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Nokia Lumia 800 Review

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Peter Bailey

Freelance Wordpress Developer in London (peabay.xyz) @peabay
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This is the Nokia Lumia 800, the second in the series of Nokia Windows phones, and it’s so close to being perfect. Nokia and Windows have done a really great job with this. The phone itself is thin, sleek, with a high level of finish, and the Window OS is very quick, smooth and beautiful.

The Handset

The look of this handset beats any Android phone and comes close to the iPhone. The material is a smooth matt plastic and fits in your hand nicely (it’s slipped out of my hand a few times because it’s so smooth). The Curved 3.7″ AMOLED ClearBlack screen bulges up to match the contour of the phone and the display is indistinguishable from it’s border, even when on, creating a Zune-like [mp3 player] display. A trap door reveals the USB socket, which although hides it pretty well I’m always worried about snapping it off. The camera is strangely in the middle of the phone and almost always under your finger, but the majority of your photos shouldn’t be portrait anyway since the camera button supports half-pressing, allowing you to focus without messing with the screen.

The phone comes with 16GB storage, which is lucky since (like the iPhone) there’s no SD card or any way to increase the capacity. 1.4GHz CPU and 512MB RAM isn’t as much as the latest Android releases but seems to be more than enough to handle the Windows OS, and this is shown with the incredible battery life. Officially Nokia states that you can get 335 hours out of the phone, but realistically you’re looking at around 24 hours. I’ve had the phone on for over 24 hours and I’ve still got ~30% left. I believe the iPhone is similar but trumps my HTC Sensation which can only manage around 12 hours at best.

I’m not sure what to think of the screen. It looks like they’ve decreased the contrast to make blacks black instead of dark grey, like they seem to on other screens. It creates an effect where you’re not 100% sure where the screen stops and the border starts, which is impressive to look at. But you can see the downside to them messing with the colours when taking pictures, but as long as you fiddle with the settings you should be able to take a decent picture though.

Windows Phone 7.5 Mango

I’m still really impressed with the OS. +Jon Thompson will disagree, but the user interface is really well thought out and intuitive. What I love about this tile system is that any app can create it’s own dynamic tile. I have an app that lets me know when London Underground is broken and my latest received tweet. It was a bad move by Microsoft though to force users to have a Windows computer before they can download the Zune software and do anything like transfer files. Luckily I do, but a huge proportion of people are on Mac and Microsoft have just banned them from buying the Lumia.

The phone comes with a few apps from Nokia and they’re not at all bad. Nokia music is Nokia’s version of iTunes, but the best feature of it is the internet radio which holds quite a few songs on almost any genre (even Dubstep). There is a decent Spotify app but Nokia Music gives you a change of scenery if you ever need it. You’re also given Nokia Drive; a free (inc. maps) turn-by-turn satnav and Nokia Maps.

Now this is where the phone falls down for me and there’s not much Nokia or Windows can do about it. With Google product woven deeply into so many people’s lives you really need their apps on your phone, but Google has released just one – Google Search, and guess what? It’s a web app. No Google Talk, Google Voice, Google+, Gmail (although you can use the default mail client for this) or Google Docs. But it’s still early days for Windows Phone and Google has full API’s, so anyone could make a Google app. There are already one or two unofficial Google Talk apps but they’re fairly unstable.

Compared to WebOS though the quality of apps on the Windows Marketplace is pretty high. They even offer official games from SEGA and Electronic Arts, giving you Sonic, Need for Speed, Tetris and The Sims. The Kinectimals game (originally on XBox 360) is pretty well made too. Almost all the apps have adopted the Windows Phone theme, with sliding pages that don’t quite fit the width of the screen and tiles everywhere. In my opinion they look better than their Android or iPhone versions.

Should you get a Lumia 800?

Definitely. It’s cheaper than the iPhone and a few of the top Android phones, but just as sleek and very sterdy, but do your research into the apps you need before buying. There are 40,000 though so you should usually be able to get what you want.

To run the Zune software, which you use to connect your phone to your computer, you must have a Windows computer. So sorry Mac and Linux users.

Posted 04th Dec 2011
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Comments

  • I don’t disagree, I love the Windows Phone OS and it’s UI!
    I have said that the UI is very different to iOS/Android and that I’m not sure if I prefer it, apart from that I agree with you about the phone, it is rather nice although like you mentioned, me being a Mac user it could never replace my iPhone 4S.