ZDNet's Matt Miller and criticisms of the Nokia 808
Matt Miller has been a long time friend of ours, writing about all mobile platforms over at ZDNet and we do respect his opinions. But that doesn't mean I/we agree all the time. I've picked out below some relevant quotes in his (relatively) short review of the 808 and have commented as appropriate, but do read the original story, along with some pertinent rebuttals in the comments thread underneath the main ZDNet text. Good and provocative reading all round.
After using the Nokia 808 PureView for the last week, I have to say it is time for me to throw in the towel and give up on Symbian. It's a real shame too since the 808 PureView is the absolute BEST camera phone available today. However, if I can't reliably receive my email, struggle to browse websites, and be forced to give up apps I use every day on other platforms then there is no way I can justify the nearly $800 ($699 plus $70 in tax) for me to purchase this from Amazon.
A few comments from me as we go along. The 808's email implementation is very good, in my experience, it hasn't once let me down. I wonder what Matt was trying to do? Web browsing is a known factor, and yes, it could be faster and slicker, but I still argue that it's as much the bloat on 2012 web sites (5 to 10 MB per PAGE in some cases) that's the issue as Web's rendering speed. But yes, if browsing full web sites without issue is a priority then Matt is better off with a different mobile OS.
Apps? Well, that could be argued both ways - there are Symbian apps that I've come to love which I have to give up when I switch over to my Android or Windows Phone. $699 unsubsidised? Isn't that about standard for top end unsubsidised smartphones in the USA? The problem here is the stupid devaluation in US customers' minds caused by the near dominance of expensive carrier contracts with appropriately tiny 'subsidised' purchase price.
All the other hardware specifications are dated. With all carrier smartphones now supporting HSPA+ and LTE, it's sad to see a device in 2012 limited to a theoretical 14.4 Mbps with a fairly low resolution display. I do like the FM transmitter (Nokia has done this for years) and sure wish other manufacturers would include this functionality.
In Nokia's defense, LTE isn't a reality across most of the world. And besides, I've never even got CLOSE to 14.4Mbps in the UK. I'm happy if I just see the magical '3.5G' symbol at all.
The front display looks fine, but after using HD resolution displays I cannot go back to something like this as a daily driver. It is actually sad that photos taken with the 808 PureView cannot be thoroughly enjoyed on the phone itself and look better on competing smartphones.
Oh, come ON. You admit the display 'looks fine' and then go muttering on about being unable to go back to this after 'HD'. This is a 4" CBD AMOLED screen and full RGB. And photos - especially - look fantastic on it. And when you multitouch zoom into a 'pure' image to show the detail and clarity people are, genuinely, impressed. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.....
Symbian Belle reminds me a lot of Gingerbread Android with home screens and widgets, custom folders in the launcher, and slide-down shade for notifications and wireless controls. It is not terrible, but it is definitely not as slick as Android, iOS, or Windows Phone today.
Fair comment and comparison. Rather putting the kybosh on other tech reviewers who have stupidly exagerated, declaring Belle to be 'unusable'.
I am sure that Symbian die hards will argue that the app story isn't that bad, but it really is and with no real future for Symbian there is not much incentive for developers to continue building apps. If the Nokia 808 PureView launched with MeeGo then I might reconsider since MeeGo at least has a slicker UI and better browser with a pretty good assortment of modern apps. I understand that Nokia started working on PureView many years ago and that is what forced it to launch on Symbian, but it will likely be a very niche product.
Again, fair enough, though Matt (for example) did quote the lack of a Evernote client - Notekeeper has been around for months now and does a brilliant job of syncing with Evernote. So yes, the 'app story' really 'isn't that bad', but I'd concede that iOS and Android users used to a situation where every site, every shop, every transport service all have their own 'apps' will be in for a shock. This is where I pipe up with a modern version of my 'there's a bookmark for that' rant!
Published by Steve Litchfield at 9:52 UTC, July 12th