Nokia 808 PureView Review – It’s a Camera With Smartphone Functionality

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Nokia has always been known for creeping in awesome quality camera’s. Even after allying with Microsoft and pulled down by Android in various market’s, Nokia has managed to maintain it’s focus on manufacturing “camera” smartphone’s. Nokia 808 PureView is a prime example. At the launch event conducted by Nokia in New Delhi, the camera capabilities of Nokia 808 PureView were the main highlights of the event and rightly so since a 41 MP camera isn’t a ‘regular’ feature!

Enticed by it’s professional camera capabilities, I was eager to get my hands on Nokia 808 PureView. Fortunately, Nokia India was courteous enough to lend one for review 🙂

On with the review part, I won’t break the ice this early in the article. Thus, have divided the article into multiple sections, each laying focus on certain aspects of Nokia 808. I hope you enjoy the article and it help you in making a good decision in case you have stumbled here confused about which phone to buy.

Look And Feel

Let’s admit, a phone these days should attract eyeballs whenever you take it out of your pocket/purse/carrying bag. The bling bling factor ought to be there apart from ‘brains’. With Nokia 808 I was a little take aback when I first unpacked it. The build quality is indeed really good. Its not plastic but poly-carbonate. But that’s not the issue that irked me. First things first, it IS NOT slim at all. I have had used LG Optimus 4X HD before and own a Samsung Galaxy S II, comparing with these 2, Nokia 808 felt like a bulky paper weight. Plus, the protruding rear camera carrying weight of 41 MP doesn’t really look good.

This being said, it doesn’t mean Nokia 808 is an eye sore. In-fact it is far from that. I’d give it an average rating in looks, appearance factor.

Hardware Specs

Nokia 808 comes with standard hardware viz. corning gorilla glass, Wi-Fi, DLNA, 1.3 GHz single core processor, Broadcom BCM2763 GPU, A-GPS. All these are pretty common, nothing extra ordinary except for the inclusion of Nokia Clear Black Display. None of these are impressive per se however, raking in a mediocre 512 MB RAM and poor ~184 ppi screen resolution, I was let down. Even sub par smartphone’s these days are coming up with 1 GB RAM and 1 GHz processor’s.

Anyway, these are on-paper specifications. When I actually did a stress test for Nokia 808 PureView, it fared pretty well. I was able to run 5-6 apps in background without facing any lags. The installed Symbian Belle, a supposed improvement over much criticized S60V5, etc, gives old school feel. On the face of it, it seems cosmetic changes have been made rather than under the hood code alterations, nonetheless OS does feel snappier. Had nokia included 1 GB RAM, the phone would have been had handled much more than what it does now.

Performance

As I did mention above, the OS does feel snappier especially if you switching from an older Nokia to this one. Old Nokia users will definitely enjoy Symbian Belle, no second thoughts about that. However, if you have had a taste of Android or iOS before than I am afraid, you will be disappointed at multiple levels. Firstly, background application handling isn’t as sturdy partly because of limited RAM. Secondly, app availability is limited, this can be a big issue if you used to relying on apps to do your tasks. Thirdly, sub-par screen sharpness of just ~184 ppi.

About camera performance, Nokia 808 has no comparison at all. No smartphone available in market as of writing this article even comes close to beating Nokia 808’s screen capturing abilities. The image processing unit processes a billion pixels per second. The actual processor doesn’t process the image, hence taking a video/image wont be a resource hog on the main core. Add to this Xenon flash, Carl Zeiss lens and HD (1080p) video recording capability, you have a perfect professional camera replacement in your hands!

As a matter of fact Nokia 808 puts to shame even some of the costly professional camera’s out there. This is how good the camera is. No holds barred. Respect to Nokia.

Verdict

For me Nokia 808 is a camera with a smartphone rather than a smartphone with built in camera. Agreed that 41 MP camera strength is just unbeatable, agreed the build quality is rock solid but that doesn’t make up for bare minimum available RAM, Nokia Belle OS and limited apps.

Coming at a price tag of Rs. 32000 (approx), I feel a lot is missing. However, if you are someone who relies on his/her mobile phone camera for taking pictures and is least bothered about apps then Nokia 808 is perfect companion for you.

Review unit courtesy Nokia, India.

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