Nokia Lumia 800 pictures and hands-on

Stephen Elop has just announced the new Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phone smartphone on stage at Nokia World in London, and here’s a bevy of shots and our thoughts before we dive into a full review nearer the phone’s release in November.

The Nokia Lumia 800 is the company’s new Windows Phone 7 Mango handset and comes with a striking design that is unlike any phone that you’ve previously seen down the pub.

That striking design, which really isn’t like anything on the market from Apple, Samsung, HTC or LG, will come in three different colours: black, cyan and pink.

We played with the cyan model and, as our exclusive pictures show, the Lumia 800 really is bright and playful.

The front sports a large 3.7-inch Super AMOLED screen that screams out from the design with clarity and crispness. That display helps, even on a sunny day, make the iconography of Windows Phone 7 stand out and ready to sing.

Sadly, there is no front facing camera. 

Beneath the screen is the customary three Windows Phone 7 buttons: back, home, and search. The only physical buttons to be found on the phone are down the right hand side of the 800. They are silver and offer volume up and down, power and a dedicated shutter button for the camera that is found around the back of the handset.

The top of the device sports an identical layout to the Nokia N9 and that means a hidden compartment for the micro USB connector. Plus, there's a strange sliding out microSIM tray that is actually the size of a regular SIM card slot. Is Nokia hoping to lure away iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPad owners here?

We slipped in the Vodafone microSIM from our own phone and it fits like a charm. 

Sound for the Nokia Lumia 800 is provided top and bottom. Top, by a 3.5mm stereo jack socket, and the bottom by a speaker that is capable of blasting out tunes.

The battery isn’t replaceable and, like the iPhone, you aren’t going to get anywhere near seeing what the inside of this phone actually looks like. In fact, such is the way that it is built, you don’t get to see any seams.

The body of the 800 is hewn from a single piece of polycarbonate, so it has the sort of seamless design that other "unibody" models offer.

In this case the matte finish on the case means you won’t be forever polishing it, as it shrugs off fingerprints. It has a nice tactile feeling to it too, so we walk away with the impression that it will be fairly secure in your hands even though it is light.

Around the back of the phone you’ll find an 8-megapixel camera boasting Carl Zeiss optics. Nokia has made some strong claims about the camera and we were able to snap a couple of shots, but not get them onto our computer to analyse further. The camera was quick to respond to our tap to focus. It offers 720p video capture too. 

As for the phone itself, the Windows Phone 7 operating system zips along, working as fast as the HTC Titan.

Through all the talk, it looks like Nokia hasn’t really had much access or time to really start to mess around with the Microsoft mobile operating system, so we get a handful of dedicated apps rather than anything fundamentally different with the OS. For all the rumours, the font isn’t Nokia’s new Pure.

So the apps you get are Nokia Drive, Nokia Maps, Nokia Music, an App Highlighter, and a Contacts Transfer app that lets you connect your old phone up to the Lumia 800 via Bluetooth.

Nokia Drive is the company’s turn-by-turn GPS offering that will bring with it all the strengths of Nokia’s GPS software in the past but on Windows Phone 7. Nokia Maps is a more static version for those just needing to find a place and aren’t too fussed about Microsoft’s Bing equivalent.

After a quick play, and we mean quick, it looks like it will do the job to get you from A to B without having to wait for TomTom to get around to making a Windows Phone 7 app (those who can’t wait for more advanced features, you can get one from Navigon).

Nokia Music brings back the company's music store of yesteryear and gives it a Zune style approach. The app looks like the music hub, although we didn’t get much time to play - more on this when we do.

App Highlighter suggests apps you might like and is Nokia’s approach of trying to do a better job of Microsoft’s Marketplace, which, if you’ve used Windows Phone 7 already, isn't great at highlighting new and cool stuff in the same way that Apple or Google do in their relevant stores.

30 minutes with the Nokia Lumia 800 has taught us many things...

Nokia’s approach to turning around the company will be focused on the look and feel of the smartphone. It is going to be a design story, about how you are an agitator; a person keen to break from the iNorm and one that wants to stand out. This is a phone that says, "I am different".

It is also clear that Nokia has worked hard to get this far, but that the journey is only just starting.

The lack of a front-facing camera won’t show its weakness today, but it will when Microsoft rolls out Skype later in the year and that's going to be frustrating.

From our brief time, put against the latest batch of Windows Phone 7 devices out there, the Nokia Lumia 800 looks to be the one that stands out the most. It makes the HTC Radar look boring, and gives the HTC Titan (with its poor screen resolution) a good run for its money in performance too.

Nokia needs that impact, something this device certainly offers, but will it be enough to sway the iPhone and Android masses? That’s going to be the tough question to answer.



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