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Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phone 7 mobile phone review

Product Name: Nokia Lumia 800


Specifications: Windows Phone 7 - Mango, 3.7-inch 800x480 WVGA AMOLED capacitive touch screen, 1.4 Ghz single core CPU, 16GB storage, 8MP camera, LED Flash,GPRS, EDGE, 3G, HSDPA, GPS, WIFI b/g/n/, 3.5mm audio jack, microUSB, A-GPS, Bluetooth 2.1, 1450 mAh Li-Ion battery

The Nokia Lumia 800 is the Finnish phone company's first handset to run Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 operating system, where in the past Nokia has always used the Symbian platform. Symbian has always been associated with Nokia and used to run their mobile phones, from flagship to entry-level devices and was eventually acquired by Nokia in 2008.

In February this year, Microsoft and Nokia announced a partnership that sees Symbian being dropped as the main OS on the Nokia key devices, in favour of Windows Phone 7. The event to unveil this news was held a short while before Mobile Wold Congress in Barcelona, as not to overshadow Europe's largest mobile phone trade show - which launches a good deal of the years' handsets.

There was much anticipation at the time to see the first Windows Phone set of hardware from Nokia, as the operating system had already been seen for several months on a number of mobiles with almost the same version rolled-out to all these devices.

The wait didn't take too long, as in June this year a video was leaked on-line, where Stephen Elopak, Nokia's own CEO, was caught on video showing a mobile phone at a Nokia corporate event. This handset had the codename of ‘SeaRay' and was to be the first Nokia run Windows Phone 7 mobile phone.

A day or two earlier, Nokia announced the N9 mobile phone which had a very similar appearance to the ‘SeaRay' handset. This phone was running the joint Intel and Nokia MeeGo operating system, whilst being the very first device to arrive with this very OS. The Nokia N9 didn't reach many markets in the end, not even the UK.

It was the design philosophy and template of the N9 that would be used in the Nokia Lumia 800, so there wasn't a waste in resources. Many now see the N9 as just a prototype for the Lumia 800, for both consumers and the mobile phone networks to get use to the design, before the actual Windows Phone 7 handsets was officially launched, late last month.


The Nokia Lumia 800 is entirely based around the Nokia N9 MeeGo device and as an almost identical copy, with its near paper back form factor, curved edges, slightly protruding screen and back.

The chassis of the 800 is made up from a single piece of polycarbonate material, in a unibody design with no breaks - apart from the two panels at the top. These open up to expose the microUSB port and microSIM card slot; the latter of which is usually only found in Apple products.

There have been some slight modifications since the N9, most of which is to accommodate the Microsoft Windows Phone 7 ‘Mango' operating system hardware needs. This is the likes of the screen being reduced to make room for the back, start and search touch sensitive buttons on the screen.

The 800 is small and very compact to hold in the hand, despite housing a 3.7-inch AMOLED touch screen display. There isn't a great deal of excessive materials around the screen's edges, where the display nearly seamlessly reaches from side to side, and end to end of the mobile.

The phone's height is 116.5mm, whilst measuring 61.2mm in width and 12.1mm thin. This puts the Nokia 800 slightly taller, thicker and wider than the Apple iPhone 4S, whose dimensions are 115.2x58.6x9.3 mm and with a weight of 140 grams; 2 grams lighter than the Lumia 800.

There is a slightly bevel to the front screen and the rear that adds a little more girth to the Nokia mobile, otherwise this could have been one of the slimmest smartphones around today and a challenge to the world's thinnest ‘7.1mm thick' Motorola Razr handset.

Nokia has included some compromises to obtain the svelte form factor, such as the inclusion of a non-removable battery and a microSIM card. This adds to the overall compactness of the Lumia 800, without detracting from its usefulness in anyway.


A single core1.4 Ghz processor powers the Nokia Lumia 800. This is a good fit for the handset and we didn't encounter any lag whilst using the phone, as a result of the CPU. Even when running multiple applications at once. Multi-tasking is a new inclusion in the Windows Phone 7 ‘Mango' edition and has only recently been deployed to older handsets. Some users could perceive a slight delay whilst using the phone, but this is mostly down to WP7 refreshing social networking updates.

Included is 16GB of internal memory that is non-expandable from a microSD card. This isn't a great loss, as there hasn't been a WP7 handset released that does have removable storage. Nokia and Microsoft have bundled with the Lumia 800 25GB of cloud-based storage, which makes up for these shortcomings - although 16GB is adequate for most people's use.

