Review: One Month On With the 808

| August 4, 2012 | 91 Replies

So it’s been about a month or so since I first got the Pureview monster, the 808; here are some random thoughts on the phone: (Before we start honestly I wasn’t very fair I had first tried the 808 back at MWC so I knew what I was getting into, I never used the phone as my daily driver since I knew what it had to offer SW wise, and that wasn’t enough for me to go back to Symbian after the smoothness of WP).

First off the camera is ridiculous, there’s nothing more I can say, I suck at photography, my friends are ugly, yet our pictures come out stunning (I’ll leave the proper camera review for those more capable of it) but here’s a couple test image:

Bedside Change bucket (us bloggers are people folks):

Full res flickr:

Sunset in Amman (not bad if I dare say so)

Full res flickr:

Reese’s Cup stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies, YUM!

Full res Flickr:

Well what about the phone? The software on the phone itself as I’m sure most of you know is Nokia Belle FP1 the same running on all Symbian 3 phones minus the first gen of S^3 devices (that have less than 1ghz of ram); the latest updates bring some UI streamlining, A slightly improved keyboard (which still sucks), a New gallery/camera ui (only for the 808). However even after 3 major SW upgrades the phone is not without it’s bugs/set-backs, some of the exclusive to the 808: (the list is based on MY USAGE of the phone (which happened to be in offline mode), not everyone uses their phones similarly, I for one don’t use the browser much so I couldn’t care less how crappy it is)

  • The gallery has no Portrait support when accessing it from the camera (not really a bug, more like a missing feature, but one that’s annoying)
  • WiFi is spotty and tends to have issues
  • The constant nagging of Symbian asking for confirmation every step of the way (although reduced) still pushes my buttons.
  • Lack of photo sharing options, Nokia social (which is an abomination and should have been drowned upon birth) only works with a SIM card in the phone, and even then doesn’t always work, However the 808 does support “share to Flickr and FB” however for some reason every-time I’m directed to the browser to login to FB I end up in a constant loop with no solution (possibly due to my FB security measures?), the upload to Flickr does work nicely though (also there’s a newly updated Symbian app called FlickrUp that gets the job done). It may seem as I’m nitpicking on this point, but after using WP for close to a year any other photo sharing to social networks seems pathetic, and as I said, this is MY usage of the phone.
  • The Keyboard: I’m pretty sure Nokia packed up shop here and moved out, it would seem they gave up on making a decent keyboard as now the keys aren’t even aligned properly, the auto-correct is a nightmare (the dictionary seems to have only 50 words); but on the plus side the haptic feedback is nice.

Is this a joke? (and before anyone mentions it I don’t like swype)

  • The menu is depressing, this might sound crazy but as someone who experienced stock S^3 on the N8 first hand the menu on Symbian only brings back painful memories, as long as I avoid opening the menu I can pretend it’s different phone, but the second I want to load an app that all goes away.
  • The chrome plating on the camera bump gets scratched SUPER easily, I keep my phone in a microfiber bag in a drawer yet somehow it’s gotten scratched (think metal plate on the back of the N9)

Enough with the bad, more with the good; first off the phone is gorgeous, say what you like but a phone that has to carry a bump that big and still look good isn’t an easy task, but Nokia pulled it off (it’s like when they say pregnant women “glow”), so what else?

  • Once again the camera, it’s………… (whatever adjective you prefer)
  • The camera UI, at least some thought went into this (actually alot did) every little detail seems planned out, even the tiny writing of “pureview” on the virtual lens (that comes up when launching the camera)
  • Speaking of launching the camera, this thing is blazing fast; but we all know that right, I mean it smoked a WP…
  • Multitasking on the 808 with FP1 is super smooth, one of the virtues of Symbian I guess
  • Battery life!!!! You guys won’t believe this but I’ve only charged the 808 once since I purchased it (over a month ago) true it was in offline mode, but that’s with the WiFi on constantly and alot of picture taking/video recording
  • Rich Recording: honestly this has got to be as an impressive feature as Pureview (if not slightly cooler) the mic pickup on this phone is crazy, I recorded a video then played it back on the phone (with Dobly studio active) through the purity headset… MINDBLOWING
  • CBD AMOLED display, true it’s stuck in nHD but that’s nothing new, what is new is the awesome viewing angles you get outdoors (plus the always on screen saver, ohhh how I miss it on WP.. hopefully in WP8)
  • Torch: yes the awesome flash doubling as a torch, this used to be exclusive to feature phones, well not anymore; keep the lock-screen button pressed down for 5 seconds to used the LED light as a blinding torch/flash-light

