THE LUMIA 800 was a launch Nokia couldn’t afford to get wrong: described by boss Stephen Elop as its new “hero” device, it is also the first running Windows Phone 7, the software upon which it has staked its future.
The event certainly had a sense of theatre: a giant shutter slowly opened to reveal a hanger lit only by the glowing screens of its new handsets; all that was missing was a cloud of dry ice and it could have been the set from Alien. It followed a presentation in which Nokia’s senior executives gave the impression they had – in a doubtlessly heartwarming tale – met and bonded in an asylum. Marketing boss Bianca Juti danced on stage and insisted on referring to the new phones as her “babies”. Head of devices Kevin Shields shouted arbitrarily like a confused war veteran mid-way through a vivid flashback. Elop, looking every inch like an engorged lizard, once appeared to lick his own eyeball. They didn’t seem like the creators of a great phone; more the kind of people who might have added a spittoon to the handset, or scales, or just replaced every 1,000th device with a live grenade.
But they didn’t. The Lumia is sleek, metallic and weighty enough to feel expensive. Its elegant, curved screen makes the best of the eye-catching Windows Phone 7 display and the camera is, as expected, first class. It isn’t going to make people bin their iPhones – it’s not quite up to 4S standards – but, along with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S2 and the Motorola Razr, it adds another impressive horse to the race.