Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

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May 15, 2008 • Reviews

Nokia 8800 Sapphire Arte Review

When I asked Nokia if I could review their 8800 Arte handset, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Some dumb phone that just looked a bit pretty, form and no function, a celebrity only famous for being rich?

I’m certainly not the target of a phone like this. I like my mobile devices to be able to do everything. Surf the web, get emails, keep my calendar, mind my address book, and keep everything in sync with everything else. These are things that typically flumix a Series 40 phone.

I was all set to be disappointed with the 8800 Sapphire Arte, and at first I was, until I realised what this phone is all about…

The first time I held this phone I was impressed by how heavy it was. Say wah? Yes, this phone isn’t light, despite its sleek physic and diminutive dimensions. All this weight comes from a complete lack of plastic ANYWHERE on this phone. No glossy plastic and fake chrome here, this phone is the real deal.

A fabulous combination of stainless steel and glass make this phone unbelievably sturdy. You don’t have a hope in hell of finding a squeak, rattle or gap on the case of this phone. As some will remember I was less than impressed with the build quality of the original N95, to be honest it’s amazing that this phone comes from the same company. It’s even better than the Nokia E90, which up till now was the best built Nokia I have ever had the pleasure of using.

The slider action is just as impressive. There is no flex, no slack, and no play in the slider on this phone. Every time you open or close the slider on the 8800 Arte, it gives a satisfying click as it locks into place, and it will firm, not flopping about like the N95.

The design is just so achingly elegant. There is no screen visible on the front, no buttons on the sides, and a very understated camera lens on the back.

Despite it’s small size and lack of features, it’s very heavy. This is due to the stainless steel and glass construction, and it’s fantastic. I have never had a phone that has such extraordinary build quality as this.

It’s the attention to detail that gives this phone such a high price tag. Not only is it build with top-notch materials, but the little things have been thought of as well. When the phone rings and you need to silence it, you don’t need to press buttons, just flip the phone over on its face and it will be silent. Double tapping on the front of the phone brings a golden analog clock to the surface, which disappears after a few moments into the black.

The soft leather slip case is a really nice touch too. To get the phone out, just pull on the little tag and it slides out, no fuss or fiddling necessary.

Beneath all this quality is a standard Nokia Series 40 device. Sure it’s been dressed up with a nice black theme (in place of the garish bright blue), but it’s otherwise business as usual S40 stuff. One thing I was very surprised about was how easy it was to get Bluetooth PAN going, and how stable it was once connected. Exchange sync isn’t on the features list, but with a few Java apps (Opera Mini and Gmail are my favourites) mean you can get some stuff done while on the move. At the very least you can keep up with your Facebook page…

I really like the Nokia 8800 Sapphire Arte, because it accomplishes exactly what sets out to do: Be subtly stylish, of the highest quality, and won’t flumix the non-technical people it’s aimed at. Now I have to send it back 🙁 It made a great pairing with the HTC Shift (which also went back…).

MSRP: $2099
What I Liked: Incredible build quality, design, HSDPA
What Needs Improvement: And you thought the Shift was pricey….

20 Responses to " Nokia 8800 Sapphire Arte Review "

  1. TrvlngDrew says:

    Hi Mitchell, A couple of thoughts..

    I had the predecessor Nokia 8800 and found that the battery life was abysmal. An extra battery was included but who cares when the batter dies in the middle of a call! How did it perform?

    In terms of the Nokia accessories like chargers and headphones, is it compatible with the run of the mill or does it use the new microusb connections like the Nokia 6500?

    Also, does is it have separate jacks for power, headset and synch? Love that about the N/E series because I rack up about 6-7 hours a day and its nice to be able to charge and use a headset at the same time, unlike so many of the other handsets these days that have one do it all port (Like my HTC TyTN II!)

    I’ve also had several Vertu phones and use one a lot for my day to day phone and SMS requirements. Battery is great! But have to use BT with it and prefer a chorded headset,

    The weight is huge on these too but then again for the $$s feels like you’re actually getting something! Glass and Stainless Steel! Says it all 🙂

  2. Mitchell Oke says:

    Drew,

    Thanks for picking up those points.

