The company’s flagship – until the Lumia 900 arrives – uses Microsoft’s latest Windows Phone OS making for a refreshingly different experience.
Similar in shape to the iPhone 4S, the Nokia Lumia 800 has a 3.7in AMOLED screen and stands 116mm tall. It certainly feels compact.
It’s a closed design, again like the iPhone, meaning you can’t change the battery use an SD card. The USB socket, SIM-card slot and headphone jack are all on the top, while the rounded sides have neatly placed volume, on/off and camera controls.
Nokia Lumia 800: InterfaceNo complaints on build, then. The interface comprises two rows of movable live tiles. Slide up and down or touch and hold to remove or reposition.
More after the break
It’s a fast and fluid affair, though it could be more tactile: flicking past apps is sometimes mistaken for opening them, while the horizontal and vertical axes seem sensitive, making it easier to find yourself moving the wrong way. That said, it’s fast and colourful.
It’s an integrated experience, with pride of place given to Microsoft apps such as Hotmail, Xbox Live and Internet Explorer.
Nokia Maps isn’t quite as informative as Google Maps but Nokia Drive, a turn-by-turn satnav app, is a nice touch. There’s more in the Windows Marketplace but it’s definitely sparser than iTunes or Google Play.
Nokia Lumia 800: No BBC iPlayerBBC iPlayer remains a huge omission, for example.The Lumia 800’s screen has an 800 x 480 resolution – not HD, but no pushover in terms of pixels per inch.
Web browsing is fairly fast and looks pretty good, though text can look fuzzy, which isn’t ideal on a small screen. More damaging is the lack of Flash support.
Less of an issue on the web than a year ago, it still means you can’t play videos on the likes of the BBC website.
The Music & Videos app looks smart and adds some neat features such as podcasts, an FM radio and access to Nokia Music, where you can buy MP3s, find gigs near you and access Mix Radio, a free streaming music service that’s refreshed every week.
It can be a touch sluggish to jump between features here, but full marks to Nokia for the added content and attractive execution.
Nokia Lumia 800: PerformancePerformance is decent, too. Music lacks a little detail, but is punchy and listenable with a decent set of cans. Switch to video and we’re less inclined to sit in front of it for an extended period.
The screen can’t match the iPhone 4S, which is a touch smaller, for sharpness and subtlety, making it a less enticing video proposition.
There’s no front-facing camera, which sticks out in this day and age, but the 8MP rear unit does a decent job in good conditions.
Elsewhere, battery life is surprisingly no better than average, call quality is excellent and there’s a dearth of DLNA or Bluetooth wireless activity.
VerdictYet we’re still left feeling that as much as we enjoy many of the aspects of the Windows Phone experience – and find little fault with the Nokia’s build and design – there are starting to be a few too many holes in the rest of the Lumia 800’s specification.
In the end, this means we can no longer cut the Lumia 800 any slack for quirkiness.
This Nokia, for all its qualities, is a curveball choice for a compact phone, and no more.