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Nokia Lumia 1020 vs 808 PureView

Andrew Williams


Lumia 920 vs 808 PureView
Lumia 920 bs 808 PureView


Nokia makes the majority of the most interesting phone cameras in the world right now. And the Lumia 1020’s is its best yet. This is probably the best phone camera ever seen.

However, will it succeed where its spiritual predecessor the Nokia 808 PureView failed? Let’s take a look at how these phones differ, and why the Lumia 1020 has a chance at the big time.

More power, more pixels

First of all, let’s get through the boring bits. As a phone that’s a year newer than the 808 PureView, the Nokia Lumia 1020 predictably has a much more powerful processor and higher screen resolution.

Where the 808 PureView had a 640 x 360 AMOLED display the Lumia 1020 has an ‘HD’ 1,280 x 768 pixel AMOLED screen. And its single-core processor has been updated to a 1.5GHz dual-core model that matches the Lumia 925.

Nokia Lumia 1020 2

However, there are some much more interesting and important changes to note.

Symbian vs Windows Phone 8

The most serious tech fail of the Nokia 808 PureView was that it used the Symbian OS rather than Windows Phone. This wasn’t entirely Nokia’s fault, as the Windows Phone 7 software that Microsoft had in place at the time was hugely restrictive – putting in a PureView camera probably would not have been possible.

The issue is that Symbian was a near-dead system when the 808 PureView arrived, and seemed hopelessly clunky and out of date compared to Android or Windows Phone at the time.

Nokia’s Lumia 1020 fixes all that, using Windows Phone 8 – as used in all of the recent Nokia Lumia phones.

Nokia Lumia 1020 2

The move away from Symbian had been a long time coming too. It seemed like Nokia was to ditch Symbian back in 2011 when it ‘retired’ Symbian branding in favour of Nokia Belle, but really this was just Nokia sprucing-up the look of the ancient system.

It didn’t work, and Nokia kept on producing ostensibly Symbian-based phones until the 808 PureView, which arrived in June 2012. The reception of the first PureView phone told us a lot about what the public and phone networks think of Symbian – the 808 PureView was not stocked by any of the main phone carriers.

Windows Phone 8 is a whole different situation. You’ll find phones running the OS available from all the big mobile players.

It’s a much smoother, prettier and more up-to-date OS, and should give the Lumia 1020 a much better chance of success than the doomed 808 PureView.

Same sensor style

The crucial point of similarity between the Nokia Lumia 1020 and the 808 PureView is the camera sensor, and understanding what it’s about is crucial to ‘getting’ the PureView ideal.

Both phones have 41-megapixel sensors that are the same size, 1/1.2”. This is almost three times the size of the Lumia 925’s sensor, which helps it to fit in those 41-million sensor pixels.Nokia Lumia 1020

The idea of the 41-megapixel is not primarily that you’ll create giant ultra-high resolution images with each capture. Instead, when shooting a normal picture, groups of pixels with works together as if a single pixel using what Nokia calls oversampling.

When shooting an 8-megapixel photo, for example, each pixel will have the output of around five sensor pixels to call upon. This gives it far better output than just about any other phone camera.

There’s another use for the ultra-high resolution sensor – advanced non-optical zooming.

When using the digital zoom with most cameras, you’re simply cropping and zooming into a part of a picture. With the 808 PureView and Lumia 1020, you crop into the sensor, so that each photo pixel still has its own senor pixel to judge its output from.808 PureView

Zoom in a little and each photo pixel will still be produced from multiple sensor pixels. Only at maximum zoom will each photo pixel be created from a single sensor pixel.

These single sensor pixels are a little larger than those of the latest phones, too. Fitting a 13-megapixel sensor like the Galaxy S4’s a small ‘standard’ size phone sensor gives it pixels of 1.12 microns – the Lumia 1020’s are a little bigger at 1.4 microns.

OIS vs no OIS

This sensor is what makes both the 808 PureView and Nokia Lumia 1020 cameras so special. However, the 1020 has a second ace up its sleeve – optical image stabilisation.

This is the feature that makes the Lumia 920 and Lumia 925 cameras notable, letting them use longer-than-average exposure times for superior low-light performance. As the 808 PureView already had a sensor large enough to bring pretty good low-light performance without OIS, where the lack of stabilisation showed was in video – commence jerk-o-vision.

It’s not only movement during video capture that will be helped by OIS, though. It will also make the Lumia 1020’s zoomed-in modes far easier to use, making staying completely still much less of a factor when trying to produce sharp photos.

808 PureView

We imagine the OIS may also be used as it is in the Lumia 925, to increase low-light performance, however we’ll have to check this out once we get a review sample in.

4G vs 3G

In the year since the 808 PureView was released, 4G has become a common feature in top-end phones – its inclusion in the Lumia 1020 was a dead cert.

For most people, this is a connection that’s a future-proofing feature rather than a present concern, as 4G is still only available from EE in the UK, and costs a fair bit compared with good old 3G.

Is the Lumia 1020 what the 808 PureView should have been?

If the Nokia 808 PureView was an interesting experiment in smartphone optics, the Nokia Lumia 1020 is that idea crowbar’d into a phone people will actually want to buy. It has the Lumia design, an operating system that people will actually want to use, and an even better camera than its inspiration. There’s little that’s not to like – let’s just hope the price is right. Sadly its US prices aren't a good sign - they're steep.

