From Apples to Mangoes: A first look at the Nokia Lumia 800

Let me start off with a disclaimer: I love Apples, especially the phone variety. I’ve had every iPhone since the first, and will likely keep getting them until they’re no longer the best phone for me. I particularly enjoy their industrial design, user experience, and seamless integration with all of my other Apple products (which are plenty). So it comes as a big surprise, to me and those who know me well, when I’m actually excited to review and possibly own a Windows Phone.

A look at the Nokia Lumia 800 from an iPhone owner's perspective

I’m a lover of gadgets – whether it’s an Alienware m18x, Macbook Air, iPhone 4s, Vertex 3 SSD, or Galaxy Note – if it’s awesome, I want it and I will get it.

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When it comes to phones though, I have never really paid much attention to those of the Windows flavor. Not for any other reason except I never had a chance to get excited about something. And if it wasn’t for CES, chances are I wouldn’t have been asking everyone around the office about how I can get my hands on a Nokia Lumia. For those of you who have been in tech hiatus, the Nokia Lumia was awarded the best phone in show at one of the largest and most relevant electronics shows in the world.

And so, after much begging, I was able to get my hands on the Windows Mango-powered Nokia Lumia 800, which is due for launch in North America very shortly.

At first glance, the phone is a work of beauty. And after I picked it up, I was thoroughly in love. See,  I like my phones like my cars - solid, fast, and classy, and the Lumia certainly is all of the above. There’s something to be said about a phone that just feels right and it’s obvious that Nokia paid a lot of attention to this. I’ve never been a fan of the ultra-light plastic phones – those that feel like cheap mp3 players from 10 years ago. The Nokia, however, certainly feels like a premium phone in your hands.

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Of course, what was even a bigger delight was when I turned on the phone. As I’m new to Windows Phones, I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I first saw the tiles on the Metro interface, I always thought that they’d be more style than substance. But I have to say that I find the tiles very useful – showing the latest updates right on the launch screen through big, beautiful blocks was actually enjoyable and practical. The UI is definitely a thing of beauty. I’ve always found my contacts and emails difficult to read on my iPhones, but on this phone, they were just easy to read and simply elegant.

Behold the Lumia 800

What else was unexpected? The speed. Swiping through the screens actually felt faster than on my iPhone 4s – now that’s impressive.

Some other cool features:

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  • Having Word and Excel native on the phone is refreshing. How did I live without this for so long?
  • It comes with an 8MP Carl Zeiss lens for those of us who like tack sharp photos.
  • Turn-by-turn GPS is native and allows pre-downloads of maps.
  • Local Scout is pretty awesome – a native feature that automatically finds nearby points of interest. For me, it found one of my favorite local Japanese restaurants that I thought would never show up on any map. That’s pretty cool!
  • WhatsApp is free!
  • Netflix streamed without hiccups and I was able to resume the Dexter episode I was watching on my PS3
  • Did I mention that the UI is simply elegant? Browsing through the interface was a joy and everything was just so beautiful.

Overall, I’m very impressed with the phone, and have just realized how many products I have in my home that can possibly integrate with this phone (my Xbox 360, my Livedrive account, my Windows desktop, and Outlook on all my laptops). Sadly, I will have to return this phone shortly.

Now onto my 4th day with the phone, I have to say I’m very comfortable with it in my pocket, and will likely buy this or its bigger brother – the Lumia 900 when they go on sale.

Those of you who want to get your hands on the Lumia in Montreal are in luck. Make Web Not War is once again sponsoring ConFoo from February 29 to March 2 – so if you’re going to be there, be sure to stop by our lounge and I’ll be happy to show you my Mangoes.

Lumia 800 @ Make Web Not War

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