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Lumia 900 remains a strong experience, with some ups and downs

I've been using the Lumia 900 LTE by Nokia Oyj. (HEX:NOK1V) as my day-to-day smartphone since mid-April.  So far living in the Windows Phone world has mostly been a great experience.

I. The Good News: Lumia 900 Appears to Have Self-Healing Paint

Perhaps the most surprising thing that has occurred during my brief tenure with my colorful new smartphone occurred a couple weeks ago when, whilst shuffling several items when entering my car, I dropped it on the hard pavement.  I feared the worst.

The glass did not shatter or chip, to my relief, but that relief turned to dismay when i examined the back face, which had long, deep black gashes in the previously pristine blue plastic back-plate.  My mind flashed back to Nokia's snarky commercials making fun of the easily-damaged screens on Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhones and I felt a bit bitter at Nokia for not magically creating a way to better protect their phone against user carelessness, such as my own.

Except, apparently they had.

After a couple days I tried to "tune out" the damage and stopped looking at it because it was depressing me.  But last week, while I was discussing my new phone with a couple of colleagues, I went to show the the back, and noticed something extraordinairy -- the subtle, but distinct black gashes were gone, completely filled in.  I could not even spot them with my eyes.

The only remaining evidence of the drop was a slight dent on the corner of the phone -- and even that had visibly shifted and lessened.

Lumia 900
My Lumia 900's back-face is back to a pristine unscratched state.

I believe Nokia has incorporated some sort of self-healing polymer into their Lumia 900's eye-catching colored polycarbonate-derivative backplate.  I'm surprised that they haven't made a bigger deal marketing this.  But I'm sure not complaining -- it made my damaged phone look pristine once again.

Such self-healing paints/plastics have been rumored to be coming to the smartphone space for several months now, but this is perhaps the first phone to be spotted in the wild sporting the robust coat.

I searched for information and could not find anything much specific to the Lumia 900.  But either my phone was healed by Jesus or the Flying Spaghetti monster, or Nokia has a (perhaps) industry-first self-healing case design.

II. The Bad News -- More Connectivity Issues

I've noticed a couple of times that my phone seems to drop its data connection, despite the bug fix, which was supposed to remove the connectivity issues in Nokia's firmware.

About the best I can figure is that the issue sometimes appears to be correlated to having just downloaded several apps.  The issue is somewhat infrequent, but when it lands, it is persistent until I resort to a soft reset.

AT&T glass
My Lumia 900 LTE keeps losing data connection with AT&T's network, post update.
[Image Source: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton]

While I've only seen a handful of reports, it appears some other users are experiencing this.  Writes "21stNow" on AT&T, Inc.'s (T) support forums:

This gives me evil flashbacks of my iPhone 4.  An update was supposed to fix a problem that I didn't have, I did the update, then I started having the problems.  Please fix this Nokia!

At this point I'm unsure if the issues are with Nokia or AT&T.  But clearly the problems aren't all solved.  The good news is that powering off and on appears to fix the problem for me.

Note: I'm not on an LTE connection, my region of service only has HSPA+.  I mention this, because some early reports on the connectivity problems, suggest LTE-to-HSPA+ handoff errors were to blame.

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RE: Data issues
By JasonMick on 5/7/2012 1:43:15 PM , Rating: 2
Not seen the data issue on mine or any of my friends/co workers 900s. Could be a specific issue with yours?

About all I could figure out is that the data explicitly says its ON in settings, it shows a 4G (HSPA) signal with some bars, but any data-related request (webpage loads, market access attempts, email refresh, etc. times out). Voice traffic has no issue -- only the data seems to be having some weird hangup.

I've had this happen twice, post-patch.

As I stated in the piece, a soft reset restored my connection.

But I showed off the strange behavior to my friend who was also on AT&T's network. Humorously on his Samsung Android he had fewer bars, but his data connection was working perfectly.

Overall it hasn't been a huge problem, once I learned that the soft reset would fix things. But the first time it happened I waited for it to "go away" and it didn't.

RE: Data issues
By InvertMe on 5/7/2012 2:42:47 PM , Rating: 2
For me, I am done with soft resets, pulling batteries or putting up with a miserable experience in any way.. That's why I left Android. I'd be pretty mad if I had to restart my phone for any reason. My Focus spoiled me, I didn't restart it for for months at a time.

I haven't had to restart my 900 either but I can tell you for sure if it even got to the point where I had to restart more than say once a month or so, I'd send it back to Nokia to get fixed and if it didn't I'd probably be done with them.

Hopefully your issue gets resolved soon. We should be seeing Tango soon, maybe there will be a magical fix in there? If not I'd be replacing your phone if I were you.

All that said, I still think Microsoft and Nokia are on the right track. Maybe a few bumps in the road but overall I am super happy with my 900 and so is everyone I know who owns one.

I can't wait to see what Nokia releases this fall. I want a PureView Lumia like you would not believe!

RE: Data issues
By JasonMick on 5/7/2012 3:55:15 PM , Rating: 3
Hopefully your issue gets resolved soon. We should be seeing Tango soon, maybe there will be a magical fix in there? If not I'd be replacing your phone if I were you.

All that said, I still think Microsoft and Nokia are on the right track. Maybe a few bumps in the road but overall I am super happy with my 900 and so is everyone I know who owns one.

I can't wait to see what Nokia releases this fall. I want a PureView Lumia like you would not believe!

I tend to agree. Love the phone overall, despite its few issues, which I can easily work around. Overall, it's had less issues early on than my HTC Evo did (my EVO would get nasty crashes in the camera app, a couple hard reboots, and even "ate" a memory card -- totally corrupted/unreadable even after formatting.)

Everyone I know who sees my Lumia is amazed by its looks and wants to hold it play with it. When they get to the Windows Phone homescreen they're just amazed by how good it looks. I've even had a couple iPhone owners who seemed pretty jealous of my phone when they played with it for a second.

RE: Data issues
By Trisped on 5/7/2012 6:38:33 PM , Rating: 2
It sounds like you are tired of buying bleeding edge tech.

Only one issue is not too bad.

RE: Data issues
By InvertMe on 5/8/2012 9:56:37 AM , Rating: 2
I think it's just that I expect my phone to work for me, I don't want to work for it. At the risk of sounding like a commercial that's why I abandoned my other mobile OS platforms and am sticking with Windows Phone (unless something better comes along).

RE: Data issues
By WalksTheWalk on 5/18/2012 4:15:58 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that some of the Android manufacturers have really made some inferior products that had major issues. Like any other piece of tech, you generally have to follow the reviews to see what works and what doesn't.

Windows Phone is still in its infancy right now. Once there are many iterations of the OS and a bunch of third party apps that add functionality you want to use, the stability perception will inevitably decline.

RE: Data issues
By Ramstark on 5/9/2012 6:49:52 PM , Rating: 2
I have an LG900, one of the first WinPhones out there. I am really happy with it, although I too have some of those issues with the cell signal.
While I have tried to disable, and enable the network connections again, I've found that only the same solution applies, a soft reset.
Anyway, it happens very infrequently as you have mentioned, and my LG has better reception than the droids or even an iPhone 4 of a friend of mine most of the time.
So I conclude it most be some glitch within the software managing the antenna or something like that.

RE: Data issues
By HrilL on 5/21/2012 4:24:28 PM , Rating: 2
I had a similar issue on my GS2 on At&t though once upgrading to ICS 4.0.3 I haven't had one data issue other than youtube not loading over the carrier network which I've still yet to have solved.

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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