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February 29, 2012



@Baron95: I totally agree with some things you say - the same as I agree with TomiAhonen's text. It's a pity that the 808 has such a low resolution and that this couldn't be fixed - I also think its a bit exagerated to say that the 808 leaves other phones behind. That for sure counts for the Camera, the same as N9 Meego leaves others behind with a superior operation system - but in other specs, other phones win.

I think it's not the limits of symbian, but missing effort which has put into - and maybe missing human resources since the Symbian team got reduced to a minimum.

I don't have a Symbian phone, but Belle seems to be a big update. There have been made a lot of mistakes with Symbian, but Belle could hopefully make Symbian to what it deserves to be.

It's self explaining that the 808 is a rather fat phone. The camera takes a certain space which leaves us two posibilities: Make the hole phone thicker to fit the camera size better + plus make it easier to handle (a camera just needs some thickness) or make it slim like other phone and let the camera stick out in a probably disturbing way.

The 808 is for sure a good thing for Nokia since it gets a lot of attention and media are so far talking well about it - just those two days I felt I heard more good things about Nokia than all those month with the Lumia section (I'm working in the mobile phone business and am daily confronted with that topic). Just see the reactions f.e on Nokia's blog "Nokia Conversations". It's crazy how the 808 is accepted - or Symbian and MeeGo in general - while Lumia is still rejected by many readers.

So even if the 808 is rather a super camera than a super phone, it will have its success since I'm sure there is a market for such a phone.


Nokia should now partner with Ade to release lightroom mobile companion with access to raw data to cather a niche among pro documentary photographers and other visual artists. Call together some icon personas in photography and ( even more important ) videography to do some serious project using the device. 808 could become beloved device among that demographic (the camera is so far ahead that overshadows all other aspects competition may pose, provided it is relatively usable (and with Belle and 2.5 the CPU of n8 it definately is). It may not be numerous but is very important in creating mindshare and repairing damaged brand. And mindshare is everything these days.


It seems that a lot of people are missing the point about this camera, and why it's such a game changer. I think it has the potential to wipe out the compact camera market (for cameras with a modest 3X optical zoom range anyway).

Damian Dinning from Nokia gives a good, clear explanation here: - it's not really about the megapixels, but the large sensor and what can be achieved with those megapixels. (Note that Damian seems quite frustrated in the video, as he would be when so many people fail to understand how the technology works).

As for the phone being chunky, yes it is, but it beats carrying around even a small compact camera. I can't wait to get my sweaty hands on one!


You concentrate way too much on the megapixels in your writings. PureView has over triple the resolution of a 5000€ Nikon D3S DSLR. So does former have triple the image quality of the latter? Nope.

Resolution has nothing to do with image quality. Nothing. That point was passed 10 years ago. Big images are good when printing huge, but in a digital world we simply don't need resolution. Full HD is 2MP. 4K is 8MP. What matters is the size of the sensor. Bigger sensor catches more light with same f-stop. So actually the big news here with the PureView is the 1/1.2" sensor, witch is larger than any point-and-shoot camera has.

What matters though, is screen resolution. The Nokia PureView 808 has 0,2MP screen. IPhone 4(S) has 0,6MP screen. The new phones from Samsung and HTC have 0,9MP screen. This is where resolution matters. I personally look my phone's screen for hours per day.

So the PureView might be the best camera in a phone ever, but the rest of the 808 phone sucks, big time. The screen is not nearly as good as the competition in the same price range. The SOC is way overdated. The phone is rediculously thick and also just plain ugly. It's a shame that such a great piece of hardware is planted to such an uneven product.

But still the biggest problem is software. Symbian is gone. It's still ugly, even when strongly leaning towards Android in the latest Belle update. The UI is laggy. The user experience just isn't there for a product in this price range in 2012. And the app support is subpar. There's no Instagram here. Nothing that comes even close. There might be a lot of apps in the OVI store, but missing are the big names and popular ones from Android and iOS. If you disagree, I strongly recommend taking a look between the differences between Gameloft's Modern Combat 2 releases on Symbian and iOS. It cannot be described in words.

Pureview 808 does not have a place on market. It might have best camera on any phone yet but that's not enough for making it a desirable phone. Cameras do matter, but for the most of us the cameras in iPhone 4S or SGSII are good enough. Any person interested in photography already has a specific camera superior in image quality to PureView.



They have quite a lot of false information in that video. Typical marketing stuff.

Their digital zoom is lossy, whatever they say. It may have the native resolution at full zoom, but then it loses the benefits from sampling down the image. Bicubic sampling in a mobile device is impressive, though.

