Review: Nokia Lumia 800
Nokia's flaship Windows Phone 7 device, the Lumia 800 is a gorgeous mix of polycarbonate and Gorilla Glass wrapped around a high-spec interior.
Zara Baxter | Thursday, May 17 2012
Product type: Smartphone
RRP incl GST: $899
- Great camera with useful settings
- 1.4GHz processor, reasonable for internet speed and apps
- Windows Phone 7.5 Mango offers good social experience
- Nokia apps don’t add anything substantial
It’s fast, with good battery life, and features an underrated OS on great hardware.
The design of the Nokia Lumia 800, as with its near-identical twin, the Meego-running Nokia N9, is simply gorgeous. The body is polycarbonate – soft to the touch, scratch-resistant, and sufficiently grippy that you’ll have no fear of it slipping out of your hand or pocket, even if you don’t use the silicone case.
Nokia has long excelled at producing smartphone hardware – while PC World hasn’t been so keen on Nokia’s Symbian software – and the Lumia 800 is no exception.
The screen is covered by Gorilla Glass and it’s fantastically robust. Aside from that, the key features are the three Windows Phone soft-buttons and the neat method of adding the SIM: as with the N9, the microSIM is inserted through a sliding opening at the top of the phone and a pop-out flap reveals the microUSB power socket. The phone is not especially lightweight, at 142g, and it’s 12mm thick, but it never feels hefty.
The 3.7-inch 480 x 800-pixel jewel-bright AMOLED screen is exceptionally bright. We compared it to the Samsung Omnia W, but the Lumia 800 won hands-down on colour saturation and brightness.
There’s a rear 8-megapixel camera and dedicated hardware camera button – a long press on it will wake the phone up and activate the camera, which is very handy.
The 8MP camera is a particularly striking feature. Its touch auto-focus and shooting is fast, and produces crisp, bright images. The settings cover a range of scenes, white balance and exposure adjustment and it handled Auckland’s dreary wet days and poor light as capably as it managed in sunlight.
The processor, while only single core, is a 1.4GHz with plenty of speed – and 1GB RAM – to run the Windows 7 (actually WP7.5 Mango) interface. It comes with 16GB of onboard storage to fill with some of the 60,000 apps from Windows Phone Marketplace. There are also a few apps available via what’s called the Nokia Collection, which includes Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive and CNN. You also get Contacts Transfer (a way to send your contacts via Bluetooth between phones) and TuneIn Radio – there’s a 35mm headphone jack. Surprisingly, there’s no Nokia/Ovi Music. The small range of Nokia-specific apps is not a huge selling point, however.
What is a selling point is the camera and screen for the Lumia 800, as well as the way that Windows Phone 7 encourages a kind of sharing, via Windows Live, Twitter and Facebook integration, that brings the camera’s photos and your social interactions to the fore. The great hardware from Nokia makes for better visuals and a better social experience, quite simply. I’m not a fan of the way Windows Live integrates everything, but I can’t deny that it works seamlessly.
The sound quality was a little muddy at times, but for the majority of our testing voice volume and coherence was good. Battery life is surprising – we got more than a day using it out and about, which is more than for the N9.
For now though, the main advantage of Nokia hardware is that it is a gorgeous phone with an attractive OS, which I think can only be a good thing for the vastly underrated WP7. Less well-known manufacturers, such as HTC and LG, may not have encouraged consumers to try it out – the Lumia 800 can change that.
The Lumia 800 is available from Vodafone, Telecom and 2degrees.
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