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Nokia 808 PureView Review

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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Nokia 808 PureView Review
What's the difference between innovation and an upgrade? Real innovation is when you do something nobody has done before you, that was deemed impossible or not worth pursuing. In the Nokia 808 PureView, which has been conceived and tweaked in Nokia's R&D labs for the last five years we have these markings of true innovation,.

Granted, the handset is a chunky little thing, and it is running Symbian, but it's the potential for major disruption in the smartphone camera department that its PureView photographic technology holds that matters here.

Nokia 808 PureView Review
Nokia 808 PureView Review
Shutterbugs will tell you that you can live with less apps, and slick design gets old quick when you use a handset daily, but if you have the typical smartphone camera module inside, you are stuck for the duration of your ownership with mediocre pics, in a time where your phone is your most used camera.

Hopefully the technology in the 41MP sensor of the Nokia 808 PureView will be leveraged into a versatile line of products to mark the next era in smartphone photography, but for now let's look at this enthusiast device as a whole in our review, with a special emphasis on its stellar camera abilities...


Design:

There is no arguing that it is function before form with the design of the Nokia 808 PureView. The Finns just built a phone around the monstrous 41MP PureView sensor, instead of the other way around.

Function is before form with the design of the Nokia 808 PureView - Nokia 808 PureView Review
Function is before form with the design of the Nokia 808 PureView - Nokia 808 PureView Review
Function is before form with the design of the Nokia 808 PureView - Nokia 808 PureView Review

Function is before form with the design of the Nokia 808 PureView


The soap-shaped front with the plain plastic bar that houses the call, end and home key/notification light below the display make the device look like a typical affordable Symbian handset. That feeling is reinforced by the significant thickness and the plain, but sturdy plastic chassis. We got the black version, which is the most unassuming of all other colors like white and red the phone is available in.

The front side - Nokia 808 PureView Review
The front side - Nokia 808 PureView Review
The front side - Nokia 808 PureView Review

The front side


Flip the handset over, however, and it starts telling a different story. You just can't miss the huge elliptic metal plate that takes a quarter of the back, and covers the 41MP sensor, as well as the rare combination between a Xenon flash for still shots, and LED light for focus assist and video illumination.

Still, when considering that the sensor is 1/1.2” - the largest in a cameraphone – and its advanced optics, Nokia has managed to keep the phone size and especially the weight in check. Moreover, the 14mm thickness and the “hump” that the sensor produces on the back, make for a comfortable grip in your palm. All in all, the handset is borderline ugly, but with a sturdy build, and unless you are overly self-conscious, it won't ruin your street cred when you take it out.

The monstrous 41MP PureView camera - Nokia 808 PureView Review
The Xenon flash and the LED light - Nokia 808 PureView Review
Nokia 808 PureView Review

The monstrous 41MP PureView camera

The Xenon flash and the LED light

 


All side buttons
– the volume rocker, lock slider and the two-stage shutter key on the right - are made of metal and very easy to feel and press. The ports like microUSB, HDMI and audio jack are all concentrated at the top, and the rest is plain, giving the phone somewhat barren looks from the side.

Left side - Nokia 808 PureView Review
Volume rocker, lock/unlock and camera buttons - Nokia 808 PureView Review
The HDMI, microUSB and 3.5mm ports - Nokia 808 PureView Review

Left side

Volume rocker, lock/unlock and camera buttons

The HDMI, microUSB and 3.5mm ports



Display:

We have a 4” AMOLED screen on the Nokia 808 PureView, with the typical for Symbian 360x640 pixels of resolution, which is pretty low for today's standards, and makes for below average 184ppi pixel density. Thus if you look into solid colors, icon edges or enlarge text they look pixelated, and 480x800 would be the minimum for a 4-incher to look decent in that respect.

Furthermore, the AMOLED display is behaving like one, exhibiting saturated to the point of gaudy, but cold colors, making white backgrounds in websites appear blueish compared to a good LCD.

Yet its other virtues like great contrast ratio and viewing angles more than compensate, and the addition of Nokia's ClearBlack layer improves sunlight visibility a lot by bringing screen reflection down to a minimum. You won't have any troubles working the interface or framing your shots even when the sun is shining directly on the display, and this is pretty important for a cameraphone like the 808 PureView.

