The Nokia 8800's SVGA (0.5 megapixel) camera is disappointing for such a high-end phone, but it takes pictures in two image sizes (800x600 and 120x144) and three quality settings (High, Normal, and Basic). There is a 10-second self-timer, zoom, and a night mode available, but as far as customization options, the only choice you get is turning the camera sound on or off--no fun frames, color tones, and so forth. Once you snap your photos, you can save them to the phone's 64MB of internal memory, send them to others via multimedia message or Bluetooth, set an image as wallpaper or a screensaver, or upload them to your computer. Photo quality was decent, but nighttime shots were subpar even with the night mode on.
You can also use the Nokia 8800's camera to shoot 30-second video clips with sound or up to 74 minutes if you set the video-clip length to maximum. There's a convenient countdown timer at the top of the screen, and you also get the same options for image size and quality settings as you do in still camera mode, as well as a mute option. While the quality of photos was passable, videos were blurry and pixelated.
The Nokia 8800 features a sophisticated media player that can play AAC and MP3 file formats, as well as streaming video, but perhaps most impressive is the fact that it's one of the first mobiles to support the Advanced Audio Distribution Profile Bluetooth specification, so you can stream music to a Bluetooth headset or a Bluetooth headphone. To top it all off, the 8800 also features an FM tuner, which does require you to use the included wired headset, since it acts as an antenna and allows you to store up to 20 station presets. We plugged it in and tuned in to our favorite radio station but didn't quite get the full effect with only one earbud.
You can customize your phone with a variety of wallpaper, screensavers, and themes, and more options are available for download from the Web. The Nokia 8800 also comes with ring tones by Sony Classical artist Ryuichi Sakamoto that sound rather eerie, in our opinion. For more entertainment, you get three games--Chess, Street Race, and Golf Tour--which are enhanced by the phone's advanced 3D graphics and excellent screen, but some of that fun is taken away by, again, the cramped controls.We tested the triband (GSM 800/1800/1900; GPRS/EDGE) Nokia 8800 world phone in the San Francisco area, and call quality was excellent. On our end, conversations sounded loud and clear, and our callers said the same on their end. Using the speakerphone diminished the sound quality only slightly.
With the Nokia 8800's good call quality, it's too bad the battery life was so uneven. After any phone conversation of some substance, the battery life dropped by a couple of bars, forcing us to run to the nearest outlet. Under formal testing, however, the phone fared reasonably better. We managed 4 hours, surpassing the rated talk time of 3 hours. In standby testing, the phone lasted seven days compared with the promised time of eight days. According to FCC radiation tests, the 8800 has a digital SAR rating of 0.46 watts per kilogram.