Nokia 808 PureView review

Can the killer camera turn Nokia from zero to hero?

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Camera Introduction

The headline-grabbing Nokia Pureview 808 crams a whopping 41 megapixels on its sensor, but can it actually deliver the goods?

Of course, the naysayers will point out that pixel count isn't tantamount to image quality. Which is true in many respects, but it's worth pointing out that the 808 shoots in Pureview mode at 8 million pixel images by default.

Nokia 808 PureView review

This is achieved through a process known by some as pixel binning, or what Nokia terms "pixel oversampling". Whatever it's known as, this process essentially collects together groups of pixels to form larger pixels that are capable of collecting light more effectively.

Fairly large, even by smartphone standards, a good proportion of the Nokia Pureview 808's bulk comes from the hefty lens protruding from the back of the camera.

Nokia 808 PureView review

The camera itself can be accessed either via the main menu or by assigning a shortcut to the home screen. It's a shame not to see a quicker way to activate the camera, such as on the iPhone 4S via its lock screen.

The number of controls available on the Nokia Pureview 808 are fairly extensive. You can elect to change to have the camera shoot everything in Automatic Mode, select a specific scene or have access to more advanced settings in the Creative Mode.

It is here in the Creative Mode that you have the option to shoot in different resolutions and "Sensor modes." We're not entirely sure why you'd elect to go for the full 38MP, but the option is there should you desire it.

Nokia 808 PureView review

Under Creative Mode you can also make changes to colour tones, choosing to shoot in Vivid, Sepia or Black and White should the mood strike you. There's also the option to choose between Normal, Bracketing, Interval and Self-Timer capture modes.

Handily, a group of settings can be saved in one of three slots, so if you find yourself often wanting to shoot in high-contrast black and white you can quickly flip to your saved settings.

Once Creative Mode is selected, a number of advanced settings can be accessed via the touchscreen panel on the left of the screen. Here you'll find flash modes, exposure compensation, white balance, ISO and the inbuilt ND filter.

Nokia 808 PureView review

It can be a little fiddly to change some of the options, but you learn the pressure and speed needed quickly once you use it.

A handy bonus here is that each parameter includes a reset button for quickly going back to the default setting, which saves a lot of unnecessary swiping.

The shutter itself is released by a touch icon on the right-hand side of the screen. When held in landscape format, a physical button can also be used to activate the shutter on the top-right of the phone.

Nokia 808 PureView review

This helps the phone feel more like a camera, and it can even be half pushed to focus first before fully depressing to release the shutter.

Like on other smartphones (and increasing amounts of compact and compact system cameras) the focus point can be altered by tapping on the screen. This is generally responsive, but we found on occasion that it took a while for the focus point to match the area tapped.

Digital zoom is available, which can be accessed either by pinching the screen or via the rocker switch on the side of the handset.

The 4-inch AMOLED ClearBlack screen works well in all but the brightest of sunlight, meaning you can view images in most conditions.


Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory16 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyEDGE, GPRS, HSDPA, HSUPA, UMTS
SAR Value1.23 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Cellular Generation3G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1700, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution41 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
Operating SystemSymbian
Brand NameNokia
Battery Talk Time9 Hour
Product Model808
Screen Size10.2 cm (4")
Screen Resolution640 x 360
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)169 g
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityChina RoHS, EU RoHS, REACH, WEEE
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerARM
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 3.0
Operating System VersionNokia Belle
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density184 ppi
Height123.9 mm
Width60.2 mm
Depth13.9 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time525 Hour
Product Name808 PureView Smartphone
Processor Speed1.30 GHz
Processor TypeARM11
Screen TypeOLED
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Digital Compass, Ambient Light Sensor, Orientation Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberA00006310
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Pure quality

It's time to think differently about photography. Nokia PureView imaging technology turns the world of photography upside down. It takes every bit of image goodness captured by a 41MP sensor and Carl Zeiss lens and turns it into beautifully detailed 5MP images and Full HD videos. Be ready to shoot and share with friends in an instant - all from a rather clever smartphone.

Don't be afraid of the dark

Never miss the moment. Nokia 808 PureView comes equipped with a Carl Zeiss lens and 41MP megapixel image sensor to maximise available light and create amazing quality images that are comparable to an SLR test.

Package Contents
  • 808 PureView Smartphone
  • Nokia Charging and Data Cable
  • Nokia MicroUSB Charger
  • Nokia Stereo Headset
  • Nokia Wrist Strap Black
  • NFC Info Card
  • Quick Guide (User Guide and Product Information Leaflet)
Limited Warranty2 Year