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February 24, 2012

Nokia Lumia 800 Review

Nokia’s adoption of the Windows Phone 7 platform will steer a new direction to the Finnish company. Among the first few handsets that was borne out of this new partnership with Microsoft is the Nokia Lumia 800. Check out our full review after the jump.

The Nokia Lumia series isn’t the first line of handsets that got Windows Phone 7 out of the box. For over a year now, several other manufacturers have dipped their toes into the Microsoft’s new mobile platform.

Nokia’s decision to join the WP7 party is both interesting and surprising. This is because after losing the smartphone market, a lot of critics have suggested to Nokia to adopt 3rd-party mobile operating systems. Both Android and WP7 were considered. In the end, Nokia picked WP7.

The Lumia 800 represents one of the first few handsets showcasing Nokia’s ability to steer into the new direction. Yet, even before that, they also tried another platform in the name of Meego Harmattan for the Nokia N9.

Obviously, Nokia just recycled the design of the N9 for the Lumia 900 and the Lumia 800 with very minimal UI or navigation changes. Whether it’s because they ran out of design ideas and was rushing the Lumia or the original design of the N9 was already pretty impressive is still unknown, I am inclined to believe it is the latter.

The Lumia 800′s 3.7-inch display screen is just enough — not too big like the usual 4.3-inchers but not too small either. Besides, the Metro UI doesn’t really need a big screen real estate to be functional but if you’re heavy on the web and watching videos on your phone, I guess that 3.7″ might feel a bit lacking.

Nokia used AMOLED in their curved glass display which makes it look stunning. The edge to edge screen is just pretty although I don’t understand why they still had to have the glass protrude or embossed around the edges. It made sense with the Meego UI but not with the Metro UI.

The polycarbonate unibody design is simple yet elegant; the soft, matte finish is smooth to the touch and the cyan paint job completes the eye-candy look.

The power button is on the left side along with the volume controls and the dedicated camera button. All four buttons come in polished silver accent. The micro-USB port and the micro-SIM card cradle are tucked away in a sliding contraption at the top end of the handset. And yes, Nokia still uses a micro-SIM card on this one.

At the bottom corner of the display panel are touch buttons for Home, Back and Search (typical of a WP7 handset).

I’ve extensively used WP7 before with the HTC HD7 that I bought and used for about 6 months from December of 2010 so I have a fairy good experience with the OS. At that time, I must admit that despite the great UI and very refreshing, responsive user experience, it suffered from lack Market support and sparse apps.

The update to Windows Phone 7.5 Mango has significantly changed all that and Nokia has even added a few very good features and functionalities not found in other WP7 handsets. And I must say that I love the Nokia Drive with local maps support and turn by turn navigation.

From a UI perspective, Windows Phone 7.5 Mango still offers the same sleek and intuitive interface that’s simple yet splashy.

Since a couple of weeks ago, the Windows Phone Marketplace has also opened in the Philippines allowing user to download paid apps. And while most of the common apps you’d be using in iOS or Android are also found in the WP Marketplace, there’s still a number that’s conspicuously missing.

Nevertheless, I still love the native email, Twitter and Facebook app. The contacts linking also works like a charm.

The 8MP camera on the Lumia 800 is the same camera used in the Nokia N9. It shoots good to great pictures especially on well-lit conditions. The images degrade once you start shooting in low light conditions.

The Lumia 800 can also take videos of up to 720p HD quality. Here are some sample shots taken with the camera. Notice the autofocus adjusts every several seconds or so (evident in the car park scene below).

Windows Phone 7 has indeed shown that it does not need top-notch hardware to work fluidly and while the Lumia 800 on sports a single-core, 1.4GHz Snapdragon processor with just 512MB RAM, the handset works smoothly and the system is pretty responsive, over-all. Web browsing with the native IE mobile browser is also pretty fast and smooth.

Nokia Lumia 800 specs:
Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon 1.4GHz
Adreno 205 GPU
3.7″ AMOLED display @ 480×800 pixels (252ppi)
Nokia ClearBlack display
16GB internal storage
512MB RAM
HSDPA 14.4Mbps, HSUPA 5.76Mbps
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1
8MP autofocus camera, Carl Zeiss optics, dual-LED flash
720p video recording
FM Radio tuner
GPS w/ aGPS support
Li-Ion 1450mAh battery
Microsoft Windows Phone 7.5 Mango
Release Date: TBD
Suggested Retail Price: TBA

Conspicuously absent in the feature-set is NFC which, according to Microsoft, is not yet supported by Windows Phone 7.5 Mango (a WP7 update will eventually support it).

Also, since there is no expansion SD card slot, you have no choice but to contend with the 16GB internal storage.

The virtual keyboard on the Lumia 800 is easy and comfortable to use but considering the relative size of the screen, I tend to make more mis-types than usual (compared to when I am using the HTC HD7).

Battery life is pretty decent actually; oftentimes better than any Android handset with the same battery rating. I’d get a full days use with minimal connectivity and multimedia playback. One disadvantage with the unibody design though is that you can’t just easily replace it with a fresh one.

The Lumia 800 offers a lot of promise for Nokia. Great design, good hardware configuration, refreshing new OS and hopefully, a more competitive pricing. What actually separates Nokia WP7 from the other WP7 handsets we’ve tried before is the turn-by-turn navigation offered by Nokia Drive. It’s not much but it’s a start.

The Nokia Lumia 800 has not yet been officially launched and released in the Philippines but units are now being sold online stores for about Php23,500. You can get one here at Widget City.

Disclosure: Widget City supplied this handset for review. They’re also selling it for Php23,500 but this review unit will be disposed at an additional Php2,000 discount (makes it just Php21,500). Widget City is also a banner display advertiser on this site.


