Nokia 808 PureView vs Samsung Galaxy S III

Introduction and Design

The Nokia 808 PureView has the smartphone camera we've all been waiting for, and the Samsung Galaxy S III is probably the most hyped and popular Android phone this year.

If you are considering those two for one reason or another, we are pitting both devices against each other to see what's what and help you choose.

Can the blazing fast Samsung Galaxy S III with its thin, light design and beautiful 4.8” HD display drop out of anyone's wish list for the chubby kid Nokia 808 PureView with a beautiful 41MP soul? Read on our quick comparison to find out...


The Samsung Galaxy S III is undoubtedly a leap forward in chassis design, considering the internals it sports and the huge display it is accommodating. The compact body that is less than 9mm thin makes the Nokia 808 PureView look like, well, we'll say it again, Quasimodo in comparison. Not only does it have a large hump on top of the 14mm thick body, but the bar underneath the screen where the navigational keys are, and the coarse plastic of the body make it look like any of the army of Symbian handsets of years past.

It does feel more solid than the Galaxy S III, though, which is very light, and is easier to operate with one hand thanks to the smaller display. Yet Samsung's phone also has a microSD slot, removable battery and HDMI-out capabilities, so the 808 PureView can't even muster an advantage in expandability, so the design part clearly goes to the Galaxy S III.


The only slight advantage the Nokia 808 PureView 4” AMOLED screen has before the 4.8” Super AMOLED of the Galaxy S III is that it appears brighter thanks to the ClearBlack anireflective layer Nokia has put on top. In everything else, like colors and especially resolution, the 4.8-incher beats the 808 PureView screen by a huge margin.

The 360x640 resolution typical for Nokia Belle handsets makes for a lousy pixel density on this size, whereas the 720x1280 pixels on the Galaxy S III make for crisp and distinct imagery, regardless of the PenTile pixel matrix used compared to the regular RGB on the 808 PureView. Viewing angles are comparable on both handsets, as in very good, but the color gamut appears way more tame on the Galaxy S III, when placed next to the 808 PureView, where the reds can easily turn eye-piercing at full brightness.

Nokia 808 PureView 360-Degrees View:

Samsung Galaxy S III 360-Degrees View:

Interface and functionality:

Some say Nokia Belle copied Android when it introduced multiple homescreens, resizable widgets and a pull-down notification bar with connectivity toggles, but regardless of the source, the new interface is a huge improvement compared to the Symbian of yesteryear.

It can't beat the original, though, not at this screen resolution, and especially not when the Android interface is powered by that quad-core Exynos processor on the Galaxy S III. The UI is silky smooth on Samsung's phone and installing apps is a breeze, whereas with the Nokia 808 PureView we often have stuttering and installing big apps can take minutes instead of seconds. We are not even counting here the quality and quantity of apps in the Google Play Store, which put the Nokia Store to shame.

The Samsung Galaxy S III also introduces many useful options like Pop Up Play for picture-in-picture video watching while typing an email or chatting, for example. The Nokia 808 PureView has voice commands and dialing, too, but S Voice on the Galaxy S III might be less than Google Voice Search in Android Jelly Bean or Apple's Siri, yet is certainly more versatile than Nokia's voice actions.

About the only things Nokia Belle FP1 as found on the 808 PureView has before Android ICS on the Galaxy S III are the full landscape mode of the UI and the lock screen clock, both of which can be added with apps and launchers on the Galaxy S III, so the interface and functionality part again goes to Samsung's finest.

Internet and connectivity:

Another predetermined comparison comes when we put the browsers next to each other. The stuttering and slow browser on the Nokia 808 PureView is light years behind the fastest browser on a mobile device that the Galaxy S III sports. It beats it in every way imaginable, and supports full desktop Adobe Flash to boot. The browser on the 808 PureView is so bad compared to the gorgeous experience on the Galaxy S III, even without the pixel density difference, that it's not even worth comparing them.

As far as connectivity goes, the Samsung Galaxy S III calls everything that the Nokia 808 PureView offers but FM transmittance, and raises with 21Mbps 4G and Wi-Fi Direct. It is not pentaband, though, so you have to get the special version for T-Mobile in the US if you subscribe to that carrier, for example.

