Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Nokia 8800 Sirocco Gold
- Excellent build quality, user interface, design
- Price, no new or outstanding features, no memory storage slot, heavy, poorly designed keypad and controls
The 8800 Sirocco Gold is a flashy mobile phone that will appeal to the fashion conscious consumer thanks to its 18-carat gold plated finish. Under its flashy exterior, though, is a handset with minimal features.
Price$ 2,049.00 (AUD)
With an 18-carat encasing, Nokia's 8800 Sirocco Gold makes a bold statement in style and brings a new level of prestige to mobile phones.. Retaining an almost identical feature set to the previous 8800 Sirocco Edition, the Sirocco Gold distinguishes itself from the pack with audacious bravado and an exuberant price tag to match.
The voice performance of the Sirocco Gold is adequate, but in-call volume isn't loud enough, even at its highest setting - especially in noisy environments. Nokia includes most basic phone functions such as speed dialling, automatic redial, call waiting, call hold, call divert, call timer and conference call, and the Sirocco Gold also includes a hands-free speakerphone, along with voice dialling.
The Sirocco Gold has a 2 megapixel camera with a fair range of options, including a video mode, digital zoom, night mode, a self-timer and some effects. Users can also adjust white balance settings and images range from 160 x 120 to 1600x1200 in size. Picture quality is average; bright colours look washed out, and most of our test photos lacked sharpness. A flash isn't included, so night time photography is virtually impossible, even using night mode.
Nokia has retained the Symbian Series 40 operating system on the Sirocco Gold and in our opinion it's the most stable OS Nokia has ever used. A large, coloured icon greets you at every menu selection, with easy to read text underneath it. The menu can also be changed to a 3 x 3 grid style. The Sirocco Gold also includes special gold themes and wallpaper designed to match the phones glossy and stylish exterior
An impressive 128MB of internal flash memory has been installed, but no memory slot is available for extra storage. The music player supports MP3, MP4, AAC, eAAC, eAAC+ and WMA formats, as well as an FM radio, which should keep most people entertained. However a 3.5mm headphone jack isn't provided and the player's functionality is limited, offering only has basic shuffle and repeat play modes. The included earphones must be connected to use the radio as these act as the antenna.
Other features include support for Java, a currency converter, world clock and a 1000-entry phonebook. The Sirocco Gold also offers MMS, standard SMS and e-mail messaging and of course, T9 predictive text input. For email SMTP, POP3, IMAP4, and APOP protocols are all supported. The phone also offers Bluetooth 2.0 and USB synchronisation with a PC using the included PC Suite software to round out the Sirocco Gold's connectivity features.
The 8800 series is all about style and the Sirocco Gold is no exception. It's a stunning masterpiece of industrial design. The phone is built from stainless steel and encased with 18-carat gold plating. Unfortunately it is highly prone to smudging and fingerprints. Despite measuring only 107mm x 45mm x 17.5mm, the Sirocco Gold weighs a hefty 138g.
According to Nokia, the Sirocco Gold uses a slide mechanism encompassing premium ball-bearings crafted by the makers of bearings used in high performance cars. Thankfully, it's not as complex as a car and only requires a small nudge to slide open. The build quality of the handset is superb; a small metal piece wedged between two selection buttons offers a place to sit your thumb when sliding the phone open. Our only complaint with the design is the rear battery cover, which is more difficult than usual to remove.
The 208 x 208 pixel display on the Sirocco Gold is bright and clear in all lighting conditions, with an excellent viewing angle. The surrounding area of the display is a gold, mirror-like surface, which is almost impossible to keep free of fingerprints. The most disappointing aspect of the Sirocco Gold's design is the keypad. The keys are incredibly small, cramped and uncomfortable to use, and the five-way navigational selection key is too small, making it difficult to press without bumping the directional pad keys.
Conveniently, Nokia includes two batteries in the sales package and these can be charged through either the supplied AC adapter or the included desktop charging cradle. The cradle is finished in the same gold surface as the phone and has a pulsating white light around its base. The cradle has a slot for both the Sirocco Gold and the spare battery, but they can't be charged at the same time. The Sirocco Gold also includes a colour-matched Bluetooth headset in the sales package. According to Nokia, battery life is average, rated at two hours and 45 minutes of talk time and up to 240 hours of standby time.
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