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Nokia Lumia 800 - Hardware and Screen

By Edward Chester



Our Score:


Getting back to the Lumia 800, as mentioned, the phone's hardware buttons are on the right edge. Up top are the volume rocker and screen lock/power buttons, both of which are perfectly positioned to sit conveniently under your fingers (for lefties) or thumb (for righties). Lower down is the camera button, which is a standard feature on all Windows Phone handsets. This can not only be used to set focus, take a snap and launch the camera app when the phone is on but also it will jump straight to the camera app even when the phone is locked, if you hold it down for a couple of seconds – very useful.

Nokia Lumia 800 1

One potential slip up is with the connectivity along that top edge. The headphone socket is untroubled but the flaps could cause trouble. Press the little blip and up pops one flap to reveal the microUSB socket, while the other section slides over and pulls out, revealing itself to be a SIM card tray (as is becoming more common, the Lumia 800 uses a microSIM). The problem lies in the flip up flap. The combination of it being hard plastic and it needing to be open the entire time the phone is charging means you could easily snap it off if your phone takes a tumble.

Another problem with these flaps is they don't hide a microSD slot, so you can't upgrade the phone's storage. You get 16GB built in, which is probably enough for most people but equally many others want more, and given the iPhone 4S now tops out at 64GB, 16GB seems fairly miserly. On a similar note, you can't access the battery to swap it for a spare.

Below the screen are the main navigation buttons, which along with the camera button conform to standards stipulated by Microsoft. There are three and they must go in the right order; Back, Home and Search. They're nice and responsive and are nicely integrated into the surface of the touchscreen. Our only complaint would be that we'd prefer if they completely disappeared when the screen was off, but it's a very minor gripe. One thing to note, though, is that the N9 was actually able to fill the space occupied by these buttons with an even larger screen, as its ingenious gesture system meant you could do away with any navigation buttons on the front (okay, okay, we'll stop the comparisons now).

Nokia Lumia 800 8

Talking of screens, that of the Lumia 800 is truly dazzling. The contrast of the black chassis and screen of this particular phone probably helps but even on the cyan and magenta models it does look truly eye popping. Likewise the Windows Phone interface aids this impression thanks to its use of large blocks of colour. What really powers this impression, though, is the use of AMOLED technology. Because it doesn't have a backlight, there's no light bleed in dark areas of the screen. This really helps create an impression that the interface just leaps out from the glass panel of the screen, rather than some display behind.

However, all is not rosy. Where the Samsung Galaxy Nexus takes these basic AMOLED qualities then adds in a super high resolution (720 x 1,280 pixels) to make for the most impressive phone screen available, the Nokia Lumia 800 features a relatively paltry 480 x 800 pixel resolution. Add in the fact it uses a Pentile RGBG subpixel matrix and the result is that once you move away from the heavily stylised and optimised world of the phone's main interface, things start to look a quite grainy. The most obvious problem area is the web browser where, particularly if you're looking at non mobile versions of websites, when zoomed out text can look rather fuzzy.

Orange San Francisco 2 (ZTE Crescent) 15

The Nokia Lumia 800 on the left has a graininess to its screen that even the lowly £99 San Francisco II improves upon.

Another potential issue is the colour temperature of AMOLED panels. They can look a bit blue and produce overly saturated, almost unnatural looking colours as compared to LCDs. However, unless you plan to extensively use your phone for professional design work or as your home cinema display, this isn't a huge problem.

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Martin Daler

October 26, 2011, 9:49 pm

"Otherwise, the Nokia 800 looks and feels like a fairly typical Windows Phone"

I realise you guys have a bit of a downer on all things Nokia, but maybe you don't need to betray your prejudice quite as blatantly by trying to pass this off as looking like just any other WP7 phone, when quite clearly in looks at least it is most unlike any other phone out there.


October 26, 2011, 10:21 pm

I was referring to the OS at that point. Sorry if that was unclear.


