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Mashable’s embarrassing review of the Nokia 808

Yesterday, Mashable published a review (or should I write “review”) of the Nokia 808 PureView. They are asking for reactions on the bottom of the article itself, but I decided to write mine here, including a lot of the stunning quotes.

The first cut is the deepest, as Cat Stevens wrote: “The Nokia 808 Pureview blows other cellphone cameras out of the water — but its clunky interface makes it almost not worth the effort.” After reading this you already think you know where this is going: another review sacrificing the brilliant new technology because of it’s OS. But I gave it a try nevertheless. And it’s even worse.

Mashable put the camera to the test to see if it lived up to the promise. You can see the gallery of images from our tests above. These images were taken on the roof of the building that houses the Mashable offices in Manhattan, about 12 stories up.”

First, in this case, it would have been (very) interesting to know it the pictures are made using full resolution or PureView technology. But I take it these pictures are shot in full resolution, since the reviewer writes: the large file sizes really allow for close crops on details of photos. While adding more megapixels doesn’t equal a better quality image, it leads to bigger files that you can do more things with in post-production. So I guess we are looking at 38MP results here (the original pictures being 4:3, I cropped one picture from the Mashable site to fit the “featured” gallery on this blog).

The 808 PureView also offers far more features than you’ll find on most phones, such as white balance and autofocus. Excuse me? Many other phones have that… That’s a surprising glitch I wouldn’t expect from Mashable. It  has many other features you won’t find on any other phone, but of all possible examples (like ND filtering or lossless zoom) they picked the wrong two.

All of this is accessible from the phone’s touch screen. While this can’t compare to something like a DSLR, for users wanting to pack a high-powered point-and-shoot on their phone, it’s perfect. Better even, I’d say, there is no DSLR around offering such an incredible rich and versatile OS. At least no-one has shown it to me yet.

Nor is there any DSLR that will give you the opportunity to share your pictures or video’s in so many different ways (the cellphone network itself, WiFi, Bluetooth, USB-on-the-go, send it via Mail, WhatsApp, share it directly on Facebook, Flickr, etc. etc. And there is no DSLR offering you all the incredible high-end applications like Nokia Maps and Drive – for free. I could go on for a while, but it looks like it’s of no use – the next quote:

Unfortunately, the interface is the phone’s biggest downfall. With this the reviewer means the camera interface, not even Nokia Belle. I have never seen an easier, better understandable interface on ANY camera, compact or DSLR. Yet Mashable thinks it sucks. But it gets worse, even. Hold on to your seats for the next two quotes:

It’s hard to figure out how to actually get the phone’s camera into 41-megapixel mode. It’s not a default setting at all, and you have to navigate through a series of obtuse menus to change your photos’ quality and size. 

Given that the phone trumpets this feature, it should be visible on the camera’s main menu. The image sizes also had meaningless names, such as “PureView” and “Full Resolution,” to differentiate them.

And suddenly it dawns upon the reader: the reviewer of Mashable didn’t have a clue when she was thrown a box with the Nokia 808 PureView at her. Remembering a press release saying something about 41MP, she looked for it and couldn’t find it. No wonder: it’s not there. And where the interface clearly shows how to change your photo’s quality and size, she calls them “meaningless names, such as PureView and Full Resolution”.

I’m sorry, but I think that’s outrageous. If you would review a new car like this you probably wouldn’t get it to drive in the first place, or ruin the dealer’s shop where it came from.

Not making large images the default makes sense when trying to conserve space — a 41-megapixel image is roughly 34 megabytes — but it defeats the purpose of having such a powerful camera.

Not a word on what PureView technology actually does with all the pixels it records  when you take a picture in PureView mode (the meaningless name). Moreover, there is no 41MP image. And the largest file I have ever seen in full resolution is about 20MB (see blog here), normally you’ll find it’s somewhere between 8MB and 11MB, depending on the amount of detail.

