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Nokia 8800 Arte: A work of art--but can it make breakfast?

A work of art. Now let's see if it's a good phone.

If all you wanted was a phone to connect you with someone, you wouldn't be reading this blog.

The Arte is slim and has seductive heft.
The Arte is slim and has seductive heft. Nokia

The Nokia Arte begs to be looked at as a work of art, a cell with sculptured style. Does it succeed in that quest? Absolutely.

Looking at the Arte, you notice the solid statement it's trying to make. It's modern. It's cutting edge. It's quite heavy, but that seems to be part of its appeal. That heft comes from genuine materials: glass and metal. Heretical approach in these plastic times.

Basic keyboard--no pretensions at being a smartphone.
Basic keyboard--no pretensions at being a smartphone. Nokia

Open it up and there's a comfortable keyboard that blends right in. But you won't even need it to mute an incoming call: Just put the phone face down and it silences the incoming annoyance instinctively. Tap the phone twice and you get the "analog" clock on the screen.

Your home screen (actually, everything on it) is simply brilliant. The colors jump out at you. The ringtones are exclusive, compelling.

They should be; this phone was designed by Kruder and Dorfmeister, who I'm told are two renowned Austrian remixer DJs.

The menu is easy to navigate and covers all you'd want in a cell phone, including settings for the 3.2-megapixel camera that enjoys access to 1GB of internal memory.

Hold the Arte in your hand and you become a magnet. Everyone wants to feel and hold it--then they hear the price and carefully hand it back: $1,400.

The remixers behind the Arte.
The remixers behind the phone. Odd. Nokia

You saw that correctly. It's $1,400. I've been known to buy a lot of expensive phones from all over the world just to savor them (the Samsung Serene was no cheapie at north of a grand) but this even makes me swallow hard.

At that price, I'm expecting it to cook me breakfast. Next post we'll see if it does.