The long awaited Nokia 8600 Luna is the latest premium mobile phone to arrive following the drool worthy Nokia 8800 Sirocco. The Luna shares a similar hefty price tag with the Sirocco and has a uniquely quaint design that endows it with distinct character and sophistication.
As it is so often practiced by Nokia for their premium models, the Nokia 8600 Luna is very well engineered, and though the styling is not entirely groundbreaking, it is extremely unique. Nokia has always managed to surprise consumers by daring to experiment with unconventional materials for its new products. In this spirit, we have the Luna, which is designed with an opaque smoked glass and stainless steel body that gives it weight and heft that some people would quickly associate with quality engineering. The sliding glass cover also accentuate the phones glowing keypad, one of the main design highlights of the Luna.
To maintain a sleek, minimalist design, Nokia reverts to using a USB interface as the single connectivity port for audio, data and battery charging. The decision to go with micro-USB is an obvious choice to keep a low profile. All is good though because this emphasis on style over the usual functional design as seen in most Nokia mainstream phones really does drive home the uniqueness of the Nokia 8600 Luna.
Unfortunately, as much as the Nokia 8600 Luna craves to be a status symbol, the phone is not without its weaknesses. First and foremost, the Luna's battery life is disappointingly short, requiring a charge in just a little over a day. The meager battery life is estimated at 3.7 hours talk time, but when we tested it for heavy calling and messaging, the Luna merely lasted an odd two hours or so. To add salt to the wound, it required 2.5 hours to fully charge the phone when we tested it out in our labs. You'll end up spending more time charging the phone than using it.
The other grouse we have would be the lack of phone functionalities as the Nokia 8600 Luna is running on a Symbian OS Series 40 platform, which seems like something that Nokia should have already improved upon by now. But that point aside, the interface supports speedy selection and also proves to be stable and matured.
The basic functions are present though, which includes decent multimedia format playback support (H.264, MPEG-4 for video and AAC, WMA for audio), a 2.0-megapixel camera, Bluetooth connectivity and even a large 2-inch QVGA true color display.
Female consumers might take to this phone more not only because of its design aesthetics, but we feel the keypad would be easier on the ladies. Men generally have larger fingers and would find messaging a little difficult as access to the the keys on the bottom row are restricted by the sliding cover and hence requiring the usage of fingertips.
One last note - the Nokia 8600 Luna does not have an expansion card slot like the Nokia 8800 Sirocco. If you are contented with the 128MB of onboard memory for the storage of all your files and media, then the absence of the expansion card slot would not be too much of a big deal, but 128MB is really quite paltry when you're talking about any modern device claiming rich multimedia capabilities.
From a technical point of view, we are sorely disappointed at its mediocre battery life and limited functionality. On the other hand, the Nokia 8600 Luna has its merits. Like any high end fashion accessory, the Nokia 8600 Luna justifies its wallet emptying price tag with its looks and elegance. If it's a status symbol that you desire, then the Nokia 8600 Luna literally breathes with you. With the backlight keypad going on and off every few seconds over polished glass - you'll feel like it has a life of its own.