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back to article Nokia's 41Mp cameraphone shoots towards retail

Nokia focused attention on its PureView range this morning and announced that the first of its 41Mp cameraphones will shoot onto shelves this month. Announced at Mobile World Congress 2012 in February 2012, the Nokia 808 PureView features a large 41Mp sensor with Carl Zeiss optics and a new pixel oversampling technology. The …

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Paris Hilton

hmmm lets see

Just how many 41mp photos will fit on a 16gb card ?

Unless its very simple to swap the card for an empty one this is pretty much a waste of for your average punter......

Not that I would turn down one if offered.

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Re: hmmm lets see

OK Forget my post according to the specs it has "Support for up to 48 GB with an external microSD memory card" so 16GB more than the article shows and being external is at least usable.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: hmmm lets see

16GB internal storage + 32GB microSD = 48GB memory support. Which is exactly what the article shows?

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Re: hmmm lets see

You get 16 Gbyte flash inside the phone, plus up to 32 Gbyte max that you can add with an external SD card, so 48 Gbyte in total.

Judging by the samples online, it's about 9--14 Mbyte a picture if you choose to use the sensor's full resolution. But the camera defaults to images of 5 Megapixels (which are calculated by applying the image-processing to all 39M usable pixels on the sensor -- it's this clever processing tech that Nokia are calling "PureView", not the humongous sensor). The low noise in these images allows better JPEG compression even at high quality settings -- again, from online samples, it seems to be about 1.5 Mbyte per image

(Comparison, my N8's 12 Mpix images are around 1.6 Mbyte)

And here are the samples: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nokiaofficial/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: hmmm lets see

Think the key words are "new pixel oversampling technology". Sensor may be 41Mpix but that is used to capture an over-sampled image but I think it is then processed down to a more acceptable size for storage - idea being you get a better result than simply sampling at the stored resolution due to the extra info .... probably rather like the anit-aliasing stuff that graphics cards do. It also, I assume, addresses the problems that as pixel densities on sensors have increased then individual pixel accuracy has decreased so some processing of the image is always needed.

Clearly, though, this won't satisfy the "it must be RAW" crowd who want the data direct off the sensors so that they can sort everything out themselves in photoshop.

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Re: hmmm lets see

Well as long as they don't come in at 900kb an image.

Always been disappointed with camera phones that promise high MP counts but then apply 90% compression to render it useless.

Always said I'd rather be able to take just 30 quality images than 3000 blocky crap ones.

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@Big_Ted - oh dear

Another poster that doesn't have the first clue how the PureView sensor works.

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Anonymous Coward

FAIL

Symbian OS?

These would've sold like hotcakes with Windows Phone OS on there, but Symbian is an archaic platform that nobody wants any more. The demand is there for Windows Phone we just need great hardware like this to go with it!!!

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Re: FAIL

Symbian? I want it.

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Devil

Re: FAIL

You owe me a keyboard.......

Windows OS ? thats right knobble it with something even worst than Symbian. Next you'll be saying Bada would be good enougth........

And why their at it why bother at all ? just fit a phone (non smart or feature) into a normal camera and have done with it......

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Anonymous Coward

Re: FAIL

> The demand is there for Windows Phone we just need great hardware like this to go with it!!!

Which is why the Lumia 800 is doing so much better than the N9. Oh wait......

I would be standing in the Nokia shop screaming 'Shut up and take my money!' if this ran meego / harmattan.

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Re: FAIL

winpho OS wouldnt work though. There is no way this could realistically work without external SD storage.

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Re: FAIL

Symbian being on this gives it a sense of individuality beyond the 41 MP. On WinPho it would be just another me-too meh-phone. It's a toss-up really: a burnt-out platform or one which has little sense of spark in it?

PS. @Magnus_Pym: good name!

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Re: FAIL

WP is a long way from being able to handle the tech in this phone... Symbian ftw, I'm getting one.

Tho Orange do seem blissfully unaware of its existence however... Here's hoping that changes and it doesn't require many updates.

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Anonymous Coward

"like hotcakes"

Disagree that these megapixels suddenly make the redmondsauce more attractive--it failed to attract buyers to otherwise perfectly reasonable phones earlier, but I'm with you on the wonder. Why release this with an OS they themselves have all but buried? It does show a curious lack of commitment to what they've hailed as their saviour. Seems like nokia is as rudderless as ever.

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Stop

"The demand is there for Windows Phone"

Where?