But there is no end to our suffering yet: the last quote suddenly mentions the ecosystem that hasn’t even been analyzed at all.While it’s a great fit for a phone, it lives in a clunky ecosystem that hides its potential.

Coming from a site that seems to be proud to have it’s office “about” 12 stories up in Manhattan, this is the most remarkable review I’ve seen so far. And the most embarrassing one.

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48 Responses

  1. yourmama

    My goodness! The level of stupidity of this so called “review” is just beyond astounding. I’m speechless..

  2. Jesse

    As soon as I saw the pictures for this review I thought garbage. I was thinking the worst pictures I have ever seen. Looks like a cheap cellphone camera from 5 years ago. The subject matter was 100% random and pointless. More bland then anything I have ever seen. I thought whoever wrote this review must be retarded. After looking at the authors picture I can confirm it was indeed wrote by a retard.

  3. ayeshaDCA

    Nyahahahahaha….I think Mashable is really mashed-up!Belle is so cool even if it will be the last Nokia OS released(so sad having been read that)but I think that that person doesn’t even know a single thing about cameras according to their technical specifications and functions…hahahahaha…maybe she used the front facing camera,LOLZ!Pureview is so so great,I’m a photography connoisseur and I would like to have myself one. I just don’t have enough money yet. I’m a Nokia fanatic and had grown to love their line-up of phones from the start. We’re where the other phones when the N and E series “double” handedly conquered the arena way back then? The simplistic approach to OS we,Filipinos,have grown to learn and we can(hahahaha,I just thought)even operate Nokia phones with eyes closed!

  4. [...] although it seems to have become very fashionable to complain about the OS. Nevertheless it beats the infamous Mashable review by a mile (at least :-), so I think it’s worth to watch.  « Jo Harlow: PureView on [...]

  5. [...] agree with the writers, but I won’t make it a habit to review the reviews (I’ve done so once already ;-).Here’s one, written by Aliqudsi for MyNokiaBlog. Funniest quote directly from the [...]

  6. Pratik

    Is the reviewer a big fool or a nokia hater for not finding the 41 megapixel mode…and they expect it to be a default setting..that means the review doesnt know anything about camera and sensors, absolutely nothing. They dont know what is PureView mode, or maybe they havent even bothered to study it, this shows poor professionalism. Most of us know sensors are circular, hence max resolution is 38mpxl, and thats where the reviewer is interested in rather than 5mp PureView mode, again very poor knowledge. Everyone in the world say its the best camera ui and the reviewer say its unusable, the reviewer is either brainless or biased. If they hate nokia, why bother to review its products, stay happy with iphone. Dunno why they hire such foolish reviewers. Readers of the review will get a very bad impression of one of the greatest camera inovation in digital electronics history and they’ll just neglect this piece of genius. PureView.

    • Pratik

      If the reviewer was a such a layman, why didn’t she just used the automatic mode, why bother going into the intricate details when you are not capable of comprehending it.

  7. ClixT

    Mashable’s shitty article prompted me to post a comment… lol

  8. John


    Can anyone tell me if this picture is okay. My first night shot

  9. John

    I had to comment at mashable to slam her HACK REVIEWING.

  10. hackdrag

    I think she used the front camera..lolz

  11. suvam


  12. wait I didn’t realize it at first but was that sample shot taken though a window?!?

    • Marc @PureViewClub

      I never realized that either… If that’s correct, it’s even more painful…

    • Matt

      As I stated before, yes. Most of the shots in their gallery are in fact taken from behind a window (I have lots of experience with this, given that I’m Irish (rain). I’ve taken thousands of shots from behind windows, and the ones behind windows in that gallery are unmistakeable.

      Some are quite obviously taken outdoors though.