All in all the 808 isn’t THAT bad of a phone, hell it’s pretty good; but not if your one who’s about “the online”; some nags of Symbian haven’t been fixed till now and I don’t see the Nokia developer team (what’s left of it anyways) worrying too much about them. I don’t need to tell you how awesome the camera is and personally I think that’s more than enough of a reason to buy a phone (that’s why I bought mine!). But the issue lies in Symbian itself, it’s been forsaken by most (even CODeRUS the Symbian modder gave up on it), and honestly unlike the N9 there isn’t much you can do to make this phone that much better, as I mentioned in the begging I didn’t think Belle FP1 was enticing enough for me to go back to the small but annoying (yet apparently lovable) tweaks of Symbian,  but if your pleased with how Symbian is by all means go buy one; you will love it. I guarantee it.


I can’t believe I have to say this but constructive comments ONLY; criticism is welcome, I love a good discussion but if you’ve come to spread your sorrow here is NOT the place.



Category: Applications, MNB, Nokia, Nseries, Reviews, Symbian

About the Author ()

Hey, my name's Ali- Currently a fifth (and final) year Dental Student from Chicago; studying in Jordan. I love all sorts of gadgets almost as much as I love my cookies! Be sure to follow my Twitter handle @AliQudsi and Subcribe to my Youtube for the latest videos - no pressure. Thanks.
  • tales barros

    Ali, you mentioned you only charged your 808 ONCE IN A MONTH of use. That in itself PROVES that you haven’t used the device enough for a review. Even without a SIM.

    • Janne

      This is a hobbyist blog. I for one appreciate the fact that hobbyists don’t always have time for full reviews or things like that, they post what they can and what they’ve experiences in an informal manner. It is a very valuable service, for free, done free.

      I think your expectations may be a little too high. I’d rather Ali post his incomplete views, that are his experiences, than not post at all. There is room for opposing experiences of course, too.

  • Bassman

    Get a grip…

  • Sonny

    damn if we have post about symbian and you WP lovers bash symbian on how crappy it is its all good hey? while if its a WP post when symbian folks talk crap about WP they are called trolls and crap.

    the more I see post of ali on the site the more I want to stop coming on this site! Period.

    why? this guy basically bashes everything about symbian and praises and defends everything about WP. What the fuck is wrong with you? Symbian or WP its a fucking NOKIA! and if you cant support a nokia product because it has symbian then I really don’t know how the fuck you still writting on this blog

    But thanks Ali! I know for a fact now I will def skip every post of you in the future

    • Aliqudsi

      I’m sorry you feel that way, but I’d like to point out that almost every single person here seemed to have magically missed reading the “Enough with the bad, more with the good” paragraph where I point out some of things I liked and that were impressive, I don’t understand why people expect me to give the 808 a clean bill of health and turn a blind eye to what I see as an issue just because it’s Symbians possible last hurrah.

      • Janne

        I don’t know how many of you critiquing Ali actually *have* an 808, but I do since launch week and was nodding all the way through what Ali was saying. Not because I’m a fanboy of any sort, but simply because it aligns with my own experience with the 808. It is not nice that some things indeed do suck, because much of the phone on the other hand is really good, but that’s just the way it is to many people.

        Now, another reviewer may have different opinions and that’s what reviews are for, but just adding to the mix that myself as an 808 user did feel at home reading this review. It aligns with my experience as well. (Obviously I don’t have much use for the wi-fi so no comments on that, but I do use the phone on 3G from time to time when it is in smartphone+camera duty instead of just being a camera for me.)

      • Hypnopottamus

        The major difference is that when you are critiquing Symbian (or MeeGo) you at least have physically tried the device out (for more than a casual in-the-store try out). In this case (as with the N9) you actually owned the device. Some of these “critics” of the WP platform have never even spent more than 5 minutes (if at all) with a WP to give an honest opinion about it. I suspect many of these commentors about your work take issue with the fact that you came to the conclusion that your Lumia will be your daily driver. Because of this, they feel ANYTHING you say about Symbian or MeeGo will be biased.

