posted by Thom Holwerda on Mon 6th Nov 2006 02:27 UTC
IconI have been wanting to test and use this phone ever since it came out, in 2005. So when provided us with the opportunity to review the Nokia 8801, I did not think twice about accepting the review. Usually, Eugenia does our phone reviews, since she knows a lot more about phones than the rest of the staff does; however, this phone is not a phone which you can dissect feature-for-feature, assessing its potential based on what it can do. No, this phone focusses on style, exclusivity, and stunning looks. Read on for the complete review.

Buy the Nokia 8801 sent me the Nokia 8801 (USD 334.98), which is almost a carbon copy of the Nokia 8800 (USD 559.98), with the only difference that where the 8800 supports GSM 900/1800/1900, the 8801 is more focused on the North-American market, and supports GSM 850/1800/1900. Another small difference is that the 8801 has a small battery lock (see photo), which the 8800 lacks. Both phones are sold by, so if you spend lots of time in Europe, the 8800 is a better choice. However, in The Netherlands, where I live, you can use the 8801 just fine.


Click to see full-size. Click to see full-size.

Let's first start by describing the packaging of the Nokia 8801. The phone comes in an all-black box, with a metal clamp, engraved with 'Nokia 8801', holding the lid of the box shut. Inside the box, everything is in black, including the plastic lid in which the phone and a marketing-speak booklet (Some highlights from that booklet: "Beauty is born." "Not just a phone. A lifestyle." That sort of stuff) is laid; this plastic thing is covered in a velvet-like fabric. Yes, this whole package screams exclusivity and style, whether you like that style or not. I, in any case, really appreciated this, as it makes it clear you have bought something special. I like that. There I was, thinking Apple made the cleanest and slickest packaging.

In any case, inside the box you will find the phone (obviously), two batteries, a desktop charger (which can charge both the phone and the extra battery at the same time), a manual (which I do not use, I'm a guy), the marketing-speak booklet (another gem: "The vivacity of life. Passionate. Dramatic. Compelling."), a hands-free set (not wireless), a CD-ROM with Nokia software (Windows-only), a black travel pouch, and a few quickstart guides (in different languages).


Enough with the paperwork, let's get to the phone. The slickest feature of this phone is not its camera, not its memory card slots, not its reception, not its ease-of-use, not its whatever-feature-they've-come-up-with-now, no; this phone's best feature is its all-steel casing. Except for a patch at the top, which is made out of plastic (probably because of the antenna), the entire phone is made out of steel (from the marketing-speak booklet: "The touch of steel. Sleek. Intense. Instinctive."). The flat surfaces are brushed, while the curved surfaces are smooth, non-brushed, steel. This makes the phone remarkably heavy (134 grams), but also gives the phone an extremely solid appeal, as if you are holding something that will not fall apart. The phone also does not squeal or bend when pressed, which cannot be said of many other phones in the marketplace today. The whole phone just screams 'build quality', and that's a very welcome change from many other phones.

Even though this phone is a slide phone, its mechanism is very different from other sliders out there; it's kind of difficult to describe, so please check this video I made of how the sliding mechanism works (in case you're wondering, the music is from The Cardigans, their 1999 "Gran Turismo" album). The sliding mechanism works very smooth, as if the process is powered by a small electric motor of some sort. Contrary to many other slide phones, the mechanism feels very solid. Either opening or closing the phone produces a metal-on-metal sound.

Right click to save the video to view it properly, offline.

The steel theme is carried on through the phone's accessories as well; the headset is finished in steel as well. The same goes for the extremely classy and very functional desktop charger, which, as said, can charge both the phone as well as the extra battery at the same time; you'll never lack power anymore, in any case. The charger is surrounded by blue light, which came out very good-looking on my glass desk.

The fact that the phone is made out of steel also has its downsides. First of all, the phone is extremely prone to fingerprinting, and so it is very convenient that the travel pouch doubles as a cleaning cloth (intentionally or not, it serves that purpose just fine). The second downside is that even though I have not tried it, I suggest not dropping this phone. Steel bends, you see.

The keypad. What to say about the keypad. Many other reviews criticise the small keys, but in all honesty, I do not see the problem. Many reviewers complain about small keys on various phones, so I really wonder if these smart people (I assume) have figured out that when pressing the '5', it is no crime to also slightly press the surrounding keys. I 'discovered' this obvious thing ages ago, and have never had any problems with small keys on phone keypads. The Nokia 8801 is no exception to this rule, but apparently, your mileage may vary.

Table of contents
  1. "Nokia 8800/8801, Page 1/2"
  2. "Nokia 8800/8801, Page 2/2"
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