Nokia has got some front. The 8800 Carbon Arte is an S40-toting handset retailing at over a grand. Who, especially in these cash-strapped days, is going to spend more than a thousand quid on a SIM-free mobile phone?
A year ago I drew a sharp intake of breath at the £600 SIM-free 8800 Arte. There has also been a version of the phone with a belly-button sapphire (OK, the gemstone is actually located in the centre of the D-pad), and that, the 8800 Sapphire Arte, is currently listed by Nokia as costing £979 inc VAT SIM-free. However, several factors combine to help justify the 8800 Carbon Arte's four-figure price.
There is the craftsmanship and materials including carbon fibre, titanium, stainless steel and polished glass. There is the 4GB of internal memory, though frankly that's a bit of a poor justification as you can add memory by the gigabyte to phones cheaply these days, and most, unlike this model, have a microSD card slot for the purpose. Yes, that's right. While you do get 4GB of memory here, it is all internal and you can't bulk it out further.
And there is the bundle that comes with the phone. This includes a Bluetooth headset with a rather nice touch-sensitive strip for volume control. A double tap of the touch-sensitive area mutes and unmutes the phone during calls.
You also get a desktop stand. This connects to your PC via cable and can be used to charge and sync the phone. It is reminiscent of the old PDA stands in this respect and allows you to view the screen easily when the phone is on your desk. The charge/sync cable and charge/sync interface on the phone itself both use a microUSB port so you won't be able to use any of your stash of miniUSB chargers/cables while travelling.
There is no wired headset provided and any you choose will need to use that microUSB port as this is the only connector on the phone.
The package also includes a cleaning cloth and a nice pouch into which the phone fits a little too snugly. Trust me, you will look a chump fiddling to get the phone out of its case rather than oozing aspirational, stylish, ubercool vibes.