The sheer box of Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte is probably worth a bunch of entry-level Nokia handsets. The number of accessories is noteworthy and they all look the part. Not that any less would have suited the price tag: you doled out for the full package, so it better be full. Apart from the main ingredients - the phone and the battery - there is a whole load of niceties inside.
For starters, a Bluetooth handsfree is included, instead of a regular wired one. You also get a stylish leather carrying pouch and a paper-weight desktop charger (it's made of metal and weighs a ton and a half). Not that you can't plug the charger cord directly into the phone but this piece of Arte belongs on display. It goes without saying that a microUSB cable and a DC charger are also in the package.
A huge cleaning cloth is also there to make sure your Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte is pampered. The size of a small country, we were almost tempted to use it for dusting our office floor (might as well been the most expensive cleaning ever).
Finally, there is a whole lot of paper and a CD with the required software for syncing you phone with a PC.
Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte measures 109 x 45.6 x 14.6 mm totaling a volume of 65cc, which is identical to the Nokia 8800 Arte and Sapphire Arte. Actually, size and shape are pretty much set in concrete across the whole 8800 lineup.
The weight of 150 g however is an entirely different story. Normally, this is a number, achievable by handsets twice the size of the Carbon Arte but here it stands for something else. That casing is special enough to be measured in troy ounces instead.
Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte has virtually the same design as the original Arte and its Sapphire sibling. Go ahead and call it repetitive but respect of traditions is key to fine craftsmanship. Not to mention proof of identity. Carbon fiber on the keypad cover and the rear panel is a nice touch anyway. It seems carbon fiber is the fad in premium handsets recently but we don't find it too much.
Much like the other Arte siblings, Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte comes in a single color version - Gray. Metallic looks have a distinct charm but we do find the Black color of the original Arte classier even if there's no carbon on its body.
The layout of controls on the Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte isn't any different from the first two family members. The earpiece is dead center at the top of the front panel. Below it is the 2-inch OLED display, followed by the four main controls (two soft keys, Call and End key) and the D-pad. Those are all on the small side but nothing you cannot live with.
When the phone is closed the keypad is hidden under a cover made of carbon. Double-tapping on its surface displays a digital or analogue clock on the phone screen. This is quite a convenient way of checking the time without having to unlock the keypad.
There are very few things to note on either side of the Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte. The loudspeaker grill is on the right and there is battery cover release button on either side. Even though the camera has autofocus, there's no dedicated shutter key in sight.
The power key, which can also be used for switching ringing profiles, is placed at the top of the phone. It is large enough and easy to press even without turning the phone around but is somewhat exposed to accidental presses. This goes true mostly when putting the phone in the carrying pouch. We powered the device off on a couple of occasions, much like with the original Arte.
The microUSB port is at the bottom of Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte, right next to the mouthpiece. The microUSB is also used for connecting the charger, so there is one less aperture to spoil the fine lines of the Carbon Arte.
The back panel of the phone hosts the 3 megapixel autofocus camera lens. It doesn't have a flash of any kind, so night shots with your Carbon Arte are a no go.
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.
Battery life has certainly improved compared to the Luna, and especially the Sirocco, and leaves little to be desired. In reality the Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte will give you about three to four days of moderate use, which is great for the class. Nokia didn't include a spare battery in the retail package, unlike the Sirocco and the Luna.
We probably should say nothing about the build quality of the Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte. After all, with this kind of handsets one feels entitled to top quality and getting it is no big deal. Having anything to say about the Carbon Arte would've been upsetting.
The high quality casing is a delight to look at and handle, and weight is more of a bonus here. The sliding mechanism is also perfectly made, and the spring assisted action is spot on. We did happen to find it a bit too harsh in the original Arte but now everything seems fine.