  13. Why does the Mashable editor allow this crap to be published? You would think one might want to do a little research before writing such article. /sigh

  14. Jussi

    I found out what kind of superiour experience is needed for this kind of deep journalism. This is picked from writers linkedin profile:

    Chelsea Stark’s Summary

    I’m a graduate student with a strong new media journalism background. I’ve been told that I’m a jack (or jill, I suppose) of all trades; I am comfortable using almost any digital aspect to enhance reporting, including writing, pictures, video and, my specialty, social media. I’ve worked in environments where I was able to experiment with almost any upcoming tool, so I’ve learned what works well for the changing face of journalism.


    web reporting, digital journalism, social media strategy and management, SEO, video creation and editing

    • Pratik

      Too much of anything is bad, thus too much of depth is bad in this case, it makes you search all those negligible aspects and write them which no one bothers, ‘perfect’ doesnt exsist. Every device has flaws with iphone the most, and these converge devices from Nokia the least.

      • Pratik

        Actually the reviewer is not a deep thinker at all. If she was, then she would have dedicated an entire article to PureView technology and would have wrote a lot more about PureView modes.

  15. Mike Day

    I find this comical but it doesn’t annoy me. We don’t need to justify to anyone that we have not just the best cameraphone in the world but by a million miles the best. It is also (this is more subjective) by far the best fully converged device that could ever go in ones pocket!

    • Marc @PureViewClub

      Hi Mike!

      this is not about justifying what you, me or we at this club like. It’s the plain ignorance with which the Nokia 808 was reviewed by someone who obviously didn’t have ANY clue at all. And that on a prestigious site like Mashable.com… A lot of people decide on reviews like this to buy a device – or not.

      I have seen many reviews I didn’t agree with (see the tag “review” on this blog), and that’s okay as long as they give me something to disagree with. This “review” is based on absolutely nothing BUT ignorance. And that annoys me quite a bit. It’s respectless to one of the most important technological innovations of this year.

  16. Pratik

    Biasing at its pinnacle

  17. I no longer pay ANY attention to the reviewers. Double zero. Because I have the STELLAR Nokia 808 PureView, LOVE IT, and it performs BETTER than I expected, by FAR. Unbelievable, really. Last night I used it at a party. Total auto, no flash. WOW! The fly by night reviewers can go suck on a pet rock or something. They’re out to lunch.

    Bottom line: the Nokia 808 PureView is the greatest invention since peanut butter!

    • Matt

      Love it! +100

      • I’m busy collecting my Nokia 808 PureView snaps.

        One of these days, when I feel like I have enough to share, I will.

        Then, all the reviewers will fall off their chairs!

        Bank on it.

        I’m about 1/4 there.

        Just stills.

        Video will come later, cause I’m a stills maniac, not a motion one.

        “I’ll be back.” ;-)

        • hackdrag

          I wanted to know number of shots you can take on a Pureview 808 in full battery charge in 3G.

          I’m using N82 since 2007.. planning to upgrade to N808

          • Sorry, I have no idea. I charge the 808 every night and have not yet run out of battery during the day. I also have an extra battery, and a car charger, so for me, power is not an issue.

          • Matt

            I took approximately 250 photos with mine today, some full res, some macros, some pureview, some b&w, and some sepia. Flash used often enough also. Battery dropped to about 10% before i remembered to charge it.

      • OK, I said to heck with it and hung up the low resolution versions of my Nokia 808 PureView keepers up to now, over here:
        I’ll add to them as I make more…
        Drop me an email is you want to see the full resolution files, as they came out of the 808. My email addy is michal at proofsheet dot com.

  18. Matt

    If it wasn’t for the invasiveness of their app to allow you to comment on their site, I would have torn them a new hole there.

    To call that anything but an exercise in comedic laziness is pure wrong. A review? I swear to god, did the reviewer even use the phone? The photos look like something that I might have taken with my N95 the first time that I took it out of the box and was trying to figure out how to use it, and at that time, I knew shag all about taking a picture that might actually look good.

    The reviewer saw nothing but the 41MP on the sensor, if that – perhaps she was just told that Nokia released an instantly outdated phone with a 41MP camera in it, and thats all she cared about?

