If you haven't been sufficiently smacked in the face with the Nokia 808 PureView's primary selling point, let's settle the score right now: it's a phone for camera enthusiasts. As niche devices often go, the sheer optical goodness will come with a few sacrifices. First and foremost, we're a bit puzzled by Nokia's choice of Symbian for the phone's OS. That's not to say that Belle isn't a fine operating system, but it's certainly a polarizing decision -- not to mention perplexing, given the company's 'all-in' approach to Windows Phone. Secondly, the 808 PureView is rather chunky, which is emphasized by the bulbous camera pod on the rear. In many ways, Nokia's phone more closely rivals a point-and-shoot camera in size than a smartphone. That said, it's still an infinitely pocketable handset, but there are certainly many other high-quality camera phones on the market that don't demand such sacrifices.
If you're able to move beyond these two major caveats, the 808 PureView is likely a handset that many will come to adore -- even if the fondness is learned over time. It features a lovely ClearBlack display, and while it's decidedly low-res, it's more than sufficient for Symbian Belle and its associated apps. Below the phone's screen, users will find an extended rocker that provides access to the home screen, dialer and on / off switch. These physical buttons are combined with additional navigation options that are situated directly above on the touchscreen. The phone also features a headphone jack, micro-USB and micro-HDMI ports along the top -- each recessed into a pod of their own -- and the volume rocker, screen lock slider and dedicated camera button along the right-hand side.
The entire rear of the phone is encased in a hard, matte plastic that's quite a contrast to the glossy materials on the front. Given the choice, we greatly prefer some of the of the soft touch and ceramic-like plastics that are on the market. While the build quality seems quite good, the 808's materials don't convey a premiere device. Further, while the phone felt well-balanced and comfortable in the hand, the large protrusion of the camera pod greatly dictated how we held the 808 PureView. As with many aspects of this phone, it's likely an aspect that potential buyers will immediately embrace or find entirely off-putting.
Myriam Joire, Brad Molen and Zachary Lutz contributed to this report.
Nokia 808 PureView ushers in a revolution in smartphone imaging
Nokia sets a new industry standard with the first in a range of high end experiences based on exclusive Nokia PureView imaging technologies.
Barcelona, Spain - Nokia today ushered in a new era in high-end smartphone imaging with the Nokia 808 PureView. This is the first smartphone to feature Nokia PureView imaging technologies, bringing together high resolution sensors, exclusive Carl Zeiss optics and Nokia developed algorithms, which will support new high-end imaging experiences for future Nokia products.
The Nokia 808 PureView features a large, high-resolution 41 megapixel sensor with high-performance Carl Zeiss optics and new pixel oversampling technology. At standard resolutions (2/3, 5 and 8 megapixels) this means the ability to zoom without loss of clarity and capture seven pixels of information, condensing into one pixel for the sharpest images imaginable. At high-resolution (38 megapixel maximum) it means the ability to capture an image, then zoom, reframe, crop and resize afterwards to expose previously unseen levels of details. With superior low-light performance and the ability to save in compact file sizes for sharing in email, MMS, and on social networks, the Nokia 808 PureView makes it possible for anyone to capture professional looking images in any conditions.
In addition to superior still imaging technology, the Nokia 808 PureView, also includes full HD 1080p video recording and playback with 4X lossless zoom and the world's first use of Nokia Rich Recording. Rich Recording enables audio recording at CD-like levels of quality, previously only possible with external microphones. The Nokia 808 PureView also features exclusive Dolby Headphone technology, transforming stereo content into a personal surround sound experience over any headphones and Dolby Digital Plus for 5.1 channel surround sound playback.
"Nokia PureView imaging technology sets a new industry standard by whatever measure you use," said Jo Harlow, executive vice president of Nokia Smart Devices. "People will inevitably focus on the 41 megapixel sensor, but the real quantum leap is how the pixels are used to deliver breath-taking image quality at any resolution and the freedom it provides to choose the story you want to tell."