Historically lost in the fray by the iPhone and Droid, the Nokia Lumia 800 proves Windows Mobile isn’t dead in the water yet.
The Lumia isn’t business as usual. It features a 1.4GHz single-core MSM8255 processor, 512MB RAM, 16GB storage, and a beautiful 800x480 AMOLED ClearBlack touch screen.
Touch-screen prompts, app performance, and general responsiveness of the software are noticeably improved. Third-party apps, especially, operate smoother, even compared to phones with similar specs like the Samsung Focus Flash and HTC Titan. Heavier apps still experience some lag time, but overall the stability issues on the platform are resolved.
Compared to, for instance, the new SIM-free Motorola Razr, which boasts a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, an 8MP camera with HD 1080p video capture and a 4.3in Super AMOLED qHD touchscreen display, and at just 7.1mm is one of the thinnest smartphones on the market, or the Samsung Galaxy S II or Sony Ericsson Xperia Ar, the Lumia is not as muscular or slim, but still makes its mark.
While the hardware, software, singular design, and stunning display are elevated from previous models, the Lumia’s camera and video quality leaves something to be desired, despite its fancy specs.
While slightly better than the camera on the new Motorola Razr, it does not capture colors, detail, or depth nearly as well as the top-notch cameras on the iPhone 4S or the Galaxy S II. Its auto-focus and shutter are slower, and even on its macro focus setting, the Lumia struggles to focus on close-up objects.
The Lumia’s pre-loaded app Nokia Drive simplifies Windows Phone’s confusing native turn-by-turn GPS function, and the Nokia Maps public transportation feature tells you how many and which stops you need to take, a welcome improvement over Windows Phone's Bing Maps.
The phone's battery life is on a par with most other smartphones. Call quality is excellent and it maintains a connection in weaker signal areas.
You can also pin applications, pictures, contacts, and shortcuts. Swiping right reveals your full list of apps as a single scrollable list.
The Nokia Lumia 800 can currently only be used on AT&T in the U.S. While it doesn’t continue Nokia's trend of making universal pentaband phones, but tests run on AT&T's HSDPA network averaged over 1MB.
Overall, the Nokia Lumia 800 has an innovative design, a gorgeous screen, and a better operating system, but the lackluster camera quality and absence of a front-facing camera are major blemishes.
It retails unlocked for $577.