    “Given that the phone trumpets this feature, it should be visible on the camera’s main menu. The image sizes also had meaningless names, such as “PureView” and “Full Resolution,” to differentiate them.”

    - The only menu in the camera, at all, is the one where you change from automatic, to scene mode, or choose every setting yourself(creative). Full resolution is much easier to understand for the layman, than 41/38/34Megapixel in fact. It does exactly what it says on the tin, and takes a shot using every available pixel in the camera, simple as that. I agree that Pureview doesnt mean anything to anyone that hasn’t read or looked up anything to do with the device. But this is remedied by taking a couple of shots in Pureview mode of the same subject, which will show you that you loose no image size or clarity even at the zoom’s fullest extent, obviously.


    If this “review” was a paid-for hatchet job, it would have read better. More time would have gone into it, and the “reviewer” would have simply gone the route of picking apart the phone based on the older “outdated” OS, and lack of Manufacturer Support.
    But to have done nothing but take a few out of the box snaps from behind a pane of dirty glass at some dirty buildings, without having the first idea of the premise behind this astounding breakthrough in the world of mobile photography, is beyond belief.

    Impressive and all that the Nokia 808 Pureview’s “cover” is, this smartcam is most certainly not a book that you should not read by it’s cover.

    Shame on Mashable, and shame on you Chelsea Stark. Another example of the woeful quality in journalism that there is out there.

    • Pratik

      You said exactly what I was going to comment. You know what they are biased on their own country’s product, that is good for common people/citizens, but not for a judge/reviewer of an international review site.

      • Pratik

        Nokia’s products will always be given shear lazy reviews by them, no matter what.

      • Pratik

        Why a professional reviewer would act as a layman. She should elaborate all the intrinsic aspects of the different modes rather than feel irritated by the them.

  19. Ugh how are these people even allowed to review phones.

    • Marc @PureViewClub

      Looks like nobody with any idea at all was still in the office. “Ah, look what the cat dragged in, a Nokia? Probably crap. Who wants it? You? Oh well, why not…” Like I wrote, it’s quite embarrassing coming from this site…

    • Edwin Adrianta

      can we do something to kick this review out of its place??? It’s a shameful for a gadget review….

  20. Siraj

    Facepalm. She have absolutely zero idea about the Camera and its features. Retards
    “Given that the phone trumpets this feature, it should be visible on the camera’s main menu. The image sizes also had meaningless names, such as “PureView” and “Full Resolution,” to differentiate them.”

    This is getting on my nerves :-S .

  21. blah

    Horrible ‘review’ indeed, again from a woman. But it doesn’t top my favorite one with hilarious comments section :)


    • Marc @PureViewClub

      I don’t blame the reviewer for being a woman, I think that’s sooo last century…

      • blah

        I’m not saying to blame her, it’s just a fact that most creepy reviews came from women. I’d say it’s normal, this phone is not an iphone-like toy and you need to dig deeper in order to get the goodies. But maybe it’s just a coincidence.

        • When evaluating the impact of the gender you should always evaluate the potential, not the actual execution. And there you’ll see no difference.

          So I’d suggest you refrain from even mentioning it. People nowadays get hooked on upon these so easily and it might just make you look stupid. Well not as stupid as the review from mashable but still stupid :P

          • blah

            Well as i said i just pointed out a fact but i’m not gonna argue about it especially on this site dedicated to the best phone on the market. I fight in my country with bad reviews as well, done by the men and i’m starting to think it must be something else than just the laziness or incompetence of the reviewers.

    • Pratik

      The gender doesn’t matter. But still girls prefer eye candy stuffs like iPhone rather than complexity :)

  22. Just one thing… they write that because thay are retarded, they want to see dead Nokia and LOVE iOS because they don’t have ANY idea of technology. Saying those stupid things show that thay don’t take seriusly their job. Stupid blogger over the blog just telling lies about lot of things. Masable, you SUCK