Nokia 8800

Only if you've big bucks to unload or want to be among the few flashing a premium-priced phone.

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When it comes to the Nokia 8800, that premium dollar you're forking out translates into a guaranteed conversation opener. Comments usually go this way: "Wow, is that a Nokia 8800? How much? AU$1,599 without line? So is it 3G phone? No? Wah, no way!" Mixed responses are exactly what the Finnish company's latest 8000 series triband, the long-awaited successor to the premium 8850 slider and 8910 titanium models, evoke.

Expensive is what it is, and expensive is what it looks. Whatever has been said about Nokia, when it comes to premium phone design, the Finnish company is king. That said, that position is rapidly being usurped by Motorola with its eye-popping RAZR and SLVR handsets. Having learned from past 8000 series models, this one comes slim built with a brushed surface that is more resistant to fingerprints and possibly even scratches. However, the mirror polished edges are still prone to smudges.

The 8800 features two keys on the front which are more responsive than functional. Right between is the nudge piece perforated with tiny holes for slip resistance.
Nokia 8800 vs Motorola RAZR V3
Next to the Motorola RAZR V3, the Nokia 8800 is more compact though less slim built. Note their distinct metallic designs.
Nokia has opted for a seamless look which means -- thankfully -- no antenna. On the flip side, with the exception of the power switch at the top, you aren't going to find any other buttons. Their absence becomes obvious when you're trying to pump up the volume while talking, especially with the phone closed. You'll need to open the handset and utilise the Navi pad for volume control.

The two recessed slivers on the sides act as release catches for the battery compartment. Here again, Nokia has delivered a mixed bag. While users will be pleasantly surprised by two 600mAh batteries bundled inside the chic black packaging, it takes some unbelievable dexterity to remove the battery lid of the phone. For this, you'll need to turn off the mobile, keep the cover open for leverage, and apply some desperate pressing of the recessed catches while at the same time try to push the back plate off. It certainly puts you off replacing the battery with the spare given the amount of grunt work needed.

Where Nokia finally flexes its innovative design muscle is in the slider. Unlike the Samsung E800 and Siemens SL65 where the top and bottom halves slide over each other, the 8800's flat-screen display lifts up with a nudge. The spring-loaded slide mechanism ensures a smooth, if heavy-duty, glide operation. When closing, be prepared for the metallic lid clacking back loudly on its steel base as it retracts.
Nokia 8800 side
The two battery release catches on both sides sit flushed, and take some nail work to depress.
Nokia 8800 keypad
The keys are oddly plastic, in contrast with the stainless steel shell, and certain buttons may be difficult to press.
What the slider action reveals is a white backlit keypad plus a 0.5-megapixel camera ingeniously hidden behind the display together with a mirror back. While some may gripe at Nokia's choice of an SVGA (800 x 600-pixel) camera in such a high-priced mobile, texters may find fault with the cramped keys on the last row. The flatish four-way Navi pad with its tiny centre button will also be a handicap for big digits and long fingernails, and you'll find yourself having to use the tips of your thumbs.

Other premium enhancements include a special scratch-resistant crystal for the screen, rotatable clip for the headset, a loudspeaker design that blends into the top of the phone, and a pretty cool desktop cradle with blue light effects and an extra slot for a battery.

Overall, the 8800 sits beautifully in the palm and feels cool to the touch, not least because of its steel housing, with a solid weightiness (134g) that will initially surprise given its slim form factor.

The 8800's minimalist facade belies the multimedia features lying in wait under that shiny hull. Again, it's a mixed bundle. You get EDGE support, but it isn't offered here in Australia. You get Bluetooth, but no infrared. There's music playback including -- surprisingly -- an FM tuner. Unfortunately, Nokia has chosen to bundle a mono headset, although stereo playback is supported via Bluetooth which you can activate through the music options.

You get 64MB of internal NAND flash memory, but only about 47.7MB are usable given the preinstalled stuff, and there's no expansion slot. Of course, this won't be missed much if you're using the 8800 as nothing more than a status object. There's a loudspeaker which also outputs audio, but for radio you'll still need to plug in the headset/antenna for it to work.

Nokia 8800 headphones
The headset doubles as an antenna for the onboard radio. Unfortunately it's in mono.
Nokia 8800 cradle/charger
Now you see it, now you don't. The blue base light breathes, much like the Zen Micro and Apple iPod, when charging the phone. You can turn this off via the switch behind.
Other than that, the 8800 packs support for Java, HSCSD, video, multimedia streaming, PIM, Wallet, Converter, e-mail, instant messaging, voice commands, and a phonebook capable of multiple numbers per name, voice dial, picture ID, and groups. There's also World Clock, Converter, and a nifty Translator which works for individual words.

