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Nokia 808 PureView Hands-on Review

Posted: , by Ray S.

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Nokia 808 PureView Hands-on Review
Alright, so here it is, probably the last (or one of the very last) Symbian smartphones ever – the Nokia 808 PureView. And boy is this an epic way for Symbian to exit the industry!

What do we mean here? Well, first of all, the Nokia 808 PureView comes to succeed the N8 – the smartphone that kind of set the new benchmark for camera phones when it came out. Well, interestingly, the still largest handset manufacturer by volume seems to be aiming even higher this time by introducing a handset with a camera which has not 12, not 16... but an enormous 41 megapixels! Sounds pretty wicked, we know.

First of all, we should note that the handset looks like a typical Nokia, which isn't a bad thing, of course. It has a large 4" screen on the front, however, it still has Symbian's usual nHD resolution, which is 360x640 pixels. The display uses the AMOLED technology, and overall it looks cool, despite the relatively low resolution. Touch sensitivity is also pretty good.

Do not expect wonders from this device on the build quality front. Is's actually quite light, and doesn't feel as premium as the N8. Still, it's not bad either.

Nokia 808 PureView does't feel as premium as the N8
Nokia 808 PureView does't feel as premium as the N8
Nokia 808 PureView does't feel as premium as the N8
Nokia 808 PureView does't feel as premium as the N8
Nokia 808 PureView does't feel as premium as the N8
Nokia 808 PureView does't feel as premium as the N8
Nokia 808 PureView does't feel as premium as the N8
Nokia 808 PureView does't feel as premium as the N8

Nokia 808 PureView does't feel as premium as the N8


As we said, this is one of the last Symbian smartphones, and the exact version running on it is Belle. To tell you the truth, we feel that Nokia has made some pretty good advancements in the way of the UI with these latest Symbian iterations, so it's kind of sad to know that its lifetime is coming to an end. Overall, the software runs great, it's very fluid, although we can't really say that it's as streamlined as it should be yet.

Since this is mainly a camera-centric handset, Nokia has put some effort into improving the camera application. Indeed, we were fascinated to find how simple to use it was. All of the options are easily accessible on the left side of the screen, without unnecessary taking too much space.

The Camera app is very simple to use
The Camera app is very simple to use
The Camera app is very simple to use
The Camera app is very simple to use

The Camera app is very simple to use


The Nokia 808 PureView's 41MP camera can actually shoot still at a maximum of 38MP resolution. The aperture is set at f/2.4, while a Xenon flash is there to assist you while shooting in low-light conditions. In addition, there's an LED light to help the handset focus better. Probably the coolest thing about this high-resolution sensor, is that when you shoot in a standard 8MP or 5MP mode, you can actually zoom in without loosing much quality. And for those worrying about the size of these giant pics- the guys from Nokia said that the 808 PureView is doing a lot to compress the pics so a giant 38MP image, for example, shouldn't take more than 12MB, which does sound like a lot of compression. Here's for hoping this won't be at the expense of the quality.

Nokia 808 PureView Hands-on Review
Nokia 808 PureView Hands-on Review

As far as video recording is concerned, you can shoot with a maximum of 1080p resolution, 30fps. Again, thanks to the giant sensor, this new Nokia allows you to zoom in up to 4 times without loosing quality. Sounds great to us!

Obviously, we have a new king on the camera phone scene on its way. When is it going to arrive? The Nokia 808 PureView should become available in May for about $600 (EUR 450), before carrier subsidies.









148 Comments
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posted on 27 Feb 2012, 04:54 8

1. rycx365 (Posts: 37; Member since: 18 Mar 2011)


AWESOME CAMERA, but it's 2012, still 1.3ghz single core with 512mb ram??? Dual core and i'd get it, there's more to a smartphone than having the best camera (even if it's my a HUGE margin)

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 04:54 2

2. rycx365 (Posts: 37; Member since: 18 Mar 2011)


*by a huge margin*

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 05:46 11

10. weirdfisher (Posts: 51; Member since: 31 Mar 2011)


1.3ghz single core with 512mb ram
which phone can record 1080p video with such spec...please?

