Review,Windows Phone

Nokia Lumia 800 – It’s new, It’s great, It’s Amazing

28 Apr , 2012  

Introduction

About two weeks ago, I received review unit of Nokia Lumia 800 from Nokia India & Blogger’s Mind. I am really thankful to them for this. Nokia announced their partnership with Microsoft on Feb, 11. and embraced Windows Phone as their primary OS for next phones. Many people were shocked, sad, some happy but all were surely excited to see the outcome, and was I. Well, Nokia released their first Windows Phone , Nokia Lumia 800, and just like other, I wanted to try it too. But never requested before review unit being too busy with college. Finally, I got little time to try one and I spent about a week now with this lovely piece of hardware.

In last Decemeber, I had Nokia N9 with me and got to spend almost two months. Nokia Lumia 800 and N9, having almost similar design, comparable specs and different eco system, it will be good for me to compare between Nokia Lumia 800 and N9. Let’s start review with specs.

Key Features & Specification

  • 3.7” ClearBlack AMOLED display with WVGA 800×480 resolution
  • 1.4 GHz Scorpion CPU
  • Adreno 205 GPU
  • 512 MB program memory16 GB internal user memory
  • Windows Phone 7.5
  • Integrated GPS, A-GPS receiversAccelerometer for correct orientation of displayNokia Drive with free drive and walk navigation
  • 8 MP camera with Carl Zeiss Lense and Dual LED Flash

and lot more.

The Package

    

Lumia 800 comes in similar box packing as Nokia N9 with very small changes inside.

Box is very well organized. Lumia 800 is placed in a transparent plastic casing, while soft cover and manual is placed in different casings. At bottom, you will find, charger adapter, usb cable and a headset.

Sales Package

  • Nokia Lumia 800
  • Nokia Charger AC-16
  • Nokia Charging and Data Cable CA-185CD
  • Nokia Stereo Headset WH-902 (3.5 mm AHJ)
  • Soft cover (colour matched to phone colour)
  • Quick Guide (Foldout)Extended PIB (user guide + product information booklet)
Soft cover that came with Lumia 800 looked little cheap compared to what I had seen with N9. Moreover, Lumia 800’s soft cover wasn’t not as fit as the N9’s was. Soft cover did spoiled Lumia 800’s back when I removed it after a week. It took too hard to remove those black spots.

Design

Nokia Lumia 800 possesses almost similar unibody design as we have seen in Nokia N9. Only changes we will find is, small screen size (3.7″ in Lumia 800 and 3.9″ in N9) and no front-facing camera. Nokia should have gone for a new design for it’s first ever Windows Phone device, instead of keeping it’s Nokia N9 design just for the sake of keeping uniqueness for it’s new primary OS, WP. Strangely, Nokia made it with N9-like design.

  

  

On top, we have 3.5 mm audio jack, and two doors to connect USB and to put microSIM. At bottom, we have speaker. Left side of Lumia 800 is plain and have nothing. On right side, it has two volume keys, a lock/power key and unlike Nokia N9, it has a camera key.

 

Other difference in Lumia 800 and N9 is their back. Position of dual LED flash light is different. Moreover, Lumia 800 has matte finish on it’s back while N9 has shiny finish.

  

Above are the MircoSIM tray and MicroSIM.

Design Gallery


“Nokia Lumia 800”

From Nokia Lumia 800, posted by Kishan Gor on 4/09/2012 (23 items)

Generated by Facebook Photo Fetcher


Display

  

Nokia Lumia 800 possesses 3.7″ Nokia Clear Black AMOLED Display. Display is stunning and vibrant. I have been fan of the display ever since Nokia Lumia 800 was announced and Nokia Conversation uploaded their hands-on video. Nokia’s CBD makes display awesome in Sunlight too. Look at the second picture, it was taken under sunlight. You can read everything perfectly in direct sunlight.

It has curved screen, which really gives a good feel in hand.

Windows Phone 7.5

It was my first encounter with a Windows Phone 7.5 device. Windows Phone is unique in it’s own way in terms of UI, i.e. Metro UI. While Windows Phone is interesting in it’s own way, there are some restrictions too that many wouldn’t like too. After Nokia-Microsoft partnership, Windows Phone is evolving faster and it has become promising. Let’s have a brief look at WP.

 

  

Booting the phone will show Nokia logo followed by Windows Phone logo and here starts the unique world of WP. 😉

Unlike trends of Smartphone Platforms of having homescreen, Windows Phone doesn’t have typical HomeScreen actually. We have two homescreen views, one is Tiles view which is Start Menu actually and a list of Applications. You can swipe left are right to navigate between them.

