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Our Verdict

The Nokia 9 PureView is the latest flagship phone from the Finnish manufacturer, following its release of the Nokia 8 Sirocco last year (not to be confused with the Nokia 8).

Nokia launched its latest flagship, the Nokia 9 PureView at MWC 2023 in Barcelona. It’s an impressive phone with an astounding five cameras. We compare its price, design and specs against the previous Nokia 8 Sirocco to see what’s new.


The Nokia 9’s price has been announced in US dollars only, at $699 which is around £550.  Here’s all we know so far.

The Nokia 8 Sirocco has an RRP of £649 in the UK, though is now available for as low as £349 from  John Lewis.

Best in Show – See our MWC 2023 Award Winners!

Design & Build

The Nokia 9 PureView features a 5.99in 2K plastic OLED display, making it slightly larger than the Nokia 8 Sirocco, which offers the same in a 5.5in display.

Like the Nokia 8 Sirocco, it uses Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back, though the Nokia 9 is slightly thicker at 8mm, up from the 7.5mm thickness offered in the Nokia 8. It features anodised aluminium edges too.

Both phones offer wireless charging, though you won’t find a headphone jack on either models. Instead, both phones have a USB-C port, so you will need to use an adaptor. They are both waterproof to an IP67 rating.


Now for the most exciting difference between the two phones: the Nokia 9 PureView’s camera which makes a clear departure from the dual camera of the Nokia 8 Sirocco.

The Nokia 9 boasts a neat formation of five Zeiss lens rear cameras – making it the first phone ever to have so many. This includes two colour sensors, located at the middle and bottom of the formation, and three monochrome sensors on the outer points. All sensors are 12Mp.

What’s different about this set up is that instead of dedicating each lens to a particular optical shooting mode, such as wide-angle or telephoto, the Nokia 9 uses AI to combine bursts of multiple photos to produce the best possible photo. With five 12Mp cameras that can fire off up to five times, that’s up to 240Mp of data being processed.

As a result, the Nokia 9 promises a depth map of 1200 layers which allows you to fine tune the bokeh effect and blurred background portraits with great precision. You can capture photos in RAW format and edit your photos directly on the device using Adobe Lightroom (which doesn’t come pre-installed, but is available to download during set-up).

With its dedicated monochrome sensors, the Nokia 9 can take native black and white photos. This is different from other cameras that take photos in full colour but strip out hue afterwards to produce black and white photos.

Specs and features

The Nokia 9 processor sees an upgrade to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset, whereas the Nokia 8 Sirocco uses the Snapdragon 835. Despite the upgrade, it’s still behind other flagship smartphones in the market, such as the Samsung Galaxy S10, that have moved on to the Snapdragon 855.

Nokia says this lag is a result of the extended time spent on perfecting the image processing capabilities of the Nokia 9, which is admittedly, quite powerful. The cameras sit flush on the rear of the Nokia 9 too, a clear move away from the raised dual cameras on the back of the Nokia Sirocco 8.

Another key difference is that the Nokia 9 features an in-screen fingerprint scanner, mirroring Samsung’s similar move with the Galaxy S10’s in-screen fingerprint scanner. The Nokia 8 Sirocco’s fingerprint scanner is at the back of the device.

Finally, the Nokia 9 and Nokia Sirocco 8 are both a part of the Android One program, which offers the same unadulterated Google experience you would find on a Google Pixel phone. This means you get a clean UI free of any bloatware – as well as unlimited storage on Google photos, access to Google Assistant and frequent Android updates.

The Nokia 9, like the Nokia 8 Sirocco offers 6GB RAM and 128GB Storage. The Nokia 9’s battery is also more powerful compared to the Nokia 8 Sirocco, at 3,340mAh, up from 3260mAh.

Here’s a breakdown of the main specs of both devices:

 Nokia 9 PureViewNokia 8 SiroccoOperating SystemAndroid 9.0 PieAndroid 8.0 OreoDisplay5.9in 2K 


5.5in Quad HD display, pOLED, with 2560 x 1440ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 845 Octa-coreQualcomm Snapdragon 835 Octa-core Memory6GB6GBStorage128GB128GBPrimary Camera5x 12MP cameras, Dynamic range up to 12.4 stops12MP wide-angle rear-facing camera with f/1.75 + 13MP telephoto lens with f/2.6Front Camera12Mp5MpWiFiTBC11ac dual-bandGPSYesYesBluetooth55NFCYesYesFingerprint scannerYes, in-screenYesWireless chargingYesYesColoursMidnight Black, BlueBlackPortsUSB-CUSB-CWaterproofIP67IP67Dimensions155x75x8mm73x141x7.5mmBattery3340mAh3260mAh