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 05:54 9

11. Leo_MC (Posts: 549; Member since: 02 Dec 2011)


WP works flawlessly with single core, so does S^3, so does iOS (all of them 1080p video, 8 MP photo).
It make one think "why on earth would we need quad, hexa, octo etc cores"?!

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 05:57 7

12. weirdfisher (Posts: 51; Member since: 31 Mar 2011)


no...wp7 cant do 1080p right now

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 07:23 2

18. Leo_MC (Posts: 549; Member since: 02 Dec 2011)


You're right, no wp can record 1080p, my bad.
But you get my point: single cores cand record/play 1080p (this Nokia is the living prove).

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 08:25 1

25. ayephoner (Posts: 837; Member since: 09 Jun 2009)


also, the iphone 4s is the only one to take 8mp images and shoot 1080 video. it has a dual core (but ultimately your point is correct).

41 (or 38) mp is complete overkill. why do that?

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 12:03

35. rafael.roque (Posts: 78; Member since: 03 Jul 2010)


The extra MP count is use as the alternative to a physical(even much bulkier) traditional optical zoom lens. Rather than bulk up the phone even more; they used the extra MPs taking in by the camera sensor to allow the user to zoom in up to 4 times without loosing quality as traditional digital zooming does.

Again it's not about the megapixel count although at a glance sounds crazy lol; as this is a high quality carl zeiss lens even greater than that found on the Nokia N8.

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 12:50

39. ayephoner (Posts: 837; Member since: 09 Jun 2009)


i get the purpose, but with 4x zoom, you might need 10, 12 mp at most. 38 is absurd. the higher mp, the more digital zoom you can pull off, but at some point the low quality of the sensor is going to prevail. and i know its a high quality camera phone sensor, but that is still low quality compared to most point and shoots.

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 12:53

40. chapizzo (Posts: 116; Member since: 13 Sep 2011)


The EXCESS megapixels all you to zoom in without losing any detail. Way better than the ordinary digital zoom.
Larger sensor also allows better low light performance.
And anyway, the final picture is in 2,3,5,8 Megapixels.

posted on 05 Mar 2012, 09:30 1

82. remixfa (Posts: 13929; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


NONE of them except symbian did 1080p without a dual core, and if i remember correctly, the Nokias have specialized chips in them to let them do that. WP7 still doesnt do anything higher than 720p.

the extra cores are for more advanced functionality. You just named iOS, Symbian and WP7, which are all streamlined, non multitasking systems. Android does true multitasking which is why it requires more horsepower.

posted on 06 Mar 2012, 13:59

84. stylinred (Posts: 50; Member since: 03 Mar 2012)


no actually Symbian does true multitasking... it was the first OS to do this and continues to do this...

you can consistently find users running 22apps+ on their N8s even and that only has 256mb ram and 680mhz

there have been some claims/demonstrations of much higher #s but i'll just post about the average... google it

Androids inefficient thats why it needs all the extra power

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 05:09 9

3. danieru.05 (Posts: 7; Member since: 24 Feb 2012)


yeah your right...let us say that 1.3 ghz single core and 512 ram is sufficient to run nokia pure view fluently...but is it possible to compete with the giant smart phones out there with dual core or quad core processors???i dont think so...camera ALONE is not very essential to a person...but others consider the whole package instead..

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 05:43 17

8. sadaivadai (Posts: 156; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


To compete with other phones Nokia has their new flagship phone Nokia 900 .

This is a "camera" phone . This is a mobile for people who think camera is the most important part in their mobile . This stands alone like a beast . And to say the truth actually there is no competition for this mobile in this department .

And other things of this mobile is not bad either . Its has good enough specs to be a decent smartphone .

