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Weekend Read: 808 PureView Full Review. Best Symbian device. Best Camera Smartphone ever.

So, time to consolidate all the parts of the Marathon review of 808 PureView and bring it to you in full. If you remember, we also harked on a mission to know where it stands amongst Symbian Flagships of Nokia. The only way to do so was to compare it with the last Symbian Flagship, the legendary N8. So we not only compared through our reviews but also did comprehensive shootout of 808 PureView and N8.

So, now coming to our recommendations. This is of course the best Symbian phone ever made.

  • This is the fastest and most powerful Symbian smartphone ever. The detailed performance review will shed some details on our conclusion.
  • This is simply the perfect successor to the mighty N8. Nearly bettering the last Symbian flagship in all aspects. Be it UI, Ease of use, Fluidity, Performance, Imaging, Display.

So, what it offers to those who are on other platforms like Android, iOS.

  • It is certainly the Multimedia king of all Smartphones with Best ever Camera, Best ever video and audio recording (Nokia Rich Recording), In-built enhanced image and Video editor.
  • It is a true World Phone with Pentaband spectrum support. On top of that multitude of connectivity options like DLNA, NFC, UTG, Bluetooth etc. give you connectivity never experienced on phones like iPhone.
  • The kind of  “True Multitasking” it  is capable of is a dream on other operating systems. RAM management and Battery back up is the best you might have ever experienced.
  • Browsing and Social are also very capable with many options like Opera Mobile/Native for browsing and Facinate, Tweetian all complete social networking applications in their and as good on any other platform.
  • Size, thickness and Display resolution can be problem  for many. But there are tradeoffs to be made everywhere. And you can get these things on other smartphone, but again you can’t get such king of Multimedia and imaging capability on any other phone.

Time for the Full review then. Enjoy and let us know your views in “Comments” below.

Design:

  • 808 PureView’s polycarbonate body looks  sturdy and the device has a Premium feel.
  • The curved glass screen gives it a much better frontal look than N8.
  • But as far as body design is concerned I personally prefer N8′s design and feel N8′s design and that curved glass screen could have been the best design combo.
  • I used to think the three button bar at the bottom of 808 PureView wouldn’t look as good as the single home button on N8. But to my surprise it looks good and is very functional and smooth to use.

Display:

  • The CBD AMOLED display on 808 PureView is simply great. Being full RGB kind of AMOLED it has advantage in color representation over many of competitors smartphones which are packed with “Pentile” AMOLEDs. It is very bright as well. Videos, Photos and other multimedia look stunning on 808 PureView’s screen.
  • Nokia’s CBD (Clear Black Display) tech gives it certain edge over competition in viewing angles and outdoor visibility. N8 being around 2 years old didn’t come packed with CBD. Hence 808 PureView’s display simply looks better than N8, even if it has less pixel density than N8′s display.
  • Nokia has applied some oleophobic coating on 808 PureView’s display which makes it resistant to dirt and finger impressions, and this is something which I really missed on N8′s display. You need to wipe N8′s display often, but didn’t need to wipe 808′s screen yet.

UI and OS impressions:

  • Belle FP1 is not much different in UI design from Belle. But still there are minute differences.
  • Notification bar has been redesigned and you can now clear the notifications.
  • Multitasking is vastly improved. Visually it looks much more appealing.
  • New widgets like 2G/3G switch, Mobile data on/off etc are very handy and make Belle FP1 easier to use than ever.
  • The OS has now “Theme effects” as default and there is no way to switch it off. But in our experience animations are fast and OS is fluid enough.

Performance :

  • With processor speed of 1.3 GHz, the Belle FP1 OS literally flies on the single core CPU and GPU combo.
  • Even with Social, Three mail boxes always active in background, free RAM remains as high as 280 MB. Compare this with Android :)
  • All the UI actions are really fast and finish without any lag. Compare it to N8 running Belle and you can feel 808 taking almost half the time in actions like opening Menu, scrolling the apps etc.
  • All default applications and even all the third-party apps which I have used on both N8 and 808 PureView, open much faster on 808 PureView. Handling of the apps from Multitasking view is pretty smooth.
  • Multitasking is breeze and closing the apps is no more waiting game and open application close almost instantly.