The same applies to the claim that there's now light loss with digital zoom. When zooming in at 3x, you are creating the image from the central ninth of the image (1/3 by 1/3). That means you are using only one ninth of the light to create the image as well. Mr. Dinnings says that with optical zoom the aperture drops from f/2.4 to f/5.6 when zooming in. The light loss here in PureView is from f/2.4 to f/8.

I'm not saying it's not an impressive camera. I just want to clear out what is reality and what is marketing BS.


So Baron95, for you to be right the 808Pureview needs to be a failure. For Tomi to be right it needs to be a success. Seems like a simple experiment to run. We'll know the results in 3-6 months. At the end of that period we will know just how important superior camera specs and all other hardware specs are, especially when compared to software modernity specs.

Steve de Mounford

Excellent blog review from Tomi !

Iphones are for the sheeple - Apple makes the lowest common denominator product for the masses; a system you also find in communist countries where everybody has the same watch, the same phone, drinks the same vodka.

This Nokia 808 is a welcome innovation - its the new toy on the block with a godlike camera that brings differentiation and innovation .

The communists and the sheeple can stick to their mass Iphones: I want this new Nokia 808 and its superior specs.


I am really sorry, but a phone with a 41mpx camera and a 360 x 640 display to see your shots can only be thinked as a bad joke.

Also, a 18mm (deep) is pretty near the N95 (from 2005), my Sony camera is thinner than this.

Elop is not the only confused at Nokia, the one that developed this atrocity thinking that the number 41 will fool customers must be closed with Elop in the same institution.


@crunkykd It also depends on how much push the phone will get. Will it be available on all markets or restricted to certain markets. Will it get carrier subsidy? These factors will also determine the sales success.

@Baron95 @nsiltane Screen resolution is also similar to the "megapixel" myth, it reaches a point where it is good enough and then needs a different value proposition to reach out to the masses. e.g. Many people still have low resolution TVs where PPI is much lower, heck lots of people still use laptops and desktops with lower PPI than an iPhone 4 and use them for hours on end. The physical size of the screen is likely a bigger factor than the resolution as long as the resolution is "good enough".

@Tomi agree with the sentiment of the phone, I will be one of the people who will be buying this and returning to Symbian, have been looking for a decent replacements for my N93 & N82 for a while and this hits the spot. However, you need to emphasize more on how the 41MP is used, because the headline number isn't where the value is. It's the algorithms and sensor that has made the press stir crazy. There's a divide in the reporting.. the ones who focus on the headline 41MP (usually negative press), and the ones who focus on the underlying technology (usually positive press).


As usual Tommi lives in past. So long in past it is sort of funny. Sorry everything else in 808 is ancient and underwhelming except camera. It is really bad phone and as you read the reviews nothing has changed symbian is trash, very bad techonology. The display in 808 is not up to date. Microsd cards are not issue, in fact they have dissapeared from phones because they are bag of pain. Most problems with phones are with microsd cards because they are just bad. Bluetooth 3 well sorry all competition is in bluetooth 4 which have obvious benefits. Nokias NFC chip is the kind which you CAN NOT use as wallet, sorry it not up to standards with security.

1080p video is every competition phone and with stabilizers so nothing new there. In a way the way 808 camera works it is just gimmick. In most cases it is 5-8 megapixel camera. Actually you cannot get 41 MP pictures out of it, which would not be very good anycase. These pictures are allways sort of photoshopped, product of software. And cameras are good enough in most smartphones so it is not really an issue. And still you cannot get optical zoom into phone.

Nokia 808 is pure example why nokia can not walk alone anymore. It is the ultimate meh product, sort of nice but not really relevant. Besides Tommi does not like the positive buzz that lumia has got. There are real developers intrested in lumia, symbian was allways for telecommunication robots. Symbian softaware was bad looking crap with no innovation what so ever. WP7 looks nice but it remains to be seen if it enough against android and ios.

Nothing Tommi you have written is recipe how symbian would be able to live in this 2010 world of mobile computing. Phones are dead and mobile computing is rising from ashes of destruction of mobile phone revolution.


I find it bold that they come out with a thick 41MP phone. Personally, it is not for me, but I can imagine that camera enthusiasts would go for it. They should have put a higher-res display in it for sure, but then again, how much resolution do cameras displays have? This is a great camera that doubles as a good smartphone - as opposed to a great smartphone that doubles as a good camera ;-)

I do not think that this will save Symbian - or Nokia for that matter - but it certainly shows that the Symbian team is capable of creating an innovative smartphone, and it may well still sell more than the Lumia. The sad thing is that this may well be one of the last death throes of Symbian as a smartphone platform. (I never liked Symbian much, but still find it way better than WP7 in terms of looks.)


