones based on software provided by third parties, that have nothing to do with the phone in question, just like it would be wrong to slag off all android devices because of software issues.

I take on board that the storage is fixed but im a fairly heavy user of my device and I have a huge amount of audio on it to play non stop for a day or so and my 16GB card is only half full.

If its movies your after then then fair enough, I cant for the life of me work out why people would want to watch a movie on a <5" screen but that's personal choice, unless you want to look a complete plank holding your phone on the end of your nose you wouldn't need it in any form of high resolution so in terms of space, you could keep the file sizes down.

I see what your saying, but I just cant see the math working out, the device does what it says it does very well, in my opinion that is. So what is it that the device is, that isn't very good to give it 75? clearly the one x and Iphone do what they do very well to get 90%, personally I think what they advertise the phones as is questionable to whether or not they should get 90% but that's not the argument.

and that is the point. You cant take a Second hand Audi R8 and say well, your new Corsa is crap compared to mine, so based on that this is the best car in the world. Like the phones, they are two different devices that do the same thing, each device should be reviewed on its own merit!

To review devices like this you need a set of common criteria, criteria that can be easily measured and can be consistent across different devices, you then weight that criteria with points which will add up to give you a score. You could add that the app stores have more or less apps, but that isn't what all users care about, so the weighting would be less, like wise core functions like phone, txt, email build quality would be weighted higher, everything else would take a number and line up behind. that would give you a fair comparison of core functions with the added Fluffy stuff making up the difference if it had those options

At the moment, the number is pulled out of the air - meaningless and a complete waste of time, they may as well get the Manufactures to dump a PR review on here and whoever pays the most money wins.

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Re: Lost

Dazza,

Firstly, I like Win Pho 7. I own a Lumia 710. I think that it's the best sub £200 smartphone. Though I've not tried Ice Cream Sarnie, but they're not this cheap yet.

Your argument is silly. You can mark down Android on the insecure software in the market. And maybe Google's data mining (though Apple and MS aren't innocent of that either). In fact, you should. It's a vital element of any review. These are smartphones. The Lumia 900 will come in at over £400. For that money you can buy 10 decent dumb-phones, or 2 reasonable smartphones. So you're not just reviewing the thing as a phone, but as a mobile computer.

To do a proper review, you must look at hardware, software and usage. Plus comparison with rivals at a similar price. If you were to do a review of Windows vs. MacOS vs. Linux, you'd have to review software availability. It would be idiotic not to. If you want games, you're going to favour Windows, for example. That's what the review's for, and why I've chosen to comment on WinPho stories recently, to give people decent info. In the couple of weeks I've been doing this, my downvote count has jumped by 50%... [insert smiley of choice here]

In reviewing a phone, you must necessarily cover the OS. And that means what you can do with it, and how it stacks up against its rivals. Apps is a massively important part of that.

In my opinion the Apple app store is better than Android Play, which is better than MS Marketplace. With a caveat that you get more freedom with Android than either of the others, which has risks, but also means you can have useful apps the others don't allow.

You talk about drawing up objective criteria to get a percentage. Something I'm not sure is possible. But then you complain that some problems with WinPho aren't important, and mistake your subjective opinion for fact. You might not think it's important to have more storage, or more apps, but that doesn't make you right. A good review doesn't make such assumptions. It tries to give all users the info they need to decide themselves.

Like too many people, you mistake your personal opinions for universal truth. I happen to agree with you that video on phones is silly, and that phones should be good phones first. And I don't use many apps. But I don't make the mistake of thinking that everyone shares those opinions. This review was fair, because it gave readers the information to make decisions based on their subjective opinions.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lost

Dont have time to reply to it all but if you read my first post you will see that I said the review was neutral or more or less, but what I am complaining about is that the number 75 is pulled out of the air. The titan that has arguably better specs for the camera also gets the same score.

Look at the depth of the review, and compare that to the One x or the Iphone.

Its very clear that the phones are not being reviewed on their own merit, nothing more than a cursory glance and are simply given lower score because its running WP.

The reality is that the you are buying a phone, and that is all WP has ever said it was going to be. If they were making a pocketPC then they would have carried on using the far more powerful and useful PC of them all, WM. You are saying that for 400 you should get this that an the other, but why? Take a device, review it based on what it is sold as, add points for things like app support, but adjust the weighting.

I am not saying that this phone should have a better or worse score and am arguing for that reason, I THINK it probably should have a better score but THAT is my opinion, what im saying is the review is meaningless half hearted (compared to Other platforms) doesn't explain why it got this score, ignores majorly important facts, places emphasis on the most important fact being number of apps supported, Ignores out of the box experience and is generally not very good. and so far all WP reviews have had much the same treatment....

Oops, running late now! :)

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Re: Lost

Dazza,

You can't review the device on Microsoft's terms. You have to review it against the competition at the same price. For £400+ you can get a lot of phone/pocket computer. That's what it's competing against, so that's what it's got to beat.

El Reg gave the Lumia 710 80%. That was in the review when it was £300. Now it's £170 (£130 unlocked on Pay&Go from Carphone Whorehouse), it would probably get a higher score, because it's competing against less good competition.

It's clear that the market wants apps. That's why there's been a few billion downloads. MS are still worse for apps. And it is fair to to review the phone on the relative merits of the OS, which has some limitations compared with the others. Though I'd say it also has the best address book - I think the People hub is absolutely brilliant - and can do some really interesting things, while still being easier to use - and with big, clear writing for reading on the move.

Finally I think you're being a bit unfair to El Reg. One, ratings will always be arbitrary. They're only a guide. Two, the Lumia 900 is the third in an almost identical series. It's a slight evolution of the 800, with both slightly better than the 710. So it doesn't need a 5 page review. Each new iPhone gets a big review, because it's once a year, and usually has new OS features to cover. You aren't being cheated here, and your personal OS choice should not need validation by El Reg.

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no microSD - FAIL

16gb only - FAIL

no dual core - FAIL

no 1080p video - FAIL

no hardware home button - FAIL

Connector on the top, not the bottom - JURY STILL OUT

Bigger battery - SUCCESS

Bigger screen - SUCCESS

Front camera - SUCCESS

So that 5:3 to the fails. Though not all are Nokia's - MS's OS limitations are a bit bonkers (no multi-core? no microSD support?).

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