        All platforms have weaknesses. What one decides to use as their daily driver depends on what you want out of your device. Maybe to “appease” some of these assholes you should write an article about some of the things you dislike about your Lumia. There are a few things that bug me about it. However, it is more that good enough for what I need to sway me away from my Android device (and ultimately my old Symbian).

        • Aliqudsi

          Not a bad idea, I hate feeding these trolls (or explaining myself to them) but say a post titles “why I use a WP- Cons & Pros” would do the trick.

  • I bought an 808 for my wife and have used it as much as her over the last month. I have used android on GS2, have an ipad and came from an old P900, main phone is an N9.

    It does seem very similar to the GS2. The things that I like are the hom screens – one never really needs to move from them once the phone has widgets set up. We have a couple blank as photos of the family.

    Like the email widget, my wife has two yahoo accounts that update on the same page – very nice. Use the doggles to toggle blue tooth on off, data on off etc very nice. Like the gallery, and we share generally via cutebox, but social is fine as a face book client. Gravity is really good but my wife is more facebook on the PC so no need for it yet.

    webbrowsing is a mixture of the default and opera – Opera is good and we generally browse over wifi so no problems there. Messaging works well, we we have enjoyed playing with Vingo txt to speech.

    I have not found the menus too bad – I just don’t need to go in an use them. They are about as confusing as android and ios – which I get lost in everyso often looking for some configuration switch. I did get lost finding the Swype config until I remembered it was an installed app. Most of the stuff we use is pre-installed on the phone which is great, none of the need with an iphone to go and get the basics.

    We have added some games – nice to play Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan and at a very cheap price. We also use the music player and sports tracker.

    Stability – some issues from time to time, the home screen transitions do give the feeling of slowness but if you are moving from similar backdrops there is no slow down. The Nokia Store is a pain and probably causes most of the issues with the phone, that said it has alot of apps built in the work ok.

    The keyboard – we are still trying to work out which is better on this phone swype or normal. I use swype on the N9 but it is as well implemented here.

    As a smart phone the maps are great, and it isn’t a bad device. Having use android and iphone os on my ipad I do find the dumping on symbian a bit strange.

    The sleep screen is brilliant and going to a phone that can’t do that would be a real pain. It is really difficult for me as I do like the N9 UI but I know that photos are very important and the ones that come from the 808 are just amazing, and especially in low light – nothing comes near.

    From my perspective its a nice phone, simple to use the homescreens have widgets that cover most bases, weather, maps are amazing, email, facebook. And the ability to run with little or no data usage is great.

    Its interesting for me as 3 of the 5 people at work who have SG2 have had major hardware / battery issues with them.. My ipad generally has app crashes 4-5 times per week so from my experience all modern computer phones have issues just like their desktop / notebook cousins.


    • Alfr3d E. Neum4n

      You seem to have a balanced assessment of this phone. I too, bought this phone a couple of weeks after it was available and been using it since. I’ve had android, iOS phones and my main line is a BlackBerry. I understand the menu structure of Symbian can be confusing at times, but with the implementation of Belle, the widget system and the home screens make it so much easier to live with on a daily basis. What I like the most, aside from the camera of course, is the fact it isn’t constantly online. You can also do just fine with the pre-installed apps. I’d like to purchase the N9 one day and see what it’s all about. I’d also like to get the latest, when they come out, Nokia WP8s, too. But I do like your balanced assessment of this 808, Peter. Thank you.

  • miki

    I have mine for a month too.

    Camera…..we all know everithing about it so leave at that.

    Gallery should be better specialy editing and sorting pictures.I mean if I snap full resolution picture and i want crop a pice of it, gallery editor should have tool to crop in proper resolution as obviusly we all wis to have pictures in similar formats.

    Email is good enough for me.

    Keyboard should be much better.

    Nokia drive is awesome!

    Nokia Store is disaster:(

    Homescrens are smooth and widgets are cool.

    I went from android and I was a little scared how it will works out, but now definetly no regreats.

    As Hypnopottamus write all platforms have weaknesses you just pick one which will serve you the best.
    As GMs in any team sport will say “Dont get merried with the players” we should not be slaves of OS.

  • reflex

    any1 else who has a 808 like me or a red 1 like me follow me on twitter and il follow u @sirreflex