Every now and then a phone comes along that breaks the mould, a phone that makes you think, "I bet you that costs a bundle" -- and right now that phone is the Nokia 8800 Arte.
Available to buy in black or sapphire-encrusted brown versions, this is a phone designed for people who want something different and are prepared to pay for it. 'It' mainly being a honking great box.
As long as your bank account permits it, you can pick up a SIM-free Nokia 8800 Arte for £600 to £700, or for less on a monthly contract from several major networks, including Orange and O2 (via Carphone Warehouse). Click through for lots more shots of the Arte coming out of its hilariously over-the-top cocoon. -Andrew Lim
Update: Read our full.
The standard edition Nokia 8800 Arte comes in a fairly humble box with a diagram of the 8800 Arte on the inside, just so you know what to expect when you peel this bit back -- we think that's rather considerate.
Ah, there she is, in her plastic holdy bit. If you're wondering what the other thing is, it's a Bluetooth headset that comes as standard with the phone. Well, for this kind of money you'd expect a few little extras.
Box out of the way and we can get down to what's inside, which includes a desk stand that charges the phone, a leather case and the headset. What? No After Eight mints? What kind of restaurant is this?
The Nokia 8800 Arte feels very solid, thanks to its metal casing. The external design is minimalist and understated, which isn't what we expect from a luxury phone -- there's no bling here, and it's all the better for it.
There is, however, a 3.2-megapixel camera, EDGE, 1GB of onboard memory and special ringtones. There's a few features you may not expect too, including an analogue clock you reveal by tapping the screen twice. Er, handy. Plus you can mute calls by 'simply' turning the phone over -- which has a definite knack to it. We wonder why that's better than pressing a silence key.
While the 8800 Arte isn't very large, it does feel rather heavy and isn't a good option if you're looking for something light to carry around in your top pocket. On the other hand, if you want a phone that won't break in half if you sit on it, this is the very one.
One concern we had was that the keypad wouldn't be very easy to use -- previous Nokia phones withhave been a bit awkward in that department. But we found the Arte's keypad well-designed and easy to press.
According to the spec sheet, the Nokia 8800 Arte comes with an anti-fingerprint coating on the metal and glass screen, but as you can see from the obvious fingerprint marks on the casing, it's no match for our particularly oleaginous brand of hand-grease.
One box to rule them all, one box to find them, one box to bring them all and in the darkness bind them -- behold the home of the Nokia 8800 Sapphire Arte, a container so enormous it looks like it was designed to house a 24-piece cutlery set.
This is the kind of packaging you'd expect in Zoolander. It's hardly environmentally friendly and as we showed with the non-Sapphire 8800 Arte, it could be significantly smaller.
Inside the behemoth box you get all the same things you get in the standard Arte 8800 box, plus plenty of empty space. Handy for your jewellery and stuff.
All the bits and bobs (yes, that is a technical term) you get with the Nokia 8800 Sapphire are identical to the 8800, but they come in a fetching brown shade to match the Sapphire's casing.
There's no denying this is an attractive phone and simply holding it is very enjoyable. It smells great too -- the aroma of richness; the stink of privilege.*
*CNET.co.uk does not recommend you buy technology purely for its smell.
One aspect of the 8800 and 8800 Sapphire that adds a nice touch is the specially composed ring tones. They sound rather eerie, which adds a different dimension to an otherwise simple phone.
On the back of the 8800 and 8800 Sapphire, there's a 3.2-megapixel camera, which takes good enough shots for MMS messages and small prints. Don't expect to get any good shots in low light, as there's no xenon flash or even an LED photo light.
There you have it, the Nokia 8800 Arte and 8800 Arte Sapphire -- a phone so luxurious it needs to be transported in a box more than ten times its size. But seriously, while we love the build quality and styling, there's no way we're paying the massive premium for a product that doesn't offer nearly as much as theor .