Review: Nokia Lumia 900 for AT&T
The one action that *might* qualify as a lock screen shortcut is the camera. As with all WIndows Phones, you can launch the camera even when the 900 is asleep by pressing and holding the camera button. The camera button is a two-stage button, and you have to depress it all the way to get the camera to open from the lock screen. (It's worth pointing out that you can disable this feature if you want to). This feature isn't fast enough, though. It takes at least three seconds, if not four.
Tools within the camera are about what you expect from a modern smartphone. All the controls run down the right side of the viewfinder. At top is a button to switch to the video camera. Below it is a button that activates the user-facing camera. Then there's a large strip for zooming in/out (the volume toggle, by the way, does *not* zoom the camera). The bottom-most button opens the full settings menu.
The 900 lets users adjust a number of parameters, including scenes (beach, candlelight, macro, night, snow, etc.); white balance, exposure, ISO, metering mode, effects (sepia, black & white) and more.
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In order to get the 900's full 8 megapixels, you'll need to capture in a 4:3 aspect ratio. If you want to pictures to be the same shape as your TV, you have to choose the 16:9 aspect ratio, which is 7 megapixels.
In all, the camera's tools are fine. I just wish the user interface were a bit speedier. It's the one app on the entire device that doesn't run as fast as it should.
Microsoft places a lot of importance on pictures. The Lumia 900, as with other Windows Phones, doesn't have a photo gallery or album per se, it has the Picture Hub. The Hub spans the entire device, and specifically targets apps such as social networks. It pulls in photos from all these and mashes them together into a masterful repository that lets you explore (nee, stalk) all your contacts' photographic exploits. In other words, sharing your pictures is as easy as possible.
But what can you do with individual photos? Sadly, very little — at least, directly. The only editing function the 900 offers is an auto-enhance. This generic tool attempts to balance out contrast, exposure, and so on. It's rather useless.
However, the gallery can see other applications on the phone that might be able to interact with photos, such as Nokia's new Creative Studio. Creative Studio, which is a free download from the Nokia-only portion of the Marketplace, is a lot of fun. Think Instagram for Windows Phone. You can use it to apply all sorts of filters to creative vintage effects. Perhaps the most entertaining feature is the "face warp" tool, which lets you distort the faces of your best friends into misshapen ghouls.
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