Related stories for further reading Specs Nokia 9 PureView: Specs

Android 9.0 Pie

5.99in 18:9 2K pOLED

Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 octa-core processor


128GB internal storage

Two 12MP f/1.8 colour lenses and three 12MP f/1.8 monochrome lenses

20MP front camera

Under-display fingerprint scanner

Face unlock



Bluetooth 5.0



IP67 water and dust-resistance

3340mAh non-removable battery

Qi wireless charging



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Nokia 800 Tough Review: The New Indestructible Nokia

About this Nokia 800 Tough review: I tested the Nokia 800 Tough for about 10 days in Berlin, Germany on the Blau network. It was running KaiOS v2.5.2. HMD Global provided the Nokia 800 Tough review unit to Android Authority.

What are the best things about the Nokia 800 Tough?

The Nokia 800 Tough measures battery life in weeks, not hours.

The protection doesn’t stop at the rubber either. There are two water-resistant flaps over the micro-USB port and 3.5mm headphone port on the top edge. They’re right next to a 198-Lumen flashlight you can activate by long-pressing up on the navigation button. The phone’s screen needs to be on for this to work, though, so you’re not likely to accidentally activate it in your pocket.

What is the worst thing about it?

There are a few potential “types” that would be interested in the Nokia 800 Tough. The first would be someone not interested in the pitfalls of full-blown smartphones — large size, poor battery life, too complex, etc. Perhaps your parents or someone who simply doesn’t want a small computer in their pocket. The Nokia 800 Tough is pretty easy to get your head around, but it still does a decent amount of what true smartphones can.

The Nokia 800 Tough is great for anyone that needs a phone that can take a few knocks.

The Nokia 800 Tough is also great for anyone who needs a phone that can take a few knocks. Think anyone who uses a phone at work in conditions that aren’t ideal for a glass sandwich (e.g., a workshop or construction site). Clumsy people will also like the Nokia 800 Tough because it really doesn’t matter how often you drop it. I have to confess I did treat it pretty recklessly during the Nokia 800 Tough review period. But hey, I was supposed to, right?

The other person the Nokia 800 Tough is good for is someone like me. Someone who already has a smartphone but also wants a super-durable, long-lasting backup phone. When I go camping or riding I don’t actually want to take my smartphone with me, lest I drop it or lose it. Having an indestructible phone that lasts forever and can do all the basics is a far better option for me. The best part is that KaiOS means you don’t have to miss out on much.

What is KaiOS and is it any good?

The Nokia 800 Tough is a sort of almost-smartphone, featuring Google Assistant, WhatsApp, Google Maps, YouTube, and more. It runs KaiOS, a super-lean operating system that’s one part feature phone, one part smartphone. If you’re looking for a cheap feature phone with a physical keyboard and you don’t care about specs, chances are KaiOS is what you want.

Not great. It’s tiny and has about 16 pixels in it. It’s a 2.4-inch TFT display with 320 x 240-pixel resolution (167ppi) in a 4:3 aspect ratio. It’s obviously not meant to compete with smartphone displays but it’s still a pretty dismal experience. It feels too much like the feature phone screens I was using a decade ago. A slight bump in clarity would be nice, especially given that it’s so small.

What’s it like to use?

The Nokia 800 Tough’s KaiOS interface is pretty straightforward and there are a lot of shortcuts to make navigation a bit quicker. There is a little bit of a learning curve if you’re coming from a touchscreen device, but it doesn’t take long to figure things out. The speed with which I did things between the start of the Nokia 800 Tough review period and the end was remarkable, as long-forgotten skills came back to me.

Below the screen, there are seven main buttons: a left-and-right key for contextual on-screen options, a messages key, a call log shortcut, a back button, a power button, and a navigation button with a lot of functions.

Even with T9 predictive text enabled, typing feels like a laborious chore.

A smart cursor makes selecting on-screen elements with the navigation button a little easier. Say you’re in the browser looking at search results. Pressing directions on the navigation button will “jump” you to different options on-screen, ostensibly making it faster to get where you want rather than using it like a d-pad, but it’s still pretty bad. Scrolling through a vertical list (e.g., in YouTube) is a painfully slow process and was enough to make me not want to bother.

