LONDON, United Kingdom – I’ve finally had some alone time with my new Nokia Lumia 800. I say mine, but it’s really Ben’s at the office. He loaned it to me. But he’ll have to hire security to get it back off me.
I’d gladly buy it though.
I have to declare an interest, I work for Nokia Conversations, so professionally I have to like it, right? Well, the truth is, I joined this team because I’ve always liked Nokia phones and the prospect of being paid to try them out before anyone else appealed to me.
And I’ve wanted them to produce a phone like the Lumia 800 for about four years now.
I’m a phone nut. I collect them the way some people collect cars. My favorites phones are Nokias. As a tech journalist I’ve been amazed by other phones and have one from every stable in my collection.
But I’m going to use the Nokia Lumia 800 from now on. It works straight out of the box. You don’t need to set up an account with a credit card to use it or hook it up to a computer to bring it to life. This phone doesn’t have its own agenda to milk cash from me.
I like the shape. Curved at each end, it sits in your hand more naturally than all of the other slabs on the market. It feels state of the art, as if it has been sculpted by a 3D printer.
This beautifully designed body, combined with the Windows tiles, makes the Lumia the easiest phone to operate with one hand that I have tried.
It’s so easy to hold in your hand and then touch a tile with your thumb to open it. You can also see what’s going on inside the tile.
The first screen has eight tiles, comprising phone, contacts, text messaging, email, Nokia Drive, Nokia Music, Nokia Maps and something called Apps highlights.
Swipe up one screen and there’s your Internet Explorer browser, Xbox Live, a calendar, picture gallery, Zune, Marketplace and a tile called Me, which is my profile page. Everything you need is right there at start up. But you can customize it easily by moving the tiles around. Just press one for two seconds and drag it to a new position.
Generally, I like using phones to play music. I have several music accounts. But I get easily bored with them and want to discover new music without having to pay for it. The tiny listening time on some services aren’t long enough to decide whether or not you like a track.
So the first thing I head for is Nokia Music. I’ve heard so much about Mix radio.
I’m still listening to it as I finish writing this in the am. The choice is amazing. There are 11 broad genres, each with 11 sub-categories. They’ve been narrowed down so that you have a better chance of liking all the tracks in that category. You can skip up to six tracks and after that you have to listen to the tracks as they are served up.
I try the Rock category and then go to the Blues Rock sub category. First track up is Willin’ by Little Feat, one of my favorite bands.
I then try out the dance section which also has 11 sections. And the first song under Bestsellers section is Fat Boy Slim’s Right Here, Right Now, another classic. And you can see from the pictures here that there are plenty more big names on the service.
Reassured that Mix radio has stuff I already Iike, I head off into the Indie/alternative new releases section and discover the Pierces’ You’ll Be Mine, which is OK, so I keep that channel open while I explore more of the phone. The content of 50 songs per channel is refreshed every week.
Next, I try the search function everyone is raving about. I simply tap the magnifying glass icon, bottom right of the screen and up comes Bing. I don’t have time to cook, because I’m working way too late trying out this new phone, ha ha.
So I type in Pizza. Then something miraculous happens. No Wikipedia history of pizza or sites with other lists of pizza, no hilarious videos of a pizza-eating monkey, just the very strong prospect of FOOD.
Four local pizza shops are displayed on a map, with a list, complete with star ratings below it. Nice and simple, and fresh.
I scroll down the list to find there are 100 pizza restaurants within eight miles of my flat. But the top ten are most relevant to me. So I find one that is under half a mile away.
OK, it only gets three stars, but if I ask for some extra toppings, it might turn out OK. I tap on the Pizza Al Forno restaurant. The screen instantly goes to a page with a choice of address, which is displayed, directions, phone number and category.
I tap on the phone number and Mix Radio, which is now playing The Muse, by Laura Marling, falls silent and the phone dials. As soon as I hang up after making the order, Mix Radio starts playing again.
Just out of interest, I side swipe from the pizza list and there’s a page of Italian fast food images on the next page, side swipe again and there’s the more familiar search page, complete with sponsored site at the top.
Then there’s Pizza – Wikipedia, the history of pizza, which now thankfully itself seems like history on this amazing new phone, which incidentally really seems to get me.
I am about to leave the house, so I’ll try the navigation apps and keep you posted. You can already preorder the Nokia Lumia 800.