Nokia 8600 Luna - Review

Nokia 8600 Luna - Review

When it comes to phones made from unique materials, Nokia comes first to mind. The Nokia 8910, announced a couple of years back, uses titanium, and a number of stainless steel mobiles such as the 6300 and the 8800 Siroccos have made their way into the hearts and wallets of consumers. Latest in the premium lineup is the 8600 Luna that's crafted with opaque smoked glass and soft-touch stainless steel. Available only at Nokia shops and concept stores, the S$1,188 sticker shock is not for the light wallet or those looking for a feature-packed device.


One look at the 8600 Luna and it evokes comments like "hey, isn't that the Nokia 88--something"? My colleague down the aisle would have described the situation as: Premium, premium, premium. For a phone that's priced over a grand, you're not getting much in terms of features. Then again, it's not made to compete with the company's Series 60 devices in the first place.

The 8600 Luna is romanticized as "mysteriously, it glows, magnetically, it calls", "inspired by moonlight, it pulsates with allure". The design is matched with "sleek chrome trimmings, together with a distinctive glass and steel dual texture" that brings "pure pleasure with every touch".

Superlatives aside, the Luna is pretty much like the premium series handsets. Its understated elegance is perhaps the only reason anyone would want to buy it. For those who have, the Luna delivers--at least its heft (140g) compensated nicely for the wallet that was made lighter with the purchase.

We liked what we saw and held, though we're not completely sure about the smoked glass cover over the keypad. We're tempted to drop the phone and see if it holds up, but we didn't because in the event that it doesn't, we wouldn't have to vomit out the cash to pay for it.

The pulsating lights on the Luna deserve a paragraph of their own. When the phone goes into idle mode, the white backlit keypad "breathes". It comes on every 6 seconds and takes another 2.5 to fade out. Another way to describe it is that the light pulsates with every two breaths we take. It's so totally gimmicky, yet there's a certain allure even though some of our friends are unfazed by it saying: "You mean that's all?".

Like the 8800 or the Siroccos, the 8600's flat-screen display slides up with a nudge. Just below the 2-inch LCD is a protruding bar to help you along so you're not pushing on a flat surface. The sliding mechanism is a smooth and solid one. However, when closing, our fingers resting on the back got caught quite a few times between the halves, which wasn't exactly a pleasant experience. The metallic lid also clacks back loudly when it retracts.

Typing on the numeric keypad is somewhat flawed because the edges of the bottom half obscures the "7" and "9" keys as well as the bottom row of the keypad. So we ended up using the tips of our fingers instead of thumbing away. Also, those with big digits may find the keypad a handicap.


If you're looking for a feature-laden phone, there are better alternatives in this price range. But, the 8600 Luna is not without its merits. For the average user, there are enough applications onboard to keep them entertained. One thing we noticed about the 2-inch 320 x 240k-pixel screen was that the icons have noticeably jagged edges when selected. It's like over-sharpening an image in Photoshop. We're nitpicking on this, but it's something we think Nokia could have avoided.

You get 128MB of internal memory and, again like the Siroccos or the 8800, Nokia has failed to include an expansion card slot. So depending on your usage needs, that missing option alone could be a deal-breaker. Other than that, the quadband GSM Luna packs Bluetooth stereo, GPRS, organizer applications, a Web browser, World Clock, units converter and email capabilities.

While some of the recent Nokia handsets have gone the way of the mini-USB for connectivity, the Luna sports a micro-USB port instead, so we're forced to use the bundled cable and charger. An adapter is provided to connect the phone to a 2.5mm audio headset. Other accessories in the package include a pouch and a cleaning cloth.

For entertainment, there's a music player with equalizer and stereo-widening feature, FM radio (requires headset which doubles as antenna), voice recorder and a 2-megapixel camera. Still, no sight of a flashlight or autofocus. Nokia also has four games preinstalled: Golf Tour, Highroller Casino, Soccer 3D and Suduko.


Nokia claims the 900mAh cell is rated for up to 3.7 hours of talktime and maximum standby of about 10 days. On a full charge, the battery powered on for about two days when we used a combination of features such as listening to FM radio, music, occasional snapping of pictures and a moderate level of calls and text messages.

The onboard music player supports AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, MP3, MIDI, AMR and WMA audio formats. With a limited capacity of 128MB, it was a choice of whether we wanted the 8600 to play more music or take more pictures. On the music player front, the Luna was average though the speakers behind a mesh layer tended to vibrate on high volume.

Photos from the 2-megapixel camera were barely acceptable, so don't expect too much out of it. Purple fringing was sorely evident in backlit pictures and our snaps lacked punch. Forget about night shots unless the area is brightly lit as the lack of autofocus or a photolight greatly reduces the probability of a good image. The camera records in JPEG, GIF, BMP and PNG formats for pictures and 3GPP H.263 and H.264 for videos. One thing to be careful about is the lens which tends to attract fingerprint smudges.


At S$1,188 without contract, the Nokia 8600 Luna isn't a phone that everyone can afford, but those looking for a handsome handset to pimp themselves with have yet another alternative to choose from.