Nokia Lumia 800 - A Beacon of Hope

Launch SRP: S$775



Is the Nokia Lumia 800 the real Windows Phone that you've been waiting for? It's undeniable that the Lumia 800's unibody design, with its curved profile and convex display, certainly creates a head turning effect for many. It might be on the heavier side of things with its 142g weight, but it does provide users with a phone that's well built with a solid feel. The additional buttons, from the three standard shortcuts to a camera button on its right, have certainly changed a few things on the Lumia 800 when compared to the similar looking N9. A reduced 3.7-inch display, though using the same AMOLED technology and a WVGA resolution of 480 x 800 pixels, also meant a higher pixels per inch density for the Lumia 800. And that did put the Lumia 800 at an advantage over similar Windows Phone makers such as HTC, with images and videos that had richer colors and details on its 3.7-inch display.

Feature-wise, Nokia definitely brought much more to the Windows Phone platform with its Nokia Drive app. The lure of free maps and turn-by-turn navigation, with fast GPS locking and accurate readings, are compelling reasons for Windows Phone users to consider the Lumia 800. Music lovers will also love the fact that you can purchase music off the Nokia Music Store, and it will no longer have the DRM restriction that locks downloaded music onto registered devices.

The Nokia Lumia 800, priced at S$775, definitely got our attention as one of the better designed Windows Phone devices for 2011. If only battery life and camera performance were fine tuned better, it would have ranked even higher up our scales.

Like all things, the Lumia 800 does have its Achilles Heel. The absence of wireless tethering, otherwise known as Internet Sharing on Windows Phone 7.5, created a disadvantage against similar devices on Google Android or Apple's iPhone that comes with it. If you prefer using speakers as the primary audio output, the Lumia 800 might disappoint you, not to mention it's located at an odd location that would most likely be muffled by your palms.

Furthermore, its imaging performance did not live up to our expectations. This came as a surprise to us, given how the N9 did fare quite well on our imaging tests, but its Windows Phone cousin failed to do so on our test charts with its warm tinge and higher noise levels. Like all Windows Phone devices, the greatest downside comes from its battery life, with an average 4 hours and 19 minutes on our intensive battery test on its 1450mAh battery. Even when using the phone casually with a mix of activities, we found that it would last up to three-quarters of a day and not up to our expectations of one full day at least for modern smartphones. So if you do get the Lumia 800, be sure to have charging options at home and at work to ensure undisrupted use of the device.

All things considered, the Windows Phone portfolio is quite limited, especially so in 2011. If you are keen to switch to the Windows Phone environment, the Lumia 800 is probably the most likely choice, other than the HTC Radar. The caveat that comes with the Lumia 800, is a S$775 price tag that's not too surprising for similar smartphones. However, if budget is of concern, the Finnish outfit will be introducing Windows Phone devices such as the Nokia Lumia 710 with a lower price tag at S$505.

The Good
Free turn-by-turn navigation app, Nokia Drive
Attractive unibody design
Impressive colors and details from AMOLED display
The Bad
Low battery mileage
Smudge and fingerprint magnet
No option to tether internet from device

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