Connectivity options:

  • As with other Symbian Flagships, you have a Pentaband true World-phone ready to go anywhere around the globe.
  • Starting off with the basics, you get a : quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and penta-band 3G with HSDPA (14.4Mbps) and HSUPA (5.76Mbps).
  • Local connectivity is very well covered like always. You get Wi-Fi b/g/n with DLNA and Wi-Fi tethering thanks to the JoikuSpot app’s free version.
  • Bluetooth 3.0 is on board with A2DP stereo. There’s USB with On-The-Go support for wired connectivity. You will certainly miss these on iPhones.
  • NFC is very well supported on 808 PureView. Pairing is very simple. Just put two NFC-enabled gadgets together and they will connect.

Social:

It has not changed much from the Belle version. The same interface and widgets are there.

  • I really like “All activity widget”, as in one glance you have the latest Facebook and Twitter feed on your fingertips.
  • Auto-refresh of Social has become reliable and you don’t need to refresh manually. Also scrolling down the feeds, you don’t face that old issue of hitting “view more” as loading of feeds happen automatically.
  • With latest update photos upload faster after clicking on the photo link.
  • For basic Facebook and Twitter use this is more than sufficient application. But many advance options need overhaul and slicker UI.
  • What I dislike is the fact that Nokia still has not managed to put QT based version of this very important application.

Browser:

  • Browser on 808 PureView is obviously the best on any Symbian device. And take our words, in daily normal usage it doesn’t disappoint at all.
  • The default browsing option is mobile sites when try to open some website for the first time and it is pretty quick.
  • Even the low to medium heavy desktop version of websites open fast and panning/zooming is ok. That includes our website, GSMArena.com and comparable websites.
  • When it come to very heavy or bloated sites like “The Verge” or “PhoneArena” then it takes its own sweet time to load but also panning/zooming is not that smooth.
  • Opera Mobile/Mini comes to the rescue here and especially if too heavy websites are concerned I depend on “Opera Mini”.
  • But again in no way this browser is as bad as has been reviewed by many tech magazines. It seems only name of “Symbian Browser” is sufficient for giving bad reviews !!
  • On “Public demand” we have done a separate article demoing “Native browser” and “Opera Mobile” loading desktop version of medium heavy websites. Check the article by clicking here.

Music and Video Player:

  • Music Player has got improvements in Belle FP1 and it is visual and functional both.
  • You have two widgets now, small and big Music player. You can now see the songs by name of Artist and Album.
  • Dolby Surround output option makes the music play on 808 PureView a pleasure to listen. Even without headphones the music output is awesome and better than any Smartphone on market.
  • I found the “Swipe” option for going to next or last track really cool and settings of Loudness and Dolby on/off gives very good control.
  • Video Player has shed much of its options here but still plays more codecs than any other competing OS and up to 1080p.
  • What feels intuitive is that by just double tapping on the screen you can make the video play full screen.

Gallery and Images widgets:

  • The Gallery browsing is very smooth and it now has added option of quick crop of any picture.
  • The share option has now changed and only facebook share is available from the share button in the gallery. I seriously miss”Twitter” share here.
  • For sharing to Flickr you need to go to the menu at the right of the option bar and select share.
  • One more change is that it is no more connected to “Social application” and you need to log in to facebook and Flickr accounts one time while setting up sharing.
  • Also missing is the “Marking multiple items” and “Delete multiple items” options which is a big surprise considering its utility.
  • I also like the new “Image” widget and especially the option of latest capture as it is full of surprises:)

Image & video sharing detailed impressions:

Upload of images and videos from the Gallery is blazing fast, the best you will see on any smartphone and pretty reliable. If you remember a video from Nokia, where 808 PureView prototype even smoked Lumia 800 in speed of image sharing. Read our earlier article for more.

http://nokiapoweruser.com/2012/03/09/smoked-by-windows-phone-challengewinodws-phone-gets-smoked-by-808-pureview/

We all missed video sharing from Gallery to YouTube option on our Symbian Anna/Belle devices like N8 and others, since YouTube upload option wasn’t there and you can’t upload more than 10MB video file on Facebook.

