Nokia’s PureView 808 is designed to offer mobile phone users a delectable camera for the avid handset photographer. While it may have accomplished that, the big question really is – can it do more than just take great pictures? That’s what we’re here to tell you. Here’s a closer look at the PureView 808.
The PureView 808 comes off as a rather generic-looking Nokia handset. It features a 4.0-inch capacitive touchscreen with Nokia’s ClearBlack technology. This tech, while making the black levels really stand out, also tends to soften the whites a little, creating a slightly pale yellow-ish effect. However, visibility in all conditions is great. Nokia has stuck with the physical keys below the display with their Call Answer button on the left, a Menu/Home button in the middle and a Call End/Power button on the right, all combined to form a single tab.
The 808 PureView with Xenon flash and Carl Zeiss Optics
On the right hand side is where you’ll find the volume/zoom rocker, Nokia’s Slide to lock/unlock switch and a camera activation/shutter release button. A 3.5mm handsfree socket, micro USB (for charging and PC interfacing) and a micro HDMI port under a flap are all located at the top. The bundled in-ear earphones are very well designed and extremely comfortable to wear even for long periods.
The rear is where all the action is – a protruding lens with a Xenon flash gives the handset a slightly digicam-esque look. The problem is, we presumed there would be (or should be) a lens cover provided. Without it, the potential for the outer lens glass to get scratched is quite high, which would seriously mar your photography skills. An NFC antenna is placed on the rear removable panel and the 1400mAh battery needs to be removed to access the microSD and microSIM card slots. With 16GB of onboard memory though, the need for a memory card is quite low. The PureView 808 doesn’t come off as cheap in any way, especially with the polycarbonate shell. You’re assured that it can handle a few dings.
The 808 PureView Left side
When it comes down to overall looks however, the PureView 808 is not very different from the Nokia 701 or any of the C-Series. It simply picks up from the 5800 XpressMusic’s design form, which got the ball rolling for Nokia's touchscreen devices. It would have been great if we saw this camera on a Lumia 800 style handset, but perhaps we won’t have to wait too long for that. Needless to say, the design didn’t totally thrill us. We did prefer the black edition to the white, however.
Features and Performance
Strategically, we guess it made sense to develop a camera of this calibre and position it on a Symbian device, seeing as there are quite a few limitations with the Windows platform. We were also told that the PureView 808’s camera technology has taken about five years to perfect, so naturally, the company would have been testing it on a Symbian platform and simply updated the device to the latest iteration of the OS i.e. Belle. With the 1.3GHz processor at its core and a separate GPU processor to run graphics and stabilize the camera, the handset doesn’t feel too slow in overall functioning.
The 808 PureView - Belle Desktop settings
But Symbian has never been the best platform for customisation and or user-friendly activity since a long time. It feels cluttered and sometimes just takes a little too long to actually get to the main point of access you’re looking for. There are simply too many quirks – the on-screen keypad is a bit too small for chubby fingers and could definitely have been better laid out. The first time around, especially if you’ve got a lot of media, it takes way too long to scan the drives to place your files, which includes images in your gallery too. When it’s done, the photo gallery is just a bunch of thumbnails with no visible way to sort them out. The handset will pick up all image files including .BMP and .JPG, even the thumbnails. Without knowing which folder contains what files it gets very messy and pinpointing the hi-res files can be a nightmare.
Accessing images from the File Manager is no good - you can view the files but have no options to edit or use them in any way i.e. for ringtones or wallpapers, etc. Trying to customize the main menu is also painful. In older versions of Symbian, at least a few folders were preloaded, making it easier to access apps stored under a heading, for instance, Music. In this version, it’s much like Android with all apps appearing in either a grid form or in a list view. Trying to change the layout and reposition icons is annoying at best. Belle does it page-wise, allowing you to alter icon placements on each page separately, not the entire grid. It’s best to create folders and place relevant apps inside for easy access.
The 808 PureView's Belle keypad isn't the best designed
The Multiple Desktops are quite handy and a welcome change to the previous versions of Symbian. These few changes to Symbian ^3 make a bit of a difference. The widgets provided are handy but could have been slightly better designed in some cases, like the Social Networking option. When it comes to the phone book, switching over from Android is not going to be easy. It offers no integration with your Google account. Should you wish to import your contacts from Windows or Google, the procedure is not simple and will require you to first set things up online, where, by the way, your Nokia contacts from your Ovi account only exist but cannot be viewed. The file can be downloaded onto your PC though. Since we backed up our contacts on the memory card, we tried pulling them off via .CSV or .VCF files, but no dice. It has an option to copy a contact card from the storage modules, but it doesn’t work.
The UI might be lag-free but is definitely not the easiest to use.
Updated 18 Jun, 2013, 8:58 pm IST
Nokia 808 PureView Review
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