Nokia 8800 Sapphire Arte

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Nokia 8800 Sapphire Arte
  • Nokia 8800 Sapphire Arte
  • Nokia 8800 Sapphire Arte
  • Nokia 8800 Sapphire Arte

Pros

  • Stylish design, sapphire gem, leather front and rear, superb build quality, included Bluetooth headset

Cons

  • Price, no memory card slot, controls, no extensive features list

Bottom Line

The Sapphire Arte 8800 commands a price that would make even the most ardent fashionista baulk. Its huge asking price won't get you the most advanced features though.

Would you buy this?

Nokia's latest handset in the 8800 premium series offers a reasonable features list in a stylish design, but this is only for the most demanding fashionista. The 8800 Sapphire Arte features a genuine sapphire gemstone as its navigational key and soft leather casing on the front and rear, but it also carries a price tag to match its elegant looks.

The slider design of the 8800 Sapphire Arte falls in line with the rest of the 8800 Series. On this model, both the keypad and controls have been improved, but there are still some issues. In particular, the navigational pad is quite small and it's easy to accidentally bump the side keys when you press the centre key. We also developed a habit of pressing the selection keys instead of the answer/end call keys and vice versa – both are close together and aren't clearly separated. In better news, the keypad has improved with slightly raised keys that provide good tactile feedback. Our only complaint is that the first row of keys is too close to the top half of the handset.

As far as looks go there is no doubting the Sapphire Arte's style. The handset feels superbly crafted and constructed, with its brown metal and glass design providing a feel of genuine quality and craftsmanship &8211; even if fingerprints on the display are an issue, despite Nokia's claim of an anti-fingerprint coating on the metal and glass. The smooth spring-operated slider is effortless to open and although the handset is quite heavy, it doesn't detract from its appeal. The soft brown leather pieces on the front and rear also add a nice touch, as does the chrome edging.

Two distinctive features set this phone apart, but they aren't all that innovative. Tapping the steel surface below the display makes an analogue clock appear on the screen, though the tapping wasn't as responsive as we'd have liked. Further, incoming calls can be silenced with the turn-to-mute feature – turning the handset screen-side down silences the ring.

In terms of features, we expected more from the Sapphire Arte considering its asking price, though Nokia has added 3G capabilities, a 3.2-megapixel camera and 1GB of internal memory as additions when compared to previous models. The 2in display with ambient light sensor is serviceable, even if we felt it could have been a little brighter, while the 1GB of internal memory is welcomed. Unfortunately, there is no memory card slot for extra storage.

A media player with stereo widening and equaliser settings does a reasonable job of multimedia playback, though an FM radio isn't part of the deal. The lack of a standard 3.5mm headphone jack is a downside – instead you'll have to use the included micro-USB headphones. Other features include support for Java, standard SMS, MMS, and e-mail messaging with T9 predictive text input and Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP.

The 3.2-megapixel camera features auto focus and 8x digital zoom, but the lack of flash deems night-time photography inadequate. The camera takes reasonable quality photos, but it obviously won't be replacing any stand-alone digital cameras. The 8800 Sapphire Arte also includes a front mounted VGA camera for video calling over 3G networks.

Nokia has retained its solid Series 40 menu system on the Sapphire Arte. A 3x3 grid system is used for the main menu with a simple list format for most sub menus. Nokia has also added an exclusive video and sound track from producer's Kruder & Dorfmeister.

Nokia also includes a matching BH-803 Bluetooth headset in the sales package, complete with noise cancellation and touch sensitive volume controls. There is also a desk stand and a leather pouch.

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