5-point review: Nokia Lumia 800

You have to feel a little sorry for Nokia.  What was once the household name in mobile phones is now, well, taking a beating from the rest of the smartphone space because it maybe didn’t move as quickly with the times as the rest of the world would have liked.

Long story short, Nokia’s a shadow of what it used to be and, while it’s still the world’s biggest mobile phone maker – in the feature phone space anyway – guys like Apple, Samsung, HTC and Motorola are eating Nokia’s breakfast left and right.

That is, unless Nokia can make a lasting impression with its new range of Windows-based Lumia smartphones.

I recently got my hands on a Lumia 800 for two weeks, here’s my 5-point review:
(1) Pretty.  Solid.

One thing you can never fault Nokia on is the build quality of their handsets.  Ever since I can remember, Nokia was always the quality phone and the Lumia 800 is no different.

It’s a beautifully designed phone, made from high-quality materials like aluminium and toughened glass.  It looks great and comes in a range of modern colours.
(2) Windows Phone 7

Thankfully, Nokia decided to turf its long-in-the-tooth Symbian operating system in favour of something a little more intuitive for its range of smartphones.  Windows Phone 7 is a complete overhaul of the Windows Mobile OS and promises a completely unique user experience for consumers and business users alike.

I’ve never been a fan of Windows Mobile – it’s always been clunky, unstable and badly designed for a small mobile handset screen.  But Windows Phone 7 is a definite improvement.  It’s got a small learning curve and will take you a good day or two to find your way around the features, but once you know the basic layout, it’s a pleasure to use.

Everything you need is clustered in “hubs”, each connected to your social accounts.  Open your picture gallery and it shows you your photos, your saved pictures, and your photo feed from Facebook.  Open the “People” hub and you get a glorified phonebook with all your friends’ details, and their latest updates form Facebook, twitter and whatever other social networks you belong to.

The home screen is completely different from anything you’ve seen on any other mobile phone and – although not my taste – has the potential to be everything you want if you’re an overly social Internet user.

The user interface is as smooth and polished as the phone itself.  It’s snappy, responsive and good looking.  On the surface, the Nokia Lumia 800 looks like a high quality phone.


(3) Error C101A247, Error 800900204, Error 80048869

Setting up the Lumia 800 initially was a nightmare.  The single biggest problem I had with this phone was the fact that error codes are not explained and give you no indication of how to fix them.  All the error codes read like this:

“Your request could not be processed at this time. Please try again later.  Error C101A247” and so on.

I literally spent three days Googling error codes.  I couldn’t even find reasons and fixes for these error codes on Microsoft’s own website.  But eventually I found them after trawling through online forums and, also, partly thanks to dumb luck.

While the user interface of Windows Phone 7 is polished and beautiful, the parts underneath need a lot of work to make this a user friendly experience for people who aren’t as tech savvy or tenacious as I am.

I eventually got all the problems sorted, but it wasn’t without a lot of swearing on my part.


(4) Apps

The biggest selling point of any smartphone is the reservoir of apps that are available to purchase and download that will help you live and enriched life and perform all sorts of miracles.

While the Nokia Lumia has an app store in the form of the Zune Marketplace, the selection of apps isn’t all that great.  In fact, it’s actually pretty poor compared to the Apple and Android Stores.

I don’t know if this is because we’re in SA and we’re geo-blocked from all the good and useful apps, but there wasn’t much, if anything that I found appealing to purchase or download.

Either way, the Zune Market needs a serious kick in the pants.


(5) Everything you need is in the box

When you buy your Nokia Lumia, it literally comes with everything you need to get going.  Unlike many phones on the market, you don’t need to fork out R100 for a hands free kit, R200 for a protective cover and so on because all of these accessories are included already.  It’s a nice thoughtful touch.


Overall: I liked the Nokia Lumia 800 when I eventually got it up and running.  I’m just concerned that it doesn’t really revolutionise anything. 

It’s just another good smartphone and, sadly, I don’t think it’s enough to make people turn away from their iPhones and Samsungs.   6/10




Wash is our resident uber-geek. He sleeps on a pile of comics, speaks fluent Klingon and spends his weekends unleashing all manner of Hell on the battlefields of his PC. If it’s related to gaming, comics, sci-fi or any other form of geekitude… chances are Wash has his sticky paws all over it.




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