Nokia 808 Pureview

11/1/2012 9:12:32 AM

Camera technology is really surprising with excellent photo and video capturing. It was a pity that Nokia decided to release it in such an unimpressive phone.

Price: $701 without SIM ($842 including VAT). Contract price is not available.


Description: Nokia 808 PureView

Nokia 808 PureView

When 808 PureView was first introduced at World Mobile Expo at February. There were surprises from journalists by the time camera’s details appeared. Putting 41MP sensor into the smartphone, Nokia won an impressive achievement: this was the camera owning highest sensor among not only smartphones but also professional DSLR camera.

Now, we want to make it clear that 808 PureView, by no mean, can compete with specialized DSLRs. Its sensor’s size is a downsize, it owns 1/1.2inch size and looks smaller than APS-C sensor in most SLR consumer-level camera, not including 35mm-equivalent sensors plus FX format of pricier cameras.

However, in comparison with any other smartphone (and consumer-level models), it is such a big sensor. Once you start loading images from it to calibration program, you will feel no worry about either noise or low image quality. In Full Resolution mode which creates 38MP or 34MP images, depending on crop ratio) and in standard lighting, images produced by 808 PureView are really amazing. Despite small sensor, images look jubilant and detailed.

You may be attracted to get along with full resolution but its image’s size will soon consume 16GB storage of PureView. In full 38MP resolution, our test JPEG images had sizes range from 10MB to 16MB per image.

In fact, such large images aren’t necessary unless you need to create giant pin-ups or show off your photos on Flickr. That’s why there’s another mode: PureView. Here come 3 settings for 8MP, 5MP and 3MP images. In these modes, a technique named pixel oversampling is deployed to combine groups of pixel in attempt of removing noise and color diffraction that raise difficulties for most smartphones and cameras with small sensor.

It was also effective. We did capture some low-lit images and get impressed by the result having less noise and speckle and you could adjust ISO up to 1600 in case the image looked a little blurred. Shooting at low-resolution mode activates another trick of PureView – lossless digital zooming which can be monitored via volume switch. In 8MP mode, it brings 3x zoom yet still retains quality.

Above is all not PureView’s strength. This smartphone catch vivid colors especially in PureView mode. Besides, f/2.4 aperture and 8.02mm focal length can create surprising depth of field. Don’t expect any blur of a good SLR camera but it is still better than any smartphone at present.

It must be ignorant if we don’t mention video quality, 808 PureView makes smooth and splendid scenes with continuous autofocus and 4x zooming by lossless digital zooming in Full HD, and 6x zooming in 720p resolution.

There’re only two controls that we liked: autofocus which was not always reliable – we felt that we often needed help from touch-sensitive focusing to sharpen everything and there was seeable optical distortion in full resolution with a lot of straight lines.

The phone

Despite that, 808 PureView’s camera is simple the best. It’s the biggest disappointment that the type of phone Nokia decided to introduce its amazing technology with. First, 808 PureView is not beautiful at all. It’s short and fat plus its 18.4mm thickest part is where the convex big camera lies yet the case feels 14.7mm thick near the bottom. This product weighs 172g and although, which doesn’t sound much though it’s recognizable despite being in your pocket.

Description: 808 PureView’s camera is simply the best for smartphone

808 PureView’s camera is simply the best for smartphone

Regarding hardware, there’s not much to show off. Processor is 1.3GHz ARM unit. There’re 512MB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage plus 1 micro-SD slot for additional 32GB. The 4inch screen is covered by anti-scratch Gorilla Glass and it appears quite luminously with 337cd/m2 brightness. Though screen resolution is low (360x640), an astonishing decision based on the phone’s main purpose which is to capture photos and view high-quality images.

We can live with that if 808 PureView gets interesting during use but it runs Nokia Belle (which was earlier called Symbian) whose mother company refused to adopt. With reference to techs, Nokia Belle is very strong and a great improvement, based on what appeared before, with many wallpapers and Android-styled utilities plus one simple and boring program executor. Furthermore, we loved that way Nokia, by default, installs Microsoft Office Mobile onto the device plus one PowerPoint app allowing for viewing and adjusting files and versions (of World and Excel) enabling user to create, view or edit documents.

Symbian continued to be the standard of efficiency – after our 24-hour battery check, 808 PureView still had 80% of battery runtime, which was remarkable. In case heavy apps weren’t loaded, this phone could stand more than 2 days. Adding Twitter and Facebook accounts, capturing photos and videos, battery capacity would decrease faster. Averagely, we could experience the phone for one day and a half.

It is easily seen that Nokia made a jumped to Windows Phone because this operating system is not nice. Firstly, default keyboard is the worst that we have ever used for long time. It can be replaced with Swype though this also has problem with PureView, obstructing auto-completing search fields.

The OS has some little inconsistences. Gallery app lets you upload photos to Facebook, or Flickr for instance. In case of needing to upload contents to Twitter, you have to do this separately via Nokia Social app, which gathers feeds of your friends from Facebook and Twitter.

If you want to read your Twitter feed fully from the app, you must type one tweet or update status then press Menu button and All Activity option. Adding one Gmail account, according to common method only synchronizes your mail – not contact or work schedule – and doesn’t provide option for distributing emails when they come. The shortest time for update is 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, general performance is medium-low. Running SunSpider JavaScript test led to 4211ms, lower than your average Android device. Viewing media webs felt slow and bulky and for some games downloaded from Nokia Store, only Angry Birds worked smoothly.


Final matters relate price and availability. When this article was being written, no British provider sold 808 PureView – and RPP was $842 (without SIM), putting it in jeopardy. For a smartphone, we should consider such money for a mobile device owning low resolution and second-rank operating system. If you are looking for an excellent camera, it’s better to save more money for a SLR despite the phone’s latest features and stunning quality.

Taking all aspect into account, we like Nokia 808 PureView. We give our high respect to the way Nokia spent money on technology and this had extremely good result. Though, this goodness won’t last for long before Nokia knows how to put it in another appropriate smartphone – maybe a Windows Phone 8 model due to appear by yearend – and when that appears, the product won’t be such thing hard to be sold.

Total: 4/5

Performance: 4/5

Features and design: 4/5

Value: 3/5

Description: Nokia Belle is a big improvement for Symbian.

Nokia Belle is a big improvement for Symbian.

Main specs

ARM 11 1.3GHz processor

512MB of RAM

16GB storage

4inch TFT display

360x640 resolution; Bluetooth

Wi-Fi 802.11n

4MP sensor

1080p video


1400mAh Li-ion battery

2-year RTB warranty

60x18.4x124mm size

172g weight



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