Where the Nokia 808 PureView excels, though, is GPS options, thanks to the excellent Nokia Drive, which offers free offline voice-guided navigation in most countries worldwide, complete with 3D maps and traffic conditions in some of them.


The Samsung Galaxy S III might have handy Panorama and HDR modes, which the Nokia 808 PureView lacks, but that's about it. The pictures created by the huge 41MP sensor of the Nokia dwarf those with the 8MP camera of the Galaxy S III, and not because of the resolution. Even the 5MP pics taken in Automatic mode with the 808 PureView outdoors make the often overexposed and oversaturated photos from Samsung's phone look amateurish.

Granted, the Galaxy S III also offers an abundance of settings in its camera interface for adjusting picture details like contrast and color, and has numerous preset scene modes. It is just that its sensor is much, much smaller than the one on the Nokia 808 PureView. Outdoor photos are fine from the Galaxy S III, yet with much less detail and way more noise than those from the PureView sensor, but when we get inside, the difference is dramatic in favor of Nokia's phone. Samsung can't really be blamed here, its camera is decent for a 2012 flagship, but nobody will be matching the 41MP PureView sensor any time soon.

In terms of video capture, both handsets can film sharp and fluid 1080p videos with 30fps, but just the fact that you can do 4x lossless zoom while taking the footage with the Nokia 808 PureView is enough to skew the balance in its favor, even without the oversampling tech that merges adjacent pixels into one super pixel, reducing noise and increasing detail. When we add the Nokia Rich Recording stereo audio which captures both very low and very high (up to 140dB) sounds without distortion, Nokia is the clear winner in the camera department, both for stills and video.

Nokia 808 PureView Sample Video:

Samsung Galaxy S III Sample Video:


Both handsets sport versatile music players with album art shuffling, song categorization, equalizer presets and sound modes. Mock surround sound in headset mode is available, too, with Samsung using its homebrew 5.1 channel solution, while Nokia is utilizing Dolby Mobile to plump up the sound. Where the 808 PureView gets ahead is in the loudspeaker department – the thin Galaxy S III just can't fit such a powerful and clean speaker that the 808 PureView has.

As far as video goes, the phones play all formats thrown at them at all definitions, but the video player on the Samsung Galaxy S III is much more versatile, and the viewing experience so much better on the 4.8” Super AMOLED HD screen.

The handsets have picture editing apps preinstalled, which have comparable features, but run much more fluid on the Galaxy S III thanks to the powerful silicon in it.

Call quality and battery:

The Galaxy S III has slightly better sound quality in the earpiece than the Nokia 808 PureView it is stronger and cleaner. The receiving side said they can hear us well from both phones, with clear and discernible voices, and no ambient noise thanks to the dual mics setup.

Battery life on the Galaxy S III is pretty good, thanks to the large 2100mAh battery, and excels that of most Android phones out there, save for outliers like the RAZR MAXX. The Nokia 808 PureView, however, runs an oldie, but frugal mobile OS, and the low screen resolution requires less power to fill it in, so it can last you for a comparable timeframe with the Galaxy S III at normal usage.

Talk times are significantly better on the Galaxy S III, though, which can manage almost 12 hours on a charge in 3G mode, compared to the 808 PureView's less than seven hours.


If you are not shutter-happy, the Nokia 808 PureView might be quickly put in the drawer and taken out only for occasions, going out and vacations, if you have the Samsung Galaxy S III as your daily driver.

The flexibility of Android, planted in the thin and compact body with a gargantuan 4.8” Super AMOLED HD display and the addition of special features like Pop Up Play make the Samsung Galaxy S III a much better choice. About the only advantage the 808 PureView has in terms of software is the free offline voice-guided navigation of Nokia Drive that comes with it.

In terms of hardware, however, despite that the silicon which powers the Galaxy S III is way ahead of what's inside Nokia's handset, we have one area where Nokia's handset has a huge advantage. The 41MP PureView camera is the best ever made for smartphones. The loudspeaker and the Rich Recording stereo audio are much better on Nokia's phone too.

The sensor is so good, that a few botched party or holiday shots and videos with the Galaxy S III, where the Nokia 808 PureView would have passed with flying colors, might make you reconsider how much design and apps you actually need. If you are not the one for photos or videos, well, then the Galaxy S III will be an easy pick before the Nokia 808 PureView, especially in light of the comparable pricing.

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