Review: Nokia 808 PureView – Design, Build & Display


Nokia 808 PureView – Part 3
Review: Design, Build & Display

We have covered quite a bit of things about Nokia 808 PureView already since they day it was announced. Starting from the specification and its 41 megapixels sensor capability we also have shared the official camera samples from Nokia. Along with launching in other regions, Nokia 808 PureView also had hit the stores in Pakistan. Worth mentioning a round-up of the device just before we got our hands [part 1] on the 41 megapixels monster Nokia 808 PureView. If you missed our recent post about the camera shoots, you better have an overview of the the samples and the comparison [part 2] with other devices.

Of course Nokia 808 PureView does have the best camera (in our opinion as well as almost any others) among all smartphones currently available. In fact it matches up with most of the compact digital cameras with added features of connectivity. But we’ll not talk about its camera and the pictures it takes but will try to cover each of the aspects of the smartphone from the outside and the display.

Build and Design

Before we start with the design of Nokia 808 PureView, I’ll want to mention here that once a manual of a device was leaked back in December last year which was supposed to be the successor of earlier camera smartphone, Nokia N8. Other than an outlined illustration, there was no detail about the device’s specification. That illustration is exactly of the new Nokia 808 PureView. But it was a big surprise from Nokia about the massive camera sensor that was kept under cover for five years. The illustration is just on the right side of this text.

It’s just clear that you will be looking at most heavy gear among today’s smartphones, so just be patient while reading through as you won’t probably be completely satisfied with most of the parts on the build. The big one is camera hump which stands out of the the device has been objected by most of the people out there. But it’s justified with the power of the camera residing inside and a camera enthusiast won’t even notice the bulky build of this smartphone.

Following are official profile pictures of Nokia 808 PureView with the dimensions specified. The standard measurements of the device are 123.9 mm x 60.2 mm x 13.9. Counting in the camera hump at the back measures the 17.95 mm at thickness. Nokia 808 PureView weighs 169 grams.

So now let’s have look at the size difference of Nokia 808 PureView when lying down with Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Samsung Galaxy SIII and its own older brother, the Nokia N8.

Nokia 808 PureView – Samsung Galaxy Nexus – Samsung Galaxy S III
Nokia N8 – Nokia 808 PureView – Samsung Galaxy S III
Nokia N8 – Nokia 808 PureView – Samsung Galaxy S III


  • Nokia 808 PureView is 1 mm thicker than Nokia N8 (12.9 mm)
  • as much thicker as 5.3 mm than Samsung Galaxy S III (8.6 mm) and
  • ~5 mm thicker than Google’s Galaxy Nexus (8.94 mm).


  • Weighing 169g Nokia 808 PureView is 34g heavier than Nokia N8 (which weighs 135 grams)
  • 36g heavier than Samsung Galaxy S III (133 grams) and
  • 34g heavier than Google’s Galaxy Nexus (weighs 135 grams)

Well justifying the measurements, I can tell that companies do compromise making their devices slimmer and lighter. In fact opening the back cover of any of the 4 Galaxy devices, for extent, really make you think you are just going to break it apart. Making the device uni body with no back cover opening is a good idea in my point of view if the device needs to be lighter and slimmer so that no chance of breaking the skin parts will be present unexpectedly. The look and feel of Nokia 808 PureView is really sturdy. Experience with the opening back cover of the device was nice later on but initially I really thought I’ll break it as it was fixed-in too hard. The build of the back cover is slim of course but feels solid and reliable.

With no extra words Nokia 808 PureView sure feels heavy in hands but is not uncomfortable in grip. It rather spots on with the help of the camera hump staying right hanged above your fingers. Additionally in favour of the camera hump, I liked how carefully it’s designed to look good. I won’t say that it’s a perfect design but it’s not bad looking though as many have thought it was.

So what makes 808 PureView that bulky, is of course the massive camera deep inside it. Have a look down on the camera hump. Profile images below are to show the hump as how does it feel curving out of the surface of the device at back. So at the hump, there is the Xenon flash with extra LED light to help video recording in dark as well as for focusing assistance. Constructed with 5 elements in one group with a larger sensor (ever found in a smartphone), the high-index glass mould lens and mechanical shutter with neutral density filter – all these make the camera unit deep inside the body making the hump larger on the back. “Carl Zeiss” printed along with 41MP sensor stamped to impress one in a single sight. Did you see in the picture with Nokia N8? It really is bigger than that. So of course catch in the first eye to say it’s looking too bulky.

