Nokia Lumia 800 Review: Best Windows Phone Yet

By Michael Oryl on November 17, 2011, 3:14 AM

One of the problems we've seen with Windows Phone devices thus far is that if you've seen one Windows Phone, you've basically seen them all. After all, how much can you do when all the phones feature the same basic specifications and are dominated by a similar touchscreen. The answer usually is "not much."

Or so we thought... Nokia has proven to the industry that it can do Windows Phone better than the competition. Its Lumia 800 features one of the best hardware designs found on a smartphone today -- on any platform -- it also comes bundled with Nokia-developed software that makes the company look like they've been writing Windows Phone apps for years. In short, it's a fantastic smartphone that truly takes Windows Phone to the next level.

Read the complete review.




User Comments: 24

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yorro said:

Best "Windows" Phone.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

Unimpressive all around, low spec. I don't understand the author's excitement about the product. Was this website was paid to flog this thing?

yRaz yRaz said:

VitalyT said:

Unimpressive all around, low spec. I don't understand the author's excitement about the product. Was this website was paid to flog this thing?

You do know that windows phone has full hardware acceleration and doesn't need the brute force that android does, right? My LG Quantum is more responsive than a lot of android phones with higher spec'd hardware.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

yRaz said:

VitalyT said:

Unimpressive all around, low spec. I don't understand the author's excitement about the product. Was this website was paid to flog this thing?

You do know that windows phone has full hardware acceleration and doesn't need the brute force that android does, right? My LG Quantum is more responsive than a lot of android phones with higher spec'd hardware.

I was just replying with the exact same thing!

The thing is, if it runs that well on lower spec hardware (I'ved used a few from HTC and they all were very fast and smooth) then why use more power hungry hardware? its another thing going for Windows Phone really as the battery lasts longer than any other OS.

Guest said:

Sorry but... No.

In matters of hardware I rather get the HTC Titan. I can swap battery and the hardware is gorgeous. The benefit of Nokia would come from added value from Nokia software.

But since I don't give a rat's a** about it, HTC Titan is my choice. Also the screen of the Titan is HOT!

KG363 KG363 said:

How is this better than the Focus S? Or the Titan for that matter? Of the high-end Windows phones, this is on the bottom for me.

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The phone does look great in the shop. Nokia Drive looks cool too. I would go for one for sure if I didn't already have my HD7. I would probably swap from my HD7 if offered for free.

Guest said:

I would not even take one for free, because then I would be locked in to Microsoft's release schedule, which is way to slow. I also do not appreciate them changing the UI every 3 years just so they can sell me the same software over and over and over again.

But good luck for those who get a Windows phone. That is your choice.

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

To each their own. We are hardware enthusiasts, so we love hardware design inside and out. Smartphones these days are less capable PCs that you can take with you at all times, so under that concept specs should matter as much as they do on your laptop. But I digress... if one phone has a quad core CPU and is limited by the same software driving single core CPUs, and the single core feels as snappy to use 99% of the time because the software allows that (and battery savings in the process) I will take the second phone any day.

Furthermore, I believe Michael's point is clear in that he loved the Lumia 800 aesthetics and that he's obviously given some weight to that versus the other handful of Windows Phones that look good, but are more of the same we've seen on this platform and on Android.

hitech0101 said:

Overall nice phone but still apps offered on the market will be a big letdown compared to android besides all smartphones are app driven these days your phone is only good for the apps it runs windows seems way behind in terms of apps.

princeton princeton said:

Guest said:

Sorry but... No.

In matters of hardware I rather get the HTC Titan. I can swap battery and the hardware is gorgeous. The benefit of Nokia would come from added value from Nokia software.

But since I don't give a rat's a** about it, HTC Titan is my choice. Also the screen of the Titan is HOT!

The titan has the worst screen on any WP7 device on the market. Increasing size while keeping the same resolution is a downgrade, not an upgrade. You're not fitting anything more on screen, you're just enlarging the pixels.

On top of that it's the typical Twisted Nematic type panel HTC uses in almost all their phones. Enjoy having 1/64 the colors that OLED based WP7 devices have.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Princeton said:

Guest said:

Sorry but... No.

In matters of hardware I rather get the HTC Titan. I can swap battery and the hardware is gorgeous. The benefit of Nokia would come from added value from Nokia software.