Live Tiles

Start Screen contains Tiles of an app, a function or a particular item. This Tiles are live tiles, that means, tiles are updated in real time. A tile may show contents of apps flipping. For example, people’s hub will show pictures of all people, messages will show number of unread messages and a smiley depending on the count, Email will show unread email counts, some weather app will show weather information for a particular location. For the first few hours, I really missed Homescreens like Symbian but as the day passed, I started following in love with Tiles. Live tiles help to stay updated about information we get from a app without having to open it.

You just can’t understand live tiles until you see them in action. Have a look at following video from 31DaysOfMango:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5xaGY_sm3z8#!]

After 2 weeks with Windows Phone, I am really a fan of Metro UI and Tiles!

Calling & Call Log

  

First Tile, you will see is for Calling & Viewing call log. You can see Call log under history, can listen to voice mails, dial a call from keypad menu, open contacts under people and search with a menu using search option. So far, I have seen only two best call log and dialer, one in Nokia N9 and second in Lumia 800. Opening a particular entry history screen would show you whole history of communication (Dialed and received calls) with that contact or number. You can edit call settings right from this menu.

Hubs

Several features of Windows Phone are organized into “hubs“, which combine local and online content via Windows Phone’s integration with popular social networks such as FacebookWindows Live, and Twitter. For example, the Pictures hub shows photos captured with the device’s camera and the user’s Facebook photo albums, and the People hub shows contacts aggregated from multiple sources including Windows Live, Facebook, and Gmail. From the Hub, users can directly comment and ‘like’ on social network updates. The other built-in hubs are Music and Video (which integrates with Zune), Games (which integrates with Xbox Live), Windows Phone Marketplace, and Microsoft Office.

Integration of online contents with local contents bring a great user experience because Windows Phone doesn’t isolate Online and Local contents. This is the thing, every smartphone must need in current world of social networks.

People Hub

One of the best features of  Lumia 800 is Social Integration. As just mentioned above, people hub shows contacts/people from all of your networks like Facebook, Windows Live and Twitter as well as local contacts, just in one place.

Under All menu, you see your latest update in any of your networks, then your Groups and People from all networks without isolating them. Under recent menu, you see recently accessed contacts.
Live Tiles will show profile pictures of people again divided in small tiles and flipping them every second.


What’s New Menu brings updates of your all networks. You can directly like them, comment them, reply them right from people’s hub. People Hub let you stay connected and updated with all of your networks and you don’t need to check individual network to stay updated.

There is also a “Me” Section. It shows your profile and status. You can also update statuses and check-in places to bing and facebook. You can Pin individual contact in Start Menu too. Pinned contacts Live Tile shows his network’s profile picture, his statuses and information.

Messaging

Messaging in Windows Phones is combined into thread. Just like MeeGo Harmattan, all of your conversations are under Threads whether they are local text messages, online facebook chat or Windows Live Messenger. You can chat with your online contacts directly here. You open online menu, which will show all of your currently online contacts. You can add a new contact too.

Virtual Keyboard

via winsupersite.com

For a touch phones, virtual keyboard play vital role in UX of phone. A great OS without great keyboard is not great actually! Before trying Lumia 800, N9’s virtual keyboard was best keyboard for me, but Lumia 800 has changed it. At look, keyboard looks simple but yet it’s very powerful based on the type of input. What I mean is, it smartly chooses the keyboard depending on where you are using it. Normal keyboard is shown in above screenshot. When you’re typing url, it brings button with .com, mostly used TLDso that you don’t need to type it at the end. While typing email address, it shows button of @ on main keyboard page, so that you don’t need to change keyboard view to symbols.

Another good thing is, you have plently of Smileys available directly in your keyboard. I’ve never seen that many smileys in any keyboard yet. And surely, a conversation is incomplete without Smileys, you find them built-into keyboard itself, comes very handy. Autocorrection and word suggestion is very good.

But one thing this keyboard lacks is arrow keys. If you want to edit a word, you cannot move between letters of a word. You have to remove/replace the whole word. This is irritating while making some typos.

Pictures

 

Pictures Hub collects all the images from your offline and online contents. First view is applications shows applications that are related to pictures editing. Second view shows camera roll, albums, date and people list.

Favourites shows your favourited images. What’s new menu show images shared by your friends in your social network. You can easily preview, save, like or comment on those images right from there.

You can find your captured images under camera roll. Under album menu, you can see all of your albums, whether they are your phone’s album or facebook albums.


You can also sort and categorize images based on date.

