Published on August 28th, 2012 | by Bilal Sulehri2
[Review] Belated Welcome: Nokia Lumia 800
Consider a scenario where a device is released worldwide in November 2011 and the manufacturer releases it in a massive market like Pakistan in September 2012. Whatever the reasons and logic behind this gaffe, if a company as huge as Nokia is doing this it means something has gone wrong in the strategic decision making process; and this ‘something’ is the reason why Nokia is finding itself lagging behind in the international and Pakistani smartphone market. Brightex Pakistan released HTC Radar with Windows Phone 7.5 and we reviewed it back in January 2012 so when we got our review unit from Nokia we instantly got hold of the fact that this is an old device which is being released belatedly in Pakistan, the OS & UI is nothing new as we have used it, dissected it, Chevron Unlocked it and done much more ages ago.
We understand that the device will be priced between Rs. 45-48,000 as and when released. So, let’s stop whipping Nokia and start the review. The contents of the box didn’t reveal anything extraordinary except the rubber case which is looks really tough and can protect the device from wear and tear. We got the following:
- Data Cable
- Hands Free
- Rubber case
- Windows Phone 7.5
- 1.4 GHz processor, Adreno 205 GPU, 512 MB RAM
- 16 GB internal storage
- 3.7″ capacitive touch screen with Corning Gorilla Glass protection
- 480×800 pixels resolution, 16M colors
- Nokia ClearBlack Display
- WiFi b/ g/ n
- Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP
- 8 MP camera with dual-LED flash, Carl Zeiss Tessar optics, 3264×2448 pixels
- 720p Video @30 fps
- Accelerometer & Proximity sensor, Compass
- Out-of-the-box Office support
- Brilliantly deep SNS integration
Build, Design & Battery
Nokia Lumia 800 is strikingly similar to Nokia N9 which means your device can be easily mistaken with the old flagship. The design is good and it also suits the OS running onboard, blending the software and hardware together to give a better experience to the user. The unibody design usually implies a metal case, but Nokia have played with the case brilliantly and used polycarbonate which is as good as metal due to its excellent quality.
Nokia Lumia 800 comes in three colors i.e. black, magenta, white and cyan (we got it in black) and interestingly the polycarbonate body is colored instead of being painted, hence assuring an everlasting paint, even scratches won’t be able to show anything except the polycarbonate body. The Gorilla glass protection ensures the screen won’t catch scratches easily and adds to the sturdiness of the phone. The display screen measures 3.7 inches with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels which means a pixel density of 252 ppi, the display is sharp and crisp and you would not encounter any difficulties while using it in sunlight except it being reflective. The screen is a finger-print magnet and you will do yourself a favour to get a good protector on it as soon as you take it out of the box.
On front side of the device you will find three usual Windows Phone touch sensitive controls viz. Back, Home and Search and a Nokia logo on top of the screen. Rest of the real estate on the front panel is covered by the touch screen with Nokia ClearBlack display. On the right side of Lumia 800 the volume rocker, power button and a hardware button for the camera. On the bottom is the speaker grill while we were not able to find a mic hole on the bottom. The left side is bare. The top has a microUSB port which is hidden under a lid which needs to be pushed with a thumb to be opened, the port is used to charge the cell and connect with PC for data transfer and Sync. The microSIM is inserted in a tray which slides out and the SIM is placed in the tray and it is slid back in. The SIM insertion process is cumbersome and most operators do not offer a microSIM, hence you have two options, go to Hafeez Centre (Lahore) or cut the SIM yourself, we already had one and hence got it in.
The back side looks beautiful with great edges and 8 MP camera with words “Cart Zeiss Tessar” written on the same strip along with Nokia. Dual LED is placed exactly above the camera which is quite bright to say the least. The battery of Nokia Lumia 800 is not user-replaceable, which is somewhat disappointing as smartphone batteries tend to have a lifecycle of around a year at best, after which the talk time and standby time is reduced significantly. Performance of the 1450 mAh battery was great as we didn’t have to worry about charging our Lumia for at least 2 days.
Nokia Lumia 800 comes with Microsoft Windows Phone 7.5 (mango) operating system with blue tiles and black background. Its user interface is smooth with live tiles which display information, different shortcuts and allow direct access to selected apps; these tiles can be easily edited and personalized. You can view social network updates of your friends on a Group tile, picture tile displays animated slideshow of pictures and you can search applications by just typing their name in application list. The lock screen unlocks by an upward swipe and its background can be easily changed.
Windows Phone does not allow you to manage your files & folders and even do not allow transferring them via blue tooth which is a shame; the Market has lesser apps than Google Play Store. You can use feature of multitasking which allows you to access last used 5 to 6 apps but the older apps need to be re-launched for use, you can turn off this function from settings to save battery. Windows Phone Mango supports voice recognition (Microsoft Tellme) which enables the users to dictate a text message or listen to any received message and you can even instruct the mobile to initiate a search just like Siri.
Windows Phone Mango gives a great social networking experience; it provides better and faster synchronization. Call, text messages, email, Facebook wall, and Twitter mentions all appear when you open a contact. You can also get access to online pictures and galleries from social networks easily. You can make contact groups and pin them on your home screen as a live tile. You can pool your mail in linked inbox and hence save time by having all the mail consolidated in one place.
Microsoft Office Support
Microsoft office integration is a key function of Windows Phone devices, it enables users to sync documents between PC and windows phone using SkyDrive which provides 25GB free storage capacity. The main Office hub has the categories i.e. Documents, Location and Notes. With Microsoft office it is easier to create, edit and share several important documents but you can’t share them via Bluetooth or by e-mail editor, documents can only be shared using the Office hub. OneNote is a useful and comprehensive note taking tool which allows performing several useful tasks, it can be used as a to-do list and you can pin it on the main screen.
