Nokia Lumia 900 vs Apple iPhone 4S

Introduction and Design

Stirring things up on AT&T’s lineup, smartphones need to be aware that the Nokia Lumia 900 is out for blood and setting its eyes on some of the best of the best in the market. Rightfully so, we think it’s relevant to pit Nokia’s flagship against, you know, Apple’s pride and joy in the iPhone 4S – since they’re both so gosh darn lovable in many ways. Obviously, there’s a huge disparity in the pricing department as the Lumia 900 undercuts its rival by flaunting a $99.99 on-contract price right from the get-go, but more importantly, will it be enough to offset the prestige and unflinching performance that normally accompanies the iPhone 4S?


Well, what can we say about their designs? For starters, some of the words that come to mind are things like unique, solid, and premium – and the more we think about it, those are all the required ingredients in making a smartphone compelling. Indeed, the Lumia 900 is a bit larger compared to the iPhone 4S, but it’s pretty sweet that they both employ top-notch quality materials with their constructions. However, it’s worth pointing out that the Lumia 900 retains a cleaner appearance thanks to its unibody polycarbonate design, while the iPhone 4S is somewhat more prone to smudges and fingerprints because of its glossy looks. In the end, their iconic looking designs are both favorable in our eyes.

Since the physical buttons on the iPhone 4S are more prominent, we prefer them over the flat feel of the Lumia 900’s set of buttons. Furthermore, we can say the same thing about the iPhone’s springy home button, because nothing beats having a physical response – whereas the Lumia 900 resorts to the using the usual set of capacitive Windows Phone buttons. Around their sides, we find common items such as their noise cancellation microphones, internal speakers, and 3.5mm headset jacks, but the Lumia 900 sticks with a traditional microUSB port, whereas the iPhone 4S maintains its proprietary 30-pin dock port.

Honestly, you can ditch that point and shoot camera of yours because these two are packing some juicy things with their respective cameras. On the iPhone 4S, it’s a 8-megapixel snapper that features an LED flash, backside-illuminated sensor, and a wide angle F2.4 lens. Meanwhile, the Nokia Lumia 900 sports an equally compelling 8-megapixel camera that features a dual-LED flash and an F2.2 aperture lens. Rounding things out, video chatting is in full effect thanks to their front-facing cameras – well, it’s a 1.3-megapixel one in the Lumia 900 and a VGA one in the iPhone 4S.


Alright, we can agree that these two handsets boast some lovely looking displays from a far glance, but upon closer inspection, we find the Retina Display of the iPhone 4S to be the more favorable one. Sure, the Lumia 900 has the advantage of having the larger 4.3” display, but its WVGA (480 x 800) pales in comparison to the 640 x 960 resolution of the iPhone’s Retina Display. Ultimately, the difference in detail is most recognizable in the web browser when viewing web sites in their entirety, as we’re able to distinguish fine text with the iPhone 4S – whereas, it appears garbled on the Lumia 900. Furthermore, since the iPhone 4S relies on an IPS LCD panel, its color production is more accurate over the saturated tones of the Lumia 900’s AMOLED panel.

Nokia Lumia 900 360-degrees View

Apple iPhone 4S 360-degrees View:

Interface and Functionality:

Above all, the biggest thing that most consumers will need to decide on before making a decision, is what platform they’re going to side with. To tell you the truth, there’s no right or wrong way to go about this with these two smartphones – mainly because they deliver their own unique and immersive experience. Well, we can agree that Windows Phone and iOS are two of the easiest mobile platforms to understand for newcomers, but Nokia Lumia 900 has the better looking visuals thanks to its dynamic live tiles and its heavy use of the Metro UI. On the other hand, the iPhone 4S is more simplified with its straightforward interface, but we do like that Siri is there as our digital personal assistant.

Text messaging addicts will surely fall in love typing up long messages on either smartphones, well, that’s because their respective on-screen keyboards are so darn good in what they do. Naturally, the Lumia 900 has the more spacious layout since it has the larger display, but they offer the same level of responsiveness – while their phenomenal auto-correct and predictive text features enable us to type away without any worries.

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In terms of emailing functionality, we don’t find one to have an advantage over the other as they share the same set of features and functions to make them extremely reliable to use on the go. On top of that, setup is a painless process as we’re able to easily get most generic accounts by simply providing our email addresses and passwords.

Processor and Memory:

Looking around the landscape, some devices take great pride in telling people what kind of processors they’re running, but with these two, it’s not necessary to know since their performances do all the talking. Still, we’ll  tell you what they are for argument’s sake. With the iPhone 4S, it’s hiding away a dual-core 800MHz Apple A5 processor with 512MB of RAM, while the Nokia Lumia 900 sides with a single-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8055 CPU with 512MB of RAM. Seriously, if you want to experience something delightfully responsive and instantaneous with its operations, these two smartphones are it. To tell you the truth, they perform at a blistering pace with no shred of slowdown or choppiness to dampen their spirits.

