Lingering issues with the Nokia Lumia 900: Purple screens, dead buttons & rattles

The Nokia Lumia 900 seems to be doing well for AT&T and for some reason we can't leave our glossy-white one out of reach for long but there are still plenty of bugs and issues rolling in to our inbox at WPCentral. Although that data-bug is now history thanks to a quick response from Nokia these few, seemingly random issues are plaguing numerous Lumia 900 users. We'll go over a few:

  • Purple screen - Grays appear with a purple hue when the display brightness is set to low (or automatic and goes to low). Although it could be a software calibration issue it doesn't affect all Lumia 900s, in fact it's just a subset that are out there. Our own glossy-white Lumia 900 has this and it's quite obvious when on the low-setting. You can commiserate with others in our forum who are having this problem. Nokia seems to be trying to isolate which builds it may be and you can submit your device information in this Nokia help thread.
  • Camera button won't wake the phone - This issue is caused when the device is powered off/standby and you hold the camera button to launch into the camera app. It's actually easy to replicate: Run any app and leave it on screen then power off the phone. Now try to hold-n-launch the camera via the shutter button. It won't work. Turn the device back on, exit the app, go to stand by and now try it and it will launch. We've had it happen even without an app running under lockscreen. (Thanks, Sepatown for the replication trick)
  • Vibrate feature rattles - We complained about this in our 900 review and even have a video of it compared to the Lumia 800. In short, the vibration feature rattles to different degrees on many Lumia 900s often sounding like an electric razor. Once again, the problem is on some phones while not on others. You can follow the threads here at WPCentral and Nokia Support for more info.
  • Inline remote on headset issue - The Nokia Monster Purity headphones sometimes won't forward/pause a track. Also, volume rockers when the device is a sleep won't respond and/or require multiple pushes
  • Low volume is high - Even on "1" the volume is quite loud and doesn't start to vary till "7".

Nokia sure has a lot on their plate and we know they are actively looking to address these but the question is how much of this is firmware and how much is it Quality Control (QC) with the hardware? We should caution that not all Lumia 900 users are having problems but even Rafael and I both have Lumia 900's with "purple grays" and my vibration rattles a bit too.

We'll be paying attention but for now, you may want to read up in our "Official Lumia 900 Bugs List" to see what others are saying.

Update: Take our poll to see if others are having the same problems or not

Image Credit: tewmgd (XDA forums); See the vibrate-rattle issue demonstrated on video after the break...