Xbox Live & Multimedia
The Xbox Live is a gaming hub enabling you to catalog your scores to compare it with friends and make a cool avatar. The spot light feature enables you to see the requests and game invites from your friends. Xbox live do not support all the games in the marketplace, there is a separate section for the games supported by Xbox Live. Nokia Lumia’s 1.4 GHz processor accompanied by Adreno 205 GPU is powerful enough to play high quality graphic games present in the marketplace.
The People tab helps to browse pictures of your contacts and groups in the Picture hub. You can set a single picture or a set of pictures to be used as background picture which give more personalized look to the Picture hub. You can share videos and pictures via e-mail, messaging, Facebook or Sky Drive. You cannot play AVI files on your Lumia, but these will be converted when transferring from Zune so you can watch them on the basic media player onboard. The AVI videos can take ages, mark my words – ages, to convert and then sync, so you would be better off with converting them beforehand and then transferring via Zune. This is a big turnoff as it hurts a lot. Interestingly, even a single video, song, radio channel can be pinned as a live tile on home screen.
The 8 MP camera onboard Nokia Lumia 800 with Carl Zeiss Tessar optics can take decent photos and shoot even better videos at 720p. Nokia has included some nice features for the camera which include panorama, action shot and smart group shot. A couple of snaps taken from the camera are presented for reference.
Calling and Texting
The phonebook in WP 7.5 is called People hub and instead of contacts term Profiles is used. The profile contains all updates and data from all social networks and email addresses of that contact. Contacts are arranged alphabetically and you can pick contacts by searching them by name as well as by tapping the # icon which displays alphabets and then tapping an alphabet to display list of contacts starting from that alphabet.
The live tile and the lock screen displays only the number of miss calls, the details off calls can be viewed in history. It has a voice dialing option but it cannot differentiate between two people with same names but different sir names. Lumia has a good quality loud speaker with fairly high volume.
Windows Phone provides you with a wonderful messaging experience. Threads of text messaging, Facebook messaging and (WLM) Windows Live Messenger are combined. Messaging is divided in two heads i.e. threads (offline) and online (friend available online) which makes messaging and online chatting easier, you can seamlessly switch from text to Facebook and to WLM in the highly integrated messaging on Windows Phone which is the best we have seen in any OS. You can forward, edit, copy and paste the messages, you can’t send any attachment in Facebook chat in messaging, for this purpose MMS is used. Nokia Lumia 800 uses the standard Windows Phone QWERTY key board which we found comfortable to use; it has sound feedback but no haptic feedback.
Nokia has included the following apps in Nokia Lumia 800 (and other Windows Phone manufactured by Nokia)
- Nokia Drive
- Nokia Maps
- Nokia Music
- Nokia Reading
- Camera Extras
- App Highlights
It is a shame that Nokia Maps don’t support Pakistan. We tried to view the map of Lahore and all we found was the Canal Bank Road and a couple of more roads. Hence according to the Nokia Maps, Lahore is nothing more than a forgotten old village with no roads but a highway touching the outskirts of the village. I tried Karachi and it isn’t any different from Lahore. Nokia Drive can’t work as there is virtually no support for maps in Pakistan. When competitors like Google have declared a Pakistani city as the best mapped in the world, Nokia’s negligence in this feature can only make the matters worse.
App Highlights is a cool app which shows top apps and cool stuff in different categories. Camera extras add features like panorama, action shot and smart group shot to the default Windows Phone camera options. Nokia Reading is a nice app for those who love to read books; you can download some free books but will need to sign-in with your Nokia account to do that. Unfortunately you won’t be able to download books as there is no support for Pakistan which once again shows the lack of homework done by Nokia before releasing the device. The same story is repeated with Nokia Music. We have found a way to download books, simply go to your Nokia Account settings and change your region to UK/ US and download eBooks of your choice ;)
- Excellent build and design
- 8 MP camera with Carl Zeiss Tessar optics & dual-LED flash
- 1.4 GHz processor, Adreno 205 GPU, 512 MB RAM
- 16 GB internal storage
- Brilliant SNS integration
- Self-colored Polycarbonate unibody
- Released very late
- Higher price than competition
- No USB mass storage
- microSIM support only
- No user-replaceable battery
- Basic media player (does not support AVI)
- Nokia Maps & Drive does not have maps of Pakistani cities
- No Nokia Reading & Nokia Music support in Pakistan
- No file manager in Windows Phone
- Files cannot be transferred via Bluetooth
- No manual IP settings for WiFi
- Cannot transfer Office files via Zune
If you want to buy a Windows Phone right now, HTC Mozart and HTC Radar can give tough competition to Nokia Lumia 800 as Mozart costs around Rs. 27,000 while Radar costs around Rs. 35,000 and both are cheaper as compared to the hefty price tag of Lumia 800. Another consideration can be Nokia Lumia 900 which has been launched by Mobilink in Pakistan with a price tag of Rs. 51,999.
Summary: It’s bad timing by Nokia. Lumia 800 has been released after around 9 months of delay, Windows Phone 7.8 has been announced but not yet released so the release could have been coupled with the software update which has not been done and Windows Phone 8 devices will be available in the market by the end of this year and we are not sure whether Nokia Lumia 800 will get the update or not, so spending Rs. 45-48,000 on such an old device is a clear No for us. However, if Nokia ensures that Windows Phone 8 update will arrive on Nokia Lumia 800, then it can be considered.