The 4” AMOLED screen on the Nokia 808 PureView - Nokia 808 PureView Review
The 4” AMOLED screen on the Nokia 808 PureView - Nokia 808 PureView Review

The 4” AMOLED screen on the Nokia 808 PureView




Nokia 808 PureView 360-Degrees View:

178 Comments
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posted on 25 Jun 2012, 10:01 17

1. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4599; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


The problem of Nokia 808 PureView is that there is no 'balance' between a phone and camera. Good camera and not so good phone - no balance.

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 10:15 24

3. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4599; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


Anyway, nice to see innovations in mobile handsets. :)

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 10:22 14

6. goesoer (Posts: 13; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


yeah, Nokia is always made innovations,, do you remember the camcorder-like-mobile phone?? it recorded briliant video on that time

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 12:14 14

28. Extraneus (Posts: 10; Member since: 02 Jun 2012)


Stupendous camera, good phone, not so good gaming machine, you mean?
If you need to make calls, send text messages, listen to music and take great photos, this phone will do it better than any other - the only place it falls short is on the app-front, but... Don't you own a tablet?!? ;)

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 13:15 6

35. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4599; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


If your needs are only to make a calls, send text messages, listen to music and take great photos, then I agree with you. But in many, many cases Symbian Belle isn't so 'flexible' OS and it is not about the gaming.

posted on 26 Jun 2012, 04:33 5

93. neutralguy (Posts: 1152; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


But that's the definition of a phone. For calling and SMS, you should've said that 808 is a good camera, good phone (nokia handsets are one of the bests in terms of phone quality), and not so smart.

posted on 26 Jun 2012, 05:05 4

96. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4599; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


"...(nokia handsets are one of the bests in terms of phone quality), and not so smart."

Agree.

posted on 26 Jun 2012, 06:08 2

100. markamps (Posts: 4; Member since: 04 May 2012)


"not so smart". So 808 is just a dumb phone with excellent camera?

posted on 26 Jun 2012, 22:33 5

126. agferrari (Posts: 2; Member since: 26 Jun 2012)


Hey, can you tell me what is the thing that Android can doe but Symbian Belle can't do.
Have do you use Belle?

posted on 27 Jun 2012, 06:49

136. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4599; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


Symbian isn't so 'flexible' like Android. For example hacking, go to www.hackaday.com, how much hacks for Symbian do you see? Zero!
Have you heard about Google ADK and Arduino?
http://developer.android.com/guide/topics/connectivity/usb/adk.html

Or can you show me for example such thing like a Symbian PC System, I guess you can't. But here is such thing like Android PC System and only for $49:http://apc.io

posted on 28 Jun 2012, 06:05

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


have you visited dailymobile ever? no hacks? wtf granted most of the old guys moved on to different os' but the community is still thriving

as for pc system, thats why Nokia made Maemo a linux based os like android but its been around longer and Android likes to copy from it (like the drop down notification bar)

posted on 28 Jun 2012, 11:55

144. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4599; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


"have you visited dailymobile ever? no hacks? wtf granted most of the old guys moved on to different os' but the community is still thriving"

So where is Symbian + Hardware hacks???
Do you even understand about what I'm talking about?

"as for pc system, thats why Nokia made Maemo a linux based os like android but its been around longer and Android likes to copy from it (like the drop down notification bar)"

Don't go off-topic! We are talking about Symbian, not about Maemo!

posted on 29 Jun 2012, 06:06

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


im reminded of Jackie Chan asking Chris Tucker "do you understand the words coming out of my mouth?"

and Chris Tucker replies "don't nobody understand the words coming out of your mouth man!"

posted on 29 Jun 2012, 12:54

148. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4599; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


Seems that you are out of arguments. Next time get some knowledge before talking and don't go off-topic.

posted on 30 Jun 2012, 06:31 3

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


no... just seems like i made a point and you replied with "oh but you dont know what im talking about"

that clearly shows that either
a) you're incapable of getting your point across
or
b) you've got no argument and are just doing the back n forth babbling that we're currently involved in

posted on 30 Jun 2012, 07:19 1

154. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4599; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


Have you visited links that I have posted because your talking not about the same things.

posted on 30 Jun 2012, 01:40 1

149. Hlorri (Posts: 37; Member since: 07 May 2008)


What kind of idiotic criteria are these?

