Cracking Open: Nokia Lumia 900
April 3, 2012, 6:00pm PDT | Length: 00:05:29
Bill Detwiler cracks open the Nokia Lumia 900 and finds out if it has the hardware to compete with Samsung's Galaxy Nexus and Apple's iPhone 4S. For a detailed analysis of the teadown, check out my article and video, Nokia Lumia 900 teardown reveals mediocre hardware, reasons for great price.
Automatically sign up for our Cracking Open newsletter!
Bill Detwiler: Nokia, Microsoft, and AT&T are placing huge bets on the Lumia 900. But does it have the hardware to compete with Samsung's Galaxy Nexus and Apple's iPhone 4S? I'm Bill Detwiler, Head Technology Editor at CNET sister site Tech Republic and I'm going to find out by cracking open the Nokia Lumia 900.
>> Opening the Lumia 900 isn't difficult if you know how to do it. If you don't, the task is frustrating, time consuming, and you will be lucky if you don't break your phone. Trust me, I know. So her it is. Using the included SIM removal tool, pop out the SIM card holder. Next, insert the SIM tool's small end into the hole next to the SIM card slot and an angle. And remove the front panel locking pin that runs down the right side of the phone. With the pin removed, you can now open the front panel. Using a thin metal, tool pop loose the panel's right side where the pin was. Then, lift the front panel and body away from each other, but take care, the display and digitizer cables are still connected to the motherboard. To disconnect them, we'll first need to remove metal plate covers the motherboard and battery. Using torch T5 and Phillips triple zero screwdriver bits, remove all the screws holding the plate to the body. Then remove the plate itself. You can now disconnect the digitizer and the display from the motherboard and completely remove the front panel. Next, you can disconnect the battery button connector, and remove the front facing camera and sensor assembly. The motherboard is next, followed by the battery after removing the EMI RFI shields from the motherboard, the teardown is pretty much complete. So what did I learn about the Lumia 900 from our teardown? And how does it stack up against the Galaxy Nexus and iPhone 4S? Well, let's start on the outside. The Lumia 900 has a single piece polycarbonate body, which gives the phone a solid sturdy feel. As for its dimensions and weight, it's about the same width and height as the Galaxy Nexus, but it's slightly thicker and heavier. Compared to the iPhone 4S, it's just bigger and heavier all around. Now looking at the displays, the Lumia as a 4.3 inch AMOLED screen. With a resolution of 800 by 480 pixels and an approximate pixel density of 217 pixels per inch. Now this is lower than the resolution and pixel density of the displays on both the Galaxy Nexus and the iPhone 4S. And don't get me wrong, the Lumia has a nice display, but I wouldn't say it's resolutionary or anything like that. Moving inside the phone, let's start with the processor and RAM. The Lumia has a 1.4 gigahertz single core Qualcomm processor and 512 megs of RAM. They Galaxy Nexus has a 1.2 gigahertz dual core Texas Instruments processor with 1 gig of RAM. And the iPhone 4S has a dual core Apple A5 processor, which appears to be clocked at about 800 megahertz. And like the Lumia, it has 512 megs of RAM. Now, unfortunately, these numbers don't really give us a clear winner in the raw performance category. At face value, the Galaxy Nexus seems to come out on top, but a handset's performance is also determined by its operating system, the efficiency of the software you're running, and a host of other factors. I can tell you that in the limited testing I did, the Lumia was responsive and didn't suffer any noticeable lag. Ask for storage, the Lumia only comes in a 16 gigabyte version, which is half the 32 gigs you get with the Galaxy Nexus. And of course Apple is all about choice with the iPhone, which comes in 16, 32, and 64 gig versions. As for battery life the Lumia also appears to be on the bottom of the list. According to Nokia, the Lumia can provide up to 7 hours of talk time. Samsung rates the Galaxy Nexus at up to 12 hours. And Apple says the iPhone 4S gets up 8. Just remember that all of these values are subject to how you use that device. Sure, I can get a full day out of my iPhone 4S, but not if I'm constantly browsing the internet, taking photos, or streaming video. And don't even get me started on what running the Nexus' 4G radio does to its battery life. The Lumia 900 may lack a dual core processor and have a lower resolution screen and less storage capacity than the Galaxy Nexus and iPhone 4S, but it's definitely the best Windows Phone 7 device I've tested. And even with its lasting cutting edge hardware, I found the Lumia's overall performance on par with the other two phones. So why didn't Nokia pack the phone with the newest processor, best display and more storage? Well, I think it all comes down to price. At $99 with a two year contract, the Lumia is definitely the most affordable, high end Smartphone on the market. Had Nokia pushed the envelope on hardware, they would have needed to raise the price. To see more Lumia 900 teardown photos, check out my full cracking open gallery at techrepublic.com forward slash crackingopen. For CNET and Tech Republic, I'm Bill Detwiler and this has been cracking open of the Nokia Lumia 900.