    Battery life was pretty good, with heavy use of Opera Mini and Gmail during the day, I could go 2 days before charging. That was with the phone locked onto 3G, no GSM roaming.

    I agree that battery life really makes or breaks a phone, that’s one of the main reasons I disliked the original N95.

    It does use the new microUSB plug, which means the vast majority of Nokia chargers are incompatible. I forgot to mention that the included BT headset (which is really small and light) uses the same microUSB, but only one charger is included. I had to disconnect the charging dock to connect the power cable to the headset, that was annoying.

    Everything is integrated into the microUSB jack, so no simultaneous charging and corded headset. The fact that they include a nice BT headset negates this problem somewhat.

  3. TrvlngDrew says:

    Just checked its only Tri-Band 900/1800/1900! Need that 850 band for the US.. Looks like they are going to do the same as the original 8800, release an 8801 for the 850 band.. 🙁

  4. Mitchell Oke says:

    It’s ridiculous a phone like this isn’t quad-band GSM.

  5. TrvlngDrew says:

    I would buy one tomorrow if it was! Ditch the Vertu! I know that is saying a lot, but a corded headset is the only way for me.. Maybe I’ll do it anyway.. 🙂 There is the cheaper version too, you got the deluxe package.. 🙂

  6. Drew, if I know you, you’ll have a new one of these in a week. 😉 It does look sweet…

  7. TrvlngDrew says:

    He He! And here I thought you were exhausted in WA! (Not Western Australia!) I will be in Melbourne next week and have my favourite supplier down there..

    Still having a chortle over you using a corded headset! LOL 🙂

  8. TrvlngDrew says:

    BTW Mitchell.. I want picture taking lessons.. Yours are absolutely gorgeous!

  9. Drew, it is almost 3am at home. I am trying to get the Advantage unboxing pictures up so that I can use it tomorrow guilt-free. 😉

  10. TrvlngDrew says:

    Roll on Judie! I’d be doing the same thing!

  11. David Goodspeed says:

    Great thing about shiny objects. In a couple of pics you can see Mitchell’s camera (and fingers).
    Use macro mode and a great looking outdoor patio set. The latter part allows for indirect lighting to eliminate shadows. Then just watch your color balance if you have something that needs true color reproduction. Indirect outdoor lighting usually needs a bit of “warming” help. Set camera to shade or cloud setting, and try not to use flash.
    As for battery life on Nokias, My new n82 black did not last unplugged overnight and I charged it when i pulled it out of the box yesterday.
    Dang…

  12. Mitchell Oke says:

    Thanks Drew!

    As David said, using macro mode helps a lot, as does manual white balancing. I also use manual exposure to get that saturated look. On auto everything looks horribly over exposed, and crap.

    I always take my photos during the day so I can take advantage of the natural light on the balcony. Gives me both a nice table to shoot on, and a nice background for device-holding shots 😉

  13. Geardiary reviews the Nokia 8800 says:

    […] Check out the review over at Geardiary […]

  14. TrvlngDrew says:

    He He went and bought one.. 😉

  15. TrvlngDrew says:

    Well, long story, but I sold a couple of watches.. (Another horrible hobby) and had a swag of cash in my pocket and walked into my other hobby! Doh! 🙂

  16. TrvlngDrew says:

    A couple of notes.. I did find that the Nokia corded headset HS-802 will work with the 8800 Arte, it is distributed with the Nokia 6500 which also uses the micro usb connector. The 6500 is the next step down from the 8800 and is actually pretty nice Series 40 phone. Have ordered a couple from EBay at a great price

    Also this was a bit of a suprise, I was reading the 8800 manual last night (Okay so its part of the fun of the initial purchase finding all those little fun things you can do with your new gadget!) and the manual mentioned that I could use the Nokia Software Updater! I was shocked, amazed, and amused at the thought of updating a Series 40 via NSU! So of course I had to try it.. Hooked it up and found that my 8800 was up to date, but very nice to know that Nokia is making the Series 40 phones available to NSU 😛

  17. Peter Vatanasan says:

    I am wondering that SonyEricsson Watch Bluetooth MBW-100 could be used with Nokia 8800 Arte or if there is any program for because I have tried it could not be paired.
    Peter

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