Nokia Lumia 800 Hands-on

Nokia Lumia 800 Hands-on
It's that time of the year again, Nokia World is upon us once more and back in London's ExCel Exhibition Centre. Nokia has taken this event as an opportunity to look back at what 2011 brought with it, stand by some tough decisions, and outline what to expect this coming year. One of the most important announcements is that of Nokia's new flagship device. With the Nokia N8 carrying the crown last year, this year, we have the Nokia Lumia 800 – a Windows Phone 7.5 powered smartphone.

Lumia is a term used to refer to art crafted from light, and with a pin sharp Clear Black Super AMOLED display, we can understand why this name ordains Nokia's Windows Phone line. The Nokia Lumia 800 is a Windows Phone 7.5 device occupying an almost identical body to the N9. With the rich, slick styling, curvaceous sides and a beveled screen, it also sports an 8MP camera and 1GHz processor.

The form factor is minimal, elegant and cohesive. Unlike the N9, there is a physical camera button on the right hand side, making the Nokia Lumia 800 more functional as a camera phone. The screen is also 3.7" in contrast to the N9's 3.9" display. With this being the extent of the physical variance, and the handset feeling superb in the hand thanks to the rich, matted plastic build, our overall early verdict is shared across devices - beautifully played, Nokia.

Inside the handset lies the key difference, with MeeGo's swipe UI making way for some Nokia flavoured Mango, full of live tiles, over the top screen transitions and some Nokia exclusive applications. We're big fans of Mango and Windows Phone in general, and overlaid atop the Nokia Lumia 800's crisp, vivid Clear Black AMOLED display, it looks sensational. The lock screen is punchy and vibrant, contrasting beautifully as it makes way for the illuminated tiles, which appear to float and glide upon the endless black backdrop. The Nokia Lumia 800 effortlessly flows through the spectrum of applications, with its 1.4GHz processor, putting it firmly at the top of its game along-side the HTC Titan. Core functionality remains unchanged with the OS, however, Nokia includes Nokia Drive, Nokia Music and ESPN Sports Hub - all exclusive to Nokia. Our one criticism would be that the capacitive buttons being embedded below the screen look like a bit of an after-thought, looking less refined than the N9, clearly a result of the OS being retro-actively fitted onto the MeeGo hardware.

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With an 8MP camera loaded with a dual LED flash and f2.2 Carl Zeiss lens, we're expecting similar results from the Nokia Lumia 800 as we got from the N9. Upon first impression, it does indeed feel like the same camera with a new UI, delivering quick snaps with focus appearing to be marginally better. The handset is also capable of recording 720p video at 30fps and has 16GB of storage on board to store your photos, music and movies. As is standard with Windows phone, Nokia handsets running the OS will interact with Zune PC software enabling media management and wireless synchronization.

This slender, pillow-esque phone also resides at the cusp of connectivity technology, shipping with penta-band 3G and quad-band GSM, you can also expect the other usuals such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth connectivity and both GPS and A-GPS, the latter of which is complemented beautifully by Nokia Drive, a cache-able turn-by-turn voice navigation system.

We hope you get a clear idea of our first impressions of Nokia's flagship device for 2011/2012, the Nokia Lumia 800. In a nutshell, a slick, curvaceous and minimalistic Windows Phone device with Nokia at its heart. Probably the best looking Window Phone on market. It appears to perform fluidly as we've come to expect from the OS. The inclusion of Nokia specific apps help the Nokia Lumia 800 stand out from the crowd, though there's no denying Nokia has lost a little of its identity to Microsoft. That said, throw a great camera into the mix and as far as the product goes, we think this should be a great flagship. Keep an eye on PhoneArena for our full review coming this November, when we'll be able to give you a conclusive verdict on the Nokia Lumia 800 and more in-depth coverage.

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