Product Review: Nokia 8800 Sirocco Edition

22 Nov 2006

Before anyone asks, yes, this is the phone that costs a thousand euro. While I was just getting to grips with the sumptuous wrapping a colleague mused: “Is that a Baileys phone?” He was referring to the chocolate and cream brochure that came in the box. Mmmmm…

And that’s where I became troubled. If he had exclaimed ‘Is that a Guinness phone’ (you have to see the brochure) I would have not given it a second thought. But effectively with that innocent question came a devastating answer – this is not a phone for blokes, it’s a phone for girls.

I’ll tell you why. Firstly, the Nokia 8800 Sirocco Edition (pictured) is a very beautiful phone, ergonomically designed to fit in your – wait for it – handbag!

It comes encased in a heavy steel enclosure that, while it looks superb and flashy and is definitely a conversation starter, if you were to carry this around in a pair of slacks you would need braces. If you were to carry this in the front pocket of a tight fitting pair of jeans prepare to get curious stares.

But no, it’s designed for the handbag because you’ll need something to tote a heavy phone like this.

But some of the design flourishes and finishing touches are unique in some ways. It boasts ‘crystalline designer ringtones’ composed by Brian Eno and the 262k colour screen is protected by sapphire-coated glass. I read the last bit, it’s not immediately apparent to the naked eye.

The phone itself is certainly a masterpiece in design. And ultimately it is the classic Nokia experience. If you’re comfortable with any Nokia phone you’ll be comfortable with this one.

Technologically it is up to date as opposed to breaking fantastic new ground. It comes with a two-megapixel camera and has 128MB of internal memory and does all the good Nokia stuff like Java applications, data transfer and internet connectivity. A nice touch is the addition of a matching Bluetooth headset (thankfully not coated in steel, otherwise we’d all have whiplash).

While I don’t know anyone who would countenance spending €1,000 on a mobile phone, with terms like “atmosphere unfolding, the substance of being, elements of refinement”, an old proverb about fools and their money comes to mind.

It’s slick, it’s beautiful, but it’s damn expensive and for that money you would have to be dead intent on making an impression to buy one. I could imagine Paris Hilton wielding it as a weapon in the next celebrity cat fight.

And on the latter point the connection is obvious – the phone is available at present in Brown Thomas for €1,000 for a limited period before becoming available nationwide.


Handling: ***
Features: ***
Performance: ****
Value for Money: *

By John Kennedy