Browser: Internet Explorer Mobile


Windows Phone 7 possesses Internet Explorer Mobile which uses Internet Explorer 9 based rendering engine bringing the rich browsing experience on mobile phone.

Internet Explorer allows you to view a website as a mobile version or as a desktop version. You can set which version you will prefer from the settings menu and UA is switched accordingly to get desired website version. Web pages renders really fast on windows phone. I am really impressed with the browsing experience on Lumia 800. IE supports multitouch gestures like pinch to zoom, etc.

Browser is very smooth. Scrolling, zooming is butter zoom. You can also open YouTube videos from browser which will open in YouTube standalone application. IE allows you to open up to 6 tabs. Each tab works as difference instance of IE. Surely, IE is one of the finest browsers I ever seen on the smartphones.

 Nokia Maps & Drive

Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive is quite good on Windows Phone. Navigation and transitions are very smooth. However, one thing I noticed was, just like Google Maps, Nokia Maps loads maps as an image (they may not be image though) unlike Nokia Maps on Symbian, where a path and locations are downloaded. It may be possible that Nokia Maps maybe using web APIs of Nokia Maps. But I am not sure about that.

Emails

Email Client on Windows Phone is simply awesome. One of the best email clients I have ever seen. User Interface is very sleek and you will fall in love with transitions between menus. Emails are also groups if they are from same sender. You can compose, view folders and search you mail box.

Nokia Music

Nokia Music is one of the best things you may find on Lumia 800. Nokia Music integrates you local music, online radio, music store and gigs around you. Music interface is very cool.

Mix radio is the best feature of Nokia Music. You can choose a playlist of your choice of genre. It shows you playlists of your chosen genre, just select and stream the radio. Best thing about this feature is, you really don’t feel the difference that you are actually streaming the music. Even on the EDGE connection, it takes around 3 sec at the beginning to buffer and it never lags for buffering again. Music quality is superior, you feel it like a local music file. It brings the photos of artist in background if available otherwise nice abstract images as shown below.
Nokia Lumia 800

You can also purchase music from the Store directly from Nokia Music.

MarketPlace


 
After Nokia Microsoft partnership, Marketplace was flooded with thousands of Apps. Developers are really taking interest in WP now. Most of the apps in Marketplace are high quality and great usability.  Windows Phone is very promising and I expect to build a strong ecosystem in near future competing with leading platforms.

WP has official apps for Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare etc leading social networking sites, which all Symbian users always dreamed to have for them. However I feel Interface providing less exposure to apps. At main menu, it only shows three games and app with big thumbnails. I find Nokia Store’s design better in this aspect.

Been using Symbian for last 7 years, one thing I like about Nokia Store (Ovi Store formerly) is pricing. Here I am talking more specifically for India. Pricing in India is linera and very well done. We have premium apps at Rs 25, 50, 75, Gravity at 150. 1 USD = 50 INR approx. That’s very affordable. But in Marketplace, we have premium apps at Rs. 55, 260 etc. As shown in above screenshots, those games cost Rs 260. Well, as an Indian person, buying a few games at that price is okay but if you are really looking for buying many apps and games, that won’t turn out to be affordable. In other counties like US/UK, $5 would work for a game 0r an app but pricing should be considered in India differently as they have done for Nokia Store if they want platform to be success.

But overall, Marketplace has good number (not large I say) of free apps.

Xbox Live


Games on WP are showed under Xbox Live tiles. Xbox live games are connected to your Xbox live account and all achievements you earn gives you golds, which are saved in your Xbox live accounts. You can also create and manage your Xbox Live avatar from your phone. If you have received any request for a multiplayer game, it is shown under requests menu. Under spotlight menu, you can view news about games. Playing Games on Lumia 800 is real fun. Endless hours of fun with your friends.

Calender


Calender is impressive. It is synced with your Windows Live account. All events from your Facebook is added automatically. Windows Live also sync public holidays and events in Calender.

Music + Video



This is a defailt place for all your music and video library. You can browse them here. It will also show histories of your playback even from mix radio. Sad that Lumia 800 doesn’t have built in support for greater range of codecs.

Office


Lumia 800 have office suite already installed. You can view your Word files, spreadsheets, ppts directly on the phone. You can create and edit them with ease. You can integrate them with SkyDrive, Office 365 & SharePoint. It also have OneNote for the notes.

Bing Search


Microsoft’s Bing search engine may not be as popular as Google, but it has through-out integration in a Windows Phone. For hardware design, a dedicated search is required as per Windows Phone’s specification. You can open search from anywhere in WP by clicking it. Bing search’s UI is very simple but attractive.

