share share
SHARE

Nokia Lumia 800 Review

By Simon Thomas on 14th November 2011


3G Total Score Get phone arrow

Pros

Excellent styling; really responsive display; free sat nav, top social network and email facilities; Nokia Maps beats Bing Maps hands-down


Cons

Disappointing snapper; Windows apps are way behind the choices available for iOS and Android users

 

Verdict

The Nokia Lumia 800 is definitely Nokia’s best handset for some time – it benefits from the inclusion of Windows Phone 7, but the mediocre snapper and lack of apps will be a letdown for many

Full Review and Specification for the Nokia Lumia 800

At last! For months now, we have been telling you that Nokia is about to ditch its Symbian operating system and embrace Windows Phone 7, but each time we say it, another Symbian-run handset has appeared on the market. But the waiting game is officially over, as Nokia has presented us all with its very first device to run Windows Phone 7 – the Nokia Lumia 800.

 

Looking good


We guess we’re all expecting great things, as we’ve waited so long for this device, and the Lumia 800 certainly lives up to its reputation when it comes to looks. It has a feel of the iPhone 4 about it, thanks to a unibody – this time made of polycarbonate – but with the futuristic squared-off styling that makes the iPhone 4 what it is. But it wins in build quality – feeling solid and not being so prone to scratches. In fact we proved this by throwing the Lumia in a bag, where it got jostled and bashed around – and yet the cover stayed scratch-free, although the metal strip on the reverse side was knocked about a bit.

 

It feels good to hold – it’s not the slimmest handset around (it measures 116.5x61.2x12.1mm,) but feels good, with a weight of 142g. Take a look on top and you’ll find an unusual arrangement – the microUSB charger slot sits under a spring-loaded door, while the microSIM slot is pressed down, and then slid to the side to eject. So you won’t have to find the fiddly little tool that comes with a certain handset (mentioning no names!).

 

The display is a 3.7inch AMOLED type covered in Gorilla Glass. Running right to the edges of the body, with only a slim bezel at the top and base, it looks really good. It’s really responsive and has a decent resolution of 480x800 pixels (or 252ppi). So in terms of comparison it’s not far behind the screen on the iPhone 4S and is pretty much on a par with the display on the Samsung Galaxy S II.

 

Underneath that polycarbonate chassis lurks a 1.4Gz single-core chip and 512MB of RAM – it’s a reasonable setup, although there are plenty of faster phones out there. As with all Windows handsets, you cannot expand your onboard memory, as there is no microSD slot, so you’ll have to make do with the 16GB on offer. Connectivity includes A-GPS, HSDPA and Wi-Fi.

 

Battery life is not bad for a handset with an AMOLED display– you should get a good 13 hours when running Wi-Fi, GPS and push email, but like most smarties you’ll be charging each night.

 

Take a call


Call quality is also excellent (again, iPhone take note). The polycarbonate chassis gives breathing space to the radio antenna – and we found the Lumia 800 received calls and texts when the iPhone 4 didn’t in our same-network tests.

 

Windows Phone 7 OS


You’ll recall that when the first Windows Phone 7 handsets came out, Microsoft had strict regulations about what was and wasn't included – but Nokia has been let off the hook somewhat, which has enabled it to bring out a slightly cheaper device. However, one thing that Microsoft has not let go is that Nokia has not been allowed to add its own skin to the operating system, so if you’re already familiar with WP7, it will hold no surprises for you on the Lumia 800.

 

You are given one homescreen, which has live update tiles. Offering real-time info on your app updates, Facebook messages, calls and texts. The People Hub is a contacts books and then some – it syncs with Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to give you a three-screen offering that shows recent contacts, a standard friend list and a combined social feed.

 

We like the ‘Me’ Tile, which shows your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook notifications along with feeds. You can also check in and post updates here. It is apparent that the ultra-integration shown by WP7 means you don’t need a lot of apps – including any for social network sites – because the capability is already included in the OS.

 

But what is a shame is that while the Lumia 800 is so clever at bringing together all your social networking needs, and beats the iPhone 4 for call quality, actually making a call is such a clunky process. It will take at least six clicks to make a call (unless your chosen contact happens to have just phoned you, or if you have already divided your contacts into groups). First you have to open the dialler, and then go to your contacts book. Next choose search, type your chosen name, select the name, and then choose phone number. It doesn't seem much progress has been made in the phone world when you can pick up any basic landline phone, dial and speak!