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Seems to be impossible to release a smartphone with no issues, even in 2012. Every modell, no matter OS is under constant update process. You would think these be a thing in the past.
    Sure, it may not be the OS in WP7.5 case, but the fact remains every phone is buggy. Something to think of, even for us WP fans, since were good att covering up this and accuse Android. Sure, maybe there more issues with the Google OS, not used a Galaxy Note or any new Android phone. But maybe its time to come down from our high horses?
    A friend bought on my recommendations, but i brifed him on possible buggs, leaving him with full insight and buying the phone with open eyes and being happy with his choice, he will never buy another OS again.
    Just a thought from a anthusiast since the beginning.
  • He bought the Titan, and no issues so far, knock on wood.
  • I was going to say the same thing. We have two HTC TItan II's here and not a single issue whereas I've had in my possession at one time 3 Nokia Lumia 900's showing oddities mentioned above. This is partially Nokia being new to Windows Phone, some QC problems with factories and Nokia being under the gun to deliver, imo.
  • All well and good, Lets see how fast Nokia gets fixes out before we get the pitchforks out.
  • In the meantime, those of us with Lumia 900s will sit and wait and continue to be annoyed.
  • After using 4 blackberries an iPhone and two Windows Phones, all smartphones "suck" the Lumia 900 has been the most troublesome device to date.
  • I couldn't disagree more.  I have two Lumia's, a White and Cyan, and both do not exhibit the issues above.  There could be a batch of units that have these issues, but certainly isn't a widespread problem.
  • Omnia 7, Optimus 7, Lumia 800, Lumia 900, Titan, Titan II, HD2, DVP, is documented with issuess. This is excluding the OS buggs with disappearing keyboards, security issuess. This devices i know have troubles, maybe the others also have manufacturing issuess?
  • My camera button doesn't wake the phone up regardless of an app being active or not. It just doesn't work at all neither does the volume rocker.
  • I had that camera button issue till after the update
  • I have the purple screen, rattle and clicking screen problems. Seems like a QC issue.
  • how the hell the camera button can wake up the phone when it's powered off (after holding power button, I assume). Just disable the "prevent accidental camera launch when phone is locked" to make it more responsive. I don't have a Lumia though! LOL
  • C'mon dude, we're not stupid, we're talking when the screen is off. You know, the quick launch of the camera using the hardware key? It often doesn't work on the 900 as it should.
  • Dan I have a problem the other day that my camera button didn't work even with the phone being visible/home screen
  • Ya I have this same issue and only this issue with my 900. Otherwise love the phone the reception with LTE is insane better than with my focus on 3G.
  • I've the exact same issue "Low volume is high" with my Samsung Omnia 7   :-O
    Thought that it was a samsung firmware bug.
  • I experienced the purple screen on my Lumia 900 and I tried to exchanged it but non of the ATT&T stores around me  had  the cyan  so I kept waiting but I did realize that some of the time when under a very bright light the screen would turn normal so I went into the setting and changed the screen brightness from automatic to medium and its been working fine ever since. Lets know if that works for you too.
  • I am also experiencing some small clicking on the screen. This seems to happen when I press a bit harder then normal in the corner quadrants. The phone still works fine but the clicking tends to portray a cheap feel to the phone in that the screen quality is not as solidly attached to the phone. Something I would not expect from a single case design...
  • That's why I like my Samsung Focus S I by the way use in Europe. People ask me what is that for a phone because they never saw it before. Anyway I like my Samsung Focus S because it has like non of the issue. Just solid and keeps on running without any hiccups or issues. Very solid.
  • I am still experiencing periodic issues where reminders from Exchange/Outlook not occurring when the screen is off. Seems to be recurring reminders but it's not consistent.
  • Terrible article. Please keep it to actual news. Crap like this is for forums.
  • Agreed, and two consecutive stories about the same thing. Must be a slow news day
  • @rbf1337 Sorry, you have not convinced me, you've made no argument why this is a bad story. People who are thinking of buying this phone want to and need to know this info. Hell, even my 900 has these issues. If you don't like article here, you're free to ignore it.
  • Actually, making it an article ensures the word gets out to Nokia faster, so users having the problem can get an update pushed to them faster.
  • I have received the update: The problems are worse when it gets hot. Data connectivity, (WiFi is not as bad as LTE/3G/4G) The phone completely locked up twice yesterday, once when I was restarting the phone, it would not turn on for almost five minutes. the second it would not respond to any input or power off even when holding the power button in for at least 30 secs. It eventually self restarted after about 3 or for min. The camera almost never wakes the phone. I have to wake it first. Microsoft and Nokia need to get there act in gear if they want to gain any more market share.
  • Wireless sync is not working.
  • I can't get wireless sync to work with Windows 8. With my Focus and my Lumia it broke the certifacte and I could no longer sync at all. Zune would not recognize the device and would ask me to restart my phone and try again.
  • Try turning your data connection off, WiFi doesn't seem to connect when data is on. Had the same issue then read about disabling data, then it worked.
  • The phone has to be plugged to an electrical outlet and in the same WiFi network for wireless syncing to work.
  • My first Lumia 900 had the purple and the rattly vibrate. The 2nd has the purple and the lock screen thing. For something I have to sign a 3yr contract on, this is getting to be pretty disappointing. My other alternative on high end Windows Phone in Canada though.
  • I wouldn't be upset either, but we have no choice in Canada. :(