Bing search shows a new background photo every time you access it. You can tap at two different places shown as square boxes on that bg-image to find the information/wiki of that image.

Simply add write your query and search. You can switch between local, web, image search in menu.

Another impressive thing about Bing search is, you can scan an image (from camera) and search or translate the words captured in image. Translating sentence in scanned image will replace original text on screen. I just loved this feature. You have long list of available languages for translation.

Some Words on Windows Phone

As I mentioned earlier, there are things that I liked about Windows Phones as well as I disliked.

Metro UI really impress you with the attractive and pleasant animations while transition from one menu to another. Some may miss typical homesscreens at beginning but later you will really get used to it and start loving it.

However, somethings are that I missed on WP. I feel that some information provided to user is not as informative as Symbian. For example, we have connection manager on Symbian to see status of a connection and to know if it’s active or idle. But on WP, you can only see E or G written on the top status bar. Even you can’t know if connection has been established yet or it’s still connecting. You can’t know if connection is on hold. Here, I love Symbian.

Other thing is, we don’t have real multi tasking here. If you have an app running in background and select that app from the list of apps, instead of showing already running instance, a new instance will start and it will replace old one. Other thing I noticed was, when you minimize an app, access to network connection is restricted to that app. That means, suppose if your app is refreshing your timeline and you minimize before it, request will be terminated. Being on slower network sometimes, I prefer updating tweets and switching to another app in N8. But doing so on Windows Phone will result in failing to update your timeline. I talked with some WP devs and they said it’s WP limitation. So no push notifications? Well, I heard Carbon have it, don’t know how they did that. There are some feature like background agent, but it works periodically I think. Well, I am not WP dev, so not sure about it exactly but this thing really disappoints me.

 

Camera

Smartphones are wearing great cameras nowadays and of course, Nokia is best know for their camera phones with Carl Zeiss lenses. So, we surely expect a good photography experience with Lumia 800 too. But I was bit disappointed with Lumia 800’s camera, maybe I had more expectation and I’ve been using Nokia N8 for about 1.5 year.

Nokia Lumia 800 features 8 MP Camera capable of taking images at resolution of 3264×2448 (4:3 aspect ratio) or 3552×1998 (16:9 aspect ratio).

Close-Up Shot

Close-up shot didn’t brought the sharpness and crispiness I wanted. I really isn’t impressed with Camera interface. We have touch to focus in Lumia 800. Touch-to-focus? It is more like touch-to-capture. Touching the screen will focus and click the photo. But where is indicator that shows that focus is done perfectly? In Nokia N9, once focus is fixed, we get blue square, here I didn’t saw such indication, instead, it directly captures picture after fixing focus. Camera interface needs to be reworked, in my opinion.

Here are some landscape shots:

  

  

In landscape mode, it works good. With proper lighting conditions, camera works good. Let’s compare low light performance with Nokia N8.

Lumia 800

N8

You can easily spot the difference between Lumia 800 and N8. Lumia 800’s image has too much noise compared to the one taken by Nokia N8.

Other thing I noticed about camera was, when some people , noob in photography, took the images, they were all blurred. Nokia Lumia 800 has Motion Stabilization feature but in low light, images just get blurry. Low light performance of Lumia 800 is not good. Colors are washed out and image look blurry. Being a Nokia N8 user, I am disappointed with Camera.

Though, I didn’t like the touch-to-focus thing in Lumia 800, we have more capabilities in Camera interface too. In settings, you have following options:

  • Scenes: Auto, Beach, Candlelight, Macro, Landscape, Night, Portrait, Snow, Sports and Sunset
  • White Balance: Incandescent, Fluorescent, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade
  • Exposure Value: -2.0 to 2.0 with 0.5 interval
  • ISO: Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800
  • Metering Mode: Center Weighted, Frame Average, Center Spot
  • Effect: Normal, Black & White, Sepia, Negative, Solarise
  • Contrast: Minimum, Low, Normal, High, Maximum
  • Saturation: Minimum, Low, Normal, High, Maximum
  • Focus Mode: Normal, Macro
  • Resolution: 8MP 4:3, 7MP 16:9, 3MP 4:3, 2MP, 16:9
  • Flicker Reduction: 50Hz, 60 Hz
  • Flash: Auto, Off, On
After we have taken picture, we can simply share the images with one click to our social networks. It has feature to auto-fix feature which reduces noise to good extent and useful for auto-postproessing.

Video Camera

Nokia Lumia 800 can shoot videos at 720p and 30fps.

Here are two small sample Videos I shot with Lumia 800:

Low Light

Low light video is not disappointing like it’s camera.

