Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Review: Nokia Lumia 800

Just October last year, Nokia finally announced their offspring with their partnership with Microsoft to bring Windows Phone devices to the market. Along with the Nokia Lumia 710, they also announced the Lumia 800.

PART 1: Hardware and Design

The design of the Nokia Lumia 800 is pretty much the same with the Nokia N9. It has a very sleek polycarbonate plastic unibody that covers all over the phone. On the front, there is the curved Gorilla Glass display. The Lumia 800 has a 3.7-inch AMOLED ClearBlack display, slightly smaller than of the N9's.

Just as what I've said, the phone is made up of polycarbonate plastic, which feels great in your hands. It doesn't have the cold feel of the anodized aluminum bodies. You will find a metal strip on the back of the phone, which has the 8-Megapixels camera. The dual-LED flash is placed just on top of that metal strip, which makes the look of the phone very symmetrical. The metal strip is very prone to scratches unless you're using the soft case that's included in the package, mind you.

The camera of the Nokia Lumia 800 is a 8-Megapixel one, with a Carl Zeiss optics. It takes decent photos, but I can't say it takes very good photos like the N8. I'm always having a hard time focusing close-up subjects. You can check out my sample photos on this Flickr set.

The right side of the Lumia 800 houses the volume rocker, the lock/power button, and the 2-stage camera button, which is oddly missing on the N9.

On the top is the 3.5 millimeter port, the USB port, and the SIM card slot. What I don't like here is that you have to open up the cover of the USB port every time you charge, connect your phone to the PC, or even open up the SIM card slot!

The SIM card slot requires you to open the cover of the USB port before you can use this one.
On the bottom of the phone is the speaker grille. I wonder where did Nokia put the main microphone, maybe inside the grille? Just to add, the bottom part of the Lumia 800 is flat, that it can even stand on its own.

And, just below the screen is the three required buttons for Windows Phones. The back, Start, and search buttons. All of them are capacitive, which means it is prone to accidental taps when using it.

PART 2: Software

Before you proceed, I would like to invite you to read my full review for the Windows Phone OS itself here. This part will only focus on the things that I forgot to include there, and the things that are specific to Nokia.

As we all know, or in case you didn't, the Nokia Lumia 800 runs on the Windows Phone OS. This is the first time Nokia used an OS aside from the old Symbian OS. With Samsung, HTC, LG, and some other manufacturers using it, Nokia clearly should find ways to differentiate with the others.

Nokia did differentiate, by adding Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive, which is really know for its excellent turn-by-turn navigation that's available on many countries. Plus,  it is really free to use. It even includes offline navigation which is very useful if you're on areas without network coverage. Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive are both separate apps, downloading of maps data is not available on Nokia Maps.

Nokia also included the Nokia Music app, which includes Mix Radio which finds recommended tracks for you that you can stream online. You can also download them on your phone for offline playing, but you may not copy it to your computer.

Internet Explorer 9 showing

Another thing to add is that the Windows Phone keyboard is really really good! I missed this part on my Windows Phone review so I will add it here.

The text prediction and correction is surprisingly very accurate. This is the first keyboard that I am comfortable to type on beside iPhone's keyboard.

PART 3: Conclusion

Overall, I really like the Nokia Lumia 800. I managed to live with just it for more than 1 month. It's just the Windows Phone that really needs many improvements. It's missing quite a lot of small features, like disabling auto-rotate of the screen, no 3G/2G switch, any many more. I'm not adding the feature of sending out files over bluetooth, let's accept it. You may only sync files using Zune.

The camera also turned out to be not too good. Just as what I've said earlier, it can't focus on close-up subjects properly. The audio quality when using headphones is horrible, or is it just me?

I'll try to give a score on the Nokia Lumia 800.
Hardware and Design - 9/10
Software - 7/10

Thanks to Nokia Connects for providing us this review unit!

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Sweet review man. Your points about the speaker audio quality and camera are quite valid. I know that the image quality could be fixed with a software update (since video quality is quite good), ditto with the audio chip. On a final note, how's the battery life?

nice neil. brief one yet to the point. ( same sa NI? )

Yep. Medyo nitamad ako, pero at least I made the point. "Same sa NI"?

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