The keylock feature, however, belongs to one of those Dilbert moments -- pointless and impractical. Every time you shut the slider, the 8800 will ask if you want to lock your keys. Since the keypad is hidden, the power button changes only Profiles, and the two front buttons do virtually nothing, one wonders what the Nokia designers were thinking.

For entertainment, there are three preinstalled Java games: Street Race, Golf Tour, and Chess. The latter can be played with another player via SMS or Bluetooth, or even against the computer, with a 3D graphics engine enhancing gameplay. More Java games can be downloaded either directly to the phone or via the Nokia Application Installer in the PC Suite.

In line with the phone's premium positioning, Nokia enlisted Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto to create some very New Age-y ringtones which you can delete if you don't fancy. You can also assign MP3s as ringtones.

The desktop charger deserves a paragraph of its own. The blue base light certainly makes it easier to know if the phone is charging. But -- get this -- it can charge only one item at a time despite the dual slots, with the phone taking precedence. Meanwhile, the base light has its own built-in Da Vinci Code that you must crack. It will breathe blue light only when the desk charger is empty, or when only the phone is inserted or when, in the event that both phone and battery are in slot, the latter is fully charged. We'll leave you to read the manual to figure out what happens when the blue light is constant.

No complaints this time with the Nokia screen. The 8800's scratch-resistant display means you don't have to worry about slipping your phone into your pocket with your keys and coins and scratching that expensive investment. The 262,144 colours are crystal clear whether outdoors or inside, while the TFT 208 x 208-pixel screen is about the right size for this slider.

Save for a laggy startup time that takes about 5 seconds, once up, Nokia's well-known intuitive user interface doesn't fail here. Aside from some frustrating miscues with the Navi pad, Nokia's Series 40 Version 2 platform is fairly easy to use. Shortcuts can also be assigned to the right soft-key and the keys of the Navi pad.

Camera resolution is decent just so long as you don't expect anything similar to what the 2-megapixel models deliver. Having gotten used to photo lights being part of a camera-phone's arsenal, it comes as some surprise that the 8800 has left this out. So you can forget about night shots unless the area is brightly lit. The camera records in JPEG and video clips in QCIF resolution of 144 x 176 pixels.

Nokia 8800 VGA camera
The 8800 may be the only handset to feature a 0.5-megapixel (SVGA) camera. Note the lack of a photo light.
Nokia 8800 battery
You get two bundled 600mAh Lithium-ion batteries. To assure authenticity, Nokia has stuck on a hologram label that contains a hidden 20-digit battery code.
FM is a marvel to listen to as the signals come across strongly even within a building. Both MP3 and ACC files are supported for music playback, though only about three to four MP3s at 3,000KB each could be stored when we tried out this function. These were transferred via the Nokia Audio Manager app under the PC Suite.

At v6.5, the PC Suite is the latest version of the bundled software that comes with the phone. Setting up is a breeze and allows you to connect the 8800 to your PC via Bluetooth. There was no data cable bundled. Once connected, you can synchronise your contacts, emails, notes and tasks with a variety of applications including Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes. The Suite is also designed to install applications, transfer music, create wallpapers and ringtones, view multimedia files on the phone, and send text messages.

We had no issues with reception or clarity. In fact, a new feature called Audio Enhancing, under Settings > Calls, works much like Samsung's Sound Mate to improve speech clarity in noisy environments. It seemed effective enough when we tried it out at the malls over a busy weekend.

Watch out for the battery indicator. On a full charge that took 1.5 hours, the battery indicator still showed full after nearly 5 hours of non-stop radio. But by the following afternoon, the indicator had dipped three bars and, following a couple of calls, SMSes and snaps, was completely drained by night. Nokia claims up to 2 hours 40 mins of talktime and 200 hours (about 8 days) on standby. We say the battery should last two to three days if you plan to use a combination of features, though the smart thing to do would be to pack along that spare.

Nokia has an interactive demo on its site for those too lazy to flip through the manual.

If money is not a problem, the 8800 achieves what it set out to do -- offer a luxury handset that doesn't claim to be anything more than a premium-priced, very desirable handset.