Symbian can certainly be hacked. I, for one, am running my own custom firmware on my N8, an plan to do the same with the 808. Little tweaks like allowing the file manager to access "protected" files and folders, or allow it to install unsigned applications.

But again, why is this even considered? Fewer people hack Symbian, because it is more flexible out of the box than Android or iOS. (Consider, for example, all the various connectivity options for sending/receiving files via Bluetooth, USB, WebDAV, Nokia "Big Screen" for a nice interface to your HDMI enabled TV, built-in support for bluetooth mouse and keyboard, etc). In itself, Nokia phones could be used as "ultra-portable" computers ever since the N95.

Instead, as far as I see it, there are three areas where Symbian have fallen behind by now:
- Applications (not many developers want to develope for an OS whose main backer has declared it dead)
- Support for multi-core processors (only supports one).
- Screen resolution (limited to WVGA, 640x360).

Other than that, it is still the most powerful and flexible mobile OS on the planet.

posted on 30 Jun 2012, 07:16

153. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4599; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


"Symbian can certainly be hacked. I, for one, am running my own custom firmware on my N8, an plan to do the same with the 808. Little tweaks like allowing the file manager to access "protected" files and folders, or allow it to install unsigned applications."

I'm talking not about such kind of hacking...

"What kind of idiotic criteria are these?"

If you don't understand about what I'm talking about, don't say it is idiotic.

posted on 19 Jul 2012, 13:09

171. nissin (Posts: 2; Member since: 19 Jul 2012)


Thing is, most people don't use arduinos!
I know it's a disadvantage for those that do, but it sadly wouldn't be a part of the market the phone is aimed at.
If the OS grows further because of this phone and the microsoft link, we might just see such an addition. I for one wouldn't hold my breath and would continue to use wifi to control my arduino bots :)

posted on 09 Sep 2012, 12:59

181. jsboy (Posts: 1; Member since: 09 Sep 2012)


then what kind of hacking DO you mean?

posted on 13 Aug 2012, 03:45

176. lamborghini666 (Posts: 2; Member since: 13 Aug 2012)


crappy :(:(:(:(:P:P

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 12:48 9

32. nak1017 (Posts: 328; Member since: 08 Jan 2010)


If they build this camera into a win8 phone, I think you'd have a pretty decent combo

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 15:14 9

45. -RVM- (Posts: 329; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


Well, Belle FP1 is more powerful OS than WP8.

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 13:32 8

38. Roomaku (Posts: 278; Member since: 06 Feb 2012)


Its so ridiculous how people want the best of everything. I mean it makes phone calls, texts, and you can check the web and it has free offline maps. Seriously it has all that yet because the OS is not as intuitive as Android/iOS/WP7 it's considered bad? Come on people it does the basics and then some, and it has the best camera on a phone available today, so it's time to give it a break on the phone part or rethink what you really need on a "phone".

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 14:59 5

43. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4599; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


If your needs are only to make a calls and send text messages, then you need a phone not smartphone. :)

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 17:31 3

64. Roomaku (Posts: 278; Member since: 06 Feb 2012)


Yeah agreed. I just think it makes an okay phone too.

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 21:11

65. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4599; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


It is ok, it is your opinion. :)

posted on 27 Jun 2012, 05:41 1

132. markamps (Posts: 4; Member since: 04 May 2012)


Agree.

And people must not only know the difference between a smartphone and an ordinary phone, but also the difference between the standards of today's smartphone and the smartphone of prehistoric age.

posted on 26 Jun 2012, 02:42 3

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


Actually, Belle with FP1 is very similar to Android, IMO. The problem is that it lacks certain apps, such as Kindle. In terms of hardware features, the phone is packed with goodies. Of course, it using older CPU tech, but this doesn't matter because Belle needs less resoruces to operate than Android. Bottom line, it's a very capable phone...but is limited by an app ecosystem hovering around 70,000 apps. The browser is OK, but still not up to Opera level. In any event, you can download Opera too.

posted on 29 Jun 2012, 03:48

146. dxbjan_2008 (Posts: 1; Member since: 29 Jun 2012)


Correct..!! Good points..!! :)

posted on 26 Jun 2012, 04:28 3

92. thelegend6657 (unregistered)