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jai
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Re: FAIL

that's like saying "it's a toss-up really: having your left arm cut-off or your right-leg"

neither are at all appealing and you'd surely rather just do nothing than doing one or the other

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Re: FAIL

Oh, for the love of Ada...

I'm hoping I can get the 808 in the autumn when my contract comes up for renewal - frankly, with specs like these, it could be running CP/M for all I care (and Symbian Belle is far more capable than that, before anyone jumps in with the predictable wisecrack).

The way things are going, the 808 may well be the final Nokia handset I think of owning*, so I'm pleased that the company is "going out" in style...

(* - for various reasons, it'll be a hot January before I choose a Windows Phone device)

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Coat

Re: FAIL

I can think of nothing more likely to get me throwing my credit card in the shop than this + meego. Oh well, this + meego + a real keyboard :-(

(Mine's the tear-stained one with the dead N900 in its pocket)

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RE: FAIL?

"Symbian OS?"

Because Microsoft dictates to what H/W specs devices MUST adhere and must provide the necesarry API's to handle the camera-module. This has NOTHING to do with Nokia. They used the only platform they have that's mature enough to handle this kinda tech and that they could modify without hassling '3rd-parties'. This is pure common sense from Nokia. Just a little bit of thinking should have made this obvious.

"These would've sold like hotcakes with Windows Phone OS on there..."

Sure, like Windows Phones are selling like hot cakes... not! Windows Phone hasn't got half the featureset of it's older sibling Windows Mobile. It's all UI and no substance. Besides WP only sells in the USA. The world is significantly larger than the USA.

"is an archaic platform that nobody wants any more"

I WANT IT! Because it's the ONLY smartphone OS that can automatically record ALL my incoming and outgoing telephone calls (even when the call is made over BT-headset). You'll soon understand how important that is, when the US authorities ban calling while driving.

"The demand is there for Windows Phone.."

Correction: "There is a little bit demand here in the US for Windows Phone..."

"we just need great hardware like this..."

I thought you already have great WP7-hardware, Lumia 900, HTC Titan II etc... So what's the big deal. PureView will eventually trickle down to Lumia devices sometime next year.... perhaps...

Anyway most o/t things in this particular H/W isn't supported by WP7. Things like NFC, FM-transmitter, the abovementioned call-recording, full bluetooth-transfers. You can't ask 650 euro for a device that has a crippled OS which lacks all the new comms-stuff. Because lets be honest this phone is NOT gonna be the usuall cheap Symbian model.

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Re: FAIL

Naaah... the camera-makers are the stupid ones. They shoulda have shoved bluetooth-connectivity inside every DSLR then this wouldn't have happened :-)

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Facepalm

Re: FAIL

> The demand is there for Windows Phone we just need great hardware like this to go with it!!!

Want to quote some figures to back up your statement?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: FAIL

> Next you'll be saying Bada would be good enougth.

But Bada doesn't exist any more. Samsung killed it off... because it only sold twice as well as Windows Phone.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: FAIL

> These would've sold like hotcakes with Windows Phone OS on there

Maybe, but not because of Windows Phone OS, only because of the imaging technology.

> Symbian is an archaic platform that nobody wants any more.

Symbian still outsells Windows Phone despite being torched by Elop, and that's without any crazy imaging technology. Sales of the PureView 808 will eclipse Windows Phone, which is probably why Nokia are being tardy about releasing it in the UK, and have no plans to release it in the USA at all - they know it would kill Windows Phone stone dead.

> The demand is there for Windows Phone

Where, in Seattle? Demand seems to be distinctly lacking everywhere else. Even Nokia know this Symbian device would kill off Windows Phone in the USA.

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Re: FAIL

> just fit a phone (non smart or feature) into a normal camera

Like this ?

http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/29/android-phone-lumix-camera-panasonics-lumix-phone-101p-for-japan/

or this

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/01/polaroid-smart-camera-runs-android/

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FAIL

Decent OS, screen, and GPU needed first!

And wait, what's this we see... "oversampling"?! In other words, it's a 10 megapixel camera that does some fancy internal stuff (that likely works pretty well for stills but goes horribly wrong for any kind of motion) to boost the image size. And in reality, unless you're printing huge posters the extra 30 megapixels are so much wasted space.

