After months of waiting, the completely unique Nokia 808 PureView has finally been reviewed by major publications like Engadget and The Verge. The reviews seem to match initial impressions – that this is a one of a kind phone, half modern marvel and half dated anachronism.
Let’s have a look at the good stuff first. That 41 megapixel sensor, that PureView technology is brilliant. The camera is capable of taking better quality images at 34 megapixels than flagships phones manage at five – that’s absolutely crazy, because to even ensure that same level of quality would require optics and software seven times better on the PureView than on phones like the Galaxy S III. Of course, when you look at five megapixels worth of photo on the PureView versus five megapixels elsewhere, the difference is massive – you really have to go on a mission to find the faintest hint of noise. This is a camera you could legitimately use to take billboard sized images – insanity for a mobile camera.
And now the bad stuff – unfortunately, this includes pretty much everything else. The 808 PureView uses the dated and fated-to-die Symbian operating system, barely being capable of the title ‘smartphone.’ The few applications that exist are feature-poor, crash or glitch often and simply can’t compare to any mature smartphone platform – Android, iOS, even Windows Phone leave Symbian in the dust. Even the relatively simple act of web browsing is so frustratingly bad that you’d rather wait until you’re next at a computer to get your answer – no matter how many points you could win at the pub quiz. As well as the shocking amount of lag whenever you ask the phone to do anything, it’s also trivial to completely crash the phone – go to a content-rich site, go to landscape mode and try to scroll.
The non-camera hardware is subpar too. While the bulging camera section is understandable, the display isn’t – the 4″ screen sits at 640 x 360 pixels. Yup, that was the standard resolution before 800 x 480. Which was the standard resolution three years ago. Now we’re on 1280 x 720 – which is 921,600 pixels compared to the 808′s 230,400. As The Verge points out, it’s rather ironic that you’ll be viewing your world’s best images on one of the world’s worst screens.
So there you have it – brilliant camera, decent at making calls, rubbish as a smartphone. My advice? Wait until PureView technology hits Windows Phone – then you’ll have the best of both worlds. Until then, steer clear of this one unless you’re a proper photographer who needs a unique angle. At $600 for the sim-free Nokia 808 PureView, you’ll be one of the few that owns one.