Taking over from where last year’s Nokia N9 left off, the Lumia 800 uses the same style of body that looks like it has been designed to take a beating.
It’s clear when you pick up the handset that the Lumia 800 is one well-built machine. You have to respect Nokia’s design of this thing: it feels excellent in the hands, like a device that was put together with care and crafted from a single block, which isn’t too far from the truth.
For the Lumia 800, Nokia has used a single block of polycarbonite as the chassis, much like how Apple makes its MacBook Pro laptops out of a single block of aluminium.
While the Lumia 800 is neither the lightest or thinnest smartphone, it still manages to feel very well weighted, even if the rear surface is a touch slippery.
Turning it on, you’ll be greeted by the slick square interface that is Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS. Designed to be an easy operating system, Windows Phone uses animated square and rectangular tiles to show updates, messages, calendar information, and more.
The menu system is very clear, with both a forever scrolling customisable tile menu and all apps showing as one long list.
Jumping between apps yields slick animations, and app usability is made easy with simple left-to-right gestures. When you’re in mail, for instance, you just swipe horizontally to go to a different folder in your mail. That same style of navigation is consistent in most of the Windows Phone apps, making everything very familiar.
Running the apps, it’s clear that Nokia has given the Lumia 800 a speedy enough processor to work with. There was virtually no drop off in speed as we jumped between apps. While the chip isn’t a dual- or quad-core model like we’re seeing in Android phones, Windows Phone still manages to perform well regardless.
It’s the little things you notice on Windows Phone that are nice, too, with the lock screen adopting band art if you’re listening to music, or the ridiculously clear minimalist look the dial screen has. Microsoft and Nokia have really come together to make using this handset a pleasant experience.
Also performing well is the battery, running at around three days with light usage. If you use your phone often, you’ll want to charge your handset at least once a day, although we suspect that most people could push two days out of the 1450mAh battery Nokia has used.