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Customer Review

269 of 282 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One year after released, finally the dream phone it promised to be!, July 7, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Nokia 808 PureView Unlocked Phone with a 41 MP Camera with Carl Zeiss Optics--U.S. Warranty (White) (Wireless Phone Accessory)
This phone seemed nothing short of a dream come true for any remaining Symbian fans -- all 3 of us! Prior to its introduction at MWC last February, I was getting a bit dismayed by the lack of good choices out there. I was getting bored with my aging Nokia N8 from 2010, but almost 2 years later, nothing else could match its camera, its offline navigation, its connectivity options, or - this may be a bit of a surprise if you read too many blogs - its usability. The prospects of another bone thrown our way from Nokia were pretty slim too: In 2011 Nokia's new CEO, Microsoft lackey Stephen Elop, gave the Symbian OS the death sentence and instead hijacked the company as a tool to use in a last ditch (futile) attempt to promote Windows Phone, thus _instantly_ killing off Nokia's then-40+% share of the global smartphone market.

Then - out of nowhere - came the 808 PureView! My first reaction was "Holy Cow! 41 Megapixels -- why? Talk about megapixel race gone awry! And on Symbian, to boot!". Turns out, there are good reasons for both the pixel resolution and the OS choice - more on that below. Suffice it to say, I can't remember having been this excited about a new phone since... well... the N8. I simply could not wait for the official US release here on Amazon, and instead purchased the black version from an importer - warranty be damned! Of course, more sane individuals will want to get the US version here instead. :)

UPDATE Oct 4, 2012: It is with a heavy heart that I now have removed two stars from my original 5-star rating. The phone overall is spectacular: The camera, Nokia Maps, and the build quality in particular. However, there is a very serious bug that causes spurious loss of connectivity or reboots when connecting to certain 3.5G (HSDPA) cells -- see the "Bugs" section below for details. The bottom line is that I had to disable HSDPA, and now get only "plain old" 3G (UMTS) download speeds. While this works OK for light "day to day" use, including live streaming with Nokia Internet radio or downloading podcasts in the background, it becomes noticeably slow as an internet device (or tethered gateway for another device).

UPDATE April 26, 2013: After ten months, hundreds of theories/speculations about the cause, one repair, two more 808 PureView's purchased/returned, and even two unsuccessful attempts at tolerating Android - the issue seems to have been magically fixed! Yes, that's right - fixed!

Nokia has quietly released a "3G compatibility update" via their Software Update application, though unfortunately not for US customers yet. See comment #75 below for a direct link to the installer. With this update installed, the reboots seem to magically have gone away! And just like that, 808 PureView is finally the dream phone it promised to be!

Back to 5 stars, cheaper data plan, and a happier life. :)

Camera, Camera, Camera!

The camera is obviously the main attraction, and is in itself is worth the money. If the 808 were sold as a standalone camera, it would handily beat just about every point-and-shoot camera out there. Even when shooting at 5MP or 8MP, it easily outclasses even more "pro" compacts such as the Canon G12.

The one seeming deficiency that the 808 PureView would have when compared to those dedicated camera is a lack of optical zoom. This, clearly, has to do with size - there is no way to fit in the optics required, especially when considering the sheer size of the photo sensor included with this phone. To give you an idea, the sensor is twice the size of the G12, whose 5x optical zoom already gives it a 2-inch thick body when retracted. And compared to most "ultra-zoom" cameras (such as the Canon SX IS series), the sensor in the 808 is 3-4 times as large!

Enter the genius of Nokia's "PureView" technology. This gives you, among other things, "Lossless" digital zoom. (Yeah there are quotes, I'll get back to why).

At full resolution, pictures taken with this phone consist of 34 or 38 megapixels (in 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios, respectively). At that resolution, the size of each pixel is equivalent to that of recent 8MP smart phones such as the iPhone 4S or the Samsung Galaxy series. Obviously, photos from those phones can be a bit... meeh... especially in low light conditions. So yeah, scaling up from 8MP of random noise to 38MP of random noise is not really the value proposition Nokia was going for here.