  • You may have also noted from the  “Gallery impressions” above that Gallery has been redesigned and not linked to Facebook/Twitter via Social application anymore.
  • For sharing image you have to login to Facebook and Flickr with your accounts once, the very first time. Now while trying to check the options for video sharing I came to know that 808 PureView actually supports, Facebook and YouTube video sharing option . You have to log in with your YouTube account once.
  • Great to know that for YouTube there seems to be no video size upper limit as I shared 250 MB video.
  • Also as seen in above screenshot you can even control and cancel/resume the upload of the videos, after the upload has started. The updated notification bar of Belle FP1 shows uploading videos in ongoing activities.
  • The cancel/resume upload option is valid for image sharing as well from the gallery, and if there is some issue with upload you can even resume/cancel it.

DLNA play:

We have covered how to use “DLNA play” with PC in detail and posted a video as well. This is really cool application and I am loving it :) . In future we will see increased usage of this application.

Check our earlier article for more,

http://nokiapoweruser.com/2012/07/26/dlna-play-demo-on-808-pureview-and-pc-tutorial-on-how-to-configure-pc-for-dlna-streaming/#comment-3765

Nokia Music:

  • Nokia Music comes with unlimited download offer for full one year with 808 PureView in India.
  • The music collection is really rich and updated with latest Bollywood, Hollywood and other Geners chartbusters and classics.
  • You can search and download by any keyword and download speed is blazing fast.
  • Only grudge is that Nokia has not given Nokia Music a fluid interface and neat client like “Nokia Store”. Option of Operator billing like Nokia Store can give Nokia Music a much wider audience and better acceptability with them who don’t have free offers.

Battery Life:

  • Compared to N8 which itself has better Battery performance compared to Android and iOS smartphones, 808 PureView gives 40-50%  better Battery performance.
  • On average with moderate to heavy usage 36 to 24 hours battery life is given.

Final words.

  • Social and Browser are pretty usable and have some nice features of their own. Only thing is they can be better !!
  • We see many QT based slick apps like Facinate,FMobi,Tweetian,TwimGo etc. It is a puzle though why Nokia can’t put QT version of Social yet.
  • Also we see cloud based Nokia Browser for S40 phones and N9′s slick and powerful Browser. So what stops Nokia from bringing Cloud compression and porting N9′s browser to Symbian. If only the browser in 50% faster  than now and smoother in panning/zooming with heavy websites it can compete well to any native OS browser.
  • Finally what Nokia has done to Gallery is good and bad both. It is one of the smoothest ever but Twitter share and Marking and delete options are missing.

Camera UI:

  • The camera UI is one of the best you will ever see on any Smartphone. The most striking thing about this camera UI is the way you can handle capturing image and quickly go through various options. There are three image/video capturing modes.

    • The first one is Automatic which is the default mode. In this mode you can just “point and shoot” and get PureView noise free 5 MP images. But there is option of putting Flash on/off/red-eye.
    • This is mode is obviously for those users who don’t want to play with camera settings and want an easy preset point and shoot settings. 808 PureView doesn’t disappoint those users and the 5 MP images that you can capture with this mode is the best ever on any smartphone.
    • The next mode is Scenes and here you can choose from pre-defined settings for different situations like Landscape, Snow, Sports, Spotlight etc.
    • You can also chose from different Flash settings.