 

What does work well though is the email facility. You’ll get notified straight away if you have messages on Microsoft Exchange, Gmail, Yahoo! and Hotmail accounts. The truly responsive display combines with some great correction software to give us the best messaging experience we’ve had on a Nokia device. You can choose to link some or all of your inboxes for a universal inbox, although it is a bit tricky to switch between the two views, because the separate email tiles vanish once they are linked.

 

Picture imperfect


However, we were left disappointed by the camera. An eight-megapixel snapper with dual LED flash, autofocus and Zeiss optics sounds promising but in reality images were less than clear, even in good light. Zooming in increased the blurring problem. There was a green cast and we suffered from overexposure in light areas in darker situations. That said, the shutter is speedy and there’s a dedicated camera key that fires up the snapper even if the screen is locked. It’s surprising that it isn’t better though, because the cameras on Nokia’s N8 and N86 were of award-winning quality. Mind you, we have yet to see a decent snapper on a WP7 handset – there’s not even a front-facing camera.

 

Find your way

 

What did please us was the presence of free sat-nav with the excellent Nokia Maps. In actual fact, Nokia Maps wasn’t working on our review model, but Nokia has assured us that it will be running by the time the Lumia 800 hits the shelves on November 16. Nokia Maps has a host of features and beats the usual WP7 offering of Bing Maps, which doesn't even have the benefit of directions for pedestrians.

 

We tried out the Nokia Drive app and experienced a full sat-nav experience – you get a front-on view and there are free voice directions so that it can certainly be used as an in-car sat-nav device. You can also choose to download maps and use them later – great if you’re holidaying abroad and want to avoid any data charges.

 

Our conclusion


As we’ve mentioned, the restrictions imposed by Microsoft have meant that WP7 phones are pretty much of a muchness, apart from their styling, but Nokia has managed to make a difference by including its excellent sat-nav offering and its cheaper price tag. The Lumia 800 is a nicely designed phone with good build quality – although its average snapper is a disappointment. Apps fans will still baulk at the lack of Windows apps compared with those for iOS and Android phones, but at this moment in time the Lumia 800 is the best value Windows and Nokia handset out there – but it cannot compete with the top-end devices from Samsung, Apple and HTC.

< Back

Nokia Lumia 800 Review Scoring

  • Style and Handling
  • User Friendliness
  • Feature set
  • Performance
  • Battery
  • Overall Score

Nokia Lumia 800 Phone Specification

Type of phone:

Smartphone

Style:

candy bar

Size:

116.5x61.2x12.1mm

Weight:

142g

Display:

16 million colours

Resolution:

480x800

Camera:

8 megapixels

Special Camera features:

LED flash, auto focus

Video recording:

Yes

Video playback:

Yes

Video calling:

No

Video streaming:

Yes

Music formats played:

MP3, eAAC+, WMA, WAV

3.5mm jack port:

Yes

Handsfree speakerphone:

Yes

Voice Control:

Yes

Voice Dialling:

Yes

Call records:

Practically unlimited

Phonebook:

Practically unlimited

Ringtones customization:

N/A

Display description:

AMOLED touch-screen

Website:

www.nokia.com

SAR:

N/A

Portfolio:

Black, Cyan, Pink

Standard color:

N/A

Launch Status:

Coming Soon

Ringtones:

MP3

Radio:

Yes

Operating system:

N/A

Connectivity:

MicroUSB, A2DP, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

Announced date:

October 2011

What's in the Box:

N/A

RAM:

512MB

International launch date:

November 2011

Battery life when playing multimedia:

13 hours

CPU:

1.4GHz

FM Radio Description:

Stereo FM with RDS

Internal memory:

16GB

Memory Card Slot:

N/A

Messaging:

SMS, Email, MMS, IM

Internet Browser:

HTML

E-mail client:

Attachments, Push email, IMAP4, SMTP, POP3

GPS:

A-GPS

Java:

Yes

Games:

Yes

Data speed:

EDGE, 3G, HSDPA, GPRS

Frequency:

Quad-band

Talktime:

660 minutes

Standby:

335 hours

Display size:

3.7 inches

Keypad:

N/A

Audio recording:

Yes

 


# sales team/customer service: 0800 358 9048

All content and images are copyright © 2009 3G.co.uk all rights reserved