Nokia 808 PureView - Definitely the Best Camera Phone to Date
New Nokia 808 Pureview: 41 Megapixel madness (Photo credit: Willemvdk)
Nokia has been promising to deliver the next generation of smartphones for the past half a year now, and at MWC, they finally demonstrated that they weren’t kidding. While their selection of smartphones is nowhere near as big as their competitors’, the company seems to be going for quality rather than quantity, and their newly announced handset clearly shows that: the Nokia 808 PureView is simply the best camera phone to be released on the market to date.
On the outside, the new 808 PureView looks quite normal – that is, if you don’t count the huge hump on the back that houses the camera (which also has a pretty big lens and Xenon flash). On the front, there’s nothing but the display and the navigation buttons right below it, and the phone is a whole 14mm thick at its thickest point, which is actually pretty good considering what it’s packing inside.
Performance wise, the Nokia 808 PureView isn’t the fastest phone on the market – not by a long shot. There’s a 1.3 GHz single core processor under the hood running all your apps, along with 512 MB of RAM and 16 GB of onboard storage space. There’s also a micro SD card slot for expanding that space, which will definitely come in handy seeing as this is a camera phone intended for high quality photos and HD video. While a single core won’t impress anyone these days, the operating system (which is Symbian Belle – more on it later) certainly makes things fast and snappy all around – Nokia’s Symbian phones were always known for being excellent at managing resources and getting by just fine with below average hardware.
The hardware features of the 808 PureView are pretty standard, with the major exception of the camera. But let’s get the other specs out of the way first: the display on the front is a 4 inch LCD unit with a resolution of 360x640 pixels – Nokia seems to love this nHD resolution, but it definitely doesn’t look too well on a 4 inch screen. The image is quite pixelated and the screen space could’ve been used better with something like the standard 800x480 pixels resolution, especially considering this is a camera phone.The other specs include all the usual suspects, from Wifi N, Bluetooth and GPS to a HSPA+ 3G modem, HDMI and USB ports and a 3.5 mm audio jack – everything is present and accounted for.
Now, the camera on this phone is simply amazing – it packs in a whole 41 Megapixels, made possible by the latest technologies in sensor-building, and it provides the best photographs quality seen on a smartphone. It’s even better than many compact point and shoots, which is not surprising when you see the sensor itself – this beast is three times bigger than the standard 8 megapixels unit in Nokia’s other flagship phones, and it comes with a similarly oversized lens to capture in as much light as possible.
Along with the Xenon flash, it works amazingly well at taking quick, excellent photos in any conditions, and of course there’s support for 1080p video recording, as well. The photos aren’t actually 41 Megapixels in size – instead, the millions of pixels are used to significantly increase the sensitivity of the sensor and make high quality 8 megapixels shots at the maximum quality setting. You wouldn’t need more than 8 megapixels anyway, so that’s the right decision (Sigma did something similar with their new 46 megapixels cameras, as well).
The choice of the software is really weird – Nokia is definitely confused about their operating systems, going with MeeGo for the N9 after choosing Windows Phone 7 as their mainstream OS, and now they release this flagship camera phone running Symbian – an OS that was supposedly going to be used only for entry level devices. Granted, the latest version, Belle, is pretty good as an OS, but the lack of developer support and apps is definitely noticeable. Windows Phone 7 would’ve been a much better choice long term.
Price and Availability
The Nokia 808 PureView was just announced, and it will be coming to networks in late May, by which time it may actually get some competition. For a camera phone, it looks quite attractive, although the $600 price point may turn some potential buyers off.
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