Google Assistant to the rescue

There’s a lot to like about the Nokia 800 Tough, but typing and navigation are not among them. Fortunately, you can almost always use voice search to get what you want quicker. If you open Google and want to search for a train timetable, it’s much easier to just long-press the center button and speak your search terms than it is to type. The same is true of Google Maps, YouTube, and sending WhatsApp messages.

Umm, yeah. This is not the device you want for capturing precious memories. The 2MP camera is about as fantastic as you’d expect a 2MP camera to be. This is a little disappointing because even at this price point you can still get Android phones that have passable cameras, such as the Nokia 2.2. I don’t see any real reason why something equivalent wasn’t possible here.

Funnily enough, the photos the Nokia 800 Tough takes are actually better than they look on the low-resolution display. If you transfer your images to your laptop they’ll look a little better, but don’t get your hopes up too high. Colors were actually not bad, but dynamic range and low-light performance were poor. In perfect conditions, you can get a salvageable 2MP shot out of the Nokia 800 Tough. In trickier conditions, you’re better off just leaving it in your pocket.

What else do I need to know?

The Nokia 800 Tough is a dual-SIM device, but you can use one SIM slot for a microSD card. It only has 4GB of internal storage (1.7GB of which is taken up by the system) so I’d recommend you pop one in unless you really need a second SIM card. 512MB of RAM keeps things moving at 2005 speeds on a Qualcomm MSM8905 Snapdragon 205 chipset.

Here’s all the network connectivity info you might need:

The camera is the only real weak point in what is otherwise an excellent feature phone.

At €119, the Nokia 800 Tough is an excellent backup phone for the glove compartment, camping trip, or office drawer. It’s also a great option for anyone not enamored by the complexity of modern smartphones, or anyone who just wants something more durable. The Nokia 800 Tough is perfect for anyone willing to sacrifice a few fancy features in exchange for battery life measured in weeks, not hours.

Nokia 800 Tough

The Nokia 800 Tough is the new indestructible Nokia feature phone.

The Nokia 800 Tough is a super-durable feature phone running KaiOS with a six-week standby time. It has some modern features like Google Assistant, WhatsApp, YouTube, and Google Maps with GPS navigation. Its camera isn’t great but it’s a perfect backup phone for the glove compartment or backpack.

See price at Amazon

Nokia Lumia 630 & 635 Review

Our Verdict

If you’re considering the Lumia 630 as a first smartphone and you don’t plan to buy lots of wireless accessories and install lots of apps, it’s not a bad choice at all. Windows Phone 8.1 is very easy to use, and will improve even more when Cortana and its associated features arrive in the UK. However, the sticky problem of a lack of apps in Microsoft’s store remains an issue for all Windows Phone 8 smartphones, and the lack of a front-facing camera is a problem if you want to use Skype. Note that the Lumia 635 is the model with 4G support.

The Lumia 630 is the first smartphone to launch with Windows Phone 8.1. This is a fairly major software update which includes many new features, although some such as Cortana won’t be made available in the UK until much later this year. Here are 30 funny commands you can say to Cortana

See also: how to get Windows Phone 8.1 and Cortana right now

We’ll get to the software shortly, but the 630 itself is all about price. You can buy the smartphone outright for just £129. There are some compromises though, notably the lack of 4G support, and there’s plenty of competition from budget Android smartphones including the forthcoming 4G version of Motorola’s Moto G. The identical-looking Lumia 635 supports 4G and is finally on sale – it costs £20 extra at £149 (SIM free).

Arguably, the 630 is the successor to the ever-popular Lumia 520 (see our

Nokia Lumia 630 review: design

With its removable plastic rear shell – similar to previous Nokia smartphones – it’s easy to change the 630’s appearance according to your mood. If black is too sombre, there are yellow, orange and green shells which cost £13 each from Microsoft’s online store.

The front is covered with Gorilla Glass 3, with cutouts at the top and bottom for the earpiece and microphone.

As a low-end phone, things are quite basic with an LED-less rear camera, a rear-facing mono speaker and a microUSB charging port at the bottom. Unlike other Lumia’s the 630 has no dedicated shutter button: you get a power button with a volume rocker above it.

The phone weighs 134g, but feels lighter. It’s just over 9mm thick – these are pretty average figures. See also: Nokia Lumia 930 hands-on review.

Nokia Lumia 630 vs Lumia 635: What’s the difference?

