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What’s Up With Nokia’s US Quality Control?

Saying a whole company has quality control issues is somewhat difficult, but after a certain number of defective units, there has to be something more in the equation than the usual random problems. I have bought three Nokia Lumia 900s, and I have had to return three (update: four) Nokia Lumia 900s, but should return four (update: five) of them (I’ll explain later). That’s just too high of a ratio, for my case at least; it doesn’t seem like people are having problems with the 900 from what I can read on the internet, but I am going to go ahead in pure speculation and say that Nokia might have a higher than normal return ratio on the Lumia 900. Here’s the full story of each unit.

First Returned Unit

As a loyal Nokia fan, I bought my Lumia 900 the day it went on sale. I got the cyan 900 the 8th of April. I set up the phone and started using it as my main device. The following day I ran out of battery just four hours after unplugging it from the wall, I knew that wasn’t normal because I had reviewed a black 900 a full month before and could go almost two days on a charge. The following day, the cyan 900 held its charge for a full day. I thought it would be ok, but I was wrong. The phone kept heating up and powering off within 6 hours of disconnecting it from the power source. I decided to use my N9 until the 22nd of April, when the white 900 came out, and exchange it. I am still using that white 900 I bought the day it came out.

Second Returned Unit

Mother’s day came along and I got my mom a white Lumia 900, my sister wanted one too, so we bought another white 900 for her. That same day driving to NY from Pennsylvania, my mom told me the phone had died. I feared it would have the same problem my cyan 900 did, and I was right. She used that phone for about a week, somedays it would hold a charge, others it would get hot and die within a few hours. Just like my cyan 900. This unit, on top of the heating problem, had a purple screen. All blacks on the screen looked purple. I exchanged that white 900 for another white 900.

Third Returned Unit

I actually haven’t returned this one yet, but I am about to do so. My mom kept complaining that her Lumia 900 wouldn’t “hold a Bluetooth connection with her car like her old phone used to do.” Her old phone was a HD7, a Windows Phone, so I know there’s no compatibility problems with her car’s Bluetooth system and the Windows Phone. I didn’t pay much attention because I was sure it was some minor issue. Well, seems like it’s not. After playing with the car and the Lumia 900 for about an hour, it seems like she’s right. The Lumia will initially pair and connect to the car, but the phone will turn the Bluetooth off by itself shortly after. This might be dangerous because she can get confused while driving since she’s used to answering a call through Bluetooth from the steering wheel, but the phone keeps disconnecting from the car’s Bluetooth system.

Update:

I returned her second Lumia 900, the one with the Bluetooth issue, and got her a brand new white Lumia 900. Amazingly, this one was faulty too! The people at the AT&T store were surprised when I walked in a day after exchanging the Bluetooth-faulty unit. This one was different from all the other faulty units. My mom told me a couple hours after unboxing the new Lumia 900 that it had turned off by itself. I really couldn’t believe it, this would be the third defective unit in a row! The phone would shut off by itself even if it had plenty of battery life, and wouldn’t turn on again. I could manage to turn the thing on after trying for a couple minutes, but it would shut off within the hour, even though it claimed to have about 70% battery life. I got the the store the next day with the unit and the sales rep tried to turn it on; he tried with the cable, key combination, and it wouldn’t turn on. He called the manager who came about 5 minutes later; he pressed the power button and it turned on! I said I wanted a new one anyway; while they were in the exchange process, the phone shut off by itself and same thing…. you couldn’t turn it on back again.

Right now, my mom has had three different Lumia 900s… She’s starting to get annoyed by having all her settings wiped every time. AT&T also said there wouldn’t be a fourth replacement, but I trust this unit won’t be defective.

Fourth (Fifth) Unit I should Return

My sister hasn’t complained about her Lumia 900. But the phone has the purple tint issue. All blacks on the screen look purple. The picture above is a comparison between her Lumia 900 and mine. I haven’t told her since it’s barely noticeable and Nokia has promised an update. But it’s a fail from Nokia’s side nonetheless.

I would like to hear from other people whether they have had any issues with their Lumia 900s. I certainly have, and sincerely hope that Nokia does something to make quality control more efficient. I have the patience to keep returning them until I get issue-free units, but other people might not.