Instead, in "PureView" mode, you will be capturing 8MP, 5MP or even 2MP photos - and you will be impressed at how much information is available despite the lower resolution, and at the color "depth" that comes with a much wider dynamic range. You'll truly appreciate how it's not the pixel count that matters, the quality of each pixel. You'll even feel a little bit more smug vis a vis those poor souls who still believe more MPs == better pictures.

The idea is that by "binning" several pixels (photo cells) together into larger "super-pixels", each resulting pixel receives more light (signal), whereas most of the noise associated with shifting and reading the signal from the CCD remains constant. In turn, this means less noise per resulting pixel, shorter exposure times, less blur. Less noise also means more efficient compression, resulting in even smaller file sizes (despite the cleaner picture!).

So why not simply use a cheaper 5MP or 8MP sensor then? So long as the total sensor area is the same, wouldn't you get the same benefits?

There are at least two reasons for this. First, would you even be looking at this phone it it was marketed with a "5 Megapixel Camera"? For all that we decry the marketing race for higher megapixel numbers despite the resulting deterioration in image quality, we are still allowing ourselves to be fooled by it. By placing a "41 Megapixel" label on this thing, Nokia is essentially using metrics that give you a fairly accurate representation of its camera performance vis a vis other smart phones in the market today. (Update April 2013: Manufacturers are getting smarter: The HTC One, at 4 MP, borrows some concepts from the Nokia/PureView playbook).

The second reason is that this allows for the aforementioned "lossless" digital zoom. In other smart phones (with the exception of video recording modes on the Nokia N8, Sony Ericsson C905a, and a couple of others), once you start to zoom in, you are in effect "scaling up" an image from its native pixel resolution, just as you would if you enlarged a picture in an image editing program. You are not adding any detail, you are only blurring the original.

In contrast, the 808 digital zoom works by reducing the size of each "super-pixel", down all the way to its native resolution. So at the far end of the zoom range, you are essentially using only the center portion of the sensor, cropped such that 1 photo cell corresponds exactly to 1 pixel in the resulting image. In simplified terms, you could say that you reduce or eliminate the "oversampling" that PureView otherwise provides.

This, combined with the phone's aspheric lens design and other ingenious solutions, allows for optical performance way its physical size would normally indicate. In fact, in a side-by-side blind test conducted by GSMArena.com, it went on to score higher than the Olympus PEN E-PL2 interchangeable lens (DSLR-like) camera with its "four thirds" inch photo sensor (about 2.5x larger than that of the 808). Granted, these were mostly daytime/outdoor photos at the wide range etc etc -- but the fact that this can even happen speaks volumes!

One thing I have not yet mentioned is the awesome video and audio recording quality of this phone. Unless you have professional video recording equipment usually reserved for movie studios and broadcasters, there is nothing else no the market that matches the richness in both video and sound (frequency range, dynamic range) that this thing gives.

The perfect travel companion

If you are traveling, this is really the one gadget you want to bring with you! Some reasons:

* The camera - obviously! You can safely leave your compact digital camera or camcorder at home.

* Nokia Maps. Free navigation, phenomenal map/POI coverage. Unlike Google Maps, map data is stored in vector format, so it is much less data intensive (both for download and storage). In fact, data can be stored offline beforehand, so you don't need any data connection at all to use it.

* Other preinstalled Nokia applications, such as Nokia Guides (city guides, restaurant guides, etc) and Nokia Public Transport (very nice and useful if looking for public transit options near you).

* Worldwide 3G coverage. This is one of very few phones, like the N8 before it, that has penta-band UMTS network support, meaning it works on any GSM carrier's 3G network worldwide (including both AT&T and T-Mobile USA).

* Multiple ways to connect to TV sets to share photos, videos, etc, including HMDI, DNLA, and plain old RGB output for analogue TVs. A dedicated "Nokia Big Screen" application provides a nice media centric interface, and can be paired with and controlled by Wii or PlayStation remote control.