We’ve included both these devices in one review because they are very similar smartphones. A minor difference is that the Lumia 630 comes with a matt finish plastic shell while the Lumia 635 has a glossy coating. Since you can buy different interchangeable shells, there’s nothing stopping you mixing and matching.

The more important variation is that the Lumia 630 is limited to 3G data while the Lumia 635 adds support for 4G LTE networks. For some markets, the Lumia 630 will be available in a dual-SIM model.

Nokia Lumia 630 review: hardware and performance

Aside from the mobile data difference, the two Lumia smartphones share the same specifications. Perhaps the biggest compromise – and disappointment – is the low-resolution 4.5in screen. With 854×480 pixels, that’s under 220ppi and you really notice this when reading text on web pages. It’s fuzzy and hard to read, which means you have to zoom in more than on a smartphone with a higher resolution display.

Despite being an IPS screen, viewing angles aren’t the best. A bigger issue is that our sample had clearly visible backlight bleed along the top edge which was all too noticeable on light-coloured backgrounds. Overall, the backlight was more uneven than we’d like.

Processing power is decent for the most part. The 630 has the same 1.2GHz quad-core CPU as the Moto G but has half the RAM, with just 512MB on board. In general, Windows Phone 8.1 is snappy and responsive. One notable exception is the camera app. It’s never quick to launch, and can sometimes take several seconds to load, being ready to take a photo only after six or seven seconds – that’s unacceptable and meant we often missed the moment.

Since our usual benchmark apps aren’t available on Windows Phone, we could run only the browser-based SunSpider test. Here, the 630 completed the test in an average of 1486ms, a shade quicker than the Moto G.

There’s only 8GB of internal storage but as with flagships such as the Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8, the Lumia 630 and Lumia 635 have a microSD card slot which is capable of taking up to 128GB. You also get 7GB of free Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage.

Nokia Lumia 630 review: battery life

Another disappointment with the smartphone is mediocre battery life. During our testing, we were lucky to get through a full 24 hours without getting nagged about “critically low” battery levels. That was with average use – some emailing, IM, Facebook, YouTube and gaming. With heavy use, you’ll need to be near a power socket (or have a second battery to hand) in order to make it through a working day.

Annoyingly, the 630 (like all Nokia phones) is fussy about chargers. You get one in the box – with a captive microUSB cable – but try and use a different charger and it will warn you the phone is charging slowly.

Nokia Lumia 630 review: camera

A 5Mp camera sits at the back of the device, capable of capturing 720p videos. It’s nothing special, with no stabilisation, no LED flash and no HDR mode. The default camera app over-sharpens the photos to make them appear more detailed.

Below is a 100 percent crop of the original photo so you can see the level of detail captured:

There’s no front-facing camera, which makes selfies almost impossible. It’s reason enough to avoid the 630 altogether if you want to use Skype for video chats.

Nokia Lumia 630 review: Software

The Lumia 630 and Lumia 635 come with Windows Phone 8.1 which is the latest version of Microsoft’s mobile operating system. Although an update will be rolled out to existing Lumia devices, it won’t arrive for a few months. It also includes Nokia’s Lumia Cyan updates, in addition to Microsoft’s tweaks.

For starters, you can have up to six columns of tiles on the Start Screen and you can also choose an image as a background to them instead of picking a block colour. There’s a nice parallax effect which looks great and makes the phone feel more personal.

A headline new feature is the Action Center (below) which finally brings notifications to Windows Phone. Like iOS and Android, it’s accessed by swiping downwards from the top of the screen. You can choose which apps you want notifications to appear from and there are also four tiles for quick settings, which you can customise.

There are other tweaks too such as more lock screen themes, a new calendar which integrates weather, the Word Flow keyboard offers personalised predictive text and Swype-style gesture typing. A set of Sense (nothing to do with HTC) features help you manage data usage, storage and Wi-Fi.

Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Siri and the firm says it’s the first ‘true personal assistant on a phone’. Unfortunately, unless you change the region and language on your 630 to US English, Cortana won’t appear. Plus, since the digital assistant is integral to some of Windows Phone 8.1’s new features such as reminders and Quiet Hours, you won’t see those either. Cortana is promised as an update later in 2014, but never buy anything on the basis of promises – it may be delayed until 2023.

Nokia adds its own selection of useful apps, including the excellent HERE Drive+ satnav which allows you to download individual country maps for free, in order to use the app offline. There’s also Nokia MixRadio which is a lot like Spotify and allows you to download mixes for free, even if you decide not to pay the £3.99 monthly subscription.