Besides that this could be a whole lot of fun - but if there's one thing I've learned, you need decent apps to support a decent camera. You also need a decent screen to view them on (not a garbage low-res one like the one nokia went with) and you need a powerful GPU to handle processing those large images at speed (no mention of this, and it's symbian so I doubt it's anything good).

What they've really made is an interesting camera with a shit phone strapped to it. Expect it to belly flop :)

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Re: Decent OS, screen, and GPU needed first!

Wrong...

Its a 41mp sensor that scales images back with clever software to around 5mp. It will also shoot at 38mp if you want it to. It also has better glass than any phone before it..

In a phone yeah its maybe a bit much but whatever. They've built it, this is good tech.

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Re: Decent OS, screen, and GPU needed first!

the exact opposite is true. that would be under sampling.

it has a 41MP sensor. the pixels can be averaged out to an 8MP image with little or no digital noise.

you can do some other stuff too. for instance you can shoot 1080p video with a lossless 4x digital zoom.

it's clever. the pictures are amazing.

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Re: Decent OS, screen, and GPU needed first!

It's a 41 megapixel sensor, with a site-size as large as those on any competing camera (only the N8 has bigger photosites). Not all pixels are used, but 16:9 and 4:3 images are of similar resolution (everyone else just letterboxes the 16:9 image out of the 4:3 sensor)

The images are 3, 5, 10 or 39 Megapixels ( you get to choose). Oversampling occurs only on the lower resolutions.

Video is full resolution, 1080p, and the same oversampling occurs here to reduce noise and improve zoomed images and low-light shooting. Also, unlike many other devices, video is shot with the full sensor area, not just a central crop.

You are confusing "oversampling" (recording the input signal more than once per output sample, and using the extra data to improve accuracy) with "interpolation" (generating extra, synthetic, output samples from only one measurement of the input). Oversampling is a good thing.

The 808 has not one, but two GPUs, one dedicated to the camera processing (a custom part, but the performance is quoted as over a billion pixels per second throughput on video), and one to drive the display and video playback (a Broadcom 2763 with 128 Mbyte VRAM).

It would have been nice to see a 720p screen, sure, but those extra pixels exact a heavy price on your battery.

This really is a leap forwards in portable cameras, of all kinds, but that really won't matter to the people who think Instagram is photography.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Decent OS, screen, and GPU needed first!

Thanks for that. I'm well aware of the difference between oversampling & interpolation (I write camera software), but some cameras use a smaller sensor + oversampling to achieve much higher resolutions than the sensor is capable of (and I'm thinking hasselblad rather than some crappy camera here!) Results can be great, but it has its drawbacks. I'd assumed that nokia was going the same way with this from reading the article - which would be a pretty bad idea in a phone! If it's oversampling when downscaling this makes plenty of sense.

The two GPUs sound interesting - although I'm guessing one is the ISP (which is a common feature on phones - the iPhone certainly has one, no idea on the performance of it though, and it's not accessible to devs). If they've made it developer-accessible (and programmable) this phone could be interesting - although it's not going to be worth writing for unless it sells in decent numbers, because the symbian app market isn't worth touching at all.

Oh, and most of the more serious photographers have left instagram - check the top 10 photographers on that site now (a bunch of celebs) and 6 months ago (a bunch of interesting photographers).

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Re: Decent OS, screen, and GPU needed first!

The correct term to use is DOWNSAMPLING!

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Anonymous Coward

@Chris 19, @Kristen Walsh

Yes, it oversamples and scales down unless you specify full resolution (where zooming is disabled for obvious reasons)

No, it doesn't have two GPU's just the BRCM2763 which handles the camera as well as the display, 3D etc. As far as I know the 2763 is the only GPU capable of handling a sensor of this size.

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Re: @Chris 19, @Kristen Walsh

Nope, the BCM-2763 doesn't handle the camera stream alone; only when the sensor image has been downsampled to its output resolution does it go through the GPU. From the horse's mouth:

"For video, the amount of pixels handled through the processing chain is staggering — over 1 billion pixels per second, and 16x oversampling. That’s a throughput of pixels 16 times greater than many other smartphones.

Most smartphone manufacturers crop off a section of the sensor to ease the processing load. By contrast, the Nokia 808 PureView has no limited field of view. Plus, it provides lossless zooming capability, which is output resolution dependent. Full HD 1080p gives you 4x zoom.

For 720p HD video, you’re looking at 6x lossless zoom. And for nHD (640x360) video, an amazing 12x zoom! In addition, we are encoding at up to 25mbps in high profile H.264 format.

