The Media Guru
Sep 24, 2012

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Well, here it is. 4 months after its release, I finally have my hands on the best cameraphone in the world, thanks to Nokia Connects.

 

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Let’s start with the unboxing.

 

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That’s exactly how I found the 808, which meant it had already been tested or used for a while.

 

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Underneath the phone was the battery.

 

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& the accessories.

 

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Package contents:

  • Nokia 808 PureView
  • BV-4D battery
  • Stereo Headset WH-209
  • Data Cable CA-190CD
  • Charger AC-50
  • Wrist Strap
  • Fold-Out Quick Guide & NFC info card

 

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The USB charger has a trick up its sleeve.. You have to push the black pin to transform it into a 3-pin UK plug.

 

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The WH-209 stereo headset has built-in mic, but no volume control. It’s in-ear so it fits in my ears. Sound quality is decent.

 

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The 808 Pureview has a Gorilla Glass curved 2.5D glass front fitted on a plastic frame. 2.5D is no new technology, just the way it’s machined. One extra thing it has is the anti-smudge coating that works very well. It gives the glass an almost plastic finish.

 

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The front buttons (Call, Home, End/Power) keys are found within the Gorillas glass. The Home button backlight doubles up as a notification light. The soft feedback of these buttons do give a cheap feeling to this otherwise high-end phone. & as I quickly discovered, turning off the phone requires a disconcertingly short ‘long-press’ on the power key.

 

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Near the Nokia logo, you have the VGA front camera & the proximity/ambient light sensor.

 

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The 808 PureView has a 4 inch nHD AMOLED (RGB layout) display. As with most Nokia ClearBlack displays, the contrast is excellent, the colours aren’t too over-saturated and it performs very well under direct sunlight. Unlike some of the recent AMOLED screens I’ve tested, the 808 doesn’t have those black marks visible in complete darkness.

 

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The only problem is its resolution – 640x360. You can almost see those pixels. The anti-aliasing (or lack of) is visible. Not to mention the horrible font.

 

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The 808 has more colours (16M) than the N9 (65k), but the lower resolution jumps to the eyes. The edges are less rounded and the fonts look thinner. Overall, the 808 PureView’s display is so out-dated that it severely cripples such an impressive camera phone. Such a low-resolution display is an insult to that 41MP sensor.

 

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The downside of the 808 is its body. The camera bump protrudes out almost obscenely, making it impossible to rest the 808 flat on its back.

Dimensions: 123.9 x 60.2 x 13.9 mm.

Weight: 169g.

It’s absolutely massive, almost gigantic. & it’s very heavy.

 

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Clearly, to fit that large 41MP sensor, Nokia had to cut some corners.

Fortunately, when it comes to material, Nokia opted for an nearly indestructible plastic body. It’s matte, providing the best grip that you would need to grasp this massive phone.

 

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On the right side, there’s the volume key, the screen lock slider and the camera shutter key. Pressing the camera key when the phone is on stand-by launches the camera. While holding down the screen lock slider turns on the LED flash to be used as a torch.

 

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On the top, you have the 3.5mm jack, the micro-USB port and the micro HDMI port. The dot at the top is a microphone.

 

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Another dot at the bottom for another microphone. These 2 microphones allow ambient stereo recording – Nokia’s Rich Recording. It allows capture of sounds up to 140dBSPL without distortion and within a frequency range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz. In layman terms, you are looking at studio-level recording.

 

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Inside the 808 PureView, there’s a 1400mAH BV-4D battery, which is rated at 6.5h 3G talk time and 525h standby.

I haven’t had time to use the 808 as normal phone, just as a camera. In that respect, from 100% battery charge, the 808 PureView can last 1025 8MP shots.

 

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Just above the battery are two pins that connect to the NFC antenna found on the cover.

 

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Underneath the battery, you have the microSD and microSIM slots.

 

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& finally, here’s what we are most interested in - the thin slot that is the rear speaker. & trust me, as large as it is, the sound is even louder. Will beat anyone you can match in the bus. Oh, by the way, there’s also a 41MP sensor just above it.

