Stainless steel bodywork, smoked glass cover, and an agonizing price, Luna captivates with exterior, not purpose.
The family of luxurious Nokia handsets gets bigger. Prepare for steel, glass and an exorbitant price. Near flawless performance when it comes to the mundane must-have features, and embarrassingly mediocre functionality. But then again, an 8-series Nokia would get away with just about anything.
The Nokia 8600 Luna is keen to disarm and seduce. The unconventional materials used, the creative design, the rather practical set of accessories are hard enough to resist. Plus, the Luna is so largely unaffordable that it's tempting. This pretty much sums up what the Nokia 8-series is really about. Maximum functionality has never been the issue. What counts is exclusivity and departure from the commonplace. The prodigal set of the Nokia 8800 and Nokia 8800 Sirocco has grown with the Nokia 8600 Luna expanding the premium segment.
Taste is very personal, so let everyone judge design for themselves. The Luna does look special though. The completely black body with two silver lines and the remarkable slider construction make the handset stand out.
Impressive at first sight, the Luna is truly overwhelming when held in hand for the first time. With most contemporary handsets weighing less than 100 g (smartphones excluded), Nokia 8-series newbies will be surprised by the 140 g the Luna weighs. Is that too much? The Luna just can't help it, given the amount of steel on its body. Weight can turn many down, while others may appreciate a solid handset. The measures of 107 x 45 x 16 mm are perfectly acceptable, provided the size of the screen and the keypad.
Sliding the phone open is smooth and sweet. The quality construction and the materials used on the casing suggest that mechanical faults are very unlikely. The sliding mechanism works seamlessly and should remain unaffected by heavy duty usage. The handset feels solid and firm in both opened and closed position. Sliding requires a little more effort compared to other handsets of the same form factor. Steel makes itself noticed any time you snap the phone closed. The metal-hit-metal sound is an experience no other slider can give.
A chrome line runs along the sides of the black handset. Within that chrome line on the top left side is the volume rocker. Both keys are very tactile, every press is distinct and comfortable. The borderline dividing the handset into a glossy front and chromed steel back is unbroken even with the phone slid open. The front of the handset is dominated by the display and the smoked glass cover that encapsulates the alphanumeric keypad and goes way back to cover the camera lens. With the phone closed, the camera lens is sheltered from the environment. One thing to be careful about is the unruly forefinger, which tends to be irresistibly drawn by the lens, covering it with greasy smudges.
When the Nokia 8600 Luna is closed, the battery compartment cover is the only thing to notice on the backplate. Made of steel too, it fits dead on, no nonsense creaks. Under it lays the 900mAh battery, good enough to last a couple of days of average talking and texting. The grills of the speakers are on both sides of the upper part of the handset.
Other than the mouthpiece at the bottom, and the wrist strip eyelet at the top, there's only one other thing left to mention at the sides of the handset - the universal connector. It's at the bottom right side of the handset and serves as the sole cable connection point. microUSB debuts in a Nokia handset, but the miniUSB variety could've been more welcome. Right-handers are likely to be disappointed, as holding the phone with the charger or data cable plugged in, is fairly awkward. There's nothing else to spoil the elegant side view of the handset. Those keen on taking photos on the go will have to get to terms with the lack of a dedicated camera button and adapt to using the keypad when shooting..
The front is all glossy, as opposed to the polished rear side of the phone. It's a contrast the display takes advantage of. The Luna of course has opaque glass, covering the keypad. All in all, the entire frontplate could well be a training prop for forensic enthusiasts in a fingerprint workshop. For purists, Nokia has added a cleaning cloth to the retail package.
The display takes the upper half of the front. This one offers a resolution of 240 x 320 pixels, totaling 16M colors on a 2" diagonal. The Luna display does make a point when compared to, say, the display in Nokia 6233. Black is truly black, fonts look great, readability is never an issue, even in bright light. The Luna display is a high flier.
The keypad is a standard one. The D-pad is dominated by the chromium confirm-key, at each side are the two selection keys and the call-key and end-key. The control keys are exposed even when the rest of the keypad is covered by the glass casing. The phone slides open nice and easy, thanks to a tiny knob at the foot of the display. It lives up to its purpose fine, but the downside is it does stand in the way of the D-pad's up-key. All directions of the scroll key, and the two selection keys, can be assigned shortcuts to selected applications or functions.
All rows of keys are declining at the top, tactility suffers only with neighboring keys within the row. Key symbols are white, so is the backlighting. Pity, the keypad backlighting turns off as soon as the phone is slid closed. It would've been nice to have the backlighting on for a while from beneath the glass. You can see that for yourself if you chose to turn on an option, which gets the keypad to emit pulsating light at certain intervals while the phone is in standby.
Typing response is good,a quiet click marks each press of the keys. The glass case impedes quick typing, the hash and asterisk keys are hard to use.