To make this all happen, we developed a sensor with a special companion processor that handles pixel scaling before sending the required number to the main image processor."

[source: http://europe.nokia.com/PRODUCT_METADATA_0/Products/Phones/8000-series/808/Nokia808PureView_Whitepaper.pdf ]

It is this "companion processor", in the imaging pipeline between the sensor and the BCM-2763, that does the PureView work, and allows the full sensor area to be used for video.

@Chris 19, yeah the "camera companion GPU" is an Imaging System Processor, but it's a very, very powerful one. Nokia don't reveal their suppliers, but it's been repeatedly said unofficially that Toshiba were the silicon developer for the PureView system.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Chris 19, @Kristen Walsh

Sorry, Kristian, I'm afraid you are wrong. The sensor does some processing when in binned mode, but there is nothing between the sensor and the GPUs internal ISP. Although I'm not able to say why. And my source is considerably better than your Nokia horses mouth.

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Re: Decent OS, screen, and GPU needed first!

You have NO understanding as to why a camera like this is useful do you....

You carry on taking your poxy little facebook pics. Myself and other savvy users will be linking this to binocs, 'scopes, taking ultra closeup macro shots and utilising the features it has....

And those same, tech savvy users will be chuffed symbian gets a new lease of life.

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Re: @Chris 19, @Kristen Walsh

I'm only quoting from a document written by the engineers who designed the camera. If you've other information to disprove their claims, please post it.

Perhaps there's some spin here in calling the sensor's scaling circuitry a "companion processor", as no sensor is ever just a grid of photo-sites, but there has to be something scaling the video frame images before they hit the GPU, because that GPU cannot handle the amount of data produced by the sensor without it being scaled first. Whether that's a pixel-skipping readout, or the same oversampling used in the PureView stills mode, something needs to be done so as not to swamp the GPU's ISP.

This system has been very explictly described as "lossless zoom", and the description given of how it works doesn't allow for it to be based on pixel interpolation, so either they're telling a barefaced lie, or we're arguing about minutiae. As this is the internet, I strongly suspect the latter.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Kristen Walsh

The BRCM2763 ISP is capable of taking a full resolution image direct from a 41 MP sensor and dealing with it. As far as I know, it's the only device capable of doing it.

The zoom is indeed lossless - no interpolation involved. It also very impressive to use. Especially when you get down to 360p video mode.

BTW, I don't think that document was written by the engineers who worked on the camera and ISP. It's more marketing.

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Re: @Kristen Walsh

I stand corrected. To be honest, though, as long as the support hardware is fast enough to deal with the image without resorting to dirty tricks (cropping, interlacing or interpolating), I'm happy.

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We've got a pulse!

....admittedly it's a very, very faint pulse but it appears that Nokia is not creatively bankrupt yet after all.

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Really cool phone

I played around with this one a month ago - ironically, at the Lumia official presentation in Bulgaria - and it is a really cool gadget. Carla is incredibly smooth and feels somewhat like Harmattan, and believe it or not, I even like the form factor, although it's bulky for some people. And since it is the last Symbian phone (which in any case will get more support than most Android phones) I think a lot of people will try to get their hands on one of these babies.

I'm still deciding between the red one and the white one.

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Thumb Up

Thanks for the Flickr link Kristian

Those samples are pretty outstanding considering they have come from a phone, very impressive.

I have to say I am completely and utterly baffled by the logic behind cramming such an immense camera into what appears to be a great form factor, to then shackle it with such a comparatively low resolution screen to show off your lovely photos?

Very curious decision, I guess good screen + good camera would = bigger price point then hoped...

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Re: Thanks for the Flickr link Kristian

I'm not sure but I believe the resolutions available are very limited as Symbian only supports certain resolutions.

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Re: Thanks for the Flickr link Kristian

DLNA though, so it talks nicely to your average TV, media box, or PS3/X360.

My 5 yr old N82 has DLNA, and its a great way to display and copy over photos without any fiddling at all.

Really kicks the arse off Apples horrific attempts at picture "sharing".

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Re: Thanks for the Flickr link Kristian

"Symbian only supports certain resolutions"

You probably mean. Symbian is restricted to a screen-resolution of nHD. Photographic resolution o/t sensor has nothing to do with screen-resolution o/t device itself. Besides WP7 is also restricted in screen resolution so that problem eventually appears in WP7 too.

