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.