Nokia Lumia 630 review: Bottom line

All of this is a big step in the right direction for Windows Phone 8 and its mission to catch up with iOS and Android. We like a lot of the new features but there still remains the issue of a lack of apps in the Store. You’ll find the likes of BBC iPlayer, 4oD, ITV Player, Whatsapp, Facebook and Netflix, but other apps are still conspicuous by their absence, notably Google apps. For the most part, you can install third-party apps to get Google Maps, YouTube and Gmail, but it’s a shame there are no official apps.

There’s also a problem if you have Bluetooth devices such as fitness trackers. While there are some third-party apps for popular trackers including Fitbit, they don’t offer synching. For less popular devices, you’ll likely find nothing at all. For example, I just had the Tado thermostat installed. Apps are available for Android and iOS, but not Windows Phone 8.

If you’re considering the Lumia 630 as a first smartphone and you don’t plan to buy lots of wireless accessories, these limitations might not be an issue. However, if you’re switching from Android or an iPhone, you may well be frustrated.

Specs Nokia Lumia 630: Specs

Windows Phone 8.1

4.5in IPS display (480×854), 221ppi

1.2GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 CPU

Adreno 305 GPU


8GB internal storage

microSD up to 128GB

5Mp rear camera

Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n

Bluetooth 4.0 LE


GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz

CDMA 900/2100MHz 6.7Wh (1830mAh) removable BL-5H battery

micro SIM



Nokia Axes 4,000 Jobs; Gives Symbian To Accenture

Nokia axes 4,000 jobs; Gives Symbian to Accenture

Nokia warned that the shift to Windows Phone would result in “substantial reductions in employment” and now the first significant signs of those job losses are being seen. Around 4,000 employees worldwide – though predominantly in Denmark, Finland and the UK – will be axed by the end of 2012, while around 3,000 will be shunted over to Accenture as part of a new deal to transfer Symbian software development there. Accenture will become a “preferred provider” of mobility software and other services for Nokia’s Windows Phone range.

Nokia will also attempt to streamline its R&D processes, hopefully cutting down on the development timelines that some have accused of being behind the company’s sluggish reactions to the changing smartphone market. R&D will be consolidated with some sites expanded and some reduced or even closed, ”so that each site has a clear role and mission.”

Windows Phone devices will begin to show up in 2012, and while that’s good news for Nokia and Microsoft, it will be bad news for employees losing their jobs as the redundancies are expected to take place “in phases until the end of 2012, linked to the roll-out of Nokia’s planned product and services portfolio.”

Ex-Nokians will be offered re-employment support and retraining. “This is a difficult reality,” CEO Stephen Elop says, “and we are working closely with our employees and partners to identify long-term re-employment programs for the talented people of Nokia.”

Press Release:

Nokia starts measures to align workforce and site operations with new strategy

Espoo, Finland – To deliver on its new strategy, Nokia today announced plans to align its global workforce and consolidate site operations. These measures are part of Nokia’s target to reduce its Devices & Services non-IFRS operating expenses by 1 billion euros for the full year 2013 in comparison to the full year 2010, as announced last week.

Earlier today, Nokia announced plans to form a strategic collaboration with Accenture that would result in the transfer of Nokia’s Symbian software activites, including about 3,000 employees to Accenture. In addition, Nokia also plans to reduce its global workforce by about 4,000 employees by the end of 2012, with the majority of reductions in Denmark, Finland and the UK. In accordance with country-by-country legal requirements, discussions with employee representatives started today.

Nokia also plans to consolidate the company’s research and product development sites so that each site has a clear role and mission. Nokia expects the expansion of some sites and the contraction or closure of others.

All employees affected by the reduction plans can stay on the Nokia payroll through the end of 2011. Nokia expects personnel reductions to occur in phases until the end of 2012, linked to the roll-out of Nokia’s planned product and services portfolio. During this period, Nokia intends to ramp up its capacity for the development of Nokia smartphones based on the Windows Phone platform, the company’s broad range of mobile phones and its services portfolio.

“At Nokia, we have new clarity around our path forward, which is focused on our leadership across smart devices, mobile phones and future disruptions,” said Stephen Elop, Nokia president and CEO. “However, with this new focus, we also will face reductions in our workforce. This is a difficult reality, and we are working closely with our employees and partners to identify long-term re-employment programs for the talented people of Nokia.”

