There's a lot more hype surrounding the Lumia 800 than the HTC and Samsung Windows Mango phones – probably because the Lumia was supposed to be Nokia's great ‘comeback'. Nokia has played its cards carefully with the Lumia, and the company supposedly worked very closely with Microsoft to bring the full Windows Mango experience to users. I'll be the first one to admit that the result is beautiful.
The Lumia 800 is available in three colours – Black, Fuschia and Cyan. While the Black unit looks a lot more professional, the Fushcia and Cyan units are younger and more playful. The body is encased in a polycarbonate shell, which is durable and not prone to scratches, unlike its metallic counterparts. The 3.7-inch glass display has a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass which makes it scratch-resistant, and Nokia has sucked all the air out between the display and the body, so there's no gap between the screen and the side – it looks like one big, smooth unit. If you observe the phone from the sides, you'll see that the glass curves towards the edges, and adds softness to the four sharp corners.
Powered by a 1.4GHz Scorpion processor and running the Windows Phone Mango (7.5) OS, the Lumia 800 is a seriously speedy handset. When it comes to functionality, as limited as the OS itself may be, the Lumia 800 manages to do everything it’s capable of extremely well. WP7’s stripped down; visually simplistic user interface is what keeps most of their handsets, irrespective of processing power, running quite smoothly. The Tile and Hub set up is really what makes WP7 so attractive. Unfortunately for Nokia though, this fantastic piece of hardware can’t live up to its true potential that’s curtailed by the OS. The Linpak Benchmark test, which we subjected it to, gave us a score of 49.3 Mflops, which is impressive as far as mobile handsets go. Multi-tasking was, of course, a non-issue.
Contact handling has been improved extensively with the mango update. Now, you can even transfer all contacts from any phone to the Lumia via Bluetooth. We tried this with a Blackberry 9780, and all 750 contacts were transferred to the People list on the Lumia, complete with any tagged images.
Disappointingly, the call quality of the Lumia 800 wasn’t as brilliant as we had hoped for. The clarity was just not there, and it was particularly difficult to hear the other person if you or the other person happen to be in a noisy place. Also, if the signal strength isn't perfect, there will be noise within the call. No problem with the earpiece loudness though.
Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop called this the ‘first real Windows Phone’ and based on this performance, it’s hard not to agree - if you can stand the slightly smaller screen, that is.
Battery life isn’t stellar, and while we like the contrast ratios of the ClearBlack Display, it’s not the best on the market. Additionally, the colors seemed to be a bit tinted. The white was rather a bit yellow-ish and the blacks were slightly grey-ish.
The result of our time with the Nokia Lumia 800 has left us wanting more. The big question you have to ask is: do you buy the Nokia Lumia 800 with WP Mango installed or do you wait and see what devices Nokia release on the next and Nokia influenced WP8 devices next year?
We can't look at the phone as just a list of specs. It's the best Windows Phone device out there, but there is room for improvement. However, it’s going to be more than enough for those that pick up the Lumia as their first Windows Phone, and both Nokia and Microsoft will be pretty pleased with the first fruits of their partnership.