Psiloc Traveller comes preinstalled, but requires a license purchase for some functionality (e.g. flight status/updates, Currency Conversion). Free alternatives exist - e.g. "FlightAware", "Currencies", etc.

Symbian is Dead - Long Live Symbian!

In 2010, Symbian was still the world's most used smartphone OS. However, the writing was on the wall; the user interface layer was still largely stuck in the mode of physical keypads, and had not really been keeping up with iOS and Android in terms of usability on touch screens. If this was not clear enough before, it certainly became apparent after the release of the N97, which by all accounts did a lot of damage for Nokia's public relations.

They spent a lot of effort over the next year or so to repair the damage, bringing a much needed facelift and usability updates with the "Anna" and "Belle" releases, as seen on the N8. At the same time, they prepared to eventually replace Symbian with their Maemo, later MeeGo OS, as seen on their "Internet Tablets" (700, N800, N810) and the N9 smartphone. They even purchased Troll Technologies, a Norwegian company that produced the "Q Toolkit" (Qt), a graphical programming environment that would bridge the gap between Symbian and MeeGo.

Meanwhile, they hired former Microsoft grey suit Stephen Elop as their new CEO. Within months, he announced the end of both Symbian and MeeGo in one fell swoop, and instead hijacked the company as a tool to help Microsoft in a last-ditch effort to force feed the Windows platform onto an otherwise unwilling smartphone market. In most countries around the world, the Nokia brand is still held in much higher regard than, say, Samsung or HTC, and having Nokia in their camp gave Microsoft another shot at returning to their glory days, they thought. Well yeah that has not gone too well, has it.

So why then, after all this time, would they now resurrect Symbian from the grave, only to release their newest flagship phone on it!? If their strategy was not confusing enough already, it certainly seems so now!

The bottom line is that Symbian was their only OS that could handle the massive amount of processing required for decent camera and especially video recording performance. They have spent 5 years on developing PureView, exploiting every advantage that the lightweight Symbian OS offers; it is not trivial to get this working on other platforms, let alone Windows Phone.

Now, they have in fact indicated that while they WILL eventually release the PureView technology on their Windows Lumia phones - however these will initially NOT have the same pixel resolution and optical performance as the 808. Until processor speeds catch up a bit more, this is likely to remain the case.

UPDATE 2013-04-30: Rumors are firming up in regards to the Nokia EOS/Lumia 1000, a forthcoming 41MP cameraphone like the 808, but this time running Windows Phone 8. Larger, higher-resolution screen, aluminum unibody construction, quad core CPU, more memory... (it needs to support Windows Phone 8 after all) - but apparently not quite a match for the 808 in terms of the camera. Judging by pictures, the lens/photo sensor seems smaller; they would also have to overcome some inherent shortcomings in the Windows Phone camera module such as poor white balance, no zoom during video recording, etc. More information should be available around May 14.

User Interface

So, Symbian is definitely getting a bit long in the tooth compared to Android and iOS. Still, I'll stick my neck out a little: It remains the greatest (mainstream) mobile operating system created so far!

Part of the reason is technical, as described below. But just as important, all of its main rivals (Android, iOS, Windows Phone, even BlackBerry) carry with them somewhat uncomfortable tie-ins to their vendor, whether it be:

* excessive restrictions and control of what you can and cannot do with your phone (looking at you, Apple!)

* excessive dependency on vendor-controlled services to transmit and store your personal data. Are you comfortable with the way that Android leads to you to use Google services for contact synchronization, emails, and even implicit uploading of photos (often without your explicit knowledge or consent), especially given Google's ever-more aggressive marketing focus? They are an advertising company, after all...

Among these, Symbian remains the most open system, where you, the user, remain in control of your device and the data on it. To me, this is just as important as any technical reason.