Nokia is launching a comprehensive social responsibility program for employees and the communities likely to be affected by the personnel reductions. The program will be led locally, with local partners and stakeholders, and senior management support.

“We are offering those who are losing their jobs a range of options, from individual re-employment support and re-training to making investments to promote innovation and working with a variety of partners to create new opportunities,” Elop continued.

Press Release:

Nokia announces plans to transfer Symbian software activities to Accenture; Accenture to provide future smartphone ecosystem services to Nokia

Espoo, Finland and New York, US – Nokia (NYSE: NOK) and Accenture (NYSE: ACN) today announced plans for a strategic collaboration in which Nokia would outsource its Symbian software activities and transition about 3,000 employees to Accenture. At the same time, Accenture would provide mobility software services to Nokia for future smartphones.

The collaboration, which is subject to final agreement, calls for Accenture to provide Symbian-based software development and support services, with the expected transition of about 3,000 Nokia employees to Accenture. The companies expect completion of the final agreement during summer 2011, and expect the transition of employees by the end of the calendar year 2011. Transitioning employees, located in China, Finland, India, United Kingdom and the United States, will initially work on Symbian software activities for Nokia. Over time, Accenture and Nokia will seek opportunities to retrain and redeploy transitioned employees.

This collaboration also includes plans for Accenture to provide mobility software, business and operational services around the Windows Phone platform to Nokia and other ecosystem participants. Under the proposed agreement, Accenture would become a preferred partner for Nokia’s smartphone development activities, as well as a preferred provider of services.

“This collaboration demonstrates our ongoing commitment to enhance our Symbian offering and serve our smartphone customers,” said Jo Harlow, executive vice president for Smart Devices, Nokia. “As we move our primary smartphone platform to Windows Phone, this transition of skilled talent to Accenture shows our commitment to provide our Symbian employees with potential new career opportunities.”

Accenture and Nokia have been working together since 1994. In October 2009, Accenture acquired Nokia’s professional services unit that provides engineering and support of the Symbian operating system to mobile device manufacturers and service providers, and which then served as a key building block in Accenture’s Mobility services portfolio.

Nokia Beacon 1 Review: The Mesh Network Basics

Nokia Beacon 1 Review: The mesh network basics

Nokia sells the Beacon 1 both as a single unit, for $99.99, or as a pack of three for $249.99. The company says that a single Beacon 1 is good for up to a 1,500 square foot space; three can deliver up to 4,500 square feet of coverage, or handle multi-level homes. You can of course continue to add units to build out coverage if you need it.

Each Beacon 1 unit is fairly compact: 5.9 inches high, 4.5 inches wide, and just 1.6 inches thick. Unfortunately there’s no wall-mounting option for the white and black plastic boxes, which seems a missed opportunity given the dimensions. On the back there’s a gigabit ethernet port into which you plug your modem, and a second gigabit port for wired devices. Unlike some routers there’s no USB port to add shared storage or a printer.

Setup is straightforward, and done either through Nokia’s app for iOS and Android, or the router’s own web interface. For the former, you snap a photo of the QR code on the base of each unit to add them to the same mesh network. Nokia preconfigures an SSID, WiFi password, and admin password, but you can change all three yourself. Oddly, the default WiFi and admin password are the same.

There are some neat touches. Since only the primary unit in a wireless mesh needs to connect to a modem, each satellite unit allows you to use both the ethernet ports for devices. Alternatively, you can use a wired backhaul to connect each mesh point together, though I suspect most people won’t.

That’s a shame, as each mesh point would get better speeds in that situation. Each unit has a dual-band 2×2 AC1200 radio: what’s now known as WiFi 5. Theoretically, the Beacon 1 supports up to 867 Mbps on the 5GHz band, or up to 300 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band.

Problem is, without a third band to dedicate to the backhaul, mesh communications between each of the three Beacon 1 units have to share bandwidth with the WiFi devices actually using them. Nokia’s app gives you feedback on the connection strength between each point in the mesh as you add them to the system.

Your experience with WiFi devices, then, depends significantly on which Beacon 1 they’re connected to. If that’s the primary unit – i.e. the one connected directly to your modem – speeds can be impressive. Beacon 1 was faster in that primary node situation than Google Wifi.

