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Nokia Lumia 800 - Performance and Verdict

By Edward Chester

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

When it comes to this phone's performance, the first thing to note is its single core processor. While Windows Phone is generally a quite nippy operating system that does a good job of hiding any performance deficiencies in a phone's hardware, there's no getting round the fact that this phone is slower than all the dual-core handsets out there, despite its single core running at a sprightly 1.4GHz.

For basic tasks you don't really notice much but start to flip between apps at a pace and you'll notice the several-second pauses as one closes and the other loads. In isolation you certainly wouldn't call the phone slow but in comparison to its peers, it is a step behind. Thankfully gaming performance is good enough to hold a candle to the competition.

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Turning to the task of making calls, the Lumia 800 is a little disappointing. We're used to impressive sound quality from Nokia phones and only found the Lumia 800 to be average. That said there's still plenty of volume on tap and the tone is pleasing, and we had no issues with reception. The speaker is likewise reasonably loud but not the most fulsome and powerful we've heard.

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We were a bit disappointed by the Lumia 800's camera too. With Nokia having pushed the boat out with its N8 handset (it features a 12 megapixel sensor and a Xenon flash), we expected this new flagship handset to at least equal its predecessor. However, Nokia has reined things in and equipped the 800 with only an 8megapixel sensor and twin LED flashes. The result is a camera that is about equal to that of all the other 8 megapixel models used on phones such as the iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy S2. In fact, it's possibly a step below as it really struggled to properly expose the comparatively dark streets and shaded rooftops in our outdoors test shot. The camera app itself is very good, though, with plenty of options on offer, and the ability to touch the screen to focus make shots like our off-centre closeup of a flower a cinch. The proper camera button also makes taking photos really easy and the twin LED flash is decent.

Nokia Lumia 800Nokia Lumia 800Nokia Lumia 800

HD Ready 720p video as opposed to Full HD 1080p is all you can shoot with the camcorder too. However, this is more of a spec list difference than a truly practical one as the benefits of 1080p over 720p are limited when the overall quality of phone camcorders is so mediocre. Moreover, in every other regard footage looks great with good colouring and exposure, and smooth motion.

Another aspect of Windows Phone in general and this phone in particular that annoys is that you can't just drag and drop files onto it. Instead you must install the Zune software to sync all your media for you. It is a decent piece of software that will convert many videos to the right format as it syncs them but as with iPhone, it's annoying that you can't just quickly pop/grab a file or two onto/off the phone.

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One final area where you might have hoped for Nokia to push the boat out is with battery life but again we're only looking at average life here. If you're careful you'll get two solid days between charges but generally you'll want to top it up every night.

All of which adds up to the Nokia Lumia 800 being a fairly mid to high-end smartphone, and accordingly you can pick it up for a little under the going rate for the fanciest phones. Up front you can get it for around £400 and on contract you can pay as little as £20 a month with no up front cost, though this will be for a 24 month contract.

Verdict

The Nokia Lumia 800 is in many ways an impressive phone, and most people are sure not to be disappointed in picking one up. It's beautifully made, has great ergonomics, is reasonably nippy in operation, has a slick, capable operating system, and Nokia has brought some interesting extras to the Windows Phone party. However, there's no denying it is technically behind the curve. The screen is bright but not very sharp, the camera is middling, its single core processor is slow compared to the dual-core competition and Windows Phone has enough limitations that it doesn't overall stand above any other operating system. We thought this phone could be the light of our lives but sadly the flame has flickered out.

Overall Score

7

Scores In Detail

  • Design 9
  • Features 7
  • Camera 7
  • Performance 7
  • Usability 9
  • Value 7
Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

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.

Ed

October 26, 2011, 10:21 pm

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

ElectricSheep

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).

mato77

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 !

anandjm

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 .

ChaosDefinesOrder

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

Lantic

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.

Antivirus

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

ReySys

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.

FeckDrinkGirls

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

MotorMouth

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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