Given that we’re currently only buying things at the supermarket with white and blue economy stripes and cutting out money-off coupons from the local rag, a luxury phone won’t be too high on our must-have list. But it still doesn’t stop us admiring the expert craftsmanship of the new Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte.
The Finns’ Arte collection has always haunted the more affordable end of the luxury phone market (well, affordable if you can shell out a grand without having a seizure) and the Carbon Arte is the third in the series, arriving with a new metal outfit and slightly more expensive price tag.
We can only assume the extra cost is down to the new durable carbon fibre and bullet-proof titanium build. Although little has changed in core design terms, it certainly feels more deluxe and sophisticated than the leather clad, gemstone flaunting predecessor, the Sapphire Arte.
At 150 grams heavy, this Symbian S40-fuelled Arte still cuts a reassuring heft in your Saville Row suit pocket, while the exquisitely fluid but springy slider action remains the best in the business. The vivid, battery-efficient OLED display is also dutifully protected by scratch resistant glass.
It’s great to see Nokia adopt a more eco-friendly stance on the Carbon Arte, constructing the phones using recyclable parts, banning environmentally harmful chemicals and reducing energy consumption.
Skin deep, the Carbon Arte is certainly impressive but we’re disappointed to report there’s little in the way of a key feature upgrade to match its new hunky titanium body.
Apart from an internal memory hike from 1GB to 4GB and some exclusive Fritz Fitzke arty-farty themes and Kruder & Dorfmeister composed ringtones, it’s as you were.
This means the autofocus-rocking 3.2MP snapper comes up short for printing snaps, although the 640x480 pixel resolution at 15fps video capture is YouTube friendly, should owners have time to dabble away from the Ambassador’s ball.
With more onboard memory, the lively sounding music player doesn’t feel as redundant. Okay, the lack of an expandable option is tad restricting, but with enough space for around a 1,000 average-sized MP3s, most music snackers will be happy.
Night at the Opera
Thankfully, the Carbon Arte comes embedded with an Opera Mini web browser so full-fat internet surfing over its pokey two-inch screen is actually rather effortless. Download speeds don’t stretch to HSDPA, but 3G is sufficient in most cases.
If you are one of the lucky ones to not be affected by the current economic squeeze and just can’t resist the allure of owning an exclusive posh phone then the Carbon Arte is worth a once over.
Considering the Crocodile skin clad Tag Heuer Meridiist costs a tear-inducing £2,650 and the Motorola Aura around £1,500, the feature richer Nokia actually feels like great value – in luxury terms, anyway.