In terms of the UI, in many ways it looks and feels a bit like Android, but perhaps a bit "cleaner"/less cluttered. It's a bit hard to explain - but for instance, the drag-down notification panel at the top includes fewer toggles/notices, but somehow more relevant and useful ones. For instance, if a USB cable is connected, USB status is shown, you can then tap on it to view more details or change connection mode. Ditto for Bluetooth, WiFi, Mobile Network, Music Player, etc. In Android, this area is clobbered up with a lot more information, for instance a summary of recent emails, recent software installations, files sent/received, etc; whereas there is no easy shortcut to, say, scan WiFi networks without first going into the Settings menu.

Speaking of email, the default reader is much nicer than the one in Android. A couple of highlights for me are:
* Homescreen widgets of various sizes (incl. a simple icon with a "new mail" indicator) can be added for each email account. In Android, I don't have a quick way to go directly from the homescreen to the inbox of a specific account (e.g. "Work Mail", "Personal Mail"), unless I use a different email program for each account (GMail app for GMail, built-in mail for IMAP, Touchdown for Exchange, etc. etc.).

* A more "professional" quoting style than the iOS or Android readers, where relevant portions of the original email header (sender, recipients, subject) is included in forwards/replies. Also, unlike the iOS reader, retains the original formatting (i.e. does not convert to plain text).

* In the message list, mails are grouped by date; you can quickly select/mark all mails for a given date by pushing on the date separator line. I find this curiously lacking in iOS and Android...

Each home screen is "themed" with its own portrait/landscape layout, wallpaper, etc - which helps you organize them by activity.

Aside from being cleaner, the UI also feels less "intrusive" than Android, iOS, WP8. Android, in particular leads you to use Google services for everything from contacts to photos, music, data backups, etc - as if Google were deliberately spying on your activities. In Symbian, synchronization of various types of data tend to be more explicit (for instance, import photos into iPhoto, explicitly synchronize contacts, etc).

Finally, Symbian feels less like an Advertising platform than Android and iOS. While there are thousands and thousands more applications for these latter platforms, often they contain adware that is not present in (sometimes more basic) Symbian equivalents. Cue Nokia Internet radio vs. the likes of TuneIn, XiiaLive, or MediaU for Android - which are all more flashy, but because of the ads, also more cluttered. Or an even more stark example: Endomondo Sports Tracker on Symbian is free (and ad free), vs. the Android version which is ad supported (or $5 to remove ads).


That brings us right to the topic of applications. As you would expect, once Elop gave Symbian the death sentence, and moreover, that the Qt application environment would NOT be ported to Windows Phone, he also completely removed any remaining incentive for application developers to support this platform. Some of the main "pain points" for me are:

* There is no Netflix application. (You can however download and watch videos from Amazon via the Amazon Unbox client for Windows; or rip from your DVDs with Handbrake (handbrake.fr)).

* There is no Amazon Kindle. No Google Play Books. (Go get a tablet. Or use Ionic reader to read non-DRM books from O'Reilly, Project Gutenberg, etc).

* There is no IMDB, Fandango or other application to browse movie listings and show times. Google search works somewhat, but is a bit klunky.

* Skype only supports voice calls, not video. MAYBE this will happen now that Skype is owned by Nokia's new sugar daddy, but I would not hold my breath. Meanwhile, there is always Fring.

That said, many of Nokia's own applications are very nice, and often unexpectedly useful. For example:

* Nokia Situations, available from Nokia Beta Labs. This switches your profile, desktop background, sound themes, etc based on conditions such as GPS Location, WiFi access point, calendar entries, time of day. I have my phone set up to automatically turn to "Meeting" mode (muted ring tone, vibrations) while in meetings, and Offline once I arrive at my home. UPDATE: This is now discontinued, but the developers have made their updated "Situations" application available via the OVI Store. Highly recommended - it's much simpler to use and works better than, say, the "Tasker" application for Android.

* Wellness Diary, also from Beta Labs. Once it is installed, it uses the accelerometer and some nifty logic to count your steps, similar to a pedometer, and records a diary for you. In combination with a GPS tracker application like Endomondo Sports Tracker, this provides an excellent way to keep track of your physical activity.

* Car Mode, available in the OVI Store. Makes the phone easier to use while driving. The main screen consist of only 3 large buttons: Call, Drive and Music. Can be set up to launch automatically once connected to your Bluetooth car stereo.