But since I don't give a rat's a** about it, HTC Titan is my choice. Also the screen of the Titan is HOT!

The titan has the worst screen on any WP7 device on the market. Increasing size while keeping the same resolution is a downgrade, not an upgrade. You're not fitting anything more on screen, you're just enlarging the pixels.

On top of that it's the typical Twisted Nematic type panel HTC uses in almost all their phones. Enjoy having 1/64 the colors that OLED based WP7 devices have.

Funny you say that, because, according to WP7 enthusiasts, the Titan has the second best screen of all WP7 devices... Just behind the Lumia 800. Here's a part of a review, in which the difference is fairly noticeable*:

[link]

The reviewer admits he knows HTC screens are subpar (as I do too), but you seem to tie twisted nematic screens with "inferiority." Granted, TN-effect screens are not as advantageous as OLED displays, but even proprietary technology can provide equal presentation when compared to an OLED. Take Nokia's ClearBlack technology. Compare any other OLED display to it and you can tell which one is better (higher contrast, deeper blacks). Despite both being OLED.

In the case with HTC's S-LCD, even though they haven't announced any specific technology on their WVGA screens, it is undoubtedly clear that, even thought it is still a TN-effect S-LCD, it still looks better than most OLEDs in the WP7 platform. Somehow, that is. It might just be they implemented something similar.

*If you don't believe the reviewer, the difference is also noticeable if you pause the video, and notice the white menu arrow on the right. You can see that the arrow on the Focus S' screen is more opaque.

Guest said:

^lawfer to the rescue! lol

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

i think anyone who actually used a windows phone wouldn't bicker about the lack of a dual core processor. The phone is very fast and very snappy. And complaining about Microsoft update cycle is interesting. If you compare to Android devices where everyone seems to run a different version of the OS offering different features, some missing between devices running the same version.. what a headache. And Apple - I had an iphone 3G for work and they released iOS 3 which slowed my phone, then version 4 which crippled it. And its probably good version 5 doesn't run on it either because it would probably cough and die.

Horses for courses but my main point - you don't need a dual core for a windows phone. The OS is streamlined and snappy without one and you get the benefits of using less power. Whats not to like.

DokkRokken said:

I love this phone so much. It has a unique style unlike anything else on the market. I could care less if it has a single core as long as it's functionality is snappy and fluid.

My only nitpick is the lack of 'Wi-Fi Hotspot' functionality. But that's a very small negative.

princeton princeton said:

lawfer said:

Princeton said:

Guest said:

Sorry but... No.

In matters of hardware I rather get the HTC Titan. I can swap battery and the hardware is gorgeous. The benefit of Nokia would come from added value from Nokia software.

But since I don't give a rat's a** about it, HTC Titan is my choice. Also the screen of the Titan is HOT!

The titan has the worst screen on any WP7 device on the market. Increasing size while keeping the same resolution is a downgrade, not an upgrade. You're not fitting anything more on screen, you're just enlarging the pixels.

On top of that it's the typical Twisted Nematic type panel HTC uses in almost all their phones. Enjoy having 1/64 the colors that OLED based WP7 devices have.

Funny you say that, because, according to WP7 enthusiasts, the Titan has the second best screen of all WP7 devices... Just behind the Lumia 800. Here's a part of a review, in which the difference is fairly noticeable*:

[link]

The reviewer admits he knows HTC screens are subpar (as I do too), but you seem to tie twisted nematic screens with "inferiority." Granted, TN-effect screens are not as advantageous as OLED displays, but even proprietary technology can provide equal presentation when compared to an OLED. Take Nokia's ClearBlack technology. Compare any other OLED display to it and you can tell which one is better (higher contrast, deeper blacks). Despite both being OLED.

In the case with HTC's S-LCD, even though they haven't announced any specific technology on their WVGA screens, it is undoubtedly clear that, even thought it is still a TN-effect S-LCD, it still looks better than most OLEDs in the WP7 platform. Somehow, that is. It might just be they implemented something similar.

*If you don't believe the reviewer, the difference is also noticeable if you pause the video, and notice the white menu arrow on the right. You can see that the arrow on the Focus S' screen is more opaque.