 

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  • 1/1.2” sensor
  • 38MP/34MP
  • f/2.4
  • Focal length: 26mm (16:9 mode) & 28 mm (4:3 mode)
  • ISO range: 50 - 1600
  • Focus range: 15cm – ∞
  • Exposure compensation: +/- 4EV in steps of 0.3EV

 

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The 808 has a Xenon flash and a LED light as focus-assist.

 

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So where are the 41MP images?

The sensor size is 41MP. The effective resolution is 34/38MP because you can’t have round images. :)

 

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I won’t comment about the performance of that sensor until I’ve fully tested it, but take a look at this chart from dpreview.com. My S100 has a 1/1.7” sensor. The 808 has a sensor that’s nearly twice bigger.

Another tip - the 808 PureView completely destroys my previous camera.

 

Wrap-up

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In terms of internal specs, the 808 PureView has a 1.3Ghz ARM11 CPU, 512MB RAM, 16GB flash storage and a Broadcom BCM2763 GPU. Clearly with such hardware it’s in the low-end smartphone territory, an area where Symbian used to excel at. Add to that a nearly dead Symbian OS, a low-res display and a massive body, no one would want to buy it. If it wasn’t for one thing - the camera.

But let’s be honest, this is not a smartphone, but a camera with the bonus features likes phone, media player, internet connectivity and apps. If you look at it this way, it’s a very good buy for a backup shooter. Of course, you’ll have to wait for my further reviews to know if it’s really that good.

What I can conclude is that this is the first step in the future of all P&S cameras. The first camera with apps. & I’m not the only one who’s thinking like that. Nikon and Samsung are also jumping in…

 

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le_voyageur said...

probably me but yeah, i find the usb cable seems so apple-like.


concerning the camera, i did get my hands on it at infotech earlier this year, to me the user interface still sucks and that's probably the main reason i wouldn't buy this as a camera.

performance wise, all i can say it was decent even though it had chromatic aberration/noise when pixel-peeping [its obvious, you can't expect it to be perfect] so i figured out it was better to shoot at full resolution then resize it down to about 8mpx. it certainly did lessen the issues and yeah when i compare it to the 8mpx output of the camera, resizing was still better, it did give hope to me as a compact camera, better than some cheap point&shoot on the market and probably one of the best camera-phones out there but that's just technically, all someone wants now with a phone is to capture instantaneous/unplanned shots which most camera-phones out there do.concerning the backup thing you said, i wouldn't agree to it to an extent, i mean, its basically a good camera but at that price, you're getting an entry level dslr which will be compatible with all your lenses/flash/accessories or a flagship compact camera. i far prefer investing that money in real gear rather than a cameraphone which i'll hardly use when my dslr/compact camera will be with me but it can replace your daily compact camera though but at that price, is it worth it - yes if you're primarily getting a phone and trying to avoid the hassle of carrying two things of practically the same size. and yes i'll be a happy photographer if it gets its place in my pocket as a phone cause i might need it when my gear isn't with me. one more thing, nokia could have got a hot swappable micro sd instead of locating it under the battery.reminding me of someone i saw at bagatelle with a 5dmkII with 24-105 taking videos, he then pack up and started shooting with an n8, 808 might interest him.. as a camera.my conclusion : you're buying it because its a phone with camera, not a camera with phone. if ever you're buying it because of the 41mpx, then you fall in the category who thinks high mpx does it all which are actually idiots. investing such money on this sensor because its better than p&s on paper, i'll better get something else with a few bucks more.i would have seriously considered if it was android based and the specs match up with today's smartphones.

carrotmadman6 said...

Yea, it's only now that I noticed it's Apple-like. Except for the part where the corners are strengthened. :)

To reply to the lengthier part of your comment, you'll have to wait for my next reviews. I've been doing some pixel-peeping & so far, the results have been far better than I expected. :D

Yashvin Awootar said...

We will now really know what's under the hood with your review.
I think that this "camera" was over-rated by the sellers and promoters. Well, we'll see...

Yowan Rdotexe said...

I wonder who would really consider buying a device with a dated 10 year old ARM11 processor just for the gimmick camera.

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