Hands-on: Nokia 808 PureView

Hands-on: Nokia 808 PureView

Hands-on: Nokia 808 PureView

While Nokia marches on with Microsoft in their pursuit for a third mobile ecosystem, the Symbian camp received a shot in the arm with the unveiling of a new member, the Nokia 808 PureView.

The 808 PureView may be just another Nokia Belle-powered phone but it easily stole the limelight  with its 41-megapixel sensor. Nokia claims that the 808 PureView is the best camera smartphone in the world. Does the Nokia 808 PureView have what it takes to put Symbian^3 mobile platform back on the radar of consumers? Let's find out.

The Nokia 808 PureView may be just another Symbian^3 device but ...

when it was announced to have a massive 41-megapixel sensor, jaws (including ours) dropped in awe.

Picking up from where the N8 left off, the Nokia 808 PureView easily succeeds the ageing champ as the industry's leading camera smartphone

All About PureView 

PureView is actually an in-house pixel-over sampling technology developed by Nokia to be used in conjunction with the Carl Zeiss optics. When Nokia mentioned that the 808 PureView comes with a 41-megapixel sensor, it does not mean the device captures images with resolution of 41 megapixels. What Nokia basically does is capturing image information from seven adjacent pixels and condensing them into one pixel, resulting in a much sharper image.

Editor's note: To understand how the 41-megapixel sensor works, our resident camera reviewer takes some time to examine and explain the significance of megapixels and sensor sizes in this feature.

Using the PureView sensor mode allows you to switch among different resolutions (e.g. 8MP, 5MP and 2MP) using different aspect ratios (e.g. 4:3 or 16:9)

The camera user interface is pretty straightforward although it may be a tad too confusing for beginners in photography.

Hidden at the back of the Nokia 808 PureView are the powerful Carl Zeiss optics, 41-megapixel sensor, Xenon flash and LED flash. Fortunately, the camera lens is not flushed to the body of the 808 as it will be susceptible to scratches.

Here are two videos of the Nokia 808 PureView in action. The first video showcases the capabilities of the handset in zooming up real close to a subject and being able to see the details clearly. The second video is a guide to the camera user interface of the Nokia 808 PureView.

The large size of the lens caused a bulge at the top back section of the Nokia 808 PureView. Having said that, the device is thickest at 17.95mm at the camera and its thinnest point is 13.9mm. In terms of handling, we had no problems with the Nokia 808 PureView.

The Nokia 808 PureView runs on the latest Belle operating system. Its 1.3GHz single-core processor and 512MB RAM seemed sufficient in ensuring smooth operation of the device during our hands-on.

You must be wondering why Nokia made the decision to debut the PureView on a Symbian^3 device instead of the Windows Phone platform. Nokia's response is that PureView was developed with Symbian as the reference platform. The good news is that Nokia has plans to bring PureView to other devices in the future although no time frame is provided at the moment.

Nokia 808 PureView 

  Key highlights of the Nokia 808 PureView 

  • Nokia Belle 
  • 4.0-inch ClearBlack AMOLED capacitive touch screen display  / Corning Gorilla Glass / 2.5D curved glass  640 x 360 pixels 
  • 1.3GHz single-core processor 
  • 512 RAM / 16GB onboard storage (microSD expandability up to 48GB)
  • 41-megapixel camera sensor with Nokia Pureview Pro imaging technology and Carl Zeiss optics / Xenon flash / LED flash for video recording / f/2.4 aperture lens / 1080p HD video recording 
  • 1400 mAh battery
  • 169g
  • 123.9 x 60.2 x 13.9mm (17.95mm at camera) 
  • Availability: Expected to start shipping in May at an estimated price of 450 euros before taxes and subsides