Get online via a mesh satellite, however, and it’s a lot less impressive. Then the results flipped, with Google Wifi’s satellite showing less in the way of signal loss. There was still enough bandwidth for stable video streaming, but if you’re paying for a fast internet connection this isn’t the best way to share it around the home.

Nokia includes a handful of features for managing a network, but they’re neither as comprehensive nor as straightforward to use as what we’ve seen on Nest Wifi, Eero, and other platforms. The Beacon 1’s parental controls, for example, basically amount to turning WiFi devices on and off in the app; log into the web interface and you can schedule when that happens by MAC address. However there’s no smart filtering, and while other routers allow you to set the level of content your kids can access based on age appropriateness, with Beacon 1 it’s all or nothing.

Considering for the same price as the Beacon 1 3-pack you can get a Google Wifi 3-pack, I’m struggling to think of many reasons why you’d go for Nokia’s system. One possibility might be a general fear of Google: while Beacon 1’s app demands you set up a Nokia account if you use it to install the system, the web interface does not. Google Wifi, in contrast, can’t be used without a Google account.

Nokia Lumia 900 Review: Bigger Is Not Always Better

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If you want to buy a phone right now, and you’re shopping based on quality rather than price, you have two choices in terms of size. You can get the iPhone, with its 3.5-inch screen, or you can choose from a handful of top-tier Android and Windows phones, all of which will have, at the bare minimum, a four-inch screen. Most of them will be bigger–4.3 inches is much more common right now, and an increasing number are even larger, including the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (4.65 in), HTC Titan (4.7 in), and the Samsung Galaxy Note (which, at 5.3 inches, is more lunchtray than phone).

The Nokia Lumia 900 is essentially a 4.3-inch version of the Lumia 800, a phone I absolutely loved in its 3.7-inch iteration (a Europe-only model). So reviewing the Lumia 900 presents an interesting question: with most other specs remaining constant, how does the experience of using a phone change when it grows to the size most phone manufacturers insist we really want?


The Lumia 900 is Nokia’s first “flagship” Windows Phone that’s available in North America (the Lumia 710, a cheapie, has been available on T-Mobile for a little while already). It’s the sequel to the much-admired Lumia 800 and its changes are mostly in size (of various sorts). It’s got a 4.3-inch screen, compared to the Lumia 800’s 3.7-inch screen; it has 4G LTE (on AT&T), compared to the Lumia 800’s 3G; it has a bigger battery and a front-facing camera.

Nokia Lumia 900 and Plaid Sheets


This is mostly a good phone. Windows Phone is a great operating system; it’s still maturing, but it’s very usable, and it’s an interesting and distinctly different approach to a smartphone than iOS or Android. (More on that here.) The physical design is pretty good; it’s inoffensive, at worst, and is weighty enough to feel sturdy rather than cheap and plasticky, as many Windows Phones do (especially those made by Samsung). It’s also nicely thin, only a millimeter or two thicker than the iPhone. The screen, though not thrilling in its resolution, has great deep blacks, which is important when using an OS with a predominantly black interface by default.

AT&T’S 4G LTE continues to be great. This is the first phone using AT&T’s LTE I’ve personally used, and it feels just as screamingly fast as Verizon’s. It’s startling how quickly things load–LTE is as fast or faster than many people’s home internet connections, so apps download instantly, web pages load instantly, music and podcasts sync instantly. I was impressed with AT&T’s coverage too–I used the Lumia 900 all over New York City and it never dropped out on me. And the giant 1830mAh battery will get you through a full day with normal use, which is not always the case with the current crop of LTE-capable phones.


Bigger is not better. Gadget makers will tell you I’m wrong–they’ll point to sales numbers, saying that people have embraced big phones by the millions. But you could just as easily point to the iPhone, the most successful phone line in the country by a long shot, and say that it proves that people love smaller phones. Or you could remember that if you want a good Android or Windows phone, you are basically forced to buy a giant one. There are no longer any top-tier 3.7-inch phones. There are a rapidly decreasing number of 4-inch phones (the Motorola Droid 4, an above-average but not particularly special phone, is the only high-end 4-incher released in the past six months). If you’re shopping Android or Windows, your choices are limited to big or bigger. And that’s not necessarily for the better.

Most gadgets need to be of a particular size to fulfill their particular roles. A phone has to fit in your pocket or purse. An ebook reader has to display a page of text. A tablet has to provide a full web experience. You can’t just stretch it out, like it’s a Gumby made of silicon and glass and metal and plastic, and say it’s a better device because of it. And that’s exactly what the Lumia 900 is. The phone is _big_–not as big as a Galaxy Note, but big. It’s actually wider and thicker than the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, a phone with a substantially bigger screen.