Right besides the lens there is the speaker with a grilled cover inside the hump top. At the bottom of back cover there is a rubber made narrow strip hosted into the cover to support the grip when handling the device. A “Nokia” in the middle-center and the model “Nokia 808” at the most bottom printed on the back cover. Bottom of the device hosts a wrist strap hole at the side and a microphone pinhole in the center. The microphone is also used for video recording.

Getting on the right side of the device you access to the volume rocker key, a device lock/unlock key and a dedicated camera shutter key with half and full press support for manual focusing during video recording as well as for still shoots. Software support is also added to unlock the device with camera key while taking you directly into the camera interface. Which is really useful for quick moments to capture.

Left side of the device doesn’t have any thing – no controls nor any port.

Top side of the device hosts most commonly used the micro USB port along side the 3.5mm connector to support both the audio and video for composite video out. As the new Nokia Belle OS FP1, in 808 PureView, supports Dolby digital sound hence the Dolby supported sound system at your place gets a very straight input option via Nokia 808 PureView’s 3.5 mm AV jack.

One of the things I couldn’t resist blaming is micro HDMI support. Just besides the micro USB port and AV jack, Nokia 808 PureView hosts the micro HDMI port for HDMI out. And why I didn’t like it only because I didn’t have the adapter cable. Instead if it was mini HDMI port, I could have used the adapter cable that came with Nokia N8. So that tells if you buy Nokia 808 PureView and you want to use the HDMI out capability of the device, you will be in need to purchase in addition the micro HDMI adapter cable “Nokia Micro HDMI Cable CA-198”

Before going to the front we should open it up and see how does it pack with the battery inside the back cover. Taking off the back cover the battery resides just as the way normally it does. 1400 mAh battery is officially said to give talk time up to 11 hours (GSM) and standby time up to 465 hours.

The inner side of the back cover hosts the NFC chip to communicate with external NFC capable devices e.g. NFC tags, headphones, or other smartphones with NFC capability. Removing the battery reveals the slots for micro SIM card and micro SD card.

Now coming to front part of the smartphone that obviously serves the main purpose of a phone with a 4″ display and above the display there is the earpiece for listening to calls. Along side on the right there is a proximity sensor and an ambient light sensor. The same side of the corner above the display serves with a secondary (front-facing) camera.

Nokia’s all time standard hard keys (missing from a few though) for call handling are present below the display in single piece button with the menu key between them. The single piece of the hardware button makes it look better than if all the three keys were separate.

4″ ClearBlack AMOLED Display

Taking it right to the display, we’ll talk about the 4″ display that Nokia 808 PureView serves for the actual usability of the smartphone. This is the ClearBlack AMOLED display, we are talking about. Let me mention here that, specifically in Nokia 808 PureView, the display outperformed any of the earlier devices that it came up with. And not only from its own family, the contrast ratio of its display, was much better outdoors than any other smartphone we tested with. With ending up of favouring the display of Nokia 808 PureView, I’ll also add, I personally think that 4″ display is enough for a phone.

OK so what’s not I’ll favour about it, is the resolution of the display. Nokia’s Symbian^3 based devices and later always came with the native screen resolution of 640×360 pixels leaving first Symbian Anna device with QWERTY keyboard, the Nokia E6 the only device that had more resolution 640×480 pixels on the aspect ratio of 4:3. I believe if it was possible to work with extended resolution in Nokia E6, then Nokia could have work with even more resolution on its later Symbian devices. But they didn’t. It makes me think that Nokia 808 PureView was only a phone to introduce the 5 years of hard work on PureView technology with the latest Nokia Belle FP1 OS that supports the 41 megapixels sensor with the new and polished user interface.

Staying on 16:9 aspect ratio, 854×480 pixels would have been much batter on Nokia 808 PureView as it was on Nokia N9. I believe the last Symbian device should have been the best of all the earlier devices. There is one thing that is the industry’s leading 41 megapixels sensor in a smartphone. Really can’t guess how long would it take for any other smartphone to reach these numbers and amazing quality in mobile imaging.

Well coming straight to the point, on 4″ display, the traditional nHD resolution is not up to something that will impress anyone. It’s not that bad when alone however is not comparable to the devices which are serving with almost doubled the resolution since long.

We’ll try to bring later part of the review soon with the underlying hardware of Nokia 808 PureView as well as the new Software Nokia Belle OS FP1 and the User Interface. For now, have a look at Nokia 808 PureView’s profile pictures down there. Questions about the Nokia 808 PureView and/or its camera are welcomed.

Other pictures in the gallery below

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157630460699738″ size=”small”]

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