At least qhd screen !
What's the point of good camera and crappy screen ?
I will have to keep transferring those photos to a pc to really enjoy them

posted on 04 Jul 2012, 17:13 1

157. Skylarc (Posts: 1; Member since: 04 Jul 2012)


With a camera like this it would be a crime NOT to move it to the computer, work on it in photoshop and show it online in big resolution. That is how you will enjoy this pictures.
If you just want good pictures on your own phone. Then go ahead and use any crapy camera that are in phones today, you will not even know the diffrence.

posted on 29 Aug 2012, 04:53

178. NokiaN8 (Posts: 1; Member since: 29 Aug 2012)


So, enough with the infantile replies PhoneArenaUser ? I gues you have not passed the first 12 years of your life and yet to discover beer and women. But please don't go shouting all this bulls**t. A phone is not a phone because you say it is, a phone is a phone, the specs dont make it a phone, and te pros and cons don't make it good and bad. Let's let people decide wether to buy it or not, so enougn with the bulls**t already, and go buy a S3 or One X because everybody tends to buy it, and you are not yet on the verge to discover your own opinion, but that will come when you hit puberty.

Ontopic, it is a no-nonse phone, which can do just about everything a modern smartphone can. It dousn't have a 2ghz quad core in it for 12years olds to play games, and dousn't have 1.000.000 worhtless apps. But hey, maybe some people dont want to game on their smartphone? or carry an lcd tv in their pocket, running from AC to AC to power a quad core that is by far overpowered for any task to be done. Maybe it isn't 1mm thick and able to break in 2 after a fly pooped on your screen, it is however a smartphone capable of doing anything a grownup needs from a phone. Browse, music, Stream 1080p to your tv, make unbelieveable good pictures and yet last a few days on a bettery. It's realy one in it's kind, where no phone can match him, that can make him appeal to you, or not. Simple as that.

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 10:11 13

2. kamil (Posts: 115; Member since: 07 Feb 2012)


amazing camera is the only great feature i see in this phone. quiet disappointing to only see one amazing feature on an anticipated phone.

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 10:49 10

12. SleepingOz (Posts: 2474; Member since: 22 Oct 2011)


I agree, the camera is awesome!
But the phone, itself, is mediocre.

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 11:52 10

22. Birds (Posts: 927; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)


The phone has an old CPU but nokia did some tricks. They added a powerful GPU and two extra cores one for background tasks and the other for the camera. This phone is perfectly optimized to run Symbian, considering it can play high bitrate 2K resolution videos. I'm not saying the phone is better than what I anticipated, because some things like the web browser and task switching were simply disappointing.... However, I fall into the photo niche of people who have powerful DSLR's but don't feel like lugging the two pound behemoth around.

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 12:52 6

34. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4599; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


"...it can play high bitrate 2K resolution videos."

And how you will take advantage of it ? :)

2048x1080 (2K) on 4 inches 360 x 640 resolution display, I don't think so...

2048x1080 (2K) also impossible broadcast through Analog Video Connector (TV Out with composite)...

And anyway, I'm not sure if Nokia PureView 808 even able to play 2048x1080 (2K) videos! Could you show me a source where you find such info?

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 13:23 1

36. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4599; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


"2048x1080 (2K) also impossible broadcast through Analog Video Connector (TV Out with composite)..."

Sorry, my fault! It has HDMI! :)

But, I'm still not sure about if Nokia PureView 808 even able to play 2048x1080 (2K) videos.

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 15:19 1

46. -RVM- (Posts: 329; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


Don't know about 2K, but it certainly can play 1080p videos, and 2K is barely 7% more data, so i guess there's enough power under the hood.
---
Also, it doesn't matter much that u don't have 720p or 1080p screen.U will not always have 360p versions of video, so it's important if HW is capable to decode any resolution video.

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 17:17 2

60. Birds (Posts: 927; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)


Still, I think this phone deserves a little more credit than what alot of people are giving it. In a way, this device is dual core. ROFL but in a weird, convoluted kind of way that....well still makes the device pretty decent nonetheless.

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 21:18 3

66. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4599; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


"...this device is dual core."

Which part is Dual-Core? Because CPU is Single.

