smooth operator

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 January, 2008, 12:00am

In an attempt to set the benchmark for quality and craftsmanship in the so-called premium cellular handset market segment, Nokia has introduced the 8800 Arte - a luxurious 3G slider camera-phone.

Style points The black, minimalist-looking 8800 Arte's body is wrapped with the same scratch-resistant metal and glass that adorned Nokia's 8600 Luna handset. A ball bearing-and-spring mechanism ensures the Arte is also smooth to use.

Under that sophisticated skin, which has a secret anti-fingerprint coating, lies some innovative functions. By tapping the steel surface below the 2-inch display an analogue clock appears. Incoming calls and alarms can be silenced with the 'turn-to-mute' feature: turn over the phone, screen-side down, and it goes silent.

The right stuff Nokia's 2G 8800-series models lacked high-end characteristics, but the 3G Arte - which weighs 150 grams and measures 109mm x 45.6mm x 14.6mm - is packed with them. It has a 3.2-megapixel camera with autofocus and 8x digital zoom, 1-gigabyte of internal memory, a fast internet browsing capability, a MicroUSB connector (for audio, data and battery charging) and an ambient light sensor that adjusts the screen's brightness.

It also has an exclusive soundtrack. Internationally acclaimed Austrian record producers Kruder & Dorfmeister created a unique music and video compilation for the Arte.

The bottom line The Arte comes with an assortment of mobile accessories, including an elegantly designed Nokia BH-803 Bluetooth headset with active noise cancellation and touch-sensitive volume adjustment. It also has a leather pouch with a linen lining and a matching desk stand.

But all that comes at a steep price. The Nokia 8800 Arte costs HK$9,488, more expensive than most desktop and notebook personal computers.