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Nokia Luna 8600 (unlocked) review: Nokia Luna 8600 (unlocked)

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The Luna also offers a few work-friendly applications. There's stereo Bluetooth, speaker-independent voice commands and dialing, a world clock, USB mass storage, PC syncing, a unit and currency converter, Nokia's Wireless Presenter for remote control of a PC, and a translator for converting simple words into Spanish, French, or Portuguese. That's a solid assortment, but e-mail was conspicuously absent.

The camera lens hides behind the sliding face on the rear side. There's no flash or self-portrait mirror.

The Luna's 2-megapixel camera takes pictures in seven resolutions, from 1,600x1,200 down to 160x120. You get a variety of camera settings including three quality settings, five color effects, a night mode, an adjustable white balance, a multishot mode, and an 8x zoom. There's no brightness setting, unfortunately, and we miss having a flash and a self-portrait mirror on a 2-megapixel shooter. The camcorder shoots videos in two resolutions (176x144 and 128x96) with sound. Other options are similar to those of the still camera, and you can mute the sound if you wish. The default mode lasts a very short 6 seconds, but you can also shoot longer clips, depending on the available memory. Photo quality wasn't great; colors were somewhat faded, and objects were a tad blurry. And you can forget about taking night shots. For saving your work, the handset offers a respectable 128MB of shared memory. That may be fine for some users, but we expect an expandable memory slot on such an expensive phone.

The Luna had mediocre photo quality.

The Luna's music player plays tracks in a variety of formats, including AAC, MP3, and WMA formats. Its design is similar to those on other Nokia phones, which means it's minimalist but easy to use. Features include random and repeat modes, an equalizer, and stereo widening. Loading music tracks on the phone is easy; you can connect it to a computer with a USB cable and transfer your chosen tracks. The Luna's FM radio offers 20 presets, but you'll need the included stereo headset to act as an antenna.

You can personalize the Luna with a variety of wallpaper, screensavers, animations, and alert sounds. If you want more options or more ringtones, you can download them via the wireless Web browser. The Luna comes with three games--Golf Tour, Highroller Casino, and Soccer 3D--but you can always buy more.

We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; EDGE) Luna in San Francisco using T-Mobile service. Call quality was generally very good. Conversations were clear without any static or interference. What's more, voices sounded natural, and we didn't detect much wind noise. Our only complaint was the volume was rather low. We had to strain to hear our friends clearly when we were in a loud environment. On their end, callers said we sounded fine and some couldn't even tell we were using a cell phone. A couple of our friends mentioned that we sounded faint at times, but that was an infrequent assessment. We had no trouble being understood by automated calling systems.

The speakerphone wasn't as good, however. The volume on our end was too soft even with the side-mounted speakers. We thought the clarity was fine, but we had to stand close to the phone if we wanted to hear anything. Callers reported a similar situation on their end.

The Luna's music quality was satisfactory on the whole. The volume was a tad louder than the call volume, and the clarity was decent. We noticed, however, that the speakers tended to vibrate at high volumes. Like many music phones, the Luna is serviceable for short listening periods, but we wouldn't suggest ditching your standalone MP3 player.

The Luna has a rated talk time battery life of 4 hours. Our tests revealed a talk time of only 3 hours, 30 minutes. That's rather low, for both a Nokia and GSM handset, but unfortunately that seems to be where Nokia is reading these days. We had a similar experience with the recent Nokia 6555 and Nokia Prism 7500. Really, Nokia, don't we deserve at least 6 hours of gabbing time? Fortunately, the promised standby battery life is a more respectable 10 days. According to FCC radiation tests the Nokia Luna 8600 has a digital SAR rating of 0.72 watt per kilogram.

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