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Mobile phone companies have launched elegant and sophisticated-looking phones in an attempt to woo users to show off their mobile devices instead of placing it inside their pockets. The 8800 Sapphire Arte phone from Nokia certainly looks the part, but is it just another flash in the pan?


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The 8800 Sapphire Arte is mostly made out of stainless steel, which explains why the unit is heavy compared to other sliders. A good thing about it though is that it will probably withstand a hit or two without parts falling apart, making it durable to a certain extent. The unit sports a brown finish and comes with ‘coffee-brown leather panels sourced from Eastern India’ that adds a touch of elegance.

There are just a couple of buttons and ports present on the 8800 Arte –  a power button on top of the unit, a five-way directional button, left and right softkey, and start/end call below the screen, and a proprietary charging/synchronisation port at the bottom of the unit. The sliding mechanism is well-constructed, and the keypad is responsive despite being small and ‘cramped.’

 

 


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The 2-inch OLED QVGA screen is bright and is capable of displaying 16 million colours. The unit also comes with a light sensor that automatically adjusts the brightness of the screen according to its surrounding, providing users with a vibrant display in any lighting condition.

The Nokia 8800 Sapphire Arte comes with limited features despite being touted as an elegant phone. The slider runs on the Series 40 platform and has 12 sub-menus (Messaging, Contact, Log, Settings, Gallery, Media, Organiser, Apps, Web, Calculator, Opera Mini, and Widsets), although Nokia could have just installed the S60 platform for added versatility.

The 8800 does not have any memory card slot, limiting users to the 1GB memory of the handset. It also lacks a built-in Wi-Fi, forcing users to connect to their PC via Bluetooth or microUSB. HSDPA is also missing, although the phone is 3G capable and can still stream audio and video files with minimal buffering.

 


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Nokia has included several ‘clever’ functions on the 8800 Arte. By tapping the leather front twice, users will be able to see the time. Turning the phone face down while the phone is ringing silences it, which is good especially during those important meetings. The unit is also equipped with a 3.2-megapixel camera that can take photos in well-lit places, but will do poorly in dark places as it does not have any built-in flash.

The 8800 Arte performed smoothly during out tests. The menu is easy to browse, responsive, and provides a ‘quick’ explanation on various applications. Calls were clear with both the handset and the bundled Nokia Bluetooth headset – a plus for users who are always on the go. Battery life was stellar, lasting a little more than five days with moderate calls and text. However, it could have been better if Nokia did not use another proprietary charging port on the unit just for the sake of uniformity (since a lot of newer Nokia phones use a small charging port).

The Nokia 8800 Sapphire Arte has that elegant look and gets all the basic phone functions right. Be ready, however, to spend $2,099 for this slider phone. If this phone is too expensive for your taste, then you are advised to look elsewhere and invest your money on something more affordable.

Reviewer’s Note: The 8800 Arte also comes in black and comes with an RRP of $1,799.

See page over for product specifications and pricing.

 

 Nokia 8800 Sapphire Arte Specifications:

Operating Frequency: Tri-band EGSM900 GSM1800/1900 MHz / WCDMA 2100 MHz

Display: 240 x 320 pixels, 2″’94 OLED QVGA display supporting up to 16-million colors

User Interface:
– Series 40 3rd Edition
– Communication mode: 5 way navigation, Call / end keys ITUT numeric keys
– User configurable right soft keys and menu
– Active standby – select up to five icons displayed on your screen for easy access to your favorite applications
– Icon-based menu makes it easy to navigate to applications

Imaging and video
– Integrated 3.2 megapixel autofocus camera with 8x digital
zoom
– Image formats supported: JPEG, GIF, BMP, and PNG
– Video recording and playback in VGA format with sound
– Video playback and streaming supports the following formats and codes : 3GPP, H.263, and H.264

Music and multimedia
– Integrated music player supports AAC, eAAC+, MP3, MIDI, AMR, and WMA audio formats

Memory Functions
– 1 GB built-in memory

Connectivity
– Bluetooth 2.0 with Enhanced Data Rate specification
– MicroUSB all-in-one connector for audio, data transfer and charging
– Synchronization with PC using Nokia PC Suite to manage and store music

Browsing
– xHTML browswer over HTTP/TCP/IP
– Supports Flash content using Macromedia Flash Lite 2.1.1 player
– OMA (Open Mobile Alliance) Digital DRM (digital rights management) 2.0 – including forward lock for content protection, combined delivery, separate delivery, and super distribution
– OMA Device Management 1.2 FOTA (firmware update over the air)
– OMA Client Provisioning

 

Data Transfer
– EDGE (EGPRS): Class B, multislot class 8
– GPRS: Class B, multislot class 8
– HSCSD (High-Speed Circuit-Switched Data) / CSD (Circuit-Switched Data) for browsing and as data modem

Digital Services
– Over-the-air (OTA) downloads for MP3, MIDI, video, and true tones ringtones, plus themes, wallpapers, and screensavers
– Stereo audio streaming supports A2DP BT (advanced audio distribution profile for Bluetooth)
– 3GPP streaming services

Personal Information Management (PIM)
– Calendar, to-do list, and notes
– Phonebook of up to 2000 contacts
– World Clock
– Calculator
– Translator

Talk time
– Up to 3h 20mins (GSM)
– Up to 2h 45mins (WCDMA)
– Standby time: Up to 300h

Dimensions
– Length: 109 mm
– Width: 45.6 mm
– Thickness: 14.6 mm
– Weight: 150 g with battery

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Nokia 8800 Sapphire Arte | $2,099 |  | www.nokia.com.au

For: Construction; Good sliding mechanism; Simple menu; Comes with carrying case and Bluetooth headset
Against: 1GB of memory may not be enough; No built-in Wi-Fi; Proprietary charging/docking ports; No memory card slot; Expensive
Conclusion: A slider phone that costs an arm and a leg.

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