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A Look Back: the Nokia 8800 Series (8860, 8890, 8800)

So I don’t need to tell anyone that cell phones have changed a lot. I still have my trusty old Nokia 5160 phone in my desk drawer at home where it sits all dusty and nasty.

Nowadays, no one wants to be caught dead with a 5160. Or an 8260 if you can remember that one. One of my friends still carries around a Motorola V60, and it’s just pathetic.

Still, the evolution of certain cell phones is always a pretty interesting thing to see. At the time, the Nokia 8860 and 8890 (TDMA and GSM counterparts, respectively) were two of the most expensive cell phones to date, but they were also two of the most technologically advanced and just damn cool looking.

Check out a short history of the 8800 series in the full entry.

the Nokia 8890 Phone thumbnail

The Nokia 8860 Phone

the Nokia 8860 Phone

The Nokia 8860 was what you could call the premier TDMA phone of its era. Featuring a chrome finished sliding keypad cover, and advanced features such as a calculator, calendar, and currency converter, the 8860 was an easy to use, expensive piece of art.

It also included a Nokia 600 mAh battery, which at the time was respectable. As a comparison, just look at the Nokia N90 – it’s an Nseries phone with a 760 mAh battery. Not a very impressive battery for a phone that was designed more than six years after the 8860. But then again, to me battery technology hasn’t improved as much as other phone technologies.

Unfortunately, the 8860 was produced before the US regulations regarding SAR values, so I don’t have much of a statistic for that. Of course, it probably released so much radiation that it would’ve totally blown the top off the SAR chart anyway.

The Nokia 8890 Phone

the Nokia 8890 Phone

The 8890 was the first real luxury GSM world phone. Unlike the 8860, which was only really useful in the United States, the 8890 could travel the whole world with its dual-band 900/1900 frequencies.

From what I know the Nokia 8890 was also the first Nokia phone with a white backlight. Technologically speaking it was pretty superior to the other Nokia phones at the time, with infra-red, voice dialing, sms and picture messaging, and downloadable ring tones.

The battery on the 8890 was a 750 mAh lithium ion battery. Better than a lot of batteries these days, even. I don’t even need to mention the N90 here either.

The Nokia 8800 Phone

the Nokia 8800 Phone

And finally we have the Nokia 8800 phone. There’s currently two versions of this now, the 8800 and 8801, depending on location. The 8801 phone is targeted towards the USA and includes the 850 band, while the 8800 is strictly triband 900/1800/1900. While the 8800 is actually a little outdated at this point (and it’s barely even hit the US too), it’s still a very stylish, futuristic cell phone. Kind of like how the Nokia 8890 was years ago.

Unlike its predecessors, the Nokia 8800 is encased in stainless steel metal. The 8890 used an aluminum finish, while the 8860 used a cheesier chrome.

Damn. At $650, it’s still just a tad bit out of reach for me. But then again, I always prided features over looks. Which is probably why I use a Nokia N71 now.



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