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While first generation Windows Phones shipped with 5 megapixel cameras, Nokia's Lumia 800 comes equipped with an 8 megapixel lens - even though it still only records video at 720p HD resolution. The camera on the Lumia is good, and shoots high quality photos most of the time. I find that the focus can be a bit slow at times, but the images it produces are generally sharp and attractive, even if the colors are somewhat subdued.
Video quality is also quite good, and I really just adore the swipe-accessed filmstrip view of photos and videos that the camera offers. It's much more convenient than having to switch modes into a viewer section of the application. Photos and video recorded with the Lumia are synchronized automatically to a personal computer through the Zune software when you connect via USB, but can also be uploaded to Facebook or Microsoft's SkyDrive, or shared via email using a wireless connection.
The Lumia 800 is odd in that it comes equipped with dual music players. Microsoft's beautiful and slightly confusing Zune Player is available, but Nokia also installed its own Nokia Music app on the Lumia.
Both apps share the same playback mechanism and background playback option, but Nokia's app adds a new Gigs feature that lets users find bands that are playing in their local area. Nokia's player also offers support for the Nokia Music store, which offers music in 20 countries.
Microsoft's Zune Player can sync over Wi-Fi with Zune on the desktop, and users with a Zune Pass can access unlimited streaming and downloading of music as well. An FM radio is available for those times when you want to tune into NPR or risk offending your sensibilities with over the air music. A pair of wired headphones (included) must be plugged in for the radio to function.
Since it shares some of its restricted multi-tasking roots with Apple's iOS platform, it's no surprise that the Nokia Lumia 800 can survive significantly longer on a full charge of its 1450mAh battery than Android phones. Nokia rates the phone's battery as being good for up to 9.5 hours of 3G talk time or 14 days of standby time. In my experience, it was easy to get a day and a half out of the phone with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a few email accounts configured on the device and Wi-Fi enabled. People that live and work in a strong signal area could often be able to go 48 hours between charges.
There is, quite simply, no better Windows Phone smartphone on the market than the Nokia Lumia 800. It features wonderful hardware in terms of both design and quality, and Microsoft's operating system runs more smoothly on the Lumia than on any other Windows Phone to date. This phone is a flat out winner, and a great alternative for those that wish to rise above the flood of iPhones and Android smartphones that we wade through daily.
While there has been no official announcement of the Lumia 800 coming to the U.S. as of the time that I write this, rumors have surfaced about a 4G LTE version of the phone that could be headed to AT&T. We can only hope.
Pros: Near-perfect design, solid camera, excellent AMOLED display, fast and silky smooth.
Cons: Non-swappable battery, no 1080p HD video recording.
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