The problem with this video is the reviewer himself is unable to give a specific term to describe why he likes it more. He claims the Focus S screen looks more "computerized". Not only is that not a word, but it isn't even a slang word with a meaning. It has no meaning whatsoever. In turn this makes his opinion entirely meaningless. You on the other hand were able to show a specific example on the screen which looks better on the Titan and you used a proper term to describe it.

I do see what you're talking about with the rendering for the arrow in the corner. There's a reason for it. When you initially get a SAMOLED device it has a blue tint for around a month after you buy it. It's due, as you probably know, to the faster degredation of the blue subpixels in OLED screens. It does go away after a bit of time and it's not a valid argument against the displays. If you wanted Samsung could ship them without the blue tint. But it would turn to a warmer looking color scheme(more reds and greens) much faster than it would normally.

Also don't you dare try and claim that I'm the one tying Twisted Nematic screens with inferiority, it's not an opinion, it's a fact. My post contained nothing but factual information relating to the specifications of the screens. TN panel screens display 18bit total color which is in fact 1/64 the amount of colors on a 24bit display like an IPS one or an OLED one. 2^24/2^18=2^6 My initial post actually said IPS or OLED based WP7 devices but I don't think there are any IPS WP7 devices so I removed it. I'll revise that if you can find one.

I also claimed increasing screen size while keeping the same resolution reduces clarity and is thus a downgrade when it comes to picture quality. This is also a fact. Less pixel density=less sharpness.

RH00D RH00D said:

Are you going to run benchmarks on your phone? No? Okay, then if a phone with single-core performs just as good, if not better, than a different OS using dual-core, why would you want the dual-core if the single-core performs just as good or better (under a different OS). Do you need to brag about your epeen?

You're probably the type of people who would buy a 300 horsepower car over a 200 horsepower car even if the 200 horsepower car performed better because of aerodynamics. This is kind of what this is like.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Princeton said:

lawfer said:

Princeton said:

Guest said:

Sorry but... No.

In matters of hardware I rather get the HTC Titan. I can swap battery and the hardware is gorgeous. The benefit of Nokia would come from added value from Nokia software.

But since I don't give a rat's a** about it, HTC Titan is my choice. Also the screen of the Titan is HOT!

The titan has the worst screen on any WP7 device on the market. Increasing size while keeping the same resolution is a downgrade, not an upgrade. You're not fitting anything more on screen, you're just enlarging the pixels.

On top of that it's the typical Twisted Nematic type panel HTC uses in almost all their phones. Enjoy having 1/64 the colors that OLED based WP7 devices have.

Funny you say that, because, according to WP7 enthusiasts, the Titan has the second best screen of all WP7 devices... Just behind the Lumia 800. Here's a part of a review, in which the difference is fairly noticeable*:

[link]

The reviewer admits he knows HTC screens are subpar (as I do too), but you seem to tie twisted nematic screens with "inferiority." Granted, TN-effect screens are not as advantageous as OLED displays, but even proprietary technology can provide equal presentation when compared to an OLED. Take Nokia's ClearBlack technology. Compare any other OLED display to it and you can tell which one is better (higher contrast, deeper blacks). Despite both being OLED.

In the case with HTC's S-LCD, even though they haven't announced any specific technology on their WVGA screens, it is undoubtedly clear that, even thought it is still a TN-effect S-LCD, it still looks better than most OLEDs in the WP7 platform. Somehow, that is. It might just be they implemented something similar.

*If you don't believe the reviewer, the difference is also noticeable if you pause the video, and notice the white menu arrow on the right. You can see that the arrow on the Focus S' screen is more opaque.

The problem with this video is the reviewer himself is unable to give a specific term to describe why he likes it more. He claims the Focus S screen looks more "computerized". Not only is that not a word, but it isn't even a slang word with a meaning. It has no meaning whatsoever. In turn this makes his opinion entirely meaningless. You on the other hand were able to show a specific example on the screen which looks better on the Titan and you used a proper term to describe it.

I do see what you're talking about with the rendering for the arrow in the corner. There's a reason for it. When you initially get a SAMOLED device it has a blue tint for around a month after you buy it. It's due, as you probably know, to the faster degredation of the blue subpixels in OLED screens. It does go away after a bit of time and it's not a valid argument against the displays. If you wanted Samsung could ship them without the blue tint. But it would turn to a warmer looking color scheme(more reds and greens) much faster than it would normally.

