Hands-on with the Nokia 808 PureView

Nokia is still going strong with their Belle devices and with their new 808 PureView they’re aiming to set a new benchmark for smartphones in the imaging genre. At the recently concluded Nokia PureView event, we managed to get our hands on the eagerly anticipated Nokia 808 PureView. This smartphone is going to be officially released in a couple of weeks from now and will be priced close to Rs.34,000. Does this mean Belle is back? Does the PureView usher in a new era in smartphone cameras. Read on to find out what we think.



Before we start, for those of you’ll who have forgotten, here’s the spec sheet for the 808 PureView once again:

  • 4.0-inch AMOLED ClearBlack display with a 360 x 640 pixel resolution
  • 1.3 GHz ARM 11 processor, 512 MB of RAM
  • Nokia Belle OS
  • 16GB internal storage
  • 3G, EDGE/GPRS, Wi-Fi
  • GPS with A-GPS support
  • Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP, USB 2.0
  • 41 megapixel camera with Xenon flash, 1080p@30fps video recording
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • Memory expandable up to 32 GB via microSD card
  • 3.5 mm handsfree socket
  • 1400 mAh Lithium - ion battery




The Nokia 808 PureView boasts of a never seen before 41 megapixel camera on a smartphone, along with some crazy optics. The 808 is by no means a thin device. The sensor, itself was so massive that there was no other option, but to have that bump on the rear of the phone... At 169 grams, the phone was quite heavy as well, but it’s got the curves and smooth form factor that we’re used to seeing from Nokia. To be honest, the PureView does a fairly good job at bringing sexy back to ‘fatter’ devices. The front has a 4-inch AMOLED display and colours looked extremely sharp and vivid on it and from our brief hands-on of the prototype model, Belle was super slick and smooth to use. Next up, the main section – the camera.


A 41 megapixel sensor in a phone made the world sit up and take notice of what’s going on at Nokia’s end and in a nutshell, they’ve managed to wow us all. The camera and the optics on the PureView are nothing that you will find on your existing smartphone. In a time gap of 0.09 seconds between two snaps, the dedicated GPU was working like a charm behind the scenes.




Nokia has managed to simplify the camera interface as well with the bare necessities and if needed, additional customizations can be enabled as well, making it quite appealing to beginners and professionals, alike. There’s 1080p at 30fps, time interval shooting (for timelapse videos), instant sharing to Facebook, 38 megapixel shots and an option to choose between 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios. With the PureView, Nokia has also introduced lossless digital zoom and it worked like a charm on the phone. The viewfinder doesn’t exactly zoom into the image, but shows a cropping rectangle on a smaller section, allowing you to go to different levels of zoom based on the megapixel shot you have chosen. Zoomed in shots had such an immense amount of detail that we had to try it for ourselves to see if it actually worked as shown. And boy oh boy, were we impressed with the 808! And mind you, this was just the prototype. So, if it does, it's only going to get better.



While shooting images, we noticed that the depth of field wasn’t just restricted to macro shots. Even interview or portrait shots had a substantial amount of blur to the surrounding with the subject appearing crisp as ever. Detail and colour capturing was simply outstanding and to reiterate, nothing compared to what we have seen in the current generation of cameras. The PureView 808 will soon grab the title of the best camera phone in the world, when it launches. But, the operating system? Well, for starters, you could check out our Nokia 603 review, because we definitely weren’t disappointed with it.


Back to the images part, here are a couple of things we managed to grab. An ant in motion, a flower tinier than our thumb, macro shots of rust on a battery and a couple of leaves with sunlight in the background. The detail, colour capturing, ability to focus, depth of field was second to none. After fully zooming into the images, we noticed there was little to zero noise capture in the dark areas. Overall, this easily surpasses all the other camera phones in the market right now, including the Xperia S we reviewed earlier.





With the Nokia 808 PureView, the camera megapixel race is officially over. Or has it just begun?

Published Date: Apr 11, 2012 05:59 pm | Updated Date: Apr 11, 2012 05:59 pm