Lumia 800's CPU is one of the fastest seen in a WP7 device, as in the past 1GHz processors were only really featured within these phones. Only the HTC Titan 1.5GHz based phone trumps the clock speed of the 800, but this has the appearance of nearly every other HTC phone and really doesn't stand out from the crown. A dual core handset hasn't been released as yet running Windows Phone 7, which could relate to 720p video capture still being the ceiling on these devices with no possibility of full 1080p.

There's an 8 megapixel wide-angle camera built in to the Lumia 800 with a Carl Zeiss lens and a dual flash LED. The latter of which has moved slightly from the N9's location, to accommodate more light in picture capture. This camera is very responsive and takes a good shot, thanks to all that it has on-board and the Microsoft OS. On the side of the phone is a dedicated camera button that is a feature of all Windows Phone 7 devices, but wasn't a feature of the N9's design.

The sound quality on the Lumia 800 isn't as sharp and distinct as we would have liked, despite some interesting choices being made in the audio hardware department.

Nokia has placed the phone's speaker at the very base of the handset, where it isn't muffled as a result of the positioning - unlike other handsets. The speaker is in the same location as on the N9, where other manufacturers, and most of them, place the speaker on the rear of the phone. Laying the mobile on its back often suppresses the audio quality, in music and hands-free use of the device.

The Finnish company hasn't really taken advantage of the speaker's positioning, as the sound quality is quite ordinary. This is compared with other handsets, such as the Samsung Galaxy S II. Nokia could have aimed for a higher ‘phon' level on the 800 and its speaker; all in order to create a more rounded mobile that has great audio - as the phone does have not-seen-before audio features.

This Lumia 800 arrives with a regular set of headphones that although sound OK, but aren't in anyway ground breaking. These listening devices aren't true in-ear products. This in itself is a surprising choice as their N8 and E7 previous flagship Symbian mobiles are all accompanied by these types of headphones, where they do sound better than the ones provided with the 800.

There is an extra element of confusion here, as Nokia has collaborated with Monster, the makers of Dr Dre Beats audio headphones. Monster is producing listening devices for Nokia, but these aren't included either. We would have thought a set of the Monster in-ear products could have been bundled in the retail box, seeing as the 800 is the Nokia flagship handset and one the company is trying to set apart from other manufactures' offerings.


The Nokia Lumia 800 ships with a 3.7-inch AMOLED capacitive touch screen. This is slightly smaller than the 3.9-inch display found on the Finnish phone company's MeeGo based N9, which bares the same overall inherent design. This reduction is to accommodate the standard Windows Phone 7 feature keys of, the back, home and the search button - all located along the base of the display.

The screen on the Lumia 800 has the Nokia ClearBlack technology that we first began seeing on their flagship handsets of last year, with the Symbian N8, E7 and C7 phones. This feature allows the 800's screen to be viewed in bright sunlight, without losing any image quality due to the light.

We have tried and tested this feature with pleasing results and can testify to its usefulness. Other phone manufacturers deploy their own take on anti-brightness screens, with the Super AMOLED Plus technology in the case of Samsung and the basic Super LCD screen on HTC devices. These are all welcomed additions to the phone world, but Nokia's variant seems to offer the best solution that we have seen so far, without affecting battery life too much.

The display quality is both sharp and clear with the aid of 800x480 resolution, along with offering a good image quality for both still images and video playback. We compared video playback on the Nokia Lumia 800 to that of the Samsung Galaxy S II, taking into account the limited codecs on offer with Windows Phone 7. Nokia's handset came out on top in terms of quality, sharpness of details and clarity in the overall video quality.

The screen itself is billed as being curved, just as the Google Nexus S was from late last year. Samsung's Android device has more of a concave design, where the Nokia handset is more convex. To be more precise, the display is raised a little from the phone, where the underlying floating-screen has edges curved down to the handset.

Touch requests were interpreted well by the phone and we couldn't fault the 800 there, as the only lag we saw was when the phone was updating social networking feeds which wasn't down to the mobile, rather the 3G signal. Where we could fault the mobile is on how much the screen needed to be cleaned from fingerprints over an average day, which was quite a lot.


Running on the phone is Microsoft's Windows Phone 7. This has been updated of late to version 7.5, which is also known by the codename of 'Mango'.

This variant has been included on the Nokia Lumia 800 and is more or less the same version of the platform seen elsewhere, from HTC to Samsung devices.

That's to say that Microsoft has decided to keep their current OS very simple, with just two screens - one which houses live tiles, or widgets. These deliver live information such as status updates, email, messages and any other info from widgets.

The other screen contains all the applications installed to the phone, all in a vertical column, along with settings and the key parts to WP7 - the hubs.

