It has been a while since I last attended a Nokia’s media event for the bloggers. My personal schedule seems to be in conflict with Nokia’s calendar lately for some reasons. I have been anticipating Nokia’s next generation smartphone. Suffice to say, I am happy to be able to make it for the Lumia event held last week – a first in the region. We went through a lengthy demo of what the new Windows phone can do. And we spent some quality time with the product managers and other Nokia professionals as we experienced the Lumia 800 & 710. So what’s my first impression? Read more to find out!
A phone’s design is important to me. It is a statement of who I am. I use an Android phone for the simple reason of not wanting to be like every other mobile phone user in Singapore. Lumia 800 is sophisticated, and beautiful. It has a smooth, one piece body that slightly curved onto the screen. The design is breathtaking, like no other. Lumia 800 comes in three colors: black, cyan, and magenta. For a sharper looking design, I would strongly recommend cyan or magenta. If you are a music lover, you may consider getting the Nokia Purity Stereo Headset or Purity HD Stereo Headset by Monster. One is for in-ear style, and other one is for on-ear. Monster has created headsets for Apple iPhones. It is good that Nokia gets them to design not one, but two for theirs too.
Lumia 710 is the entry level Windows phone. I asked if Lumia 800 is considered as Nokia’s new flagship and they said no. Price-wise, I would expect Lumia 800 to be below the flagship products of other platforms. Hence, whatever I get to say here, do take cost as a consideration.
Lumia 800’s screen size is 3.7″. For those of you (like me) who are used to 4.2″+, it could be quite an adjustment if you switch to this new Nokia phone. For Apple users who are used to 3.5″, Lumia 800’s display area may seem OK. Lumia 800 has a lower resolution compares to other top end smartphones. And it weights 142g, almost as heavy as an iPhone. It is 20% heavier than the Android phone I am using. Does weight matter? Personally I prefer a lighter phone. But 99.99% of the local users who use iPhone may say nah.
Windows OS and Nokia Unique Offerings
I must admit that I am not that familiar with Windows OS on a mobile phone. The Lumia 800 seems responsive. Then again, almost all new phones are responsive before they are loaded with apps and contents. So I have no idea if Lumia 800 will remain as responsive as days go by. I know for sure my single core Android phone is crawling at this moment.
The design of Windows OS is pretty clean. There is a wall of tiles for the widgets. And swipe to the next screen is a list of applications. If you are familiar with Nokia phone, you will find yourself at home. Both Lumia phones have Nokia Drive with turn by turn voice navigation as well as Nokia Map. Free, for more than 100 countries. However, in order for Nokia Drive and Nokia Map to work, you must have data access. This could become quite costly when you are overseas. Because turning on data access usually means that you allow other applications to access the Internet on the go.
Lumia phones come with Nokia Music application. A 192kbps MP3 track free of DRM costs around S$1.29 from the Nokia music store. Does this sound enticing to you? The price seems about right, if purchasing music online is your cup of tea.
And it does come with Whatsapp, free.
Unlocking the phone can be via a numeric password pad (like iPhone). It does not have a pattern unlock (like Android). Locking the phone is via a physical button positioned naturally on where your index finger is when you hold the phone upright (not sure how it will be like for left-handers).
Nokia Lumia phones combine Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn feeds, chat and SMS message in one conversation. I seldom social network these days, only on Google+. And I am told that Lumia does not interface with Google+ as of now. I must be an odd ball because majority of the active social networking users I presume spend much time with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I can imagine majority can continue to do just that with the Lumia phones.
Do you often browse full sites on your mobile phone? I do. And I find that for some of my favorite websites, when I double tab onto the screen for the default zoom (that does auto page wrapping), the fonts can be tiny. Maybe I am used to a large screen size and a higher resolution, it can be quite straining to the eyes when browsing the Internet on the Lumia phones. I am not a fan of further zooming onto a webpage and having to scroll left and right constantly to read each line. I strongly suggest trying it out if you are heavy on web browsing.
Under the Hood
Recently I have visited Hong Kong. From the old man I met on the street, to my own cousin, dual core phones seem to be the in-thing. If I am to buy a phone today, I too would prefer a dual core processor (and a large screen would be good). As for the Lumia 800 and 710, they are both equipped with a 1.4GHz single core processor. Do you multitask often? If not, this should not bother you.
This phone is fitted with a 8Mpix Carl Zeiss camera with LED flash. 16GB internal memory. It is pretty decent in today’s standard. Of course, iPhone has the 32GB and 64GB version. But that may cost more.
What about Other Stuffs?
With limited amount of time, there are areas that I am unable to cover. Can Lumia extract the contact list from my Android phone via Bluetooth as promised? What is the collection of Apps like for the Nokia market (I can’t live without Internet Radio these days)? Are the Apps affordable? Can the battery last for a day? These are some of the questions you may need to further investigate if you are serious about wanting to buy this phone.