I think you missed the important part . It is only 600$ for a 41 MP camera . If they added any other things the price will be huge and i don't think many can afford such a price .

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 06:29 5

15. danieru.05 (Posts: 7; Member since: 24 Feb 2012)


yeah yeah yeah...ur right...hope they will launch this phone here @philippines...im sure this will be a must see phone.. ^_^

posted on 01 Mar 2012, 14:50 2

64. cepcamba (Posts: 717; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


Philippines will probably get it around Q4 or Q1 of 2013. :p

posted on 08 Mar 2012, 05:20

89. Medel (Posts: 84; Member since: 31 May 2011)


the price of this Nokia 808 Pureview. guesstimate 25 to 27k php. I want to buy this in 2014. i still have my nokia n8.

posted on 01 Mar 2012, 19:44

66. allen83 (Posts: 107; Member since: 01 Mar 2012)


yes wanted that phone hope this will be available in the philippines as soon as possible right kabayan!

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 19:50 6

44. andro. (Posts: 1959; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)


Plus the screen resolution for a 4inch screen is a massive mistake from nokia

posted on 03 Mar 2012, 14:42

74. steelicon (Posts: 313; Member since: 02 Apr 2011)


Olympus XZ-1

Monitor Product type OLED
Size 3.0 inches (3:2)
Total no. of pixels 614,000 dots 960x640

10MP

Nokia 808 Pure View

AMOLED
4.0"
Pixels 230,400 dots 360x640

3MP/5MP/8MP
34MP/38MP

You be the judge.

posted on 29 Feb 2012, 09:57 5

56. Snoobab (Posts: 174; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)


If the 808 ran slowly, fair enough to complain. The fact is we've seen no slowdown. If 1.3GHz offers a plesant user experience, why suck more power with a dual-core?

To quote from the 808 PureView whitepaper...

"One of the reasons the Nokia 808 PureView has taken so long to develop is down to processing power. We simply couldn’t get hold of enough. Even the most powerful mobile chipsets have an upper limit of around 20Mpix image processing capability. The Nokia 808 PureView eats up more than double that."

"For video, the amount of pixels handled through the processing chain is staggering — over 1 billion pixels per second, and 16x oversampling. That’s a throughput of pixels 16 times greater than many other smartphones."

The 808 has many seperate processors (image, GPU, CPU) so much of the work normally done my a phone's CPU is offloaded to these. It's a shame the masses are so uninformed.

posted on 29 Feb 2012, 12:09 8

57. shadez10 (Posts: 403; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)


your really right... all they think is if its symbian its bad...

then think twice people... symbian can do anything just like what android does...

posted on 01 Mar 2012, 14:54 6

65. cepcamba (Posts: 717; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


Finally! Someone who doesn't churn out un-researched non-sense! Yeah, I actually applaud Nokia for segregating the camera processing. Fits a principle I follow perfectly. Build something simple that works (from the creator of the AK-47). Then combine these simple things to create something complex. But keep in mind that complex is not the same as complicated.

posted on 02 Mar 2012, 10:09 6

68. Stoli89 (Posts: 333; Member since: 28 Jun 2010)


To note, the Belle FP1 808 beat a WP in a Windows Phone Challenge at MWC when it came to taking a picutre and posting it to FB. Seems Noia's approach to combining a massive GPU plus latest scaling chip within the camera module has resulted in a very fast and efficient shooter.

posted on 02 Mar 2012, 15:41 1

70. jamrockjones (Posts: 345; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)


Agreed. The camera is only one element of a phone. I wouldn't purchase a phone for the sole reason that it has a nice camera. What about reception, usability, screen size and quality, OS, design, and battery life.

posted on 03 Mar 2012, 05:16 4

71. stylinred (Posts: 50; Member since: 03 Mar 2012)