* Nokia Internet Radio, which lets you listen to streaming radio from hundreds of preloaded stations around the world, or you can add your own. (I use this to listen to the "pledge free" stream from my local public radio station during pledge season, as well as to radio from abroad).

* Nokia Sleeping Screen, which takes advantage of the battery savings of the OLED screen technology to give you some visual indicators (clock, message/calendar alerts) while the device is in standby/sleeping mode. Several themes are available, ranging from plain and functional to silly (Yes Nokia engineers can be goofy too at times) - or you can even use modified versions of your own images.

Symbian is also the last remaining smartphone OS (aside from BlackBerry to some degree) to support Java MIDlets - applications written on the J2ME platform that was pretty much universal in most phones until the iPhone came along. There are still quite a few of those floating around; for instance I have installed:
* Emulators for the Casio FX-601P and HP-45 programmable calculators (for the nostalgic in you)
* UpVise, a suite of applications to create and synchronize notes, shopping lists, etc. between your computer (via their website) and your phone.

Finally, if you are not satisfied with the likes of QuickOffice, the "real" Microsoft Office (including OneNote, Lync, etc) is available as a Software Update. Personally, I am sticking with QuickOffice for (mostly viewing) the occasional Word or PowerPoint document.


Nokia phones have traditionally been far ahead with regards to connectivity options. For instance, TV connectivity via HDMI, DNLA or plain old TV-out has been supported since the N8. Symbian also has the most complete Bluetooth stack found anywhere:

* When playing music to your car stereo, track information is also shown (if supported by your stereo)
* Bluetooth HID for keyboard and mouse support since the N95.
* As soon as you pair with your computer, you can instantly browse the phone's filesystem just like any other storage volume.

In fact, if you plug it into a monitor via HDMI and a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and applications such as the PuTTY SSH client (Search "PuTTY for S60"), "RFB Touch" (a VNC viewer), Microsoft Office or QuickOffice, etc., you'll have an ultra-portable little mini-computer while on the go.

The 808 is also one of (still) very few phones that has support for Near Field Communications (NFC), which means that as this protocol gets accepted, you can in theory use this phone as your transit pass, to make payments, etc.

That said, the 808 brings with it a couple of disappointments as well:

* Mac Specific: Since Apple have removed the iSync application from Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion), Nokia no longer builds iSync plugins for their phones (even for those of us who run older versions of OS X). This means that there is no easy way to synchronize contacts, calendar and tasks directly with your Mac - though various "online" options exist (e.g. Nokia Sync, MS Exchange). For better or worse: No good solution for Google Contacts synchronization though.

* WebDAV support has been removed from the File Manager. This means that you need 3rd party applications to access remote file shares, such as myExplorer (SMB/CIFS), Davi (WebDAV) or PaderSync FM (multiple options).

* "Tethering" your phone's internet connection with other nearby devices, such as a laptop or tablet, is a bit more cumbersome with the 808 than with previous phones, at least in the US.
- Wi-Fi tethering is possible via third party applications such as JoikuSpot, but it only works outside North America. When attempting to start JoikuSpot while connected to AT&T's or T-Mobile's network, you'll get a "Connection Unavailable" message.
- The Bluetooth "DUN" profile allows you to share your connection with a Bluetooth enabled laptop or an Android tablet, but does not work for iPad. (Simply pair your tablet/computer with the phone).
- USB tethering works well with a Mac or a PC. (Use the "Nokia Suite" connection profile for a Mac, or "USB Modem" for a PC).

Stuck in Time

Since Nokia are putting less effort into Symbian these days, we cannot expect to see much in the way of new features in the OS. For instance:

* No 4G (LTE) network support. In fact, this phone only supports speeds up to 14.4 Mbps (HSDPA), not even the 22 Mbps HSPA+ technology that T-Mobile USA (misleadingly) labels "4G". Then again, everything about this phone is less data intensive than on Android: Offline maps/navigation, map data stored as vector data and not images, no automatic (and unwilling?) synchronization of photos with Google+, etc. All in all, your battery will thank you!