Who exactly is this for? It's a slow, hard-to-use phone, with a bad screen and a sensor much smaller than DSLRs. So people who just want to shoot nice-looking photos quickly and post them to their preferred sharing site will want---duh--the iPhone, and pros will keep using their DSLRs.

Elop made the best choice of the ones available, which was to go with a platform that actually has the potential to be competitive. Whether it will work out seems a bit up in the air, but his WP team did work unimaginably fast by Nokia standards.

dr zorg


You clearly haven't understood what the technology behind PureView is about.

The zoom is about pixel oversampling. You DO NOT lose the detail, because several pixels from the full rez are "merged" into one for the final shot. Not binned, but merged. There's a world of difference. Read up on it.

dr zorg


The sad part of the story is that you'll only realise how great Symbian was when it's no longer with us.

When you are firmly tied to "app stores" for any programs you want to run, when companies only offer you the functionality THEY feel comfortable with, when you are being nickel-and-dimed for the smallest of things, perhaps you'll remember it fondly, and the total freedom and versatility it offered. But it may be too late then.

dr zorg


Many words and most are wrong.

1. "symbian is trash, very bad techonology"

Reasons? What makes it "trash" and "very bad"?

2. "Microsd cards are not issue, in fact they have dissapeared from phones because they are bag of pain."

Again, why are they "bag of pain"? Last I checked, over 75% of all phones supported microSD. That they have "disappeared" is a lie.

3. "Bluetooth 3 well sorry all competition is in bluetooth 4 which have obvious benefits."

The highly prized iPhone still does not support Bluetooth file transfer. Not even BT 1 or 2. What are you talking about? Besides, BT 2.0 is very usable by itself, BT 3.0 even more so. Another lie from you.

4. " Actually you cannot get 41 MP pictures out of it, which would not be very good anycase. These pictures are allways sort of photoshopped, product of software."

Another blatant lie, stop trolling.



After lurking for several years, I moved to comment by the severe partisanship and misinformation contained in several of the comments. I will restrict myself to Camera performance as reviewed by Werner Ruotsalainen on his iphone life blog. Werner is interesting being an IOS and Nokia fan boy.

Log story short, this phone has the best camera of any phone bar none and is better than the vast majority of point and shoot cameras. The disheartening thing about several comments is that they are posted by people who appear to have little knowledge of what they comment on.

Dpreview also has several threads on this with over 500 comments each! The consensus is this is an epochal Camera and will change the face of both mobile phones and compact cameras.

@Baron95, you express opinions about the speed that are not supported by the evidence of people who have used the phone. You also conflate processor speed with overall phone performance. Symbian is known for is efficiency and the phone apparently has a dedicated co-processor for imaging.

@dr-zorq & Hoista - thanks for providing a bit more information, and avoiding the emotive responses of the "fanboys".

Talking about phones is very often like politics. We exhibit tribal affiliations that block our ability to critically think about likely outcomes

@Tomi - Been following you religiously for over 5 years now, I share your pain about Symbian (was a UIQ, fan boy back in the day) and love your analysis. You, Eldar, Gruber, Mace, Dedeiu & Orlowski are my go to guys for understanding and insight. We appreciate your sometimes loooong articles (apparently a Nokia trait, No?)

Dipankar Mitra

Tomi, 808 just own MWC 2012 "best new handset or tablet" award.


"808 just own MWC 2012 "best new handset or tablet" award."

How come? The list is here, and there is no mention of the 808 whatsoever:

What Nokia won was the award for the best feature phone with its C3-00.


@Baron96 The resolution is not a Symbian problem, Nokia E90 has 800x352 and was released years ago!! I think that Elop came into game here! But another reason could be that all legacy apps developed for Symbian would not work properly, they need changes in graphics!

Sander van der Wal

The resolution problem is likely to be an S60 issue. S60 phones have a limited number of screen sizes. And even though scalable graphics facilities have been in the API for a long time now, it is still possible that a lot of apps just won't work, as this 808 screen apparently is the first of its kind. I haven't seen it mentioned in the latest Symbian Belle SDK, for instance, this makes it almost impossible for developers to adapt their apps for it.

Regarding the technology, it is quite amazing for a point-and-shoot camera. That space is under a lot of pressure indeed with smartphones having now good-enough point-and-shoot camera's and excellent software for sharing these point-and-shoot pictures.

Strategically, it is a bit of a bummer to see it on the obsolete Symbian platform. But on the other hand, it will serve to keep a certain amount of people away from the competition. A skirmish, then.

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