Nokia 808 PureView Review
- By far the best cameraphone around
- Photos show the difference when really zoomed in on
- Typical Nokia call quality - brilliant
- Excellent battery life
- Bulky, but solidly built
- The white finish looks classy
- Low resolution display
- Web browser significantly inferior to similarly priced rivals
- Despite updates, the Belle UI looks very clunky
- Phone sits on the camera, when placed on a flat surface
The Nokia 808 PureView is possibly the best cameraphone ever made. Any feature above and beyond the camera is basically a bonus. Symbian won't really be the OS of your choice for your primary smartphone. However, if this were an indication of things to come, the next PureView with Windows Phone OS would probably make a lot of rivals go red in the face.
Not surprisingly, the 808 PureView drew some mixed reactions, but surprisingly, none were taking the middle path. Some said it was the best camera phone around. Albeit with a few compromises, but also opined that “about what, in this world, do we not compromise on?” The other side said that this is a good camera with a phone bolted on to it, and will hang on to their cash tightly till something like this comes along with the Windows Phone OS for the rest of the time!
Design & Build
For all that it brings to the table, the 808 will not win any points in a slimness competition. At 13.9mm thickness, the 808 does have a big footprint. Maybe it is not to be blamed as much as we think, mostly because ultra slim phones have spoiled us over the last few years.
Weirdly, the phone does have decidedly different thickness at different points. To understand this, you need to flip the phone over and see how the camera sensor clearly sits on a higher platform than the rest of the battery cover. We understand that it takes space to fit in a monster 41MP sensor, Carl Zeiss optics and Xenon flash, but this creates another problem – the phone will rest on the camera’s territory when kept flat on a surface. Inevitably, the bit will get scratched quite badly, over time. Nokia will hopefully offer a camera cover accessory quite soon, or maybe they already do, but the sealed review unit that we received did not have that.
Now that we are here, let us speak about this part of the phone first, before moving to the front. The review unit we received was the white version, and the colour really stands out. The battery cover has a plain and thankfully, matte finish. No risk of scratches or fingerprints ruining the perfectly pearly look of the phone! The only niggle is that the phone’s battery cover is forced to deploy the “use nails to prise open” mechanism. Normally, we would have deducted points for that, but in this case, the 41MP sensor is reason enough for a reprieve.
The left spine remains completely clean, while the right spine gets the volume rocker, the traditional Nokia lock screen slider and the two-stage shutter key. Speaking of which, the shutter key is slightly on the harder side, and will mostly induce unaccounted for movement when taking a photograph. We may be nitpicking here, but you will be better off using the onscreen tap-to-click mechanism. The 3.5mm jack, micro HDMI and micro USB populate the top spine.
The 4.0-inch display on the front is surrounded by a slightly shiny black bezel, but the width on the sides has been well controlled, so as to keep the phone’s dimension in check. Unfortunately, the keys are still not touch sensitive, which is a bit of “an odd one out” situation in a mostly touch environment. However, they do respond well, and quite sure about the pressure you need to apply every time. We would have loved touch sensitive keys though.
Overall, excellent build quality. Once you move past the “it is thick” routine, you will appreciate how well put-together this phone is. Featuring typical solid and durable Nokia build quality, it has no inspirations from the world of glossy phones. The 808’s design feels very agreeable, despite the slightly bulky dimensions.
Features & Specifications
When the Nokia first announced the “808 PureView - 41megapixel shooter,” the news took a long time to sink in. Most looked onto it with a lot of skepticism, wondering how the Finnish company would manage to deliver good per-pixel quality from so many pixels packed into such a tiny space. Functionally, using the PureView’s camera is pretty much the same as using any cameraphone - you press a button that starts the camera up, you point, wait for focus, you shoot. However, what happens behind that plastic shell is a whole different story.
The camera UI has been designed to take full advantage of the ridiculously powerful sensor in the camera. The first thing to note is that you can either shoot in full resolution mode, which records images in 38 megapixels (if you select 4:3 aspect ratio, but 36 megapixels if you’re shooting 16:9). Mind you, Nokia’s claims of lossless zoom are not applicable in this mode, as, well, you cannot zoom when shooting in full resolution. Switching to PureView mode allows you to zoom to various degrees, depending on whether you choose to shoot in 8, 5 or 3 megapixels. Regardless of what mode you are in, you will have the option to dial in exposure compensation (up to 3 stops over and under), along with setting custom white balance, choosing a focus mode (infinity, closeup, portrait or automatic). These in themselves are more settings that you would find on most camera that have been slapped onto a phone (inside joke here is that this is a camera with a phone bolted to it).
Clicking on the little cog icon on top of the screen reveals a plethora of options. Here, you can choose between automatic shooting, scene and creative mode (configurable with up to three different settings under C1, C2 and C3). There’s not a whole lot you can tweak when shooting in auto mode, but the creative mode opens up a whole new world. Scrolling further down, you can select the resolution at which you want to shoot (PureView vs. Full resolution), aspect ratio (4:3 vs. 16:9). Moving further down, you can choose colour tones (between normal, sepia, black and white, and vivid), the kind of capture mode you want to use (normal, bracketing, interval and self-timer). Then there is the option to tweak the contrast and sharpness in slider form.
Nokia has never really been a part of the power game in the smartphone territory, but that isn’t to say that the 808 doesn’t have the grunt – it boasts of a 1.3GHz ARM11 processor. However, the only bottleneck is the 512MB RAM, which is a big surprise. We expected 1GB at least, considering the price and what this phone is meant to do.
For those of you who click a lot of photographs, the 808 is surely a phone you must be considering. To get you into action straightaway, the 808 comes with 16GB internal storage, with a card slot for 32GB more.
(Camera Testing and Review, by Swapnil Mathur)
Visit page two, to read more about the Nokia 808 PureView's features & specifications, as well as its performance, and our verdict...
Listed under tags :