    • The third and final mode is Creative mode which gives you full freedom to play with all the Camera settings.
    • Here you can choose from PureView mode and Full resolution mode. PureView mode offers 5 MP, 8 MP and 2/3 MP settings with 16:9 and 4:3 ratios.
    • Full resolution mode offers two options (16:9) 34 Mp and (4:3) 38 Mp .
    • 808  PureView has  “ND filter” which gives you option of capturing many amazing photos, which is not possible with even many compacts.

    Check the below screenshot for a peep into the flexibility that Creative mode offers.

    Apart from all the above, you can press and hold on the screen in any mode and you can see the context sensitive menu popping up where you can select from options like Automatic, Close up, Hyperfocal etc.

    Lossless zoom and PureView Image quality:

    PureView technology brings goodness of “Pixel binning” to the 41 MP monster sensor, thereby reducing the noise to virtually zero levels. Due to this the images captured in 5 MP or 8 Mp are the one of the best you might have seen from even advanced compact camera or even entry-level DSLRs.

    The other side of this pixel oversampling is the goodness of Lossless zoom that simply is as good as true optical zoom. You can zoom up to 4X in image capture without losing on image quality. In case of video capturing zoom levels are as crazy as 12X for 360p video capture.

    Here we would like to bring few 100 % crops of images captured in 5 MP Automatic mode and 8 MP Creative PureView mode with color tone set as automatic. One set of crops is at full zoom level offered at 5 MP and 8 MP resolutions. 8 MP crop is on the Top and 5 MP crop at the bottom.

    Without zoom :

    With full zoom:

    • After having a look at above crops, it hits you what Nokia has achieved with 41 MP sensor and pixel oversampling. The crops at full zoom level are so much sharp and noise free.
    • One thing to be noted is that the color reproduction remains same througout the 5 MP Automatic and 8 MP Creative modesand it is very natural yet looks vibrant.

    Now have a look at some of the videos showing lossless zoom at work,

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tL1KedbJ4ds?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent]

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36fRPEgUiTc?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent]

    Unique features, Comparison and Shootout with N8:

    It is always good to bring in a benchmark. In this case there was only one camera smartphone, which went unchallenged for last two years. Yes we are talking about N8 here. So here are some of our impressions of the 808 PureView VS N8 comparison.

    • 808 PureView has got a few very nice tricks up its sleeve. One of them is “capture from locked position” which obviously was absent on N8 natively.
    • 808 PureView has both Xenon and LED flashes giving it upper hand in video capturing.
    • The camera application on 808 PureView opens significantly faster than N8. Also image capturing on 808 PureView is deemed to be the fastest on any of the smartphones by many reviewers. We too found it very quick and it blows away N8 in sheer speed.
    • It is very convenient to directly go to to image in the Camera app itself, just after capturing and your camera becomes ready for next image capture. Obviously we missed this on our N8 where you have to go to gallery to be able to zoom in and play with the capture image.
    • One mentionworthy feature is the native “Burst Mode” like capability where ou can press and hold the camera shutter key and click images in quick succession. This is very handy in case you are capturing a moving object.

    We have also done extensive imaging shootout of 808 PureView with N8 and 808 PureView emerges as the winner with significant margin over N8. You can read about these shootouts in our earlier articles.

    http://nokiapoweruser.com/2012/08/05/808-pureview-vs-n8-imaging-shootout-part-1/

    http://nokiapoweruser.com/2012/08/08/808-pureview-vs-n8-imaging-shootout-part-2-low-light-performance-comparison-full-sized-picture-gallery/

    Low light video comparison with N8:

    Low light video capture is a challenging task for any camera and it puts Sensor quality, CAF, Noise control to the ultimate test.  Here we have not used “LED” flash on 808 PureView. 808 PureView’s video capture is in 8 MP creative mode while N8′s video capture is in 9 MP mode. Both videos are 720p to make the comparison fair :) . Check the videos,

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlnDQ7rvqYs?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent]

