The Nokia Lumia 800 Experience

The cool people at Nokia approached me about 2 weeks ago and offered to ship a Nokia Lumia 800 to me for a 2 weeks trial together with a pair of invites to the Music Matters Pool Party featuring Tony McGuinness of Above & Beyond.

Always game to play with something new, I accepted the trial and within 48 hours or so, the phone arrived! I was very surprised to be honest. I didn’t know that they were going to ship a handset from the UK. I thought it was from the Singapore office or something.

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I like the physical form of the Nokia Lumia 800. It feels very slim and sleek in my hands. I quite like the screen display as well though I thought it was a bit too narrow and claustrophobic for my liking. I also turned off the auto-brightness thing on the phone coz I like it to be consistently bright.

home screen post personalisation

I actually was very pleasantly surprised with the Windows OS. It is very responsive and quite comparable to the iOS… as opposed to my Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 on Android. Windows OS has definitely done something right with their Windows 7 OS for mobile. I also like the Metro UI.

However, I’m not sure if it’s the handset or OS issue but a few times, I wanted to scroll down the list, I ended up opening an app instead. It was almost like it was too sensitive/not detecting my finger movements correctly.

Other than that, I’m actually quite happy with the Windows OS, it is definitely definitely going to give Apple a run for their money. I’m also quite shocked that the Windows OS didn’t crash on me during the 2 weeks trial. LOL. I managed to crash the iPhone about 2 or 3 times during my first 2 weeks of use.

Speaking of crashing, while the Nokia Lumia 800 didn’t crash on me, it was quite annoying that every time I put my microSIM in or out of the Nokia Lumia 800, the phone reboots. Typical Microsoft.

Anyway, the Metro UI is designed in such a way where you intuitively know that there is more stuff to the right or left of the screen. You can see that the heading “Office” doesn’t fit exactly into the screen so you instinctively want to scroll to the right to see the rest of the word.

It is a pretty clever UI design but it disturbs me a lot. I have a thing where stuff should fit nicely within a certain space so when I see how the word “Office” or “Facebook” doesn’t fit within the width of the screen, it makes me scroll obsessively and drive me nuts. It probably is just me though…

While I was at Digital Matters, one of the guys at the Nokia booth told me about the Nokia music service. Can’t remember the details but the gist of it is something like Nokia has a music service where you can music stream from a playlist/radio stream sorta thing and there is a music store to buy music legally as well. Can’t remember if the mp3s are copy protected or not though… I think not but am not sure. Ask the sales person or something.

What caught my eye is the “gigs” option. It supposedly is like a map/foursquare like service which tells you if there are any gigs nearby. Very interesting but I didn’t try out this function to be honest. Didn’t really think it was going to be that useful in Singapore since I pretty much am on top of most if not all the gigs available but it sure would be useful overseas where I’m noob.

While it was mostly good experience with the Nokia Lumia 800, I was actually quite disappointed with the camera. The image captured wasn’t very sharp. I generally have pretty stable hands where I can take photos at gigs without flash and I get sharp images still. Check out the photo I took using the Nokia Lumia 800’s camera:

image taken using a Nokia Lumia 800 without retouching. only resized.

Also, maybe because I’m very used to the iPhone but I find that it takes a while to charge the phone up. Nevertheless, it is doing a very good job with battery life so I can’t complain much there. However, I add that I didn’t sync my email to the Lumia 800 since it would have been such a hassle to sync everything in only to erase it after that. I know push mail sucks up quite a fair bit of battery life.

All in all, I find the Nokia Lumia 800 still needs a bit of work but it has such potential to put up some serious competition with Apple’s iPhone. I’ll look forward to future models of the Nokia Lumia series and we’ll see what happens when my handset contract ends in 2013.

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