Joining its stable of luxury mobiles in the premium 8000 range, the Nokia 8800 Arte and 8800 Sapphire Arte are devices designed for an affluent society that desires all things finer in life. Like the 8600 Luna and 8800 Sirroco before it, the 8800 Arte is built with combination of exquisite materials, glass and stainless steel. Its twin sibling, the Sapphire Arte sports an actual sapphire gemstone and a leather cover to commemorate its exclusivity. Besides looking fit for a king, the phones actually have a study and durable build quality.
The keypad of the Nokia 8800 Arte is well designed, and relatively larger than previous models, allowing users to type and navigate more effectively. Tactile feel is excellent with a touch of white backlighting to aid typing at night or in dark places.
Nokia has also answered our previous grievances in regards to the pop-up mechanism in the 8800 Sirocco. The 8800 Arte is more finger-friendly with a better crafted spring mechanism and rounded edges. Nokia even addressed one of the main concerns that plague all shiny devices - fingerprints. The 8800 Arte is covered with an anti-fingerprint coating, resulting in a sleek looking exterior anytime, anywhere.
Although more jewelry than tech, the 8800 Arte arrives with 3G capabilities and a 3.2-megapixel auto focus camera, which is a first for the premium series. Image quality still seems below average though, but we can't argue about the OLED display with an ambient light sensor, except that 2-inches just isn't enough.
Users might also find its 1GB onboard memory a paltry figure, and we normally won't mind since most phones do come with memory expansion slots, except that the 8800 Arte doesn't. Considering that the 8GB totting N-Series models cost half as much as the Arte, using higher capacity memory wouldn't have cut into profits much now would it?
We don't know whether users would take to it but Nokia has invented a feature whereby tapping on the phone twice would reveal an analogue or digital (based on user preferences) clock display. There also seems to be an accelerometer embedded within the device, as you can now switch between ringing modes with the turn of the hand or the flip of the phone. These features provide additional convenience to users without the need to access the phone directly, especially useful when you're in a meeting or the cinema. The 8800 Arte also holds unique video ringtones composed by producer maestros Peter Kruder and Richard Dorfmeister, another exclusive 'feature' that adds up to the pomp of the device.
Performance-wise, battery life has always been the deal breaker for Nokia's 8800 models. However, the 8800 Arte is endowed with a higher capacity battery, which enabled us to use the phone for up to three days before needing a charge. A universal microUSB port is used for all charging, data transfer and audio needs.
If you are being enticed by the beauty of the Nokia 8800 Arte, and have no qualms popping S$1788 (~US$1262) for the Arte or S$2088 (~US$1474) for the Sapphire Arte, then step into the luxurious lifestyle of the wealthy!