  • Well it seems the 900 is less solid and flawless then the 710 or 800. Hmm wonder why this is? Like I said before the Samsung Focus S seems just very stable solid and has np issues at all. But the 900 is pretty eye candy but what does eye candy do good if u have to deal with issues that make it a unpleasant experience? Hopefully they can sort it out before it makes WP look like a bad Os and starts to show bad impact for the whole platform.
  • Has anyone tried a factory reset after receiving the update to see if some of the problems go away. My phone is almost worst since the update.    ...just a thought.
  • Have you done a factory reset?
  • IV had some issues with mine not responding after u plug it in and one of the issues on ur story to
  • The phone rattles cuz the solid body design
  • And yet the Lumia 800 clearly does not have this issue as I show in the video.
  • Mine does...
  • @daniel rubino did u guys address all those issues that the lumia 900 has to Nokia? So they either can fix or swap the phones out and also should let everyone that has a lumia 900 and has those issue sent a mail to let them know about a fix or swap for it? Those are serious issues that seem to be addressed quickly.
  • They have been made aware of this post and the poll and I've also offered my white lumia to their engineers.
  • No purple screen here but definitely got the ratttles and the loud volume even on 1. I can live with the volume issue but the rattling had me searching the internets for ways to disable haptic feedback as soon as I got it!
  • I certainly love this phone but I like many believe there was a rush to market and some post production quality control checks did not happen like they should have...mine has the clicking/vibration issue which sounds on mine like someone trying to light one of those old matchboxes...very annoying and it does make an otherwise quality looking phone feel/look cheap especially when you're showing it off to others...
  • I had that issue with the camera and made sure the settings were set ok and still didn't work. I took it to at&t to exchange it, but before doing that asked if they could check it out. The customer rep did some research and fixed the issue and so far it's been great. I asked what she did and she went into the camera settings and reset the camera settings. There is a button to do that. Check it out and see if this works out for you. Hope it helps!
  • That's interesting; if this every happens to me again, that's the first thing I'll try.
    Still, it's not much of a long-term solution, since the ability to save custom camera settings is a "feature" of Mango and something I'd like to be able to "set and forget."
  • I got frustrated earlier in the year when they didn't have a solid release date for the 900 and right after march 18th I went down to AT&T and bought a Focus S.  I LOVE my focus S but wanted to get in on the hype so I debated trading it in before the term was up and getting the 900.  Now I'm glad I didn't with all the issues I've read about here and in the forums.  The Focus S has performed solidly and I haven't had any problems to date.
    I just hope Nokia gets this sorted out before it tanks them and the Windows Phone brand along with it.
  • Suddenly I consider myself lucky that I don't have any purple grays (yet). I have a slight vibrate rattle but it's something I can live with. One thing that is wrong on the phone is capacitive buttons don't seem to have the same amount of light coming through them. Its almost as if someone wiped the back of it. I'll try to take a pic and post it in the forums. But honestly that's just cosmetic, not by any means a show stopper.
  • I'm having pretty much all these issues with my white Lumia 900. I turned the vibrator off because if felt so cheap.
  • I really wanted the 900 to be my next phone, I have the Titan which hasn't giving me any problems buy now I'm thinking of getting the Titan ll as my next phone!
  • I thought I was having a problem with the camera button not waking the phone and paunching the camera, but it turns out that the camera button seems to need a fairly hard press in order for this to happen, which may be by design.
  • This worked for me. Thanks!
  • Not sure I'd call the vibrate a bug. I think that's just how they designed it. I don't like the sound it makes - especially on the table surface it sits on during my workday - so I turned vibrate off. It was a choice based on personal preference. I think they'd have to change the physical design of whatever creates the vibrate for that to change. If I needed the vibrate enough to put up with the sound, I'd turn it back on.
    I don't care for the color of my car that much either, but it was the best deal I found, and the color isn't that important to me. I don't call that a bug, either.
  • I'm not sure it was intentional or not but it is certainly an effect of the design (and perhaps choice of vibrator). I agree that it's something that probably can't be fixed with firmware. What's odd is the range of variation...some devices are quiet, some have it only on start up of the vibrations, while others have it constantly. That's the issue, the inconsistency. The other problem is I've never seen a Windows Phone be that noisy when vibrating. Fact is, vibrate should be quiet, that's the point of it. So if it was intentional, it's odd. If unintentional than it's important Nokia is made aware of the problem. That's regardless if it bothers people as I know this is a personal preference issue for many.
  • Yeah, I only read later that there are variations. Not enough for me to exchange the device, but I could see how it would be a real problem for some people. Would be nice if they could fix it.
  • I have the rattle vibrate issue. But, to me it seems this is because of the loose power button. When I apply some pressure against the button and make the phone vibrate, the rattle goes away. This seems to be more of a QC issue at build (?) which is why not everyone is experiencing it?
  • Go on the iPhone support forum to see how the list of issues with it are endless.
  • Well im lucky and happy i got my lumia 710 from t-Mobile the only problem I have is the keyboard dropping on me from time to time.. Which can be fix in the software update.. Which they need to hurry up and do for us holding the 710.. Other then my device has been flawless no issues all 4 months I've been carrying the device..
  • @daniel rubino I am glad Nokia knows about it and I hope they fix it fast not because I have a lumia 900 because I do not but I want WP 7 to not give a bad taste to people. Because it is a great OS. And if u guys have a Titan 2 left u can sent it my way. I would love one but isn't available in Europe.
