Nokia 8800 Arte Mobile Phone - First Look

Nokia 8800 Arte Mobile Phone - First Look

What do we know about premium handsets? With three luxury models already under the 8800 umbrella, two of them Siroccos, obviously the Finnish phone-maker should know better. The 8800 Arte and 8800 Sapphire Arte (pronounced Ah-Teh) continue the extravagant tradition of using exotic materials as construction. So what's different this time round?


Both the 8800 Arte and 8800 Sapphire Arte share the same design mould with a combination of metal and glass. The only differences, besides the color, are that the Sapphire edition uses a sapphire gem stone as the central button on the directional pad and parts of the handset are wrapped in coffee-brown soft leather.

While the hardware design of the Artes isn't a significant departure compared with the previous 8800s, the software implementation has undergone slight tweaking, introducing the "turn-to-mute" and "tap-for-time" features with a built-in accelerometer. The "turn-to-mute" function switches the phone to silent during an incoming call (doesn't automatically cancel the call, though) or when the alarm is ringing. The latter is obviously not very useful for sleepyheads who are master users of the snooze button. "Tap-for-time" is literally asking the user to tap for the time. Double-tapping anywhere below the phone's 2-inch OLED screen activates the standby clock display. It's actually a great way to quickly know the time without having to press down on any buttons or slide open the phone.

Measuring 109 x 45.6 x 14.6mm, the Arte is the slimmest member in the 8800 family so far. The 150g heavyduty weight also ensures that the premium dollar you'll be coughing up won't make you feel like you were suckered into some cheaper plastic model.

Other enhancements to the triband 8800 Arte are 3G connectivity which wasn't available on the earlier 8800 models, a 3.2-megapixel camera with autofocus and a generous 1GB of onboard memory.


While 1GB of onboard memory may be sufficient for general uses, the lack of an expansion card slot is still a psychological hurdle. The restriction is there and you know it. The keypad is also rather cramped and texters with big digits or long fingernails may find themselves using the tips of their thumbs to type. We consider this a legacy issue which has plagued the earlier 8800s as well.

Even though we all know that the resolution of a camera-phone is not a yardstick for measuring picture quality, it's evident that Nokia is still playing the megapixel card with the Artes. Although the camera module has been bumped up to 3.2 megapixels with autofocus, it's missing an important built-in LED light. The good thing with the lack of various dedicated buttons is it gives the phone a more streamlined profile.


When it comes to premium quality handsets, up is the only way to go. At 1,000 euros for the Arte and 1,150 euros for the Sapphire Arte, these new 8800s are going to be out of reach for most people. The Arte is expected to be available in selected markets this quarter and the Sapphire edition in Q1 2008.