Also don't you dare try and claim that I'm the one tying Twisted Nematic screens with inferiority, it's not an opinion, it's a fact. My post contained nothing but factual information relating to the specifications of the screens. TN panel screens display 18bit total color which is in fact 1/64 the amount of colors on a 24bit display like an IPS one or an OLED one. 2^24/2^18=2^6 My initial post actually said IPS or OLED based WP7 devices but I don't think there are any IPS WP7 devices so I removed it. I'll revise that if you can find one.

I also claimed increasing screen size while keeping the same resolution reduces clarity and is thus a downgrade when it comes to picture quality. This is also a fact. Less pixel density=less sharpness.

Regardless of what the reviewer meant or didn't mean, the difference <i>is</i> noticeable. Granted, he wasn't precisely compendious in his assertions, but his opinion is clear: he thinks it <i>looks</i> better, it doesn't have <i>be</i>. On the other hand, the fact that the difference is noticeable even on recorded video has got to say something. Alternatively, these phones are GSM unlocked, bought contract-free from the UK; WPCentral has had them for little over a month. Just recently they got around doing these impressions/reviews.

I'm not claiming anything, my friend. I meant that you immediately tied TN screens to "inferiority" without knowing whether there is a technology on top of the base specifications. There's a reason why, say, the HD7S has a TN SLCD screen and the Titan also has a TN SLCD, and yet the latter looks prominently better (here: [link] ). In essence, all I said was, just because it's a type of screen does not prevent the OEM to implement something on top of the base specs, which is why I used Nokia's ClearBlack technology that can be found on their AMOLED displays, as an example.

The main difference with that example, however, is that HTC never announced any type of technology or modification on their WVGA screens. The only explanation (that is, because HTC hasn't provided any specific specs on their website or press releases), might be that this SLCD is an updated version of sorts or something along that line.

I never said TN screens are superior, I actually admitted (twice in my comment), that I agree that it is subpar and that it doesn't have the advantages of OLEDs. So I don't know where you got that from.

Lastly, my main point is that the Titan is not the worst looking device of all WP7 (all other phones I know of use TFT), but is actually the second best-looking device from the evidence I've shown (since it is assumed the Focus S' SAMOLED Plus display looks better than the 1st gen WP7 phones). Until I get to play with the Titan this Sunday, that is the undeniable truth.

veLa veLa said:

I already have my Galaxy S II, but if Nokia can pull this off they will save themselves and microsoft a world of hurt.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

burty117 said:

yRaz said:

VitalyT said:

Unimpressive all around, low spec. I don't understand the author's excitement about the product. Was this website was paid to flog this thing?

You do know that windows phone has full hardware acceleration and doesn't need the brute force that android does, right? My LG Quantum is more responsive than a lot of android phones with higher spec'd hardware.

I was just replying with the exact same thing!

The thing is, if it runs that well on lower spec hardware (I'ved used a few from HTC and they all were very fast and smooth) then why use more power hungry hardware? its another thing going for Windows Phone really as the battery lasts longer than any other OS.

+2

That is one of the reasons my next smartphone will be a WP device.

Guest said:

"no 1080p HD video recording" That's only a software (WP7.5) restriction that should be mentioned. In any case, filming with 1080p with a lousy cellphone camera doesn't make the video quality ANY BETTER than in 720p with better optics. Take Motorola Droid Razr for example. Android offers currently 1080p there but video quality isn't that great at all.

Guest said:

I am a owner of a Iphone4, and the previous owner of a Samsung Galaxy S and HTC desire, So as you can tell I like to dabble with different operating systems and platforms. I have played with the Lumia 800 and I find it to be different but intresting with plenty of touches that make it quite superb and intuitive. The live tiles are easy to use, with a clean and well integrated interface. I like the design, feels solid and clean in the hand, even if a bit heavy. Al in all I say dont knock till you try, go to your local store and try one before you bash them, I didnt like the idea of one, but I was pleasently impressed, In fact I dont know if I might treat myself for christmas....

Guest said:

yes it is. i can't wait to get one ...even now!

Guest said:

Can't wait to get this; they say it's a LOT lighter than the newer 920 and the features are enough for me. I can be on the AT&T's 4G LTE network right now... this phone, combined with blazing fast 4G speeds = ultimate work phone (I'm living in New York as a graphic artist). Great review!

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