Nokia 808 PureView Review

Interface and Functionality:

The initial Symbian Belle release introduced multiple homescreens, resizable widgets and pull-down notification bar, as well as significantly cleaned up the code which sped up performance. Symbian Belle Feature Pack 1 that's running on the 808 PureView Nokia brings other enhancements like a ton of new widgets, including a useful data counter.

Moreover, it improves on Symbian's multitasking menu – long press the home key, and life-size previews of the last state you left the running apps in appear, making it a snap to recognize and chose where you want to return to. Symbian and Android are the only ones with true multitasking, until memory runs out, so this was a good area to focus on.

While Symbian Belle FP1 now has the looks of more advanced mobile operating systems, and runs fairly well on the 1.3GHz processor, it doesn't have the feel. There is a number of unnecessary warnings popping up when you use features for the first time, even simple stuff like connecting to a Wi-Fi network, or unneeded warnings about certificates and stuff no standard user ever wants to see. These stop showing when you log in with a Nokia account, though.

Furthermore, commands take way longer than on iOS, WP or Android – the loading circle appears often, plus app installations or updates might take many minutes and/or require more input from the user. 1GB of RAM would have been much better, but we have half of that here.

Granted, Ovi Store has 50, 000+ apps, which is not little at all, and covers a lot of ground, but most of them are with clunky interfaces, and/or way more expensive than what you'd find at the App or Play Stores, not to mention the nHD screen resolution they are made for. For social networking, for instance, you have to rely on the Nokia Social widget, which doesn't refresh automatically, and there are no notifications. If you want something better, you'd have to hit the Ovi Store.

The partnership with Microsoft trickled down to Symbian handsets as well, and a pretty polished versions of Office Mobile with OneNote runs native now, plus Microsoft's enterprise IM app Lync is present as well, complete with SharePoint logins and all. There's no tethering from the OS itself, but the best app for the task JoikuSpot is preinstalled. Another useful license comes with F-secure Mobile Security.

Overall, in terms of functionality Symbian Belle FP1 on the Nokia 808 PureView can rank along the modern Android, iOS, or Windows Phone, and sometimes excels in things like a full landscape layout and easy file transfer. When it comes to fluidity and user experience, though, it is much less uniform, requires a steeper learning curve, and its outdated resolution and processor support stand little chance against the contemporary mobile OS players.

Internet and Connectivity:

The Symbian Belle FP1 browser renders pages pretty badly, with the checkered boxes appearing almost every time you pinch to zoom in. Scrolling and panning around are also choppy compared to the competition, unless the page has loaded completely, not to mention the 360x640 screen res on a 4” screen, which is prohibitive for spending a lot of time in the browser. It supports Flash Lite 4.0, so ads and some Flash video websites will run, but games and eye candy design that needs full Adobe Flash support are a no-show.

The Nokia 808 PureView has a pentaband radio with up to 14.4 Mbps HSDPA downloads, so it should work with any micro-SIM you put in it. The handset has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and A-GPS, which is taken a good use of with the free offline voice-guided navigation of Nokia Drive in most countries worldwide.

There is DLNA streaming, managed by the DLNA Play app, and NFC chip in the battery cover, which allows you to exchange content with other Nokia phones and accessories, play games with them and so on.

The microHDMI port at the top allows you to hook the phone easily to a TV and use the Big Screen app to manage your mirrored content. An FM Radio rounds it up, and the phone can serve as an FM transmitter to stream tunes to your car stereo with the Play via Radio app.

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