  • My one and only complaint with my Cyan Lumia 900 is the dead buttons. It happens to the touch buttons only. Most of the time they are fine but in one instance none of them worked at all. Then all of a sudden they started activating themselves at random times. Now very rarely will i be watching a YouTube video and the windows key button of the back button will activate itself disrupting what i am doing. Only problem i have but its a real annoyance. Cut off my skype conversation with my friend 3 times because of this. Still love the phone and works well most of time.
  • I have that problem too. For me, the Bing search comes up randomly, then the Windows key will act as if it's been held, so it brings up the speech dialog. Then my 900 freezes for a while and eventually works again, about 20-30 seconds later. Sometimes powering the screen off and on helps. (The whole time it's expecting me to speak to it, and there's no way to stop the voice prompts until it re-activates itself)
  • "Also, volume rockers when the device is a sleep won't respond and/or require multiple pushes". I'm pretty sure this is an issue which occurs on every Windows Phones, I can confirm that it does on my Optimus 7, and I am not really sure if it's not made on purpose to prevent accidental clicks.
  • I could hold the volume keys on my HTC Arrive while the screen was off and it would correctly adjust volume. On my 900, it requires 1 push for every 1 increment of volume, it's very annoying.
  • What about the camera picture quality issues being a defect?  I can never get the lighting balance (apture) right to get a good picture, it's either way too bright or way too dark even in bright light.
  • I have a few of the problems outlined above, however the two most prevalent with my 900 are not listed:  
    1) When typing the phone will randomly go into Bing search and you cannot back out as the back button (or home) does not work - I have to lock and unlock the phone.  No, this is not due to an accidental hit or brush of the search button while typing.  Sometimes it goes into the voice command module and the same thing happens.
    2) Call quality is horrible.  I have great service however everyone I talk to says the exact same thing, "sounds like you're talking into a can."  No case, no speakerphone, etc.,...just using the phone will full service.  Happens everywhere and with all calls.
  • Laughable. As some of you are fond of saying: you guys aren't holding it right. Yep, its definitely worth that $100 credit now huh? Where's Nokia now with another credit and software fix? Oh wait...
  • Fortunately i do not have purple screen or vibration rattle troubles but I do have the camera problem. I noticed that if the phone is locked and in sleep mode then pressing the button will not open the camera app. However if I wake up the phone myself and press the camera button the camera app will open.  I tried resetting the camera app and it didnt work. Interesting and hopefully update will fix it. 
  • I personally went through 4 lumia 900s in a span of 4 months. First phone had the data bug, second phone the speaker phone went out, third phone had to reset 3 times, keyboard severe lag when typing.  What would have been my forth phone arrived and would not install the Nokia Update for Windows Phone.  Left it connected for 9 hours, and the update would not install.  Tried 3 different computers.  After that I said no more and returned the phone to AT&T.  I switched back to an Apple iPhone 4S.  I already miss the user interface, love the live tiles but I need a phone that works, I will never buy a Nokia brand phone again.  Looked at the HTC Titan 2 but just couldn't do it for fear of issues developing ( unknown if any would develope just did not want to chance it.  Seriously Nokia needs to close the doors, what a piece of crap phone company.
  • Loved my N8 , even though it was somtimes a DUMBphone not a Smartphone. I gave it to my Son and purchased what I thought would be an  upgrade , boy do I miss my N8.
    I have had more people , while on a phone call with me on the 900 say" wow your phone sucks" . It seems that there is a sweet spot you have to have the phone stuffed against your cheek and if you move it out of that sweet spot just a little yiou sound like you are in another room.
    Now while on a trip with only my car charger the phone dies. I mean it really dies. the lower lights come on when plugged in , it sometimes shows a battery with only one Red bar. then sometimes it will bring up my carriers logo but never gets past that.
  • Nokia Lumia 900:  I have an issue with random "back", "start" or "search" taps happening, often at the most inconvenient times.  I'm 110% certain I'm not doing these taps, as I couldn't understand what was happening at first, then realised something random was happening.  I made certain I wasn't holding the device wrongly, in fact, I ended up putting it on the table, and making sure I didn't brush anything accidentally. 
    And at other times, always after a random tap, the 'back' and 'start' taps DO NOT work for a while (several seconds at least) .... leaving me very frustrated, as I try to return to what I was doing.
    This happens most often when I'm playing games or music, but sometimes at other times.
    I've only had the device 3 weeks, and already I'm exceptionally dissappointed.  I've had quite a few Nokia phones over nearly 20 years (the old feature-phone variety), and 4 HP/HTC PDAs / Smartphones over the last 9 years (3 as Windows Mobile devices, the last as a Windows Phone).  I am seriously regretting the move the Nokia - with the HTC HD7, I NEVER had any issues.
    Can anyone tell me whether there's any value in demanding a replacement?  I'm not sure whether this is a hardware issue - with the screen somehow being far too sensitive, or whether its a software issue, with the random screen taps coming from who knows where.
    Advice appreciated. 
  • How would you feel when you phone doesn't boot up after drained battery?
    Its sealed unit for which you cannot do a hard reboot by removing the battery. Nokia Lumia 900 has a major charging issue when the battery gets drained 100%. This is encountered by many. For others who haven't try draining and see if you are the unlicky one with the problem.
    This is a worst issue any mobile device can have. I was a big fan of Nokia but I think its time to say good bye to Nokia. I had visited this site before buying but this problem was never seen in the post from my glance.
      Dont buy this phone. It wont work if it gets drained.
  • hi i have a nokia lumia 800 and my charger port is broken and i changed it and now the color of the screen came purple ,can you tell me what is the problem pls