* No multi-core CPU support. However, Symbian is very lightweight when it comes to resource use, and unlike Android, does not really NEED any more CPU cores to be usable. Certain tasks, such as video recording, are aided via a dedicated DSP.

* Screen resolution is WVGA (640x360 pixels). Most people won't notice, though. In fact, the screen looks brilliantly crisp and vibrant - much more so than on my wife's Samsung Galaxy Note (5.3" screen, 1280x800 pixels). However, these specs do not look so good in phone reviews where the reviewer (literally!) puts the screen under a magnifying glass.

* The standard web browser is getting a bit long in the tooth, and not really performing by today's standards. You can get some speed boost by installing Opera Mobile or Opera Mini, but in that case you loose support for Adobe Flash.

* The standard QWERTY touch pad is a bit outdated and cumbersome to use. Much like the iPhone's, where you need to switch layout to enter numbers or symbols, then back again. A better one IMO is Swype, which is of course famous for its "sliding" motion to generate common words, and which supports long-press for alternate symbols, and even-longer presses for nearly every character you can think of. It can be downloaded from the Nokia Store - do NOT get it from Nokia Beta Labs (see below)!

That said, the UI has undergone quite a bit of polish leading up to Nokia Belle (the version of Symbian that's included here). Similar to Nokia's own Maemo/MeeGo OSes as well as Android, home screen widgets are now variable size; a notification panel can be dragged down from the top, etc.


I find that the most useful parts of reviews are often the description of what does NOT work as it should. To be sure, there is some of that in the 808 as well.

* As mentioned in the introduction, this phone stability issues with certain HSDPA (3.5G) networks, where it will from time to time reboot on its own. You should install the "3G Compatibility Fix" in order to get this fixed. Or, if you don't plan on using data much, you can disable 3.5G (HSDPA) and revert back to "plain 3G" (UMTS) speeds:

Settings -> Connectivity -> Admin. settings -> Mobile Network -> High speed packet access -> Disabled.

* The "Nokia Multimedia Transfer" tool for Mac OS X does not seem to receive updates anymore, and the version that currently exists does not correctly import photos into iPhoto. This is not a huge issue though, since your Mac will natively recognize this phone as a camera when plugged in via USB - however it will then attempt to import ALL photos stored on your phone (including wallpapers, contact photos, podcast icons, etc) - so you will want to select which photos you want to import each time. NMT is still useful to synchronize music and videos with iTunes - though you can also use other (3rd party) tools such as Salling Media Sync for the job.

* Nokia has not yet fixed an issue that appeared in the original Belle release, where you will not be able to connect to certain "enterprise" WiFi networks that are secured with the EAP protocol. (802.1x, PEAP, etc). :(

* Google Maps will crash/exit unless WiFi is enabled. In any case, the Symbian version does not seem to be receiving updates anymore, and the most recent version available is a bit more clunky than Nokia Maps (for instance, lacking pinch-to-zoom functionality).

* The reason I mentioned "Endomondo Sports Tracker" above is that its more famous competitor, named simply "Sports Tracker" (originally "Nokia Sports Tracker" from Nokia Beta Labs) does not work gracefully with the GPS in the 808. It acquires a GPS lock almost instantly, but then loses it just as fast. To use it, you'd have to keep the GPS alive with another application (like, say, Endomondo or else utilities such as "GPSInfo"). Yeah thanks but no thanks, I've switched to Endomondo.

* DO NOT install Swype 2.1 Beta (from Nokia Beta Labs) on this phone! While Swype 1.0 from the OVI store works fine, the Swype 2.1 split keyboard design conflicts with the Belle Feature Pack 2 release, and the keyboard will be covering the input field into which you are typing. Moreover, uninstalling Swype 2.1 Beta does not work cleanly, so downgrading back to v1.0 will not work correctly! (The Swype keyboard will not be effective until you perform a hard factory reset). So: Stay away from Swype from Nokia Beta Labs!


