Nokia Lumia 800 Review

I was lucky enough to get my greasy hands on a Nokia Lumia 800 recently to review. Up until a month ago I knew a whole sum total of one person who had a WP7 device; a HTC Trophy. I must admit, I was impressed with it, the OS was silky smooth and the apps had a really nice design to them utilising the paged appearance where the adjacent items can be slightly seen poking out of the right of the screen. As said, I liked it, however, I was a bit disappointed by the hardware though. The phone looked a tad boring with Microsoft obviously keep very tight wraps on even the hardware specs of the devices allowed to run the OS and HTC failing to inspire the world with the phone design.

So, move along about a year and I find myself un-boxing a nice shiny Nokia Lumia 800. From the packaging it’s clear Nokia have aimed to produce a high end device. The packaging is small, neat and sturdy with the contents well organised. It seems the days are gone when phone packaging was the size of a shoe box. The accessories are all fairly standard, with some black headphones and a wall charger/USB cable. Here lies a small gripe though…the charger looks very similar to an iPhone charger. Now this isn’t a huge problem, except the phone is black, the USB cable is black, the boxing interior is black and yet the mains charger is a small white triangle almost identical to the iPhone’s. Why Nokia didn’t you make it a small black triangle? Black is classy, it would have looked so much better!

Anyway, moving onto the device itself. The outer casing of the phone is a single piece of polycarbonate plastic based on the Nokia N9 and is REALLY nice. It seems very hard wearing and I can imagine it easily taking the knocks and bumps of a 2 year contract. The phone features all the required hardware buttons that Microsoft dictate, and as said is pretty much a copy of the N9 with the exception of a dedicated camera button.

On booting up the phone you are greeted with the standard WP7 tiled homescreen. What you do notice however, is the beautiful AMOLED screen, which is wonderfully vibrant and looks ace! In terms of colours and vibrancy I found it leagues ahead of the almost ‘bland’ iPhone 4 screen. But what is oozes in colours, it lacks in resolution compared to Apple’s offering.

In terms of the OS, I personally love the homescreen, with the ability to add live updating tiles for most applications, whether that be photos, weather, Facebook or a plethora more. One thing i’m not too keen on is that when you swipe to the right you are greeted with a long list of applications which are sorted only in alphabetical order. By the time you have installed a range of apps it is a pain to scroll down to the bottom of the list. Only once you add over a certain amount can you sort by clicking on a letter of the alphabet to jump to that location. The ability to add folders to the right hand menu screen would be much appreciated.


The camera was more than adequate, and a sample shot of my iPhone 4 can be seen below in the review images. Audio quality was fine, with the ear-speaker being loud enough for voice calls whilst walking around busy Manchester streets on my lunch break, and the loud-speaker plenty loud enough for calls and to hear incoming phone call notifications. Being a Nokia device the Lumia 800 comes fully loaded with Nokia Drive, a turn-by-turn based satellite navigation program. The user interface is easy to use with my first experience being positive, and able to find all necessary menu and option items.

Overall battery life was a little disappointing for the device, struggling to make a day of use without a top-up charge. I admit, perhaps I was using the phone more than normal as I was reviewing it, but I hate thinking that I may not get through the day without a charge. I actually found a fellow Nokia 800 owner and he confirmed my concerns, that battery life isn’t the best, but we are assured that an update to address this will be released…at some point in the future…eventually.

In terms of available apps, let me just clarify that I’m not a huge app downloader. On my iPhone I mostly use Whatsapp, IMDB, Tapatalk, Sky Sports Football SC, eBay and PayPal, photobucket and a few games. Most of these iOS apps are available in the WP7 Marketplace, which is nice. A lack of sky sports football SC was a bit of a letdown though! Needless to say though, most of the ‘popular’ apps are now available in the Marketplace.

Internet explorer is an impressive mobile internet browser. By far my favourite feature (it’s only a small one, but it’s the little things that count) is the search bar being at the bottom of the screen. I recently reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which is physically a HUGE device. When you wanted to enter a new website in the browser handling the phone became a 2-handed affair as even my long fingers found it difficult to reach to the top of the screen. That’s not the case with Internet Explorer though, the phone is very much a 1-handed device, which in my opinion is brilliant! The main downfall of the device is the screen resolution which manifests itself especially when web browsing. For all other applications the screen resolution was more than adequate. However, I’m used to the iPhone 4 screen, which as mentioned isn’t as bright and impressive, but packs a real punch in terms of pixels per inch and as such displays a whole lot of web page on the screen.

XBOX Live integration is a nice little touch, but by no means a deal clincher for a WP7 phone. While it’s somewhat handy if I see which of my friends are online while i’m at work it doesn’t excite me too much as i’m stuck in an office and wanting to play on computer games. The XBOX games seem rather overpriced too. Perhaps i’m used to the world of 69p apps from the App Store, or even better, the world of free apps from Android.

I do have one pretty major gripe, and it’s so simple to fix, but it annoys the snot out of me and one which I know annoys a fair few other WP7 users is the lack of ability to turn off auto-rotate. Why Microsoft, why oh why oh why can we not disable auto-rotate? It makes absolutely no sense! I often lay on my side in bed and use my phone and rarely EVER choose to use landscape on any phone so it’s a real pain! Microsoft, fix this now, it’s a huge yet simple problem for a lot of users! So, in the phone review I have found two relatively small, yet potential deal breakers with the Nokia Lumia 800; a slightly low screen resolution and no auto-rotate disable. However, they’re not actually deal breakers really, just niggles that I could get used to and happily live with to be honest.

Well, I feel I have come to the end of the review and now need to pass it back to Three. The Lumia 800 is a cracking device, it really is impressive with my favourite bits being the AMOLED screen vibrancy and the outer casing. I am very intrigued to see what the WP8 phones of the future hold, and how the new 41MP camera from Nokia might squeeze into a windows phone.

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