At the base level, these two smartphones are available in 16GB capacities, but the iPhone 4S is also available in 32GB and 64GB sizes. Unfortunately, there’s no way of expanding their internal storage, so that means you’ll be managing what you put in them more often than none.

Internet and Connectivity:

Donning 4G LTE connectivity, the Nokia Lumia 900 has the upper hand in the data speed department, but aside from that, there isn’t much separating the entire web browsing experience. Specifically, we’re greeted with the same level of responsiveness with things such as pinch zooming and kinetic scrolling – thus, solidifying the experience even further. Well, if there’s one advantage with the iPhone 4S, it has to be that its Retina Display allows us to make out fine text when in a zoomed out view. When it comes down to out, we are undeniably thankful for their unflinching performance.

As we’ve detailed already, the Nokia Lumia 900 has distinct ability to surf the web via LTE connectivity, while the iPhone 4S maxes out at HSPA+ speeds (AT&T version). In terms of other connectivity features, they both offer aGPS, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and mobile hotspot functionality (Verizon iPhone 4S only), but the iPhone 4S boasts Bluetooth 4.0, versus 2.1 on the Lumia 900.


On paper, these two are specifically designed to entice photo enthusiasts thanks to the sensors they’re packing along for the ride, but when it comes down to it, we find the iPhone 4S coming out on top. Essentially, we find it more preferable thanks to its sharper details, natural looking color reproduction, and the fact that it handles exposure significantly better. No doubt that the two can capture some pleasant looking scenery and macro shots, but it’s the iPhone 4S that handles low lighting situations better, since the Nokia Lumia 900’s shots are extremely noisy looking. However, the LED flashes on both are effective in properly brightening up the environment.

Despite finding 720p video recording on the Nokia Lumia 900, versus 1080p on the iPhone 4S, we find their qualities to be more than acceptable, though, the iPhone 4S delivers the slightly better results again. However, we like it that the Lumia 900 offers continuous auto-focus, as opposed to touch focus on the iPhone 4S, but it simply takes its sweet time adjusting its focus. In the end, the iPhone 4S wins for its sharper visuals and balanced color tones – whereas on the Lumia 900, it has a noticeable bluish hue to its color reproduction.

Nokia Lumia 900 Sample Video:

Apple iPhone 4S Sample Video:


Finding ourselves immersed with their spiffy music players, we absolutely love the all-encompassing experience we’re given when it comes to listening to music. On one hand, we like the Zune experience on the Lumia 900 since it makes good use of the Metro UI, while the iPhone 4S has its own eye candy in form of its familiar coverflow mode. Visuals aside, their audio qualities are similar to one another, as they emit powerful tones through their speakers, though, a hint of strain is evident at the loudest volume setting on both devices.

Primarily due to its larger sized display and saturated color production, the Nokia Lumia 900 seems to be the optimum handset for watching videos. Still, both are pleasant to watch, but the wow factor is undoubtedly on the Lumia 900’s side.


Calling quality is remarkably superior on the Nokia Lumia 900 seeing that it’s nearly flawless by dishing up clear and distinctive voices on both ends of the line – with no evidence of any background noise or static heard whatsoever. On the flip side, the iPhone 4S is marred by a subtle amount of background noise and choppy sounding voices.

Even though we compared the Lumia 900 to Sprint’s version of the iPhone 4S, it’s difficult to say with enough certainty as to which one produces the better battery life under the same settings. Nonetheless, we’re able to easily get by a solid day of normal usage out of them both, but again, we’d bet that the Lumia 900 would drain its juice faster while on 4G LTE connectivity.


Making a decision is surely tough, especially when these two are extremely well rounded and abundant with drool worthy features to satisfy even the most hardened smartphone users out there. Having experienced the very best from both camps, we can firmly say that they live up to our expectations as being memorable devices, but ultimately, it’s going to come down to each person’s individual needs.

Time after time, the iPhone 4S has impressed us in more ways than none, and as the competition continues to ramp up, it’s able to show why it’s still going to be a relevant device. Even to this day, it’s able to impress many thanks to its detailed Retina Display, while also being the go-to device for those who are looking for a point and shoot replacement. Conversely, the Nokia Lumia 900 is a valiant offering that stands above most other Windows Phones on the market – primarily for the fact that it’s one of the few to offer 4G LTE connectivity. Furthermore, its most absolute memorable thing is the $99.99 on-contract price point it’s flaunting right from the beginning. Seriously, you can’t go wrong with either device since they perform similarly to one another, but if savings is something that takes precedence, the Nokia Lumia 900 will be the right fit for you. If not, the extra money you’ll spend getting the iPhone 4S is justified as well.

Nokia Lumia 900 vs Apple iPhone 4S:

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