Nokia 8800 Gold Arte review: Born with a silver spoon
Camera: 3 megapixels that leave much to be desired
The Nokia 8800 Gold Arte is equipped with a 3 megapixel camera with autofocus. Typical for Series 40, the camera settings are limited, but that makes them simpler and easier to use. The settings include white balance, three photo quality options going form basic to high, and various effects. Sequence shots and shooting in both portrait and landscape mode are also among the available extras.
Sadly, as mentioned, there is no flash on the device, which makes photos in low light conditions unusable. Even in good conditions the photo quality is not on a par with the best 3 megapixel cameraphones such as the Sony Ericsson K810. The noise levels are high not only in the shadow areas but in the well lit ones too. Just look at the skies from the samples below and you will get the idea.
There are two disappointments about the camera that are not directly related to picture quality. The first is the absence of a lens cover. The Nokia 8800 Gold Arte camera only relies on the fact that it is slightly recessed into the surface to avoid scratches. We don't think that's sufficient for such a phone but the Nokia R&D team probably though that lens protection would ruin the design. Anyway, this is maybe the best reason to carry your phone around in the leather case that comes in the retail package.
The lack of a dedicated shutter button is another real letdown when it comes to operating the camera. It is quite uncomfortable, especially when shooting in landscape mode, to use the confirm button of the D-pad for that purpose. Besides, the function of the capture key changes to delete once a photo is taken which is only likely to confuse people. Although erasing a photo by accident is very unlikely as confirmation is still required, we can't help wishing the Nokia designers did better here.
The Nokia 8800 Gold Arte also manages video recording. It can capture videos in VGA resolution. The frame rate is only 15fps and that is quite a downer considering the fact that even modest handsets like Nokia 6303 classic can do that. The videos are captured in 3GP format and their length is only limited by the free memory available.
Still no memory card slot and Wi-Fi support
Connectivity is decently covered in the Nokia 8800 Gold Arte. The main focus here is USB and it is really seamless. Upon USB pairing you're prompted to select the connection mode and you can then alternate the modes by only a few keypresses. Moreover, Mass storage is available, allowing your phone's memory to be directly accessed from a computer.
The Bluetooth version is 2.0 and it supports the A2DP profile to allow stereo wireless connection. The rest of the connectivity options include the network support - luckily the Nokia 8800 Gold Arte supports 3G for faster data transfers, as well as EDGE and GPRS.
The obvious absentees here are the memory card slot, which is sometimes the most convenient way of transferring information, Wi-Fi and the Infrared port.
Web browsers: Opera Mini 4.2, please!
The Nokia 8800 Gold Arte has two Web browsers straight out-of-the-box. The well-known S40 integrated WAP browser, which also manages HTML pages, has no significant changes in functionality and is almost identical to the one used in the Nokia Luna. Font size modifications are available as usual and when set to the smallest font, the display fits up to 11 text lines. Direct address entering is available too. The browsing experience with this application however is nowhere near the standard of the Nokia smartphone browser.
The browser faces serious competition from a brilliant application - the famous Opera Mini Java app - and it is definitely our first choice for web browsing on the Nokia 8800 Gold Arte. Nokia seem to share our view on this as they have placed a shortcut to Opera Mini right inside the Main menu, granting instant access to the browser.
Of course, we are talking about the Opera Mini 4.2. The one we found preinstalled was 3.1 and we got rid of it the moment we saw it. There are significant improvements in the newer version and all of them make it worth downloading (it only takes a couple of mins). And we really do mean this. Now you can see web pages as you are used to seeing them on your PC. The Opera browser also has an extremely useful page overview function that enables you to zoom in on any part of it. p>
Opera Mini is by far the more intuitive application, and it resizes text much better than the default browser. If only the screen was a little bigger web-surfing would be an absolute dream on the Gold Arte.