The 8800 Arte is satisfyingly solid and heavy and its constructed from the finest smoked glass and composite metals. With the slider shut, the 8800 is minimalist chic – an expensive-looking blend of black metal and glass with a simple chrome metal trim which acts as a protective buffer for the slider as it opens and shuts with a loud, satisfying clack.
As for buttons, you get a simple joypad and two soft keys (which light up when the phone is activated), which is perfectly adequate. The rear of the phone is just as sparse, but with a matt finish and the solitary camera lens. It’s gorgeous.
Slide the phone open, and you'll reveal a simple numeric keypad. It's a little cramped in there, like an Formula 1 car's cockpit, but the keys are neatly bevelled to assist with tapping in numbers and texts. There are roomier, easier to use keypads, but the 8800 Arte just about gets away with it.
It’s better equipped than Nokia’s previous luxury phones, with a 3.2-megapixel camera and 3G data speeds onboard, together with 1GB of built in memory. However, it lets itself down a little by excluding an expandable memory slot and there’s no 3.5mm jack port for the music player. However, the phone does mute when you turn it over, which is cool.
As mentioned, the 8800 Arte is navigated via a joypad and two soft keys which adds to the minimalist aesthetic, but does take a little getting used to because single keys are designed to do the job of two. For example, when dialling a phone number, click the bottom of the left soft key and you can call the number; click the top of the same key and you can add the number to your contacts list or send a message. It’s a logical idea, but – while it may not look as good - it would make more practical sense to have a separate call and reject key.
Click the joypad to access the 8800 Arte’s menu and you’ll be presented with those familiar Nokia menu icons which make its Series 40 phones such a breeze to use.
There are few complaints here, although we couldn’t really enjoy the music player because the phone doesn’t come with stereo headphones and there’s no port for plugging in your own.
The battery life is weak for a phone with such a hefty price tag. In fact, it’s weak by any standards
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:51:47 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
It?s a stunning-looking phone that?s made from the finest materials.
It?s expensive, it?s heavy, the battery is poor and there?s no expandable memory slot.
With a SIM-free price tag of almost £700, the Nokia 8800 Arte really needs to pull out all the stops, and quite rightly, everything in the handset’s package screams class, from the included accessories to the packaging.
Unfortunately, you do get a lot of box for your phone, so Nokia loses environmental points for its freight-induced carbon footprint. However, considering the phone’s price tag, you may hang on to the box so that it can be stored, cosseted and safe, while not in use.
In fact, the Nokia 8800 Arte also comes with a neat leather protective pouch which fits like a glove. It’s such a tight fit that the pouch includes a black ribbon to help you extract your phone from its home when you need it. Another freebie with the 8800 Arte is the Nokia BH-803 Bluetooth headset, which is a work of art in itself and complements the phone beautifully.
Let's face it, if you spend £670 on a phone, you'll want to show it off. Thankfully, the 8800 Arte also comes with a shiny, yet solid, black charger cradle which both charges the phone and presents it like the expensive business toy that it is. The base also flashes subtly to indicate the phone's charging status, which is quite a nice touch.
Like the charger cradle, the 8800 Arte is satisfyingly solid and heavy and is constructed from the finest smoked glass and composite metals. With the slider shut, the 8800 is minimalist chic – an expensive-looking blend of black metal and glass with a simple chrome metal trim which acts as a protective buffer for the slider as it opens and shuts with a loud, satisfying clack.
As for the buttons, you get a simple joypad and two soft keys (which light up when the phone is activated), which is perfectly adequate. The rear of the phone is just as sparse, but with a matt finish and the solitary camera lens. It’s simply gorgeous.
As for features, the 8800 Arte packs in a solid all-round selection, including a 3.2-megapixel camera with auto-focus, 3G data speeds, music and video streaming, a decent music player, Bluetooth and 1GB of built in memory. The display is small but sharp and striking and, thanks to its Series 40 user interface, it's generally very simple to use and we love the fact that you can mute incoming calls just by turning the phone face down.
Click the joypad to access the 8800 Arte’s menu and you’ll be presented with those familiar Nokia menu icons which make Series 40 phones such a breeze to use. In typical 8800 Arte style, the menu’s colour scheme is a moody black and sepia. That’s all except for the icons giving access to the phone’s Opera Mini browser and to Nokia’s WidSets, which are, jarringly, red and blue respectively.
If you’ve never heard of Nokia’s WidSets, it’s an internet service where users can create, publish and share internet content on their mobile phones. It uses mini-applications called 'widgets' to identify updates made to the user's favourite internet sites and pushes the content to a phone as soon as it becomes available. It’s all good fun, especially if you’re into your social networking.
With Nokia’s recent luxury phones, the 8600 Luna and the Sirocco 8800, the camera has been a fairly ordinary two-megapixel snapper. However, the 8800 Arte manages a 3.2-megapixel resolution lens together with the benefit of auto-focus. There’s a bit of a knack to getting the most out of the auto focus. We eventually realised that, by depressing the joypad key while framing your shot and releasing it only when you are happy with the composition and focus, you’ll get satisfactory results most of the time. That said, sharpness and clarity are a way off the top camera phones on the market and indoor shots can appear a little gloomy. Meanwhile, the video camera is easy to operate and you get all the settings and effects you find with the still camera.
There’s 1GB of built in storage on board the 8800 Arte, which is a bonus and handy for storing your photos and videos and, of course, music.
The Arte can store play multiple music file formats and stores tracks according to playlist, artists, albums and songs. The music player is seems a perfectly good one, but, annoyingly, you don’t get a 3.5mm jack port for plugging in your own headphones. You don’t even get a port which will accept Nokia’s regular headphones. Instead, the port is designed to fit the 8800 Arte’s unusual charger and cradle connection and, as the handset comes with a Bluetooth headset, you’ll have to search out and buy some stereo headphones to really enjoy the music player.
When you’re spending a lot of money on a phone, you should expect a 3.5mm jack port and a regular charger connection so that you can listen to music while the phone is charging, so this is a major omission for the 8800 Arte. On top of that, the battery life is poor and there’s no memory card slot. However, even with the price tag, it’s hard not to be attracted to this, admittedly, heavy lump of metal and glass. But, it’s a bit like taking a Bentley Continental to the seaside. Sure, it’s uneconomical and a nightmare to park, but you know that the bloke with the Nissan Micra will be jealous.