Each operating system has different requirements to run it

Symbian has always been more efficient compared to the rest

that's why even on the N8 with 680mhz 256mb ram it could run the same apps/games that Android needed dual cores to run

just look at Belle OS the N8 can run it smoothly and it has half the cpu/ram that the 808 does

and lets not forget that theres also a 1gb GPU in the device

posted on 03 Mar 2012, 14:43 6

75. steelicon (Posts: 313; Member since: 02 Apr 2011)


01.) Xenon Flash;
02.) LED video light;
03.) 1080p 30 fps video with Continuous AutoFocus
Connectivity;
04.) Bluetooth 3.0;
05.) HDMI;
06.) DLNA;
07.) micro USB 2.0;
08.) USB On-The-Go;
09.) Secure NFC ;
10.) 3.5 mm audio connector with TV-out;
11.) FM transmitter;
12.) WIFI A/B/G/N.

Show me a single ANDROID mobile phone device or APPLE mobile phone device that has ALL of these features.

Ha! I knew it! :p

posted on 07 Mar 2012, 10:41 2

87. cepcamba (Posts: 717; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


This is the first device I know of that have both Xenon Flash and LED video light.

posted on 23 Mar 2012, 07:22

92. stash (Posts: 3; Member since: 23 Mar 2012)


Sony Ericsson C905

posted on 24 Mar 2012, 07:22

93. danieru.05 (Posts: 7; Member since: 24 Feb 2012)


lets see how the quality of photos looks like in reality...

posted on 25 Mar 2012, 07:03 1

94. stylinred (Posts: 50; Member since: 03 Mar 2012)


as opposed to fantasy???? what....?

posted on 05 Apr 2012, 10:59

113. Mekobag (Posts: 26; Member since: 05 Apr 2012)


That is so true, my friend... The only brilliant feature the 808 has is the camera. Period.

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 05:11 10

4. moneyrockers (Posts: 4; Member since: 26 Feb 2012)


I want to have this SmartesT PhonE. Running on Belle is great, I hope Carla and Donna update is possible. Nokia RoCkZZZZZZ........

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 05:19 11

5. miksu (Posts: 2; Member since: 26 Jan 2012)


Yes, true about that processing power. But also, symbian doesnt need as much power, its more efficient

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 05:30 8

6. Giggity (Posts: 147; Member since: 17 Nov 2011)


I thought Nokia is done with Symbian already, why churn out another handset with it?

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 21:38 2

46. bintheham (Posts: 11; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


I'm sure there was a contractual obligation to release it, just like the one and only Meego phone. Windows Phone is the future of Nokia, this phone will be forgotten by the few that will even hear about it.

posted on 29 Feb 2012, 12:11 4

58. shadez10 (Posts: 403; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)


i believe this will not be forgotten... its revolutionary for a camera phone... this phone is epic... it wouldnt be that easy to forgot...

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 05:35 4

7. ScottSchneider (Posts: 319; Member since: 06 Dec 2011)


I don't need a smart phone with this high camera resolution., Probably no one would either... What is more important is the sensor size for really good pics... A Photo taken with this piece of hardware, I would see it in the phone itself or in my PC. I aint gonna print a hoarding with a 500 feet size... this is utter crappyness...

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 05:45 7

9. sadaivadai (Posts: 156; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


You need to learn more about camera . And how high camera sensors can be useful at least for some people . May be this is not the mobile for you :)

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 06:53 5

16. bbblader (Posts: 580; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)


dude i am a freerunner and for pictures and video this will beat the crap out of normal everyday 24Mpx or higher cameras

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 12:56 3

41. chapizzo (Posts: 116; Member since: 13 Sep 2011)


Dude, the large megapixel isn't there so you can print 500 ft pics of yourself (that comes as an added advantage of the "over the top" megapixels), it primary purpose is to allow zooming in without losing the quality of the shot.

posted on 05 Apr 2012, 11:08 1

114. Mekobag (Posts: 26; Member since: 05 Apr 2012)


Finally! Someone who understood what the Megapixel count is for the 808. I just hope that zooming in and out is fast and seamless for this phone. Otherwise you'd lose precious moments.

