Nokia’s first Windows Phone device has been under a lot of scrutiny since its inception and now it’s finally here we have a chance to fairly judge the Lumia 800, rather than speculating, moaning and generally being doomsayers.
To run the nice looking device through its paces we’ve chosen the biggest Android handset out there – the Samsung Galaxy Note. But can the new Nokia/Microsoft joint hold its own?
We aim to find out!
Nokia announced that it would be joining forces with Microsoft earlier in the year and the Lumia 800 is the first device to come to fruition from that union.
The Lumia 800 runs on Windows Phone 7.5 Mango and, as you’d expect, performs very well thanks to the rapidly maturing mobile platform.
You get plenty of upgrades over the launch version of Windows Phone in Mango, including support for (select third party) multi-tasking, social networking support, Internet Explorer 9 (which now supports HTML 5, which is a very important addition in light of Adobe’s recent abandonment of Flash mobile).
Windows Phone 7.5 is a great choice for Nokia and makes the Lumia 800 a viable choice for any mobile fan.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note runs on version 2.3 of Android and the Google software is a delight to use.
There’s apps aplenty available via the Android Market, loads of customisation potential and, most importantly, the platform runs fast, safe and smooth.
Samsung has amended Google’s vanilla software with its own TouchWiz UI 4.0, which means you get extra eye-candy, widgets, apps and the company’s ‘hub’ system for downloading additional content and staying up-to-date with your social networks.
Winner – Draw
Nokia has chosen to imbue the Lumia 800 with a 3.7-inch AMOLED screen that operates at a resolution of 480×800 and has a pixel density of 252PPI.
Choosing AMOLED was a great choice by Nokia and the Lumia 800 thoroughly lives up to its name thanks to the delightfully bright, vivid screen.
The Galaxy Note features AMOLED technology though too. But seeing as AMOLED is Samsung’s baby the device gets a Super AMOLED screen, which operates at a resolution of 800×1280, features a pixel density of 285PPI and measures a whopping 5.3-inches!
The Galaxy Note’s display is a great performer and the size adds so much to the device. If you’re viewing photos or exploring the wonders of the World Wide Web then it’s a fantasic device to choose.
Both AMOLED’s benefit from the same level of responsiveness and low power demands, making them real rivals to Apple’s Retina Display tech.
Put simply: the Nokia Lumia 800 is a very good mobile display, but the Samsung Galaxy Note is a brilliant one.
Winner – Samsung Galaxy Note
Nokia hasn’t scrimped on the power for the Lumia 800. It runs on a single-core CPU clocked at 1.4GHz and also features an Adreno 205 GPU, giving the device plenty of grunt and the inclusion of 512MB RAM will help the device chew through even the most testing apps, games or other tasks.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note offers more though, in the form of a 1.4Ghz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, Mali-400MP GPU and 1GB RAM, which drives the device to perform with blistering pace.
In terms of storage space the Galaxy Note wins too, with 16 or 32GB available internally and a micro SD slot which supports up to 32GB cards. The Nokia can only offer 16GB internally, and doesn’t support micro SD.
Winner – Samsung Galaxy Note
Nokia’s relationship with Carl Zeiss has produced some great camera-phones over the years and while the Lumia 800 is a good device, it’s by no means great.
The 8-megapixel camera, which benefits from autofocus, dual-LED flash, geo-tagging and 720P movie capture, is a nice performer but doesn’t live up to the standards we’ve come to expect from a company with Nokia’s nous.
If you’re willing to invest time in taking a picture with the device you’ll be fine as it’s fully capable of producing stunning results. Nonetheless, the device does struggle to focus and can seem laboured to start from cold, which is never a winner when you’re trying to snap an impromptu photo
These minor gripes can be ironed-out with a software update though, so don’t let this put you off the device entirely.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note features an 8-megapixel camera too, which comes with an LED flash, autofocus, image stabilisation, geo-tagging, touch focus, face & smile detection and 1080P video capture!
The Galaxy Note’s results are very much in keeping with the standard set by the Galaxy S2, which is by no means a bad comparison to make.
The camera interface could do with a smarten-up and maybe a hardware shutter key could be added as well. Aside from this the Galaxy Note is a solid performer.
The device also comes with a 2-megapixel front-facing camera for all your video conferencing or humorous self-portrait needs.
Winner – Samsung Galaxy Note
Form & Build
Samsung Galaxy Note – 146.9 x 83 x 9.7 mm, 178g
Nokia Lumia 800 – 116.5 x 61.2 x 12.1 mm, 142g
Samsung has stuck firmly to its tried and tested ‘plastic über alles’ approach for the Galaxy Note. The device is light, thin and doesn’t really feel as if it should cost a fortune.
Sure, there are no creaks and the device is fairly robust, but the general feel and aesthetic isn’t something we recommend.
The display benefits from a Gorilla Glass coating though and we can’t fault the device for comfort (considering it’s such a big-screened smartphone) so we’ll take our minor gripes and stow them.
The Lumia 800 feels fantastic in the hand and exudes class. It’s polycarbonate chassis feels strong and looks great and the device is thin enough to not feel like a brick in your pocket.
We really can’t fault the device’s design or build. Nokia is very much still Nokia.
Winner – Nokia Lumia 800
Despite a valiant effort by the Nokia Lumia 800, Samsung’s Galaxy Note has won the day.
Its power is immense, its screen is delightful and it feels like you’re using a sheet of cardboard to surf the Web. What’s not to like about that?!
Nokia’s Lumia 800 is a great stride forward for the company though. The device is solid as rock and performs well thanks to Microsoft’s excellent operating system.
The Lumia 800 really is a contender for any new user looking to choose a mobile phone. But if you’re looking for the most power and functionality on offer it isn’t able to oblige.