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Nokia Lumia 800 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £468
inc VAT

A fast, smooth Windows Phone 7 smartphone with some decent free apps, but the camera lets it down


Windows Phone 7 Mango, 3.7in 800×480 display

Of course, you can add your own music to the handset using the Zune desktop software. With 16GB of storage on the device, there’s a fair amount of room for music, videos and any apps that you want to download. There’s no expansion card slot to add more memory and it’s a shame that the phone isn’t available with different capacities.

The range of apps is also slightly problematic with Windows Phone 7, as there’s simply not the range that either the iPhone or Android devices enjoy. It’s slowly getting better, but more support from major developers is really needed.

While the lack of apps may be a problem, the OS has a lot built-into it. The Outlook email is incredibly easy to use and brilliant if you’ve got an Exchange server at work. Having Office Mobile as standard is brilliant for working on documents on the move, too.

A Micro-USB port neatly hidden at the top of the handset (behind a neat hinged flap) is used to charge the handset and connect it to a PC. It sits next to the SIM card slot, which takes an iPhone-style Micro SIM. If you’re upgrading your contract or buying a SIM-free handset you’ll need to make sure that your service provider sends you out a suitable SIM.

With many people turning to their phone for video and photos, the Lumia 800’s 8-megapixel camera should be of interest. Results with it were mixed, though. Taking photos on a bright day inside showed that the camera’s dynamic range was poor. In particular, light from windows was completely blown out. It even struggled a little with office lights, creating a kind of halo effect. This even happened on a slightly duller day.

Nokia Lumia 800 indoor test shot

Without sunlight streaming in, images were pretty good and, while below compact camera quality, are certainly of good enough quality for web use. We like the fact that there’s a dedicated camera button to take shots, with a half-press focussing and setting the exposure; you can also tap the touchscreen to focus on a point and take a photo.

Nokia Lumia 800 outdoor test shot

Video suffered from a similar dynamic range problem. When we took some test footage with the bright sun to our left, the left-hand side of the footage was very soft and quite blown out. This is a tough test for any video camera, but the Lumia 800 was particularly poor. It’s a shame, because out of direct sunlight its 720p footage was detailed. Overall, it will do for those moments that you want video and don’t have a dedicated camera, but the iPhone 4S produces better-quality shots.

Click the video to go to YouTube and watch the full-screen 720p footage

Battery life seemed pretty reasonable, lasting 3hr 30minutes in our video test with the screen on full brightness. Lowering the brightness to half, we managed 5hr 48minutes. It’s half the time of the iPhone 4S, but the Lumia is much smaller, and in-line with other Android and Windows Phone 7 devices.

Even given the problems with the camera, the Lumia 800 is by far the best Windows Phone 7 handset that we’ve seen. That may sound like faint praise, but it’s not. Windows Phone 7 is a slick and smooth OS, besting Android and coming up to iPhone levels of quality. The lack of apps could be problematic for some, but the number and range is growing, while all of the important features (Twitter, Facebook and email) are built into the OS – which is the latest version, called Mango.

With the Lumia 800 Nokia has created a handset that’s beautifully made and desirable, which is half the battle in a lot of people’s eyes. Given you can get the handset for free on a £25-a-month contract (it’s sub-£400 on PAYG and £468 SIM-free), it’s pretty good value too. If the more imposing Android and more expensive iPhone 4S aren’t you’re thing, Windows Phone 7 is a decent alternative and the Lumia 800 the best handset so far.

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Main display size3.7in
Native resolution800×480
CCD effective megapixels8-megapixel
Video recording formatMP4
Internal memory512MB
Memory card supportN/A
Memory card includedN/A
Operating frequenciesGSM 850/900/1800/1900 3G 850/2100
Wireless dataHSDPA


Operating systemWindows Phone 7 Mango
Microsoft Office compatibilityWord, Excel, PowerPoint
Email clientPOP3/IMAP, ActiveSync
Audio format supportMP3, AAC
Video playback formatsASF, AVI, VC-1, WMV, MP4, H.264, 3GPP
FM Radiono
Web BrowserInternet Explorer
Accessoriesrubber case
Talk time9.5 hours
Standby time14 days

Buying Information

SIM-free price£468
Price on contract0

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