It does mean that max. panels Nokia can have are 4". I believe the 4,3 and larger panels ALL are of higher resolution.

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Re: Thanks for the Flickr link Kristian

"Restricted" is probably the best word, but it's not a technical restriction. There's nothing within Symbian that limits it to nHD resolution (The E6 uses a 4:3 640x480 display, for instance), and there's nothing with Qt/QtQuick either. The extensive use of SVG images also makes the UI quite scalable. I believe that keeping to nHD is a conscious choice by Nokia to avoid fragmenting their phone range (a serious problem with Symbian before was that there were so many screen sizes you could never test your designs on all of them).

With that in mind, the only sensible increase would be straight to 720x1280 to allow a simple doubling of the layout dimensions in every app, but 720x1280 panels at 4" or below are rare (Nokia almost exclusively use AMOLED displays now, but OLED displays with small pixels have shorter working lives than those with larger pixels) .. Samsung are rumoured to be making an approx. 4" AMOLED panel of this resolution, but even if it's not a rumour, it'll be an internal supply to Samsung's Mobile division until long after this phone goes on sale.

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Re: Thanks for the Flickr link Kristian

I don't think the size of the 808's built-in display would be much of an issue for me, when it comes to showing people photos, videos, etc. The phone screen would "do the job", and if I really wanted to "blow up" the view, I'd find a HDMI TV or monitor (or a component-video TV, projector, whatever) and plug the 808 into that. (Yes, I have the appropriate cables.)

Wouldn't suit everyone, but the HDMI option in particular is useful, especially if you install Big Screen from the Nokia Store. That app really should come preinstalled on these Symbian devices...

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FAIL

That Screen ...

4in Gorilla Glass capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 640 x 360.

You capture a 41mp still image. You can shoot video in 1080p. But you have to view it on a 4 inch screen with a resolution of only 640x360. So you've no idea at all whether the picture/footage is actually any good until you get it onto a computer.

Thats a really poor display for a 4 inch screen anyway. The sort of thing you'd see on a budget android device. Nokia = good hardware? Really??

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Def
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Re: That Screen ...

Yeah, the one thing Nokia really are clueless on these days seems to be screen resolution.

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Meh

Re: That Screen ...

Having squinted at both Samsung Galaxy and N8 screens, I think most people would be hard pressed to tell the difference between 640p and 720p.

I suppose Nokia want to reduce fragmentation. If they do decide to do a new set of Symbian phones they decide to go 720p, until then if you want to look at nice photos there's always the TV output.

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Re: That Screen ...

Actually budget Android devices have much lower resolution screens. E.g. Samsung Galaxy Y S5360 240 x 320 pixels, Galaxy Ace 320 x 480 pixels, Huawei Boulder U8350 320 x 240 pixels or Huawei Blaze X3 320 x 480 pixels.

This nHD resolution is a restriction in Symbian. Symbian either has an nHD (16/9) 640 x 360 or VGA 640 x 480 resolution limit. Just as Windows Phone 7 only support one resolution 800 X 480 pixels. So in essence Symbian (as the oldest smartphone OS) sits smack in the middle. I agree more pixels would have been nice. But in ANY other aspects this is a great screen. Clearblack, AMOled and the biggest you can get with that low resolution. 4.3 or 4.7 screens all have more pixels which is the sole reason why 4" is the max. screen size you'll find on a Symbian device.

Also keep in mind that a 1280 x 720 pixels to shift around need a lot more cpu/gpu-power and drains battery quicker. Plus you got more change of having dead/bad pixels (and less likely they will exchange the ones with a few bad pixels).

Anyway. In all other aspects this phone is more capable then other phones. No BT filetransfer limit, full NFC, USB-outlook syncing (for the many who don't WANT to go cloud), FM-transmitter, Xenon flash + a LED-pocketlamp (and usable as such), removable battery, HDMI out, USB+2mm pin charging. This phone has literally everything Symbian users want (bar the stylish aluminum unibody o/t N8).

Mr. James you mustn't be such shortsighted if you haven't used/enjoyed a modern Symbian phone. I have currently use a Nokia 701 and it is an absolute joy to use. Blazing fast, userfriendly, all the technical features I could wish for. And all the apps I'd really want are available (I don't consider a facebook status widget something I really want). And the great part is that a 701 is ridiculously cheap for a 1.3GHz smartphone. Garb'em while it last... and THEN comment

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