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 23:12 1

70. Birds (Posts: 927; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)


I'm not saying it is S4 or Exynos dual core. I'm saying it is single core with an added core for task switching!!! I don't want to get all technical about what I was inferring because I'm pretty sure you know what I meant. Read OUTSIDE the box sometimes.......it has two extra low powered cores one for the camera and one for task switching....enough said. I still say it is single core because it still has a primary core but technically it is triple cored of you want to get technical!!! lol

posted on 26 Jun 2012, 22:48

127. agferrari (Posts: 2; Member since: 26 Jun 2012)


It's not exactly "dual core" but,
it has, 1 cpu, 1 graphic processor, and
another dedicated grapich processo for the image/video of the camera.

posted on 27 Jun 2012, 06:59

137. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4599; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


For example Samsung Galaxy III has Quad-Core CPU and also has a GPU, but noone says that it has Five Cores...

posted on 30 Jun 2012, 06:37

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


it'd be called 5 cpus at most

nokia was the first to go multi-core back in the day and it was called dual cpu (not core)

posted on 30 Jun 2012, 07:20

155. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4599; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


Which device?

posted on 07 Jul 2012, 20:48

160. xsacha (Posts: 11; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)


Your Nokia N95 (in drawer) was dual cpu.

posted on 26 Jun 2012, 02:44 1

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


It has HDMI out.

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 10:19 11

4. goesoer (Posts: 13; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


let's see Nokia LUMIA with PureView on the future,, it can be the real phone that "designed for human",,

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 10:22 7

5. lubba (Posts: 1310; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)


Start building some hype in regards to wp8 Nokia. Seems you're starting to lose steam.

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 10:31 9

7. steelicon (Posts: 306; Member since: 02 Apr 2011)


Nokia Belle FP1 has come a long, long way from the clunky, buggy, slow OS of the past.

http://youtu.be/2l0AkY07PKs

Try to watch that YouTube clip. More Input and Output options to most devices, better UI and UX implementation, great configurable software.

Try it.

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 11:07 6

16. ReturningToNokia (Posts: 130; Member since: 09 Jul 2011)


Steelicon - save your sales pitch for your job (yeah, we know you've got that goal to sell alot of Nokia 808's). What is it, 3 so far? Good work!

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 15:57

52. denied911 (banned) (Posts: 361; Member since: 31 May 2012)


Try it

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46IiRyigUH0&list=LLq0MoWiM6kaywcS2FiWG4Og&feature=mh_lolz

Try to watch that YouTube clip.

posted on 26 Jun 2012, 00:01

72. -RVM- (Posts: 329; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


Great. But all i did all of this (USB on-the-go keyboards, mices, HDMI output to TV) on my N8 in late 2010. Long before SGS2 was announced.

posted on 26 Jun 2012, 04:43 1

94. denied911 (banned) (Posts: 361; Member since: 31 May 2012)


it works with USB DAC!!! and HDD without power supply!!! even tablets can't do that

posted on 07 Jul 2012, 20:48

159. xsacha (Posts: 11; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)


And yet the Nokia N8 from 2010 can work with USB DAC and HDD without power supply.

Everything the SGS2 can do, the Nokia N8 could do in 2010.

And so can this 808.

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 10:32 5

8. AzhiKarim (Posts: 5; Member since: 24 May 2012)


You guys that say this phone only has one good feature .. you are fu*king wrong !! you probably didn't try the OS so much and you don't know so much about it , if you had .. u wouldn't have said that ... this phone has lots of features that even the more expensive phones don't have such as Fm transmitter and lots of other little things .. i have a 701 and it's cool but one downside with it is the Camera of it which has no Auto-Focus but this phone looks like the real deal

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 10:42 4

10. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4599; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


If you are talking about me, I don't say that Nokia 808 PureView has the ONLY ONE good feature. Yes, I have tried this OS and I know about FM transmitter, I even have my old Nokia N95 8GB in my drawer. But I'm still not amazed!

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 10:50 3

13. AzhiKarim (Posts: 5; Member since: 24 May 2012)


no i'm not talking about you but lots of people just don't know what this phone can do , i mean they just think this is the old and ugly symbian .. you are right that this phone doesn't have so many good apps and games like android and iOS but it does the job simply for you

posted on 25 Jun 2012, 11:04 1

15. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4599; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


I understand your opinion. :)

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Display4.0 inches, 360 x 640 pixels (184 ppi) AMOLED
Camera41 megapixels
Hardware
Single core, 1300 MHz, ARM11 processor
512 MB RAM
Size4.88 x 2.37 x 0.55 inches
(123.9 x 60.2 x 13.9 mm)
5.96 oz  (169 g)
Battery1400 mAh, 11 hours talk time

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