Computers and Internet

Lumia 900 under microscope after 6 months of use

Some of you know I use a Cyan Lumia 900 Windows Phone, made a nightstand dock for it using Lego. I use my phone pretty heavily and I do not like to use protective casing for it. I never used a case for any phone, and Lumia 900 is not an exception. Few days ago I wanted to look at the phone under microscope and see how those scratches look like. I wanted to share with you the pictures I took through the microscope. Note that my gear for taking photos from a microscope is not top-notch – apologies in advance for lack of proper depth of field, or even focus for that matter, but I think you’ll get the idea.

Overall I don’t consider my phone scratched much (despite what you might think after looking at the pictures J). Cyan casing itself is holding up really nice. I’ll be showing you the only dent it has from falling.

So first picture is the corner where the headphone socket is. Phone dropped from shoulder height onto asphalt while exiting a car. Keep reading after…


Zooming into the “crater” you can see the tiny pieces of dirt that were able to penetrate the cyan casing. The case is cyan through and through alright; but dent being the dent and impact being to asphalt, it did collect some particles. Entire crater is smaller than the top of a needle, and this “dirt” is barely noticeable.


Ok… moving onto camera lens / below. Keep in mind, the inner glass (not the black-looking-but-actually-silver lining between cyan case and glass) is actually positioned deep. When touched under microscope, I can see it moving around with the push of my finger independent of the lining.

By holding the phone in my hand, I don’t see much dirt or scratches on the glass. However, it’s a different story under microscope. At this point I also started to believe that every one of those really close-up phone/gear photos we see in product marketing materials are rendered. There are just way too many small things going around to keep them pitch-perfect clean. Below image was taken after a good wipe. I am speculating that you’re looking at remains of my dead skin around the glass. At best they are little dust particles from the wipe I used. The lens element is positioned deeper than the silver lining around, so it’s hard to reach to the edges of the glass where you see little dust particles.

As for the silver lining around the glass element. It does come into contact with surfaces when you put the phone down face-up, and naturally gets most of the scratching in the back. Keep reading.


To give you another perspective, here, a photo of “T” in word Tessar 2.2/2.8. Also worth noting that microscope’s own light is coming at an angle and is quite powerful. Phone must have easily been put down 3000+ times over the course of 6-7 months. It’s always with me, always placed face-up on a table somewhere. Sometimes it’s concrete, sometimes wooden desk. I rarely keep it in pocket while sitting.


I’ll let you guess what these below are. Mind you, depth of field in photos like this changes everything. There is a protective cover on which there are dust particles. I decided to focus on what’s underneath. This also tells you how unimportant those dust particles in front of the camera lens above are. Camera will be focusing to objects far away – few dust particles will only change the amount of light coming in by a certain percentage. But that’s about all the impact it will have.


You know there is a protective edge around the display of Lumia 900, so you can safely put the phone face-down. On a flat surface display doesn’t touch down thanks to this feature. What you’re seeing below is me holding the phone vertically under the microscope, focusing on the edge. In the background (supposed to be white) you are seeing the microscope’s white plate. Horizontally, upper half of the black line is actually mirror image of the edge reflecting of off Lumia’s display. I wanted to include this to show you the texture of that barely recognizable edging.


Next one is classic – but I wanted to include it anyway. You’re looking at a portion of letter “O” of Outlook on the main display of Lumia 900. Exposure time here was something like 20 seconds at ISO 100 with no external light.


That’s it. I like the material Nokia used in Lumia line. It is holding up nicely – despite repeat falls and me not using any additional case, it scratched only on extreme situations. I would say that the metal element in the back needs better protection. It perhaps shouldn’t have been the lowest point of the camera when placed face-up. Looking forward to 920 and 820 models soon.

6 replies »

  1. I have the same thoughts about the metal on the back. Aside from that all the Lumia 900s around me have done really well. I will get the Lumia 920 in a few weeks and I hope they did something differently with the metal.

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