The Nokia 8390 is one of those phones that we couldn't wait to review. With its Lilliputian dimensions, funky keypad, interchangeable faceplates, and high-end features, we knew it would be appealing. And it is. We just wish it had better battery life. This model's actually smaller (3.7 by 1.7 by 0.7) than the 8290 but weighs a hair more (2.9 ounces). As with most small phones, the screen isn't spacious, but the four-line display is easy enough to read.
If you're into customizing your phone's looks, you'll dig that you can replace not only the 8390's front and back covers but the middle layer as well, which changes when you replace the front. We also liked the keypad; even though the keys are small, we rarely had misdials because of their triangular shape. That said, we had one gripe: Turning the phone on and off is tougher than it should be. You have to press the power button pretty hard to get the phone to do anything. As far as features go, the Nokia 8390 has its fair share, including call logs, caller ID, an alarm clock, a voice recorder, four games (our favorite is Snowboarding), a calculator, a calendar, enhanced messaging (EMS), and an IR port that can be used to beam contact info to and from other IR-enabled devices. Since the 8390 will work on GPRS, it has wireless Web access, which you won't find on a lot of Nokia's U.S. mobiles. Unfortunately, we were unable to test the GPRS feature, so we can't report on access times. We tested the GSM 1900 phone in San Francisco using Cingular Wireless and in Orlando using VoiceStream. Overall, calls were clear, though we had to adjust the phone's placement in order to hear better in noisy environments. Alas, the 8390's battery life didn't fare as well. While we managed to hit the talk time of 140 minutes, we got only 3 days of standby time vs. Nokia's standby rates of 4 to 16 days.