October 26, 2011, 11:37 pm

Also remember that as part of this desperate deal, MS agreed to give Nokia free reign at the most basic OS level to tweak and adapt it however they pleased. All the more disappointing that it looks as bland as any other WP7 device. (Again, on the OS level).


October 27, 2011, 2:36 am

I can't help myself, but it feels like one looser found another. (Nokia+Microsoft) I am sick and tired of both. I don't think that this handset sell well respectively capture any noticeable market share in Europe. Promising N9 with Meego was scraped and instead of that American CEO @ Nokia is thinking that we can eat anything in Europe what they will serve :D what a mistake amigo Elop !


October 27, 2011, 12:24 pm

Quote: "when quite clearly in looks at least it is most unlike any other phone out there."

Not necessarily. Looks similar to the Foxconn made device more commonly known as Huawei Ideos X6/U9000 or the Motorola Triumph. Can have a look at http://www.motorola.com/Consumers/US-EN/Consumer-Product-and-Services/Mobile-Phones/MOTOROLA-TRIUMPH-US-EN .


October 27, 2011, 2:01 pm

heh read something rather amusing this morning!

Apparently no-one at Nokia speaks Spanish; "lumia" means prostitute according to here: www.wordmagicsoft.com/dictionary/es-en/lumia.php


October 27, 2011, 2:42 pm

@Martin "you guys have a bit of a downer on all things Nokia" ... or do you mean they disagree with your bias?

I used to be Nokia all the way but I am disappointed their delayed efforts have produced this, a larger iPod mini clone. Nokia 7110, 8800 ... these were great phones, well built and different from the pack.

So maybe Nokia are to blame, not TR.

Martin Daler

October 27, 2011, 3:53 pm

@Lantic - of course you are correct, TR does not agree with my bias.

But even so, this is certainly no worse an implementation of WP7 than any other, in some ways (navigation, music possibly) it is slightly ahead of the WP7 pack. Moreover the phone itself acquits itself very well aesthetically, successfully differentiating itself from the mass of iPhone and Desire look-alikes.
So I see a lot to like here, and I think the glass is definitely more half-full than half-empty.
I don't actually use a 'smartphone' of any description, never have. So I am at once totally unqualified to comment in detail, but also free of any need to post-rationalise or self-affirm previous purchases.


October 29, 2011, 4:13 am

"the Nokia 800 looks and feels like a fairly typical Windows Phone"

I think the reviewer should have gone to specsavers... :-D lol


January 15, 2012, 10:12 am

Is not a typical Windows Phone. I ordered mine thru Expansys Mexico. Came from italy. I use an LG Optimus for a time and is a lot better. I find every application that was in my two previous Blackberries (Storm, 8520). You don´t need to reset each time an Application is installed or removed. The Gorilla Glass is truly genial. Is not the best but the future of Nokia with Microsoft looks promising. I agree battery need improvement. Camera is enough for a phone. I use a decent Camera for that. Consider that our phone companies in Mexico tend to delay a lot new technologies. Definetively wins to Blackberry, Need more Apps compared to Android & Apple. The average people don´t use thousand of apps. Extra storage is a value but with a Iomega Wifii is solved. Beed more accesories. Definetly a leap forward! Is unlocked that gives extra value in my opinion.


April 20, 2012, 3:15 am

Both I and my son actually waited for this phone. So far Im onto my third handsetband my son the second. All replacement have been for the same reason LOCKING UP. Factory resets updates all have failed.
You would be on a call thE phone disconnect the call and restarts. It's a massive knock to the Nokia experience


December 21, 2012, 10:15 pm

If you are going to show how one phone displays text less well than another, the least you can do is show text the same size. In your side-by-side shot, the text on the "other" phone is at least one point larger. It is also a different font. Overall, though, I don't see that it shows that the Lumia 800's screen is any worse at all than the phone it is being compared to.

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