Nokia Lumia 800 Review

Nokia has been churning out WP7 phones for the Lumia series and has earned quite a success from the consumers mainly for the affordable price and the stylish Metro UI of the WP7 OS. Since then, many more consumers are getting hooked with the WP7 phones thanks to the power of the Nokia brand in the country. What we have here is the Nokia Lumia 800 which was announced last November although it was only recently that it became available in the local market.

Design and Features

At first look, you might mistake it for the N9 both in size, shape, smell and color but there’s the added camera button at the right side of the Lumia 800. The phone comes in black, magenta, white and cyan in which we have here right now so there’s quite a lot of color to choose from.

The overall feel of the phone is pretty solid, like a premium phone as inherited from the N9’s design. There’s the really smooth and almost rubbery feel of the back while the 3.7” AMOLED (480 x 800 pixels of WVGA resolution) Gorilla Glass screen graces the front. As you’ll be doing a lot of swiping with the WP7’s Metro UI, you’ll notice that the screen slightly curves to the sides giving you a seemingly comfortable swiping experience. You might say Nokia has it all thought out in order to impress the consumers.

Nokia Lumia 800 keyboard

With the Lumia 800’s screen size, the keyboard keys are big enough for typing even in portrait mode. The graphics and texts are rendered crisp, it may not look like it in the picture but you have to see the phone itself to appreciate it.

Nokia Lumia 800 camera

For the shutterbugs, the Lumia 800 houses an 8MP Carl Zeiss camera with dual LED flash and an f/2.2 aperture which is ideal for low light photography. However, there is no front-facing camera for this one so video calls and self portraits won’t be possible.

Nokia Lumia 800 top

Located at the top is the 3.5mm audio jack with the hatches for the micro-SIM card slot and the charging port. Yes, the Lumia 800 uses a micro-SIM so you’ll need to have your SIM card trimmed for this. You might notice that there’s no slot for a memory card so for those hoping to stuff a lot of gigabytes in the Lumia 800, or for any WP7 phone for that matter, would be utterly disappointed. The Lumia 800 is limited to a 16GB memory which is okay for me when storing MP3s and pictures. Also, you can make use of Microsoft’s cloud storage called SkyDrive which gives you an additional 7GB of free space with additional storage available to be purchased.

Nokia Lumia 800 side

As usual, the required WP7 hardware specs are there for the touch sensitive back, menu and search buttons as well as the volume controls and physical shutter button. The Lumia 800 comes with the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango firmware which is a great step up from the initial firmware release. Also, with the upcoming Tango firmware update, the Lumia 800 will have the tethering or internet sharing feature so this is definitely something to look forward to.

Nokia Lumia UI

As with all WP7 phones, the Metro UI is uniform all throughout regardless of the brand and model. This means that you’d probably be disappointed if you’re expecting a different Metro UI look and feel from a different phone unlike Android. That’s just the way Microsoft wants it to be and the good thing here is that you won’t have to refamiliarize yourself with the UI in case you purchase a different WP7 brand or model. Also, the WP7 firmware updates gets to be rolled out across all WP7 phones simultaneously regardless of brand and model. Not bad aye?

Performance and UI

The Lumia 800 packs a 1.4 GHz Scorpion CPU and 512MB RAM. In WP7 standards, the minimum processor speed is at 1GHz with 256MB RAM and the Lumia 800 is sure to run the OS and its Metro UI really smooth without lags.

Nokia Lumia 800 UI

What I like about the WP7 OS is that everything seems to run smoothly all throughout with nice transitions, and its user interface takes a different approach from the likes of iOS, Android, Bada etc. It’s minimalist, retro and user friendly although, to some, the design of the UI may be boring due to customization limitations but it’s all subjective.

As Microsoft likes to keep the UI uniform across all WP7 phones however, there are some exceptions when it comes to built-in apps. Phone manufacturers are given the privilege to add their own built-in apps and in the Lumia 800’s case, it has the Nokia Maps and the Nokia Drive. The Nokia drive is a nifty app that acts as your GPS device with detailed directions, 2D/3D viewing and voice guided navigation. The maps can be downloaded for offline viewing although, you’ll still need an internet connection to plan routes.

Nokia Lumia 800 Maps

The Nokia Maps on the other hand, is pretty much like Microsoft’s Bing Maps which is also built-in. It seems redundant then to have another map application as they pretty much do the same thing. What Nokia could have done to make the Nokia Map interesting is to integrate the Nokia Map with the Nokia Drive, since you’ll still be needing an internet connection even though you have already downloaded the maps from Nokia Drive.

Multimedia and Web Browsing

The loudspeaker located below the phone has decent sound quality and doesn’t get muffled when placed on a table. The music player is pretty much standard with all the necessary controls you need for playing music and you’ll be needing the Zune software installed on your computer so you could sync your MP3s and pictures. Also, you can listen to FM radio and you’ll need to plug in your earphones for it to work.

Nokia Lumia 800 speakers

Just like all WP7 phones, you can’t simply drag your downloaded TV series onto Zune to transfer then to the phone. Zune will perform video conversion to ensure video files on your phone will run smoothly. In any case, you need a fast machine if you will be transferring a lot of videos to speed up the conversion process.

Nokia Lumia 800 IE

Browsing with the WP7’s Internet Explorer 9 was a breeze, with smooth transitions from panning across the pages, multi tab browsing and pinch to zoom functions. The only drawback is the lack of support for Flash in which I think is Microsoft’s way of saving up CPU and RAM resources.

