R15 000! This is a lot of money to spend on a cell phone, but it got me thinking. Nokia did not create the Arte to fill the pockets of the nuvo riche. After much thought on the matter, I think I have come up with an answer, Nokia created the Arte as a showcase for their cutting edge mobile technology, to show that they are way ahead of the game.

I’m not going to make any bones about it; the Nokia 8800 Arte is the best cell phone I have ever used, ever. For starters, the Arte is beautiful, not just the glance at it for a second and think, “hey, that’s nice”, no it is the kind of object that you sit and stare at for hours just absorbing its beauty. The Arte is like a Dunhill suit, you can see that the materials used are the best available and that it was crafted rather than manufactured. You have to actually hold one in your hands to understand the tactile beauty of this phone.

That’s why I believe the Arte has such a hefty price tag. When you walk into Luis Vuitton you don’t expect to get bargains, you are prepared to spend thousands of rands on a dress shirt because it is the best. This is how you have to look at the Arte. If you think Nokia are just showing off, then you have missed the point completely, and need to re-read the previous paragraph.

The Arte is special, as far as I know; there is no other phone on the market like it. You get all the usual features like its ability to synchronize to your PC – but as yet not a Mac – without a hitch. It’s battery will last a good two days. It also sports a very sharp 3,2 Megapixel camera, which is good enough for casual photography and uploading pictures onto facebook. All of this is very impressive but what really makes the Arte so special are the features that you cant find on any other cell phone.
The display cover, for instance, is made out of sapphire glass, the same material that Rolex uses on the faces of their watches. The benefit of sapphire glass is that it is almost as hard as diamond, and therefore it is essentially scratch proof. But it also costs much more than the regular glass used on some cell phones and about a million times more that the plastic covers used on most.

The display behind the Rolex grade cover is a 2-inch OLED display. OLED or Organic light-emitting diode is the latest, most cutting edge display variation available today. It is so new in fact, that the only TV that uses OLED is 24cm wide and costs R20 500, the same as a top 107cm LCD TV. In comparison to LCD, OLED has a contrast ratio of 1 000 000:1 while LCD has a ratio of 10 000:1. The pixels in an OLED display are also a lot smaller than on an LCD, which make it look much sharper. OLEDs most innovative feature is that while LCD’s require a backlight to light the display, OLEDs do not; they produce their own light. Thus they draw far less power and as a result can operate far longer on the same charge. As there is no need for a backlight, an OLED display can also be much thinner than an LCD. So basically an OLED display is sharper, brighter and thinner than a LCD. The fonts on this amazing screen are smooth, the themes are sharp, and clear, and it is bright enough to be viewed clearly in any light. But it does cost over 100 times more than a high end LCD to produce.

Another unique feature that separates the Arte from the rest is the tap-for-time. What you do is tap the screen twice, and the time and date appears on an analogue clock. The technology that must have gone into that simple little feature is utterly mindboggling. This is all besides the fact that it is incredible fun. If you think the tap to touch is cool, you will be blown away by the Arte’s second party trick. When you receive a call, and you don’t want to take it, you just turn the phone face down and it mutes the call. This really makes you look the business, as you don’t have to stop your conversation to fumble around looking for the mute button on your phone.
Some people, who have used the Arte, have complained about the size of the keys. I don’t see why, unless you have the thumbs of a gorilla or the fingernails of Paris Hilton, they are actually perfect. In fact they are better than perfect, they are just another reason why the arte costs as much as it does. They have an amazing solid feel to them and yet they are not hard to push.

Most phones ring tones give you the impression that they were composed by a tone-deaf bar stool. Nokia specially commissioned Kruder and Dorfmeister to compose the ring tones for the Arte. The tunes sound awesome, but very pretentious, you can however, tell your mates at the pub that this phone has a display that costs more than their car, and its ring tones are more complex then their DNA.

Overall this is one very special phone. I urge all of you who can afford the Nokia 8800 Arte to buy one. As soon, I hope, Nokia will make these features available in a phone I can afford. You can’t get it on any contract, even if you are on the talk 1 million, the Arte has to be specially ordered. In conclusion the quality of the materials and build is unparalleled, the screen is amazing, the buttons don’t wobble and girls want to touch it.

Brendon Ambrose – Managing Editor | About Me – Scared of: Clowns, spiders and Hilary Clinton; Dream Wing Man: Jacob Zuma; Started Writing Tech: 2005 for Gadget.co.za; Favorite cereal: Frosties; Find me on: Twitter & Facebook