Hands on with the Nokia 8600 Luna

The Nokia 8800 and its Sirocco successor are the ultimate in style over substance. Both stainless-steel armoured handsets have shown favour with all the poseurs, City wide boys and nouveau riche and the 8800 series has become a little too exclusive and wallet haemorrhaging for us more humble punters (check out the 18-carat gold Sirocco Gold model, which costs £450 on a £35 monthly contract or £800 SIM-free - now that's got to hurt the bank balance). So it's good to see Nokia dropping its luxury range down to a more mainstream level in the guise of the Nokia 8600 Luna. Carphone Warehouse is giving up this slider for free but on a £50 contract. Still not cheap enough for some but it's a small price to pay for a slice of quality phone engineering.

Mobile Choice has had the Luna weighing down our pocket for while now (its 7g heavier than the Sirocco and a hefty beast at 143g) and despite the feature flaws, we have to admit been seduced by its precision and grade A construction. The Sirocco's more sophisticated metallic finish has been replaced with a mysterious noir silhouettebit its still fashioned from stainless steel giving it a highly tactile but indestructible feel. The new look sliding fascia is also mined from a tough glass and the keypad radiates white through the smoky cover when lying dormant.

Probably the most satisfying aspect of the 8600 Luna is the slider mechanism. The 8800 series sports the best skater action we ever seen, using ball bearings for amazingly slick traction. The 8600 retains this incredible spring and glides open like a greased-up Torvill and Dean. It also opens and shut with a resounding snap.

The 8600 exudes Nokia's famed user-friendliness from every pore, from its intuitive UI, through to its spacious and responsive keyboard, soft keys and five-way navigation pad. It feels far more lucid to use than the Sirocco and its QVGA-quality display is also surprisingly better than the 8800 duo, bursting with 16-million colours and crisp, bright detail. If you went on design, first impression and just handling alone, you would stump up the cash for the 8600 Luna without batting an eye lid.

But how does it perform in the mobile multimedia stakes? Can it match the substance with the style? Mobile Choice will let you know in our next review instalment.

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Mobile Choice

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