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REVIEWS / PHONES
Nokia Lumia 800
Company: Nokia

Pros: Windows Phone is beautiful; Well built;

Cons: Small Screen; No external memory; Rivals have better components;

Product Rating:

0 Star Rating: Recommended

Editor Rating 0

User Rating 0

Nokia's Windows Phone: Can Two Wrongs Make A Right?

By Tony Ibrahim | Tuesday | 08/05/2012

With Nokia and Microsoft's stronghold on the mobile market slipping, can the Lumia prove two wrongs indeed make a right?


Design

The Lumia 800 borrows the physique made popular by Nokia's N9; however with the addition of a hardware shutter key, and three keys that board the base of its smaller 3.7 inch screen.

Otherwise, it's still made by the same through-and-through polycarbonate body and understated design philosophy. In fact, my original thoughts on the N9's exterior resonate with the Lumia 800:

[It looks] like it was slowly carved from a single block of polycarbonate material, with its unibody encasing feeling special…There are no swooning curves, accentuated grills or any ostentatious design traits what-so-ever, giving this phone a timeless and alluring charm.

I particularly like the phone's shape, which wraps around like a squashed cylinder, creating corners only at the phone's top and base. 


Windows Experience

The Nokia Lumia 800 uses Windows Phone 7.5 and despite wide-spread criticism, this software isn't to its detriment.

It is characterised by an effortless texture, weaving one animation into the next. The orthogonal tiles on its home screen can be customised and some of them—such as calls, messages and emails—reflect real time notifications.

Microsoft has dressed the OS with a layout that is simple, easy to digest and attractive. Whether you're browsing phone settings or delving through your email library, every facet of Windows Phone has been dressed in a style that invites interaction.


Click to enlarge

Hardware

The capable software gives the Lumia 800 a fighting chance as its hardware is a dated cocktail. The processor is a 1.4GHz single core (in a climate where there's 1.4GHz Quad cores), it has a limp 512MB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory, with no external card slot.

A Gorilla Glass screen spans 3.7 inches and dominates its façade. Distinguished by a 480x800 resolution and 16 million colours, the screen continues Nokia's tradition of representing dark blacks, acting as a canvass which other colours appear vibrant against.


Click to enlarge

Even with dated hardware, the Lumia still executes instructions masked by elegant transitions with ease. Lag does occur but it is rare, tending to happen when playing straining games. Its screen creates an experience that capitalises on touch gestures and is agile in colour reproduction, working fluently with the aesthetic software.

Camera

The Lumia 800 features an 8MP rear camera that uses Carl Zeiss Optics and has decent aperture credentials at f2.2. At 8MP, the camera captures pics with an aspect ratio of 4:3, but if you nominate 7.1MP images will be captured in widescreen 16:9.

The camera interface is easy to navigate and harbours plenty of features, including a variety of scenes, white balance, exposure values, ISO options, metering mode, effects, contrast, saturation and a macro focus mode.

Photos are characterised by vibrant colours, but the camera seems flustered by lighter hues, at times flushing some of the colour out on the picture's border. Up close there's also a fair bit of noise, but it's not any more than that produced by its rivals.


Click to enlarge
8MP: When in the sun, the Lumia's camera struggles with reflecting whites

 


Click to enlarge
8MP: Notice the white building in the background and its inarticulate colour

 


Click to enlarge
8MP: Images snapped in the shade render colours impressively

 


Click to enlarge
8MP: Detail indoors is pretty good, albeit a little soft on colours

Video

The Lumia 800 is capable of recording 720p video at 30 fps. Videos are characterised by an impressive amount of detail without sacrificing much of it when it comes to rapid motion. Unfortunately the camera's little tolerance of bright colours prevails when recording, suffering from an incomplete understanding of white colours when in the sun.

Music

When it comes to operations, anyone can pick up the Lumia 800's music player and find its workings natural as it adheres to the set standard defined by the original Walkman.

Unfortunately, it's a little too disciplined; only allowing track navigation using the back/forward buttons like a cassette player, rather than facilitating track skimming with your finger.
 
Windows manages music with its 'Zune' player, categorising your library according to artists, albums, songs, playlists and genres. It's also here you'll find an FM radio, podcasts and a link to the marketplace.

Nokia has added a few music-related additions under its own 'Nokia Music' application. The app uses the same music player, but neighbours it with internet radio stations (known as mixes), access to Nokia's store and a 'Gigs' feature which feeds info on nearby concerts.


Click to enlarge

Absent from the music player is a webcentric persona that will glean info on lyrics, YouTube videos or artist info. However, the addition of localised gigs partnered with its seductive dashboard sees this music player imbued with a musical culture absent from many other smartphones.

Conclusion

Nokia's first Windows Phone is an impressive device, distinguished by an aesthetic operating system, exceptional build quality and for the most part, has an aptitude for all kinds of multimedia. It is a great smartphone that proves there is some magic in Nokia and Microsoft's relationship.

But at $699, it's handicapped. The smartphone market is cut-throat competitive and populated with many better-equipped rivals that, unfortunately, eclipse the Lumia 800's value.

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Nokia Lumia 800 Reviewed by Tony Ibrahim Rating: 0