I should probably start by saying, if you’re here looking for technical specs, display comparisons or any other such technical details about the Nokia Lumia 800 you should probably go elsewhere, there’s not going to be anything technical about this review.
I’ve had the Lumia for about a month and although my “new phone experience” was pretty much wrecked by Orange being unable to activate my new sim for 3 days I’m glad to say the phone itself has managed to redeem the situation and impress me passed what I had expected.
The Lumia is a good looking phone even when in the rubber case that comes in the box, which is great since one of my biggest gripes with the iPhone is yeah it’s pretty and everything, but I’ve not seen a case that doesn’t make it look utterly rubbish. the phone also feels good in the hand and quite natural in my pocket. The screen is bright and crisp in dark and light conditions although I find myself forever rubbing it against my sleeve to get fingermarks off it, which is probably more due to my OCD than a functional issue as finger marks don’t obscure the screen at all. I guess the finger marks lead to my first worry about the phone; although, touch wood, there are no scratches or sign of wear on the gorilla glass screen I would like to add a screen protector, unfortunately due to the curved glass the screen protectors on the market don’t seem to offer full screen coverage, which would not only look rubbish but also be inadequate to protect the screen from damage.
One Massive thumbs up for the Nokia hardware is the use of standard micro-USB charging / sync port meaning I didn’t have to run out and buy spare cables in order to charge at work / car as my car hands free kit uses the same charger as does the Archos 101, my current tablet PC.
Bluetooth support, an issue I often hear people complaining about, has not been a problem for me, as it not only copied my contacts from my iPhone without any dramas it synched without problems to my Nexxus Drivesleek Pro Bluetooth Visor Car Kit, my in ear hands free kit and also my cheap Bluetooth stereo headphones. The bluetooth stuff is also much more useful than my iPhone ever was as the voice dialing support is good and the voice texting is great, don’t get me wrong it’s not perfect and struggles much more on the shorter messages than the long (I guess the text to speech works better with context) but I’m much more comfortable with sending a quick text than calling someone, so the ability to do that while driving with 3 simple voice commands, “text xx” “I’ll be home in half hour” “send” is great.
The Windows Phone 7.5 (WP7) operating system is great, the tile system is a breath of fresh air from the sea of icons that I had on the iPhone, not only is it pretty as hell, the live tiles makes them a bit more interesting and useful but not in an ugly way like the android widgets. A quick swipe from the main tile screen is the all apps screen which although being a long list is not hard to navigate and the alphabetical nature of it fits nicely with my logical mind, once you have enough apps to warrant it it’ll let you click a letter to jump straight to that section.
The social integration of the phone is pretty good, if you want to update all of your social networks at once it’s all there for you, also checking the accounts is also right there too, you can also check all your social network time lines in one place too, if you’re in a stalkerish mood you can even check all the time lines of one of your contacts too. the combined messaging app is ok, but to be honest whilst it has the ability to have the battery sapping msn and Facebook messenger I think it lacks the ability to use the deeper Facebook message system meaning to complete your Facebook mobile experience you still need to have the app or visit the mobile site.
The contacts are very neatly sortable by linking to many accounts and picking one to filter by. Basically I have my Windows Live, Google, Facebook and Twitter accounts set up on the phone, the phone automatically links the contacts together across the accounts (so you can see everything combined about a person) , I then filter my contact list to show only the ones on my Google Account, which only contains my important contacts so these are the only ones shown when I click my contacts, but, when you click search it searches all the accounts so you still have everyone to hand if you need to find someone you wouldn’t normally call or if you have people you would rather not talk to you can keep their number in your hidden contacts so you’re not caught off guard if they call you out of the blue.
I think the biggest surprise of the phone is that Bing actually has a great set of mobile tools, music recognition, visual recognition of QR codes, barcodes, and much more, and the local scout which simply tells you what there is about your location.
The only thing that lets the Lumia down at the moment is some of the apps I used on the iphone, mainly Paypal and 1&1 server monitoring aren’t yet available, although I’m assured by Paypal theirs is in development, and as more people get WP7 phones (and I recommend you consider it) that’s sure to change.