* This phone uses a micro-SIM. If you don't already have one, you can cut your mini-SIM using a micro-SIM Cutter. Be careful though, there are some reports of contacts shorting against the metallic area of the SIM tray, thus causing instability and reboots of the phone. If you are queasy about this, better go get a new micro-SIM from your local AT&T or T-Mobile retailer.

* It supports micro-SDXC cards just fine. I currently have a 64GB card in mine, for a total of 80GB storage. :) One caveat I found is that this does always work so well over USB in "Mass Storage" mode (perhaps because older desktop OSes lack SDXC support and/or lack of support for the ExFAT filesystem normally used on these), but "Media Transfer" and "Nokia Suite" modes work just fine.

* I highly recommend getting a cover for this phone. The metallic area around the camera window on the back is a bit prone to scratches, especially since the phone normally rests on it. Also given the ergonomics of the phone, it is a bit prone to slipping out of your hands when holding around it. I have had mine flung into the air and back down on hard concrete - but thanks to the cover, not a single scratch! :)

* The USB charging port is on top. Perhaps for this reason, there are no vehicle dash cradles made specifically for this phone. Brodit used to make some (sold through ProClipUSA) for older Nokia phones (their N8 cradle was really quite nice!), but the charging port on top probably made this less of a value added proposition. The silver lining is that you could just use their generic cradle, and thus be able to accommodate the phone even with a cover. :)

* This phone can act as a flashlight, using its LED autofocus/video recording beam. Hold down the lock/unlock key on the right side for 2-3 seconds to turn on/off.

* Some people complain that this phone is expensive. Keep in mind that it is unlocked, not subsidized by a contract. This pays off in the long run. If you have a "Data Unlimited" plan from AT&T, you pay $15 or $10 per month; compared to their smartphone data plans where you pay $30/month for 3GB of data. That adds up to a difference of $360-$480 over the 2-year contract term for one of their smart phones. (T-Mobile also offers some discounts when you "Bring Your Own" phone, though lesser).

The Bottom Line

I realize that this is not a phone that will satisfy everyone. Most users are more likely to be swayed by metrics such as CPU frequencies, screen resolution, fastest downloads, number of applications in their respective "app stores", and - counterproductively as far as the camera goes - a ridiculous attention to slimness. Oh, and sticker price - honest or not.

Having used Nokia phones for a while now, I simply could not see myself compromising in specific areas, such as multitasking capabilities, connectivity options, attention to protecting your data, and most of all of course, the camera. (My previous phones were the N8, the Sony Ericsson C905a, the N97, and the N95 - all the "top" camera phones of their time).

So despite the flaws mentioned in this review, once you have this phone set up and working as it should, there is nothing on the market that can match this phone for what it is. While CPU benchmarks will render today's top Android phone completely obsolete within 6 months from now, and the industrial design of the new iPhone will make last year's model look like a "has been", the 808 PureView will reign supreme in its niche for years to come - it's just that far ahead! Even Nokia are unlikely to match its camera performance anytime soon, now that Damian Dinning, the person mainly behind Nokia's PureView technology, has left for a position at Jaguar
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Initial post: Jul 7, 2012 10:53:16 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 7, 2012 11:05:24 PM PDT
shilezi says:
Nicely said man! I like the part where you mentioned Skype's takeover by Nokia's sugardaddy..lol Good to see Im not the only one crazy about this phone here in the US. Yes, its sad that we don't get all that treatment the Android and IOS kids enjoy but, who cares? I have what is important email, phone, mp3 player, short film worthy camera, radio, gps and more. It could be better, just yesterday I was pissed that I have 6 facebook apps on my phone because the version released by nokia(social) is a resource hog and facebook itself has no clue that Symbian is not that 2007 OS no more with the bareback version that put up on Nokia store. I'm a little patient though, I'll wait for the red to get here to match my red laptop since my Nokia n8 is still kicking hard and its only a year old. I drool too when I watch those videos on youtube that shows the awesome powers of this phone. Wish you luck and can't wait for mine to be available too.