This starts with the people hub that offers access to all the contacts on the phone, with information brought in from the likes of Windows Live and Facebook - in the new version of the platform, Twitter and LinkedIn have been included. This hub also shows all the social networking updates for each contact, as well as offering posting and responding to updates.

The other hubs include pictures; music and video; Marketplace for apps; Microsoft Office, with a full office suite of applications and Game hub, which allows for playing Xbox live games and access to an Xbox 360 account.


Nokia has added some value to the Windows Phone 7 OS running on the handset, with additions that no other manufacture has where the majority really haven't added a great deal to platform.

Nokia has included their renowned Maps software, which unlike Google's offering, is actually fully preinstalled. The maps aren't brought down over a data connection, as they reside on the device itself and just as they previously have on Symbian phones.

The Nokia maps are in title form, in the same way as Google maps, but Nokia has also added something else on the mapping front too.

Included on the Lumia 800 is Nokia Drive. This is a turn-by-turn vector based voice sat nav application, which also has all the maps preinstalled and works just like a TomTom device, with a very similar look and feel.

Also on-board is Nokia Music that offers up access to the Nokia music library of 14 million tracks, with free streaming of 100 radio stations made up from all that musicm which can be played off-line too. Tracks can even be bought from the Nokia store, as a rival to Zune's music offering and gigs can be listed from surrounding areas or by even artist.

All these are said to be exclusive to Nokia Windows Phone 7 mobile phones and won't be found on any other manufacturers devices, but we shall see if that remains the case over time.


Nokia's Lumia 800 battery life performed below the limits outlined by the Finnish phone makers, along with being under par as to what ITProPortal would have expected judging by the company's past performance in handsets.

We set up the mobile phone with default access to Gmail, Windows Live, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn - for pulling down emails and status updates.

With a battery at 100-percent, the 800 was able to make 6 hours and 24 minutes worth of calls on our highest recorded test. This was all whilst gathering emails and social network updates at the same time. We repeated the tests a few more times, with 4 hours and 59 minutes observed, plus 4 hours and 5 minutes seen on another test - with various loads of traffic.

The accompanying specifications for the Lumia 800 state the mobile phone is capable of 9.5 hours of talk time, on a 3G network and 335 hours stand-by, 55 hours of music playback or 7 hours for video.

ITPP believes with these test results the Lumia 800 would last two days whilst without the need to recharge - on minor use, a long single day on regular use and under a standard workday on heavy use. This is all based on past experiences, from similar sets of battery bench marking results.

There is a quirk to the recharging of the Nokia 800 and one we have found on other handsets - and that is not being able to power off the phone whilst charging. This will bring down the recharge time considerably, as the phone cannot be completely turned off to accelerate the charge time.

Nokia has bundled in the retail box their ‘fast charger' which helps in getting around this foible of the device, with a final full recharge time of around two hours and thirty minutes to three hours.

The Bottom Line

The Nokia Lumia 800 is a well-designed and aesthetically pleasing Windows Phone 7 handset, with an OS that works well with the mobile phone; a screen that is sharp in picture and responsive to operate; with a camera that offers up decent enough picture quality, a good sized storage capacity and an adequate CPU.

As a Windows Phone 7 device, the Lumia 800 is a good looking piece of equipment - from anyone, and not just Nokia. Any mobile phone manufacturer would be proud to have the 800 in their arsenal, either running WP7 or any other OS.

The iteration of Windows Phone rolled out to the Nokia Lumia 800 feels fast in operation and is a good rendition, although we feel this is thanks to the deep collaboration with Microsoft. There isn't a great deal of customisation any device maker can bring to the platform, but Nokia has gone beyond what's expected. This is by including their preinstalled maps and free access (in part) to their 14 million back catalogue of tracks - all of which will help them being set apart from the competition.

There are some slight issues ITPP personally has with the OS, such as the virtual keyboard not fully reaching the sides in landscape mode but these are just quirks we will have to live with.

The battery life leaves much to be desired for the heavy user, but we are hearing that there could be a fix coming out soon to resolve this problem - which might cancel out one of our major issues with the Lumia 800.

We would have liked to have seen a front facing camera and NFC capabilities, but this would have been the first Windows Phone 7 mobile to have both; coincidentally, the Nokia N9 does have both of these features.

As a new mobile phone venture by Nokia, it is a brave move and one we hope will pay off as ITProPortal believes the Finnish are far from being finished.

Rob has worked in the affiliate industry for many years with large publishers, and previously worked as a journalist on titles such as Wired, PC Magazine, ITProPortal, The Register, The Inquirer, Pocket-Lint, Mobile Industry Review, Know Your Mobile and The Gadget Show.