33 Responses to “Nokia Lumia 800 Review”

  1. garz says:

    I’d rather go for the HTC Titan. Non-user-replaceable battery is always a big let down for me..

  2. Neil
    Twitter: jonjongoco
    says:

    Great review sir Abe! I really like the deep integration of Windows Phone to Facebook and Twitter (LinkedIn is also supported) to the People hub. The contacts linking is also good, I liked it.

    The Facebook chat in the Messaging hub also works like iMessage. ;)

  3. Mervz says:

    sir Abe . may i ask . yung zune account niyo po ba eh Philippines na location ? kapag gagawa kasi ako ng zune account di ko pa din makita sa option yung philippines . thanks .

  4. dj0502 says:

    Problema ko rin, pero dahil walang zune sa Pilipinas hindi mo tlga pwede baguhin.. Ang pinaka pinag iisipan ko ngayon, if philippines, wala yung artist background while playing music.. Pero if US account naman, walang paid apps.. Hirap tuloy..

  5. Ajcalderonmd says:

    Gnawa ko dati us account, nakakabili na ako paid apps lalo na sa xbox live, pati sa xbox console ko nakakabili na ako games at microsoft points, kaso naging problem e di ko na sya maalis hehe, akala ko nahack e di naman, kaya binaba ko na lang credit limit nung credit card, so far so good naman 8 months na rin. Htc hd7 ko, no regrets, still very snappy and reliable, di ko
    Lang makita yung app na xbox companion wherein pwede kong gamitin tng windows phone as a controller sa console, still reading on it though.

  6. jonathan says:

    I just bought an HTC Titan and I’m a first time user of WP7. I might say I’m impressed on the quality of both the hardware and the software. I hope the Philippine Marketplace would push the OS in the Philippines.

    So, just out of the topic, how do I connect to the Philippine marketplace? Can you help me on this Mr. Yuga? Thanks in advance.

  7. IaMn9
    Twitter: IaMn9
    says:

    sayang dapat android yung OS na ginamit.

  8. r41n says:

    I would rather choose WP7 than Android because of its beautiful UI and smoothness. Even smoother than some dual core Androids. I never liked WP7 before until I saw it personally. It is such an eye candy that I would trade my Android for an HTC Radar or Nokia Lumia 800.

  9. dj0502 says:

    you have to create a new account na philippines (not US). and trade nyan, if US you can’t buy paid apps, pero you have artist background sa music player and avatar sa xbox live.. for me, yun yung dalawang UI design na gusto ko, kaya ang hirap. good luck!

  10. zigbien says:

    kung Symbian ang maraming mag react na sana Android, kung Android ang OS maraming mag react na sana IOS ang OS at kung IOS maraming mag react na sana Windows7 dapat.. ahayssss.

  11. blue says:

    lol. Nagbibiro ka ba? Pang Apple lang naman ang IOS.

  12. nujnuj says:

    I have a lumia 800 cyan and I love all the features and integrations with facebook, twitter, linked, xbox live, zune, nokia drive!
    and most of all its fast vs IOS/ Android #smokedbywindowsphone!

  13. Reuben says:

    Yuga, any news kung kailan officially lalabas dito sa Pinas ang Lumia phones?

  14. leemar
    Twitter: hex614
    says:

    ok sana etong lumia 800 kaya lang i dont like the non removable batt, kaya lumia 710 na lang ako, same specs naman meron lang konti changes.

  15. dj0502 says:

    @ajcalderonmd – how did you use your credit card in purchasing? did you use a Philippine card? I can’t change the country information…

  16. jdev says:

    Mr yuga, pls install fancybox for your pix. :)

  17. wow from shots last february to actually holding the real thing tonight. surprisingly, Globe made the phone FREE for Plan 1799 Unlisurf Combo, which is great

  18. jedi says:

    u can buy apps from US account using our credit cards, just turn off the location tab sa phone..i forgot the details, google nyu na lng..i used to own an htc mozart, until nanakaw sa jip ng mga walangyang mandurukot..this will be my next phone.

    • dj0502 says:

      @jedi pwede ka ba magsend ng link? gnun sana yung gusto ko mangyari eh, us account, then makabili using Philippine credit card.

  19. Leemar
    Twitter: hex614
    says:

    does anyone here who has lumia 800 from Globe tried updating to the latest firmware? because ive tried several times, got no luck. zune says my device has the latest software. when in fact in nokia’s website there is a new firmware update the 12070 firmware which fixes the battery issues.

    anyone who has same problem?

  20. Ritchie says:

    Hi, can any1 help. nag download ako ng fb app sa nokia lumia 800 but to my dismay walang chat application… Sinu may alam panu magkaroon ng chat app ng fb app sa nokia lumia 800. Tnx

  21. Ritchie says:

    Hi, can any1 help me. nag download ako ng fb app sa nokia lumia 800 but to my dismay walang chat application parang animo’y pang mobile version eh di naman mobile version yung na download ko from market place… Sinu po pwed makatulong please help me. Tnx

  22. macoy says:

    Go to settings>email accounts>add your Facebook account then check mo Messaging mo, there’s an option for threads and online, swipe it to the right, automatic na un connected sa fb chat.

  23. Sevenh8reds
    Twitter: sevenh8reds
    says:

    Finally, my lumia 800 has been updated to the latest firmware and I now have internet sharing. My laptop is able to see and connect to the wifi connection, unfortunately, there is no internet connection (I have an unlisurf plan), I tried to investigate and what I got is DNS SERVER ERROR.

    I called Globe and Nokia about this, but none of the two knows how to fix the problem.

    My second problem is, my wii is able to see the wifi connection, but i cannot connect to it.

    I appreciate any advice you guys can give me.

    Se7en.

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