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 06:18 2

13. ryq24 (Posts: 507; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


this phone will send shrivers to camera maker not to samsung or apple but it still is a good looking phone.

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 06:19 1

14. DIYguy (Posts: 190; Member since: 27 Feb 2011)


Is there a physical camera button with focus??

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 08:16 2

23. bbblader (Posts: 580; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)


yes there is

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 07:09 4

17. ghost__uwi (Posts: 175; Member since: 28 Nov 2011)


wow i always wanted to do lunar surveying from my phone and thanks to nokia I can do it now !!! :D

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 07:30 9

19. Jericho (Posts: 302; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)


This is freaking awesome i am a camer phone fan.
And symbian belle doesn't look outdated if you actually have used it. Symbian belle is cool hope they make donna and carla more like meego then nokia can come back from windows phone to symbian. And the processor on nokia pureView is good as it is. what are you gonna do on a quad core show the benchmarks to your friends.

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 08:35 1

27. zaryab_hussain77 (Posts: 102; Member since: 30 Jun 2011)


what will u do of a 41mp shooter............

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 13:08 6

42. chapizzo (Posts: 116; Member since: 13 Sep 2011)


Take really cool pics and video from a distance, say at a concert or football game.

posted on 28 Feb 2012, 01:24 1

47. zaryab_hussain77 (Posts: 102; Member since: 30 Jun 2011)


thats it...????

posted on 28 Feb 2012, 21:10 7

54. Stoli89 (Posts: 333; Member since: 28 Jun 2010)


Take noiseless 5MP to 9MP stills that rival some DSLR's. Take 4x zooms of 1080p video at 30fps, retaining full 1080p resolution in the process (lossless zoom). Take low light action shots with a massive Xenon flash, take nighttime video with a hi intesity LED/Torch. Take massive 38MP raw images and later crop HD photos in various areas of the image at a later date. That's what I will do.

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 07:40 3

20. classicmody (Posts: 2; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)


why is sympian is over it look great

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 07:51 6

21. flopjoke (Posts: 42; Member since: 05 Jan 2012)


Jizz in my pants. This phone is the perfect way for Nokia to be the KING in camera phones all over again. Perfect way for Symbian to bid farewell.

Although that red color is meh. Black version of the 808 looks perfect.

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 08:00 7

22. vishalvenky (Posts: 40; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)


love u Nokia.. symbian is the only OS which can handle such camera sensors.. none others can.. not just 10,12,14 its 41MP man.. think of it and the name defines it.. PUREVIEW.

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 12:09 5

36. rafael.roque (Posts: 78; Member since: 03 Jul 2010)


That's right people, despite what others write about Symbian; it is the only mobile OS capable of processing and working with this beast of a camera module! I will remind you all, that it was Nokia who got us the first Smartphone camera and their camera technology legacy can be traced through the N70, N95, N82, N86 and most recently the N8 before the 808!

posted on 29 Feb 2012, 12:14 4

59. shadez10 (Posts: 403; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)


thats why symbian aint gonna die that easy... =D

posted on 05 Apr 2012, 11:15

115. Mekobag (Posts: 26; Member since: 05 Apr 2012)


It's already on it's deathbead... talking to its grandchildren Belle, Carla, and Donna... Telling them about the good old tales of past glory their Granpa Symbian had and the N-Gage regrets...

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 08:17 6

24. bbblader (Posts: 580; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)


this is the BEST cameraphone for the next 3 years atleast

posted on 05 Apr 2012, 12:02

124. megabok (banned) (Posts: 58; Member since: 03 Apr 2012)


808 is the last of symbian. and its on life support.

posted on 27 Feb 2012, 08:28

26. LodeStar (Posts: 28; Member since: 26 Feb 2012)


cool, a bit plasticy tho & screen res sux, the black & white looks gorgeous. i have a friend who uses n8 but i never saw him printed a pic from it he only uploads it to FB and thats it

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