Normal Light

 

I am actually satisfied with the video performance of Lumia 800.

Battery Life

Battery performance is good compared to other smartphones out there but I had expected more. Usage of phone greatly varies the battery performance. With very low usage, Lumia 800 lasted 2 days and 4 hours. With good usage. It lasted around 12-15 hours.

If you’ve some background apps/agents running, battery will drain fast. When I went to a tour with Lumia 800 and Nokia N8, both fully charged and Lumia 800 have couple of twitter apps’ background agents running, N8 lasted much longer than Lumia 800 even though I was using N8 for photography and Lumia 800 was least used for little photography. It was disappointing because I had thought Lumia 800 will accompany me when N8’s battery dies which turned out to be inverse!

However, last update, few days ago has improved battery life too. 1450mAh battery is enough for a phone like this, performance has issue with software rather than hardware. Initially, Lumia 800 has very poor battery performance, which later software updates brought decent battery life. So all I say is, we can expect better battery life in future updates.

 

Zune always? No file transfer?

This is something I really didn’t like. I got the device and just after couple of days, I had a tour and wanted to load Lumia 800 with Music. Well, what I realized, I must need Zune to connect Lumia 800 to my pc. I can’t transfer files via Bluetooth because it doesn’t have FTP, DUP (Dial-up Networking), OPP (Object Push Profile) and GOEP (Generic Object Exchange Profile), we can’t send files, can’t connect to internet using Lumia 800 as bluetooth modem, can’t send contacts etc!

If Windows Phone is bound to work with Zune only, then Zune disc should be shipped with Lumia 800, should be part of  Sales Package. We have to download 100 MB Zune just before we can connect out Lumia 800? Not everybody has good internet connectivity everywhere. Just like when I was going on tour, I had only EDGE connection and so have to leave without putting a single music file in it. I later downloaded Zune on EDGE connection and while trying to install it, it again started downloading updates before it install! That’s insane!

Nokia should consider shipping device with minimal softwares required to connect phone to a pc, just they were doing in past.

Friends’ Thoughts

Well, staying at hostel has one benefit, you have large friend circular and you are with them most of the time. My friends are always aware about my trials and so they had also tried Lumia 800 and N9. There were friends who were simply in love with device, where there were some friends who said this phone is nowhere near to Nokia N9.

Some friends said this phone is simply awesome. One of my friends was full in love with Lumia 800. She said, “My next smartphone purchase will be Nokia Lumia 800 for sure”. Another friend said, “This phone is a bomb, I need it.” Couple of friends are planning to buy the device after seeing it.

But few said, N9 was far better than this. They like the unique UI of N9 compared to Metro UI. Well, this purely depends on the personal choice and sophistication with smartphones.

Conclusion

I must agree that 4300+ words are not enough to review a device like a Lumia 800 because It’s new, It’s great, It’s Amazing. Nokia’s new beginning of Smartphones looks promising. Let’s see how Nokia manages this in future.

Nokia Lumia 800 was launched at the price of  Rs. 29,999. Honestly, I would consider checking another option for this price tag. However, price of Lumia 800 has dropped to Rs. 23,499 these days and some seller on ebay was selling it for Rs. 20k. For this price tag, I will surely go for Lumia 800. It’s great device with powerful hardware and promising OS building a good ecosystem.

Some may argue about going for a dual core device, but I don’t get their point. Lumia 800 runs butter smooth on 1.4 GHz they why to waste more money and battery power on higher h/w specs? This specs are enough to run WP smoothly. I never found WP lagging or hanging. This is a big plus point. I have tried many Android phones, even with dual core CPU, they are not as smooth as WP on 1.4 GHz single core processor. I am not judging the Android phones, but this is my personal experience & opinion.

All I would say in the end is, if you are planning to buy a smartphone in Rs. 20k-25k range, you must try Lumia 800 once.

I hope you like my review. I tried to make the review honest and neutral. If you have any thoughts or feedback to share on this review on Lumia, don’t forget to comment. Communicate with us @NokiaTips on Twitter or on our Facebook Page . We love interacting with you. 🙂

 

Kishan Gor is a Co-Founder of NokiaTips. He is Software Developer by profession and have a great passion for Programming and Gadgets.

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  • This has been a really wonderful post. Thanks for providing this information.

  • David B

    Unlike my dear old steam driven Nokia 6233 – just a very basic low cost no frills mobile, my shiny new Nokia Lumia 800 (just arrived two days ago and quite hard to set up) appears NOT to have the option of deleting phone calls made or received.

    Any thoughts please or have I missed the obvious? Nice piece of kit though.

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