The first phone to come from the Nokia/Microsoft tie-in that was announced back in February 2011 is the Nokia Lumia 800 Windows handset. This handset is a big deal in the smartphone market as it is the first to run on the Windows phone OS that Nokia will be using from now on in all their high end devices. The lovely people from the Amazing Collective at Nokia were kind enough to provide me a Lumia 800 handset back in November 2011 to test out and enjoy, so thanks a lot to them for making it happen.
After being knocked off the top of the mobile phone ladder, Nokia have been trying for a while to bring out a phone that would see them re-establish themselves as worthy contenders to the crown currently held by the iPhone as the number one smartphone. Being a Windows OS device, the Android HTC’s are their first obvious target, and the Lumia 800 is the phone they are hoping will propel them back up there amongst the best.
So to the Lumia 800, aesthetically, the curved chassis of the design is very pleasing, and it feels light and comfortable in your hand, while at the same time having a sturdiness that gives the impression it can withstand a knock or three. It stands out from the current crop of smartphones by a country mile, and if it was a beauty contest, the Lumia 800 would be the runaway winner. Looking very similar to the much less hyped Nokia N9, the Lumia 800 is a slick and stylish smartphone that does have a slightly smaller AMOLED display than the N9 at 3.7” to conform to the specs of a Windows phone.
The Nokia Lumia 800 has a clearBlack OLED screen, which is absolutely stunning. The edge to edge display sits beneath Gorilla glass and it certainly looks the part. The video display is impeccable, as is the gameplay and variety of games available thanks to XboxLive. It is particularly impressive when you use it in bright daylight, previously the curse of mobile phone users, with the Lumia 800 you can still see everything perfectly and it completely eliminates the act of prodding the screen and hoping for the best.
Whilst Windows OS is coming on in leaps and bounds, it has still to reach the performance levels of the latest Android or iOS, but it is certainly a worthy competitor and looks set to equal them sooner rather than later. The live tiles on the main screen are fast and effective, as is the feature that enables you to link together your contacts. As you would expect from the inclusion of the slick Windows 7.5 software, the social media integration with the likes of Twitter and Facebook is second to none. While the mix radio streaming isn’t exactly revolutionary the fact that it is completely free and has a very good selection of playlists and tunes makes it a very welcome bonus. Another great feature is the fact that the official version of Office is installed, meaning that you can edit and create files for programs such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel on the go.
Users will love the interface as it’s fast and easy to use, and anyone who has previously shied away from a touchscreen smartphone will fall in love with the Lumia 800 and happily flick between the lives tiles and the apps with consummate ease. The column of live tiles on the home screen update dynamically to make sure your finger is always on the pulse and to ensure you never miss out on any information. You have to be quite precise with the navigation when scrolling up and down the screen as it can be quite easy to inadvertently select a program or file when you actually just want to keep scrolling. The people hub is another great inclusion and allows you to easily flick through photos and the like as well as having tiles for messages and emails that show you instantly that you have new ones. The camera gives clear and sharp images and while it lacks a bit of speed, the Windows 7.5 Mango has made great strides forward in the photography sector.
One of the most asked questions has been how does it compare with an iPhone, and the answer has to be very favourably. It is a bit slower and doesn’t have iTunes or the App store, but it is lighter, has a larger display, and it now has an ever increasing number of high quality apps on the Windows Phone Marketplace. The latest figure I believe is close to 80,000 apps, a considerable increase from the initial 7,000 or so first announced when Nokia and Microsoft first teamed up.