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwt5tbF7EcE?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent]

    Our observations,

    • N8 seems to have default low light video capture settings at slightly higher ISO than 808 PureView. Due to this video seems brighter than 808 PureView’s video.
    • But talk about other aspects like Smoothness, Clarity, Noise reduction and 808 PureView shows its strength. PureView is amazing at killing noise in images or videos even in low light.
    • Just watch the videos at full screen and you will notice the difference in video quality. Stability of video is far better in case of 808 PureView.
    • CAF and the speed with which 808 PureView locks the focus is awesome. Just check the way in which both cameras handle moving cars, bikes. 808 PureView is the ultimate winner here.

     

    Rich recording:

    One of the amazing features that 808 PureView comes with  is the unique CD quality “Nokia Rich -recording” which is the first for any smartphone. Trust us, this is so good, “it is hard to trust that such amazing audio recording result is possible without any external Mic”.

    Check one of our videos captured with 808 PureView for feeling the quality of Rich-recording.

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HdnJfv_hPI?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent]

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Nayan

Nayan has more than 10 years of experience of covering Technology and innovations. He is a big Nokia fan and Tech disruptions aficionado. He loves to review new cool gadgets and writing about Android, iOS, Gadgets and general Technology stuff. He has been associated with other well-known Tech sites WinCentral and GadgetOx since long.

He currently sports a Lumia 950 XL and Nexus 5X. Other interests include listening to Nu-Metal Hits and Kick-Boxing.
Write to him at Email: [email protected]

http://www.nokiapoweruser.com
  • Matt

    More than happy to! Here is the link to my photostream, feel free to browse away, every photo in the photostream is taken with my 808 Pureview. http://www.flickr.com/photos/sequoiasempervirens/

    • U have really done good job with 808 PureView’s cam. great shots!!

  • Matt

    I’ve had the 808 Pureview now for nearly two months, and have been a fan of it for twice that time, since I first heard of it.
    It is so great to see it getting more and more positive reviews as time goes on – and you really, really put a lot of time and effort into this review!

    Thank you so much!

    @ Ramir, The loudspeaker is excellent, very clear, very loud. I never had the N8, I came from the C7-00, but compared with the C7, and many others that I have used, the 808 is far better. The music/audio playback is probably the loudest and sharpest that I have heard on any phone – and the equaliser only helps to further enhance the quality of the playback!

    About the weight/comfort levels of the phone – I took the phone on holidays for two weeks, taking nearly 2000 pictures, and thus having the phone in my hand for a long time every day. It is very comfortable for me, and when its in my pocket, I notice it no more than I have any other phone. The dimensions and weight of the phone have never been a problem for me:)

    Thank you again for the brilliant and thorough review!

    Matt.

    • Thanks Matt. Consider sharing some excellent pics captured with 808 PureView:)

  • ramir

    I have some concerns about the weight of the device (169 grams). Did you experience any discomfort in handling the device for extended periods? How does it feel when it is in your pocket?

    And with the loudspeaker. How does it compare with the nokia n8 in both volume levels and clarity? Especially with mp3 music playback. I also had an n9 and its volume levels were clear but quite low.

    • Hey Ramir. Sorry for replying bit late. Size wise you can see our comparison pics with N8. It is slightly larger than N8 and much pocket friendly (Fits perfectly). Weight is not an issue, it rather feels solid.

      Loudspeakers are nearly 30% louder than N8. so just imagine, combo of Dolby Digital surround and louder volume. It simply rocks.

  • ramir

    This reveiw has convinced me further to get the 808. I was a former N8 user and i was satisfied with its camera performance. The only thing that bugged me about that phone is that it was a little slow. But they fixed that with the 808. An the cam now is far better. Good combo for my android tab with instagram. 🙂

    • Good to know that the review helped you. Keep posting 🙂

  • Sujesh

    Great in dept review. Thank you so much

    808 will be my N8’s successor

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