Nokia 8800 Arte review: Art of seduction

GSMArena team, 07 February 2008.
Pages: 1234567

Tags: Nokia, S40, 8800, Fashion

Nokia 8800 Arte 360-degree spin

Design and construction

The 88xx models have always been valued for their design and high-quality construction. The Nokia 8800 Arte makes no exception, impressing with its sleek stainless steel covers and anti-fingerprint surface. Unfortunately, that was only used for the back panel leaving the front of the phone quite exposed to finger smudges. These however are only visible when looking at the phone from particular angles.

The Nokia 8800 Arte stands at 109 x 45.6 x 14.6 mm with a volume of 65cc, which is pretty much the standard in this line of premium Nokia models starting with the original 8800. Weight however has been constantly growing with each new member of the Nokia VIP line. The Arte weighs as much as 150 grams, which is 7g more than the 8600 Luna and 12g more than the Sirocco edition of the 8800.

Anyway, we doubt it anyone would pay this much money if the phone was lighter or gave a cheap plastic feeling.

There is a single color version of the Nokia 8800 Arte - it comes dressed in black, while the brown color is reserved for the 8800 Sapphire Arte, which starts selling as we speak.

We start the hardware inspection of Nokia 8800 Arte with the front panel. Dead center at the top we find the earpiece. The ambient light sensor is on its left side.

Below the earpiece is the 2" OLED display, which will receive its due attention later on in our review. Next in line are the D-pad and the surrounding four controls - the Call and End keys and the two selection keys. They are all large enough and comfortable to use and we had no problems with them for the time of our review.

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The front side - earpiece and light sensor above the display Comfortable D-pad and 4 control keys

Sliding the phone open reveals the keypad, which also has a reserved spot later in our review. At this stage, we are only going to say that the phone does look better closed and the keypad hidden under the glossy surface.

The sides of Nokia 8800 Arte hold very few functional elements. There is only a back cover release button on each of them and the loudspeaker on the right.

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Nokia 8800 Arte side views

The Power key is on the top of the phone and can also be used for changing the active profile. Unfortunately, due to its location, it is too exposed to accidental presses, especialy when putting the phone in the tight carrying pouch. We had quite a number of unwanted phone turn-offs for the time of our review.

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The power key can be pressed accidentally when you put the phone in the carrying pouch

The bottom of Nokia 8800 Arte hosts the microUSB slot and the mouthpiece.

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The bottom of the phone - USB slot and microphone pinhole

Finally, we reach the back cover where the main highlight is the 3 megapixel camera with autofocus. There is no flash so taking pictures in low light is not an option for Arte owners.

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The 3 megapixel camera on the back pannel

The battery cover gets removed by pressing the two release buttons on the sides of the phone and pulling it down. Under it you will find the 1000 mAh battery, which is supposed to last 300 hours in stand-by or 3 hours of talk time. One thing for sure, battery life has improved compared to the Luna and especially the Sirocco. On the other hand, there is no spare battery in the retail package but we guess we simply can't have it all.

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The battery of Nokia 8800 Arte offers decent performance

It's easy to take high build quality for granted with the 88xx series. Nokia 8800 Arte is well, truly great. Exclusive, high quality materials have been used and it shows. The phone feels great in hand and the heavy weight makes things even better on this occasion. The sliding mechanism is also very well crafted, although the spring was a little too tight for our taste.

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The Nokia 8800 Arte feels great in hand

The backlighting is also strong and smooth enough to allow easy operation of the phone in the dark.

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Arte in the dark

"...The low sunlight legibility is probably the most obvious problem of Nokia 8800 Arte, to the extent that it actually renders the phone almost impossible to use in bright sunlight. The pitch black is far above the capabilities of any LCD and same goes true for the contrast..."

Keypad is good

The keypad of Nokia 8800 Arte is sure comfortable. The terraced keys are large enough to ensure typo-free texting on this phone.

Keys on the same row are a bit harder to distinguish so you might need some practice before you master it completely. There is also another issue with the keypad - the top row is situated too close to the rim of the slider and the metal frame does get in the way of working with the keys properly. Comparing the Arte keypad to the quite comfortable keyboard of Nokia N95 8GB, we conclude that Arte offers a tad better tactility, while N95 8GB is superior in terms of headroom for the top row of buttons.

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The keypad has a wave-like layout but the top row is too close to the metal frame

All in all, we would rate the keypad of Nokia 8800 Arte adequate, though there is still some room for improvement. All the same, heavy texters are hardly the target here.

Display

The display of Nokia 8800 Arte is surely one of its most debated features. The main reason of course is the OLED technology used. Theoretically, it involves lower production costs and better power efficiency. The screens are thinner, easier to make and offer a far greater viewing angle, brightness and contrast, not to mention the faster response time.

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The OLED display has incredible picture quality but weak legibility under direct sunlight

The thinness and low power consumption make OLED screens especially suitable for portable devices. Already probing the TV display territory, the OLED technology is still far from full swing and the reason is the still inferior lifetime of OLED materials. However there are good chances that the Organic LED technology will be replacing the LCD one in the future.

All that said, there are a few things nudging us about the Nokia 8800 Arte display. The low sunlight legibility is probably the most obvious problem, to the extent that it actually renders the phone almost impossible to use in bright sunlight. The great picture quality can only be enjoyed indoors or on cloudy days but then the OLED is simply great. The pitch black is far above the capabilities of any LCD and same goes true for the contrast.

Another flaw of the display is its size. For a phone in this price range we find 2" inadequate, OLED or else. Yet, as more of a fashion gadget the phone was probably never intended to win the hearts of the tech-freaks.

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