Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Nokia 808 - what is it worth?

The Nokia 808 is the ultimate Symbian phone. It has a 41 megapixel PureView camera and Rich Recording and many other built-in features. However, in these days of app-centric smartphones, it can seem to some like a glorified feature phone. When I do need (modern) 'apps' I have a Blackberry Q5 and it gives me the Android compatibility as well as a physical keyboard. (My Nokia E6 is collecting dust because I have decided to go microSIM for everything.)

Buy one get one free?

Recently, there has been a flood of Nokia 808s available for sale. They are popping up on Amazon and Ebay priced around $200. That price is for a new, unlocked 808. I decided the price was low enough to buy and encouraged my friends and family to take advantage of it. Of course, they asked me: “Why should I buy it? Is the Nokia 808 worth $200?”
Hence this little article!

For some, the camera alone and its accurate imaging, at a price of $5/megapixel, are worth buying. The recently updated maps with offline support allows it to be a standalone GPS. The support of exFAT in the removable microSD allows up to 128 Gigabytes of additional storage now, and more in the future. The FM radio and FM transmitter allow music to be enjoyed any time and any place. The built-in VOIP support enables SIP calls even without a SIM. The ability to share the internet via USB or Bluetooth or Wi-Fi makes it helpful in areas where there is no public Wi-Fi. Sharing audio and video via DLNA and HDMI and component connections makes it an extremely versatile media player.

Nokia 808 from the rear

I see the Nokia 808 and its non cloud-centric design as a benefit. I always take it when I go out on a trip or a vacation and I don’t have to worry about a flood of gibberish coming in to bother me. The people who need to reach me can call and text. Everything else can wait - and I like it that way. If I need to go online then I use my laptop and can connect with the 808 via USB and do whatever I need to do without killing my phone battery.

Could the 808 still be my primary phone? It could because it is almost always with me but then again I carry multiple phones to handle multiple SIMs and to swap them several times a day. (I wish the 808 had easily swappable SIMs, like the N9 or the E7.) It is not dual-SIM so it cannot meet all my needs but at least it has great functionality on whichever SIM I use, roaming or local.

Nokia 808 with battery out

For most people, I cannot recommend the 808 as their primary smartphone. It probably won’t meet their needs. Apps, games and the web are just too ingrained in the smartphone experience. For people who primarily use their phone as a phone without needing many frills, it probably is too expensive. For photography aficionados, I think it is worth it (and I know Steve does) but others might disagree. I am a photography novice so all I know is that my shots look less terrible than before.

All the readers here know the strengths and weaknesses of the Symbian operating system. If they want to get a Nokia 808 at a great price, now may be the best time. Along with the phone, I’ve found some useful accessories also starting to become inexpensive while others, like the Nokia CC-3046 hard case, are impossible to find at any price. I’ll always appreciate Symbian and the 808 because it does most of the things I need a phone to do - as well as doing some things that no other phone can do.