Posted on Jul 7, 2012 11:43:19 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 8, 2012 4:18:16 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2012 4:26:53 AM PDT
Tor Slettnes says:
Thank you! :-)

Yeah, I routinely uninstall Nokia's "Social" application, mainly because I don't use Facebook, Twitter, etc. But I can see where Nokia's own applications often are the worst resource hogs. Cue their Weather application and accompanying widget.

I really like this phone, though! A bit bigger and heavier than the N8, but still quite pocketable. Somehow it also feels a bit more... robust.

Posted on Jul 8, 2012 6:21:52 PM PDT
Just a question. Does 808 have the need for magnetometer calibration like the N8 does?

Posted on Jul 9, 2012 5:17:17 AM PDT
Dinu says:
Excellent review !! I also agree on all what you said about Symbian,Nokia and the MS puppet .Thanks to that character I had to give up my lovely N8 and crossed to the dark side(Android).

Posted on Jul 9, 2012 8:14:59 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 9, 2012 9:13:55 AM PDT
J. Waugh says:
Love the review, as a N8 owner I've been watching this phone with a ton of interest. I'm shocked that it doesn't work with the existing Nokia Multimedia Transfer utility on the Mac (which works fine with the N8 and Lion) - obviously would be a very low amount of work for Nokia to make that happen. Considering how Mac sales have been eating into PC sales (i.e. the Mac market is growing rapidly) this seems crazy.

This is a deal breaker for me though (the Mac Nokia utility was already a bit clunky with the N8), do you have any idea on how to get the photo's to the Mac with the 808? Google isn't showing anything.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2012 9:04:29 AM PDT
Walter says:
How to Sync your Nokia 808 Pureview with iTunes on a Mac:


In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2012 9:21:55 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 9, 2012 10:00:43 AM PDT
J. Waugh says:
Thanks for the link Peter....Looking at what the author said:

"You also have the option of importing Images or Video, but since you have a Mac I'm assuming you already use the 808 in media transfer mode to do just that."

It looks like there's a mode to set the 808 in so that you can get the pics and video's directly perhaps - this makes the phone just look like a USB drive to OS X so it should be the best option.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2012 11:55:50 AM PDT
Tor Slettnes says:
Unfortunately, yes. If you tap on the compass needle in the Maps application, it will ask you to "Flip the phone until it beeps or vibrates". Likewise, if you install Nokia City Lens (from Beta Labs), it will also ask you to shake it a few times.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2012 11:59:58 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 11, 2012 10:38:44 AM PDT
Tor Slettnes says:
iPhoto is not a big problem; as soon as you connect the phone (also in "Nokia Suite" mode), iPhoto launches and allows you to import photos natively. The one issue is that it wants to import ALL images on your phone, including default wall papers, podcast icons, etc. A workaround for this would be to allow this import to happen once (do NOT delete the pictures from the phone afterwards!) - then later "hide" these pictures in iPhoto.

The trickier part is synchronizing your multimedia with iTunes. For this, you can either use:
* "doubleTwist" from http://doubletwist.com/, as others have mentioned -- works in "Mass Storage" mode
* iTuneMyWalkman - this too works in "Mass Storage" mode. My wife uses it for her Samsung Galaxy Note, and it does the job (both music and playlists).
* Salling Media Sync from http://salling.com/MediaSync/Mac -- works in "Media Transfer" mode

Out of these, I prefer Salling, because of the "Media Transfer" mode. This has (at least) 3 advantages over Mass Storage mode:

* With Mass Storage mode, The E: and F: drives are temporarily unmounted from the phone, making contents of them unavailable to phone applications. You must also remember to cleanly unmount/eject them from your Mac before you disconnect the cable.

* The Mac has a tendency to write a lot of "garbage" files onto such volumes (.DS_Store, .fseventsd, .Trashes, etc). I don't want to have or deal with these on my phone.

* In Media Transfer mode, the music you transfer is automatically catalogued in the Music Player. No need to "Refresh" the music afterwards.

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