Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte review: Carbon copy
Unimpressive 3 megapixels
Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte is equipped with a 3 megapixel camera with autofocus. It may not be the most impressive in terms of specs, but is surely the best among the Nokia premium mobiles. Typical Series 40, the camera settings are few, but that makes them simpler and easier to use. The settings include white balance, three photo quality options going form basic to high, and various effects. Sequence shots and shooting in both portrait and landscape mode are also among the available extras.
Unluckily, as mentioned, there is no flash on the device, which makes photos in low light conditions unusable. Even in good conditions the photo quality is not be on par with the best 3 megapixel cameraphones such as the Sony Ericsson K810. In general the detail is high, but the colors are oversaturated and the noise levels are high not only in the shadow areas, but in the well lit ones too. Just look at the skies from the samples below and you will get the idea.
There are two letdowns about the camera that are not directly related to picture quality. The first is the absence of lens cover. The Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte camera only relies on the fact that it is a tad sunk in the surface to avoid scratches. We don't find that enough for such a phone but the Nokia R&D team probably though that lens protection would ruin the design. Anyway, this is maybe the best reason to carry your phone around in the leather case that comes in the retail package.
The lack of a dedicated camera button is another real disappointment when it comes to operating the camera. It is quite uncomfortable, especially when shooting in landscape mode, to use the confirm button of the D-pad for that purpose. Besides, the function of the capture key changes to delete once a photo is taken which we don't quite understand. Although erasing a photo by accident is very unlikely, as confirmation is still required, we can't help wishing the Nokia designers did better here.
Finally a few words about the camera speed. Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte is about as fast as the senior member of the prism family - the Nokia 7900. This means that it's a decent performer and it won't take ages to take a photo. Still, don't expect it to be as quick as the Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot phones. After all, the Carbon Arte doesn't presume to be a cameraphone.
The Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte also manages video recording. It can capture videos in VGA resolution. The frame rate is only 15fps and that is quite a downer, plus we already saw the way more modest 3600 slide do exactly that. Nevertheless, on most occasions videos turn out nice. The videos are captured in 3GP format and their length is only limited by the free memory available. All in all, the Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte offers a very good performance for a non-cameraphone.
Connectivity - 3G is welcome
Connectivity is decently covered in Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte. The main focus here is USB and it is really seamless. Upon USB pairing you're prompted to select the connection mode. You can then alternate the modes by only a few keypresses. Moreover, Mass storage is available, allowing your phone's memory to be directly accessed from a computer.
The Bluetooth version is 2.0 and it supports the A2DP profile, which allows stereo wireless connection. The rest of the connectivity options include the network support - luckily Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte supports 3G for faster data transfers, as well as EDGE and GPRS.
The obvious absentees here are the memory card slot, which is sometimes the most convenient way of transferring information, Wi-Fi and the Infrared port.
Web browsers: Opera Mini is our browser of choice
Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte has two Web browsers straight out-of-the-box. The well-known S40 integrated WAP browser, which also manages HTML pages, has no significant changes in functionality and is almost identical to the one used in the Nokia Luna. Font size modifications are available, as usual. When set to the smallest font, the display fits up to 11 text lines. Direct address entering is available too. The browsing experience with this application however is nowhere near the standard of Nokia smartphone browsers.
The browser faces serious competition from a brilliant application - the famous Opera Mini Java app. The latter is preinstalled and is definitely our first choice for browsing the web on Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte. Besides, Nokia seem to share this point of view as they have placed a shortcut to Opera Mini right inside the Main menu, facilitating access to the browser. Opera Mini is by far the more intuitive application, fitting text better than the integrated browser. If only the screen was a little bigger web-surfing would have probably been absolutely great with the Carbon Arte.