Camera

Having tested the camera’s capabilities, the image quality came out quite acceptable with good sharpness and color contrast all throughout. Here are a few sample photos taken with the Lumia 800.

[nggallery id=41]

You can tap to focus on any point on the screen and it automatically captures the image for you.  What I like is the physical shutter button in which you can half-press to focus on a scene and press all the way to take a picture, just like a digital camera. All Lumia WP7 phones have the physical shutter feature so it’s a plus for those shutterbugs. You can also press and hold this shutter button from sleep mode to immediately launch the camera app.

Battery Life

Nokia is known to have its phones equipped with batteries that last for days and sadly, you can’t expect the same for the Lumia 800. There is much needed power to run the device due to the 1.4Ghz processor with the AMOLED screen and of course, you’d still have to consider the form factor of the phone or else it would look like a brick for sporting a battery that could support it for days of constant use. The Lumia 800 would then last for a day of constant texts, calls, occasional games and browsing the web via 3G/WiFi.

Verdict

The Lumia 800 may well be it on a balance on whether or not you’re going to take it. The sheer design quality is to be desired but the WP7 OS may put off some people. The minimalistic and stylish UI of the WP7 OS compliments well with the phone’s premium design and that is what I like about the Lumia 800. On the other hand, the applications that are available in the marketplace are still limited especially for those who are seeking to play games on the phone. The WP7 may still be green from the likes of Android and iOS but it shows a lot of promise and patience may have its virtue that someday the WP7 may be able deliver rich applications to your mobile phone. The question then is, when?

Nokia Lumia 800 final

Lastly, the Lumia 800 comes at a price of Php23,800 which may put off some people willing to try out a WP7 phone but won’t be disappointed with the quality of the device they’re getting. For bundled plans, the Nokia Lumia 800 is available for free on Globe’s Plan 1799. If you’re new to WP7 but don’t want to invest too much cash on it, you may want to get the more affordable Nokia Lumia 710 that costs Php13,950 so as not to burn your wallet. For those wanting to upgrade from a lower end WP7 phone, then you can opt for the Lumia 800 or wait for Nokia Lumia 900 which promises a bigger screen (4.3 inches) and a front-facing cam.

Nokia Lumia 800 Specs:
Single-core 1.4 GHz Scorpion, Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon
Adreno 205 GPU
Microsoft Windows Phone 7.5 Mango
3.7-inch AMOLED with ClearBlack Display, 480 x 800, Gorilla Glass
16 GB storage, 512 MB RAM, no microSD
HSDPA 14.4 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
8 MP, Carl Zeiss optics, autofocus, dual-LED flash, no front camera
720p HD video recording @ 30fps
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, EDR
Li-Ion 1450 mAh (BV-5JW) battery
116.5 x 61.2 x 12.1 mm
142 g
Black, Cyan, Magenta, White
SRP: Php23,800

13 Comments

  1. Correction: N9 also has the lock button. The added button is for the camera.

  2. JmBalicano /

    Gotta love the designs that Nokia has been churning out with their Lumia range. I kinda wish Samsung or HTC would come out with something similar with their Android phones. I can’t say that I’m a fan of the OS. It seems to strike a balance between the strengths (and weaknesses) of both iOS and Android. Right now, it still feels a teeny bit half-baked, albeit with a much more refined looking GUI.

    • John G /

      Agree. I’m curious about the OS but as it is now, I’m not yet willing to jump ship.

      • JmBalicano /

        yep. a lot of people say it’s pretty smooth and it doesn’t look like it needs a lot of processing power to run it compared to Android. But I’d rather wait until it matures and see if it still runs as smoothly.

        • Nick /

          WP7 could really use more apps especially in the Philippine Marketplace. There are many decent apps which are available in other countries e.g. US but one can’t use their credit card on them (the paid ones). With a Philippine-based account, one also doesn’t have access to XBox Live and Zune Music store.

          • Paolo /

            I agree, disappointed that we are not supported by Xbox Live and Nokia Music!

  3. Eric /

    Can it really play AM radio? You mentioned AM/FM radio so I got curious. Anyway, I got to try out the test unit over at a Nokia Store and I really think Metro UI is the best mobile UI I’ve tried so far. The transitions and animations aren’t too intrusive or too much — they’re just right. And the responsiveness of the phone is also a plus. I also like that the phone I tried out had MS Office Mobile and the interface was really minimalistic which I really like.

    It’s too early to tell if WP7 can compete with iOS or Android but with ultrabooks loaded with Win 7 are coming out in the market, I think a mobile + desktop OS integration isn’t far off.

    • Carl /

      Dang! A force of habit made me type AM along with FM hehe! Yes, you’re right it only has FM. ;)

      The UI is such an eye candy for me and doesn’t require much processing power that’s why it runs really smooth. I’m really curious when the WP8 Apollo gets to be rolled out on mobile phones and that’s something to look forward to.

  4. Check out the Nokia 701 for less than 16K. More features, more bang for the buck.

  5. Mark /

    I’ve been using WP7 (HTC Radar) for 6 months now, about 2gb left on memory and during that 6months it never hang, lag, crash or get frozen by apps. Really fast, smooth and innovative UI. and I would say the best phone for email and social network. WP7 has deep integration with Facebook, Twittwe and Live/MSN/email accounts and also GMail account. I never thought I would like this OS and phone this much! Can’t wait for Apollo, just hope that my HTC Radar will be included in the update roll out.

    • Paolo /

      What is Twittwe? Kidding :). I agree, Lumia 800, no lags at all.

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