Nokia 808 PureView review: Photo Finnish
The Nokia 808 PureView is the best cameraphone ever made. End of story. Now, how do you proceed from there? And why is this particular phone so hard to write about? How about because a picture is worth a thousand words and we just had a truckload of them in the mother of all shootouts? Or is it because 41 megapixels is more than five, eight, twelve, or the sum thereof, and there's no two ways about it?
Close, but no cigar. What could've easily been an ode to Finnish awesomeness may be no more than a flash in the dark for struggling Nokia and the still-standing-against-all-odds Symbian. That's what makes it hard and we've been there with the Nokia N9.
At different points in its history, Nokia has had the best-selling phone, the best business phone, the best gaming phone, the best cameraphone and the best smartphone. At one particular time, they even had all of the above in one go. Honest to god, if there ever was anything like the best are-you-kidding-me phone and the best gimme-a-break phone, they would've been runners-up at least. Yeah, they were that good.
And yes, the Nokia 808 PureView camera is that good. They wanted something to maybe, just maybe, match the most basic of compact digicams. And they did so well that it scared the living daylights (and the low light) out of a Micro Four Thirds camera.
There goes the Nokia 808 PureView.
- 38 megapixel autofocus camera with xenon flash and 1080p@30fps video recording
- Two capture modes: 38MP/34MP full-res and 3MP/5MP/8MP PureView
- Camera features: giant 1/1.2" camera sensor, mechanical shutter, ND filter, geotagging, face detection, up to 4x lossless digital zoom
- Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support
- Penta-band 3G with 14.4 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA support
- 4" 16M-color AMOLED capacitive touchscreen of 640 x 360 pixel resolution
- Nokia Belle OS with Feature Pack 1
- Single-core 1.3 GHz ARM 11 CPU and 512 MB RAM
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n with DLNA and UPnP
- microHDMI port for HD TV-out functionality
- GPS receiver with A-GPS support and free voice-guided navigation
- Digital compass
- 16GB on-board storage, expandable up to 32GB through the microSD card slot
- Active noise cancellation with a dedicated mic
- DivX and XviD video support
- Built-in accelerometer and proximity sensor
- Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
- Stereo FM Radio with RDS, FM transmitter
- microUSB port with USB On-the-go support
- Stereo Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP
- NFC support
- Smart and voice dialing
- Scratch resistant Gorilla glass display
- Symbian ecosystem lags behind Android and iOS
- nHD resolution wears thin on the 4" screen
- The phone is quite bulky and heavy
- Relatively limited 3rd party software availability
- microSIM support
The 808 PureView has no business with cameraphones as we know them. It can look down at any of the smartphone flagships of the competition and make fun of their so-called advanced camera tricks. But guess what - it doesn't. It's so much better than that.
And of course the flipside is that the smartphone is not of the same order as the cameraphone. The Symbian-powered Nokia 808 PureView knows darn well it cannot match the quad-cores, HD screens and the app stores of the competition.
So, what's it then? Sort of the fat kid, and not too bright? It may as well be - but hang on. You may have a use for a sharpshooter in your team. Stuff movies are made of. Grabs you by the heart.
The Nokia 808 PureView has a whole review ahead and we don't think it's going to try and impress anyone, or make them change their mind. But you'd do well to pay attention. This is a phone that knows what it's doing and does it well.