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Scotty posted a comment   

The Good:Nice design and feels good

The Bad:cuts out occasionally

I bought my 8800about 6 years ago while living in Asia. Has anybody had the problem with the phone dropping out while sending text messages. It just drops out and you have to start all over again. I have taken it to the Nokia shop in Melbourne and they told me they cannot fix the problem. Does anyone have this problem and if so do Nokia now have a solution to it.


kkkk posted a review   

WONDERFUL PHONE! I bought it in 2005 for SR 3499 and the price only dropped to SR 3000 after 5 years


Pete Drummoyne NSW posted a comment   

The Good:looks, feel, functionality

The Bad:battery life

This is the best mobile I have ever purchased. I have had it for several years and have only had to replace the battery and keypad once. That is of course after I dropped it in the toilet once and then fell into the harbour twice whilst it was still in my jeans pocket!!

Each time I just pulled it apart, flushed with fresh water, shook the water out of it and finished it off with a blow dry.

This phone is bullet proof. I just charge it each night when I go to bed. I also charge it whilst driving if I've been using it often, especially with bluetooth.


Alex posted a review   

The Good:Looks amazing

The Bad:Battery Life, No volume button, Too Heavy, Very easy to chip/break

Looks definetly aren't everything. I have to charge this phone, every single freaking day.

Really disappointed.


BOB posted a comment   

As other people have said, if all you do is make and receive calls, and send and receive messages .. then this is the phone for you. Looks and feels fantastic. I bought it 2 years ago... You can mail me at


mian posted a review   

The Good:good

The Bad:no

its very good in use .but i have a problem .its betery timing is very low please give me the solution


dissapointed posted a review   

The Good:*sleek/ upmarket design

The Bad:*terrible battery life
*poor product, nokia shouldve honoured it reputation
*hard to open the battery case

I'm a big fan of nokia phones but this phone was very dissapointing. The battery life was poor. Its screen display was incorrect. I got into the habit of plugging it on the charger just in case it cuts off. Its small keys and heavy weight is obvious but it get annoying after a while. I guess i dont mind paying the excessive price for something that i like but at least it should perform the most simplist function...... TAKE/ MAKE more then 3 calls without running out of battery. The 2nd battery should have been the red flag.


laszlo posted a review   

The Good:- beautiful design
- perfect slide (not loose like in Samsungs)
- quality materials (stainless steel, sapphire glass display, strong plastic buttons)
- desktop stand compatible
- lots of high quality accessories
- making a call is always a pleasure!

The Bad:- weak battery (with a desktop charger and office job it can't be a problem)
- the 3 buttons on the bottom are not easy to reach

Maybe I will be the only one who is satisfied with 8800. I had 8210, 8310, 8850, 8910i before, and somehow I fell in love with this quality, especially the steel cover. 8800 costed a lot in 2005, so I waited until 2008 to buy it, for 200 EUR only. I changed from 6300, before that I had smartphones, N series, but I really hated huge phones, no matter what video I could make, etc... Get a camera for videos and images, get an iPod for music... And get a 8800 for enjoying using your phone.


Jakel19 posted a review   

The Good:nice sliding feel
nice design

The Bad:camera
user interface
not a smart phone ( something you'd expect from the price)
its just crap

Dont get me started on how CRAP this phone is. I hate it. dont buy it, unless it somehow comes down to around $150.
its got the crappiest user interface **** small screen, BARLEY and good functionality and itsw not even a smartphone. The camera is ridiculous i think its VGA and it doesnt even have 3G capabilities. It **** me right off when i found out the price tag for this peice of crap. Put it this way, its **** then the motorola v3. And the fricking keypad is so cramped its hardly possible to text fast


kiwilittleg posted a review   

The Good:*style

The Bad:*cost
*lack of service from nokia
*battery life

loved the look of the phone and the way it feels - nice and solid. however, very disappointed in the battery life and the audibility of the phone calls was extremely poor. for the price of the phone I had expected a lot more from nokia - their other phones have served me well!.

i should've known i was in for trouble when they suppied a second battery! but why on earth does it have to have the date and time reset whenever it's replaced??

as for the lack of features, why compromise on style and feel when there are PDAs, iPods, cameras, etc that are designed to do those jobs better.

more importantly, perhaps, i was not happy with the response from the reseller and nokia at not wanting to fix the problem.

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User Reviews / Comments  Nokia 8800

  • Scotty


    "I bought my 8800about 6 years ago while living in Asia. Has anybody had the problem with the phone dropping out while sending text messages. It just drops out and you have to start all over again. ..."

  • kkkk



    "WONDERFUL PHONE! I bought it in 2005 for SR 3499 and the price only dropped to SR 3000 after 5 years"

  • Pete Drummoyne NSW

    Pete Drummoyne NSW

    "This is the best mobile I have ever purchased. I have had it for several years and have only had to replace the battery and keypad once. That is of course after I dropped it in the toilet once and ..."

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