Nokia Lumia 900: Back and Sides

Clockwise from top left: right edge (buttons are a volume rocker, power/hold button, and camera shutter), top edge (with a headphone jack, microphone, and microUSB port, and SIM card slot), back, and bottom edge (speaker grille).

I have small hands (we all have our hurdles in life), and for me, any phone with a screen bigger than four inches is more difficult to use than it’s worth. In regular use, I find myself constantly readjusting my grip–I can’t hold the phone and reach all parts of the screen with my thumb. Beyond the overall size increase, I don’t think the bigger screen has any real benefits in this case. The Windows Phone keyboard is excellent; I never found it awkward to type on the smaller Lumia 800, so unless you have the sausage fingers of Billy Joel (YouTube it, the dude has ten kielbasas attached to his palms), I can’t imagine this being a striking improvement. The screen is also mathematically worse than the Lumia 800’s. It’s the same exact screen–a PenTile AMOLED screen with 800 x 480 resolution and Nokia’s ClearBlack tech, which, if you don’t understand that, congratulations for not having so much nonsense rattling around in your head. What matters is that it’s the same number of pixels stretched across a larger canvas—the opposite of Apple’s approach with its Retina Display—which means a visible downgrade in image quality.

So on the Lumia 900, the picture is worse. It creates a bigger bulge in my pocket. What’s the point?

All the buttons are on the right edge of the phone, even the power/hold button, which is often found on the top edge. That’s essential, because it’s not really possible for anyone besides Hakeem Olajuwon to reach the top edge of the phone while holding it with one hand. But with it placed on the side, I found myself accidentally hitting the hold switch often, since it falls directly under your right thumb.

The design is also somehow not quite as enthralling as the sleek Lumia 800, even though it’s nearly identical. It’s the little things, which add up to a different impression when you’re dealing with a very simple design presentation. Example: the 800’s screen was curved, with the screen seeming to melt off into the sides of the phone like an infinity pool. The 900 has a typical flat screen, with a more definitive bezel between the screen and the sides of the phone, and a weird raise ridge around the edges. It’s a very minimalist design, which worked for the 800, because it had nice little touches and felt compact and sharp. The Lumia 900 isn’t bad-looking, and it’s certainly well-crafted, but it’s also not that interesting.

The camera remains not very good. I was surprised at this with the Lumia 800, and I’m still surprised–the Nokia N8, probably the worst phone I’ve ever reviewed, had a stellar camera, and Nokia is well-known for their phone cameras. The Lumia 900’s is average at best–I love that it has a dedicated shutter button, and shutter speed is pretty good, but I wasn’t impressed with image quality. The Lumia often came up with very dark shots, and color reproduction was sometimes off. And in lower-light situations, photos were extremely noisy.

Nokia Lumia 900 vs. iPhone 4S: Near and Far

A couple more comparisons: the Lumia 900 took the two photos on the left, while the iPhone 4S took the two on the right. You can see that the Lumia works okay in full sunlight, but still has troubles with shadows and differences in light (look at the slanted shadow on the building to the right of the Empire State Building, or how the daffodils blend into the brighter sidewalk in the upper left corner).


It’s available on AT&T for $100 with a two-year contract. That’s half the price of other 16GB phones like the iPhone, and probably a good way for Microsoft and Nokia to worm their way back into the public consciousness. It’s a good deal, though given the fact that you’re signing a two-year contract that’ll cost you several thousand dollars in voice and data plans, it doesn’t really make sense to care much about an extra $100 up front.

Nokia Lumia 900 Email App


The Lumia 900 is a pretty good phone–I still think the iPhone is a smarter buy on AT&T, due to its gigantic and thriving App Store, sleeker hardware, and more polished software, but the Lumia 900 is very nice. And yet I don’t think it’s as good a phone as the Lumia 800 (though the LTE speeds are delightful). It’s a weird feeling to be disappointed while still recommending a product, but that’s how it goes–the 900 doesn’t live up to my expectations, but it’s still the best Windows Phone in America. Still, it feels a little dull, where the Lumia 800 felt fresh and new and stylish. But most of all, I’m turned off by the size. Dear phone manufacturers: I know it’s an easy sell to say that your phone is bigger and therefore better–but for some of us, it’s simply not the case.

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