Nokia Pureview 808 Rises Above All Others

Still shot from Nokia's videoThat’s right. Nokia’s latest Pureview 808 handset has soared to such great heights never before reached by other mobile phones. Literally. The Pureview 808 was carried by a ballon up 34 km high. From there, it took really cool pictures of our planet Earth. Not the whole lot of it, like you would see from the moon, but certainly impressive enough and something you’d never get on any other smartphone.

The Pureview 808’s camera boasts a pixel count of… 41 megapixels. That’s right. It’s not a typo. Forty-One Megapixels. It’s a camera resolution that outdoes any other smartphone, all compact cameras, and most of the DSLR cameras too.

The 41 megapixel camera produces still shots that measures 38 megapixels. But the default photo size is 5 megapixels. What Nokia’s trying to do with their new camera is oversampling, so as to produce higher quality images. Each pixel in the 5 megapixel camera shot is made up of 7 pixels on the image senor. This allows the camera is average out the sensor input to effectively remove noise, thus providing image quality that is unprecedented on camera smartphones.

The 41 megapixel image sensor also lets you zoom… without digital extrapolation like other camera smartphones would do. To produce zoomed in photos, less of the image sensor is used, and there is less (or no) oversampling, but every pixel from the resulting image really comes from the image sensor. No moving optics involved, and no digital extrapolation. A key advantage of this solution is that there is no noise from any motorized zoom mechanism like often happens with compact digital cameras.

Is the 41 megapixels overkill? Well, if you care very much about good image quality that you can capture anywhere you go… well, there is no better way to achieve that with a camera smartphone that you can carry around with you all the time.

The Pureview 808, unfortunately, is otherwise a little dated in other aspects. It’s a Symbian phone (yeah, didn’t Nokia already want to abandon Symbian?), has a 4″ display with 640×360 resolution, a single-core 1.3 GHz ARM 11 CPU, and a rather clunky form factor. Oh well, the space is needed to house its amazing 1/1.2″ sensor (yes, beats about all the compact digital cameras out there).

Would you get the Pureview 808?

For me, I’m quite decidedly done with Symbian phones. Regardless of how they rename it. But the 41 megapixels camera with Carl Zeiss lens is quite awesome hardware.