Phone review: Nokia Lumia 800
Can Nokia's latest smartphone, which runs on the Windows Mobile platform, tempt consumers away from the iPhone or Android devices? Mark Needham investigates
So many people remember with fondness the Nokia candy sticks of yore. They were designed for talking, their batteries could last for weeks off a single charge and petrol was still priced in pence per litre. But the world has moved on, and in an attempt to catch up Nokia has ditched the Symbian operating system which powered its previous phones and based its newest phones, such as the Lumia 800, on Microsoft’s Windows Mobile platform.
This makes the Lumia 800 look and feel much more modern than previous Nokia phones. You can slide the screen to find new apps, and pinch to enlarge or contract the screen. With its larger graphics and vibrant colours, the Lumia feels like an iPhone which has relaxed all that painfully controlled Steve Jobs minimalism and let things hang out. Disappointingly, however, the battery life was no better than an iPhone.
Windows Mobile has its own software for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn built in. It views them, and Google Mail and Hotmail, all as different social networks, which it merges into one feed – rather like Flipboard does on the iPad.
The phone has a few handy new features. I liked the ability to find your phone’s location on a map at www.windowsphone.com – to see if you have really lost it on the way home from work or whether it has just slipped down the back of the sofa.
But the greatest strength of Windows Mobile is that it can integrate with other Microsoft services. If you have a Microsoft Live ID (you will if you have a Hotmail or Live email address) the integration of your Live contacts and data is very good and there are similar links to Xbox services. From a business point of view, the integration to Microsoft’s new Office 365 software, the cloud-based versions of Outlook, Word and Excel, should get much more interesting as businesses start to move away from hosting their own servers.
Apart from these integrations into Microsoft’s other offerings, the Nokia 800 was competent and usable, pleasant even, but no more. Back in the days when there were Psions, Palm Pilots and the predecessor of Windows Mobile competing in the PDA market, we used to refer to ‘baby duck syndrome’. Phone users tend to think that the first device they learn to use is the best, and I’m as guilty of this as anyone. It took me nearly two months of having the box sitting on my desk for me to get round to taking the micro SIM out of my iPhone and moving it into this phone.
Unless Apple or Android does something that really annoys you, or you want access to Office 365, there is little reason to move from another smartphone to this one.
|Likely impact on your business||5/10 unless you have Office 365|
|Likely impact on you||5/10|
|Pro||Integrates to other Microsoft services online|
|Con||Little else to get excited about|
Mark Needham is the founder of Widget.co.uk , a specialist B2B distributor of consumer electronic goods. His book, 66 Plots Updated , discusses how the classics of literature would have been affected by smartphones and other new technology.
Device supplied by Vodafone UK Business; Nokia Lumia 800, free on £30 pay monthly plans