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The release of Nokia’s Lumia 900 this weekend is a critical moment for Microsoft’s Windows Phone in its attempt to come back in the mobile phone market. I’ve been trying out a device on loan from Nokia, and these are a couple of my (very) early impressions of the hardware.

Overall, the phone feels good in the hand. This is a substantial device, weighing in at 5.6 ounces, with a 4.3 inch screen. For reference, the iPhone 4S is less than 5 ounces, with a 3.5-inch screen. (See them side-by-side in the video above.)

The ridge around the edge of the screen, the one that was bothering me when I tried the device back in January, for some reason doesn’t bother me as much in my usage now. Either I’ve gotten used to it or they did something to minimize it prior to release, but I don’t think it’s as much of a hurdle as I initially believed it would be.

At 8MP, the camera is comparable to the iPhone 4S camera, but like other Windows Phones, the Lumia 900 I’ve been testing struggles with what I like to call the “wiggly kid” test. When shooting a photo, the screen initially shows the moment I thought I’ve captured, but then the actual picture is from a split second later — just enough time for your wiggly kid to shut her eyes or look away.

The problem isn’t as pronounced in the Lumia 900 as in other Windows Phones I’ve used, but it’s still there, at least in the device I’m using.

Those are some of my initial thoughts on the hardware after a brief period using the device. I’m planning to keep using it for a bit, and I’ll share more of my impressions as I spend more time with it.

The phone is slated to go on sale this Sunday via AT&T in the U.S., selling for $99 with a two-year contract. It will run on 4G  LTE in cities where AT&T’s network has been upgraded, and the lesser “4G” technology, HSPA+, in other places, including Seattle.

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