Next see how the Lumia 1020 compares to the Lumia 925 and Lumia 920


July 12, 2013, 6:26 am

Symbian Belle is actually a pretty good OS. I've been happy with my Nokia 808 so far. It is light years better than the OS on my old Nokia N8.

It's sad to see that the 1020 only has 32GB of non-expandable memory. The 808 has 16 GB of internal memory, plus 32 GB of expandable storage via micro SD. I am actually using a 64 GB exFAT micro SD card at it works, so the 808 actually is expandable to 64 GB of micro SD memory.

In my 808, I have almost filled up the internal 16 GB memory with preloaded worldwide maps. I store my pictures and videos on the 64 GB micro SD card, which is already half full. I don't see the point in limiting a 41 megapixel smart phone such as the 1020 to just 32 GB of internal memory. That is the main reason I will not be getting the 1020. Nokia dropped the ball on this very, very important option.


July 12, 2013, 8:25 am

While I think you're overblowing it a bit (I've got offline maps of various places I go or could potentially go - UK, Germany, Spain, other parts of europe, some parts of US, NZ, maybe something else too - and checking the size on my Lumia 925, it's 1.1GB - that's less than 1/10 of what you mention), I agree that 32 GB might be too small for a 41MP camera in some cases.

It appears that there will be a 64 GB version ( http://www.theinquirer.net/... ) but it will be more difficult to get (although I got my unlocked no-contract 32GB 925 from Vodafone Germany). That should cover most people's needs.

But I agree, MicroSD would be very very very useful - not a deal breaker for me by far, but it would be a good selling point!

Neel Gupta

July 12, 2013, 11:33 am

...Waiting for Nokia PureView, Android version.

Adi Omari

July 13, 2013, 5:05 am

You call this comparison?! first have them then compare them. I hate this filler articles.


July 13, 2013, 7:50 am


as i know the sensor size of 1020 is smaller than 808

1/1.5" vs 1/1.2"


July 14, 2013, 8:40 am

All the maps and voice guidance files available take up about 12 GB of space on my phone's internal memory.

It would be nice to have the 64 GB option on the 1020.


July 14, 2013, 9:29 pm

Symbian is not WP8 (in case you missed to notice), so HERE maps are different. You have to manually install maps country by country - the places you travel. You'll hardly need more than 1GB - maybe 2-3 if you're a pilot or flight attendant or something similar. Voice data is 5Mb (per voice - there is no map-specific voice).

64 GB option exists, as I mentioned in the previous post.


July 16, 2013, 11:24 am

Yes, that's a crucial error on TrustedReviews part, the surface area of the sensor in the 1020 is 30% smaller than the 808's and the picture is grainier because of it, and because of that I am considering a 2nd hand 808

Lucas Santana Lopes

August 4, 2013, 6:35 pm

"Trusted".. hmmm well, gotta keep my hacked 808 w/ bigger sensor which can shot real 41.5MP with built-in camera app in a weird aspect ratio rather than "only" 38/34MP noisy photos like lumia 1020PV..


August 27, 2013, 4:00 am

Did I not read that u get another 8 gh of cloud space with the 1020


September 5, 2013, 1:03 am

Well even if Nokia$oft should bring themselves to actually improve upon the camera optics (as opposed to relying on gimmicks like OIS, 100 megapixels, and attempts at usurping Steve Jobs' Reality Distortion Field) - which is in itself quite doubtful - it certainly wouldn't be running on Android.

Sony is also pretty much out of the running as far as the camera phone race is concerned - ironically that it went downward so fast after the divorce from Ericsson, given that it was Sony who provided the camera modules all along...

I think the 808 PV was as good as it got. I think I'll bring mine with me to the grave.

Neel Gupta

September 5, 2013, 6:26 am

Well, no chance of that now, as Microsoft Agent Elop sells Nokia phone division to Microsoft.


September 5, 2013, 8:30 am

Frankly, there was never a chance. Elop was sent to Nokia
(seducing their stodgy board of directors with the lure of "M$ Dominance" proved just too easy) specifically to shatter them into pieces, serving two purposes: (1) To eliminate a low-hanging fruit as far as perceived competitors for MS in the mobile space, and (2) so M$ could then pick them up cheaply.

This was never about giving Nokia an edge to compete (That was pretty clear when they not only eliminated Symbian, but also MeeGo). Hence, Android was out of the question all along.

Neel Gupta

September 10, 2013, 9:11 am

...now waiting for Newkia PureView. (Android version of Nokia PureView)


September 12, 2013, 12:27 am



September 12, 2013, 7:26 pm

Guy's what about VGA and HDMI output has the 1020 got them? Battery is another one how good is the 1020 as I have two with my 808 and 1020 is built in also how many apps are available for w8 lol


September 24, 2013, 3:37 pm

May you post a real 41,5MP shot? It's not possible with the stock options.

Lucas Santana Lopes

September 24, 2013, 5:52 pm

Okay, here a screenshot of my 808 viewfinder in 41.5MP mode: http://m.facebook.com/photo... here are some samples I've taken in 41MP mode, you can go back at my Flickr album to see more shots with my 808..
- http://www.flickr.com/photo... http://www.flickr.com/photo... can also install an app called CameraPro which also enables 41.5MP mode on 808PV but I prefer using it in built in CameraApp by hacking..


September 25, 2013, 1:11 pm

OK, thank you for the link. I just have now a technical question: the 41MP are the total quantity of pixels usable, but not in the same time (the optic don't permit it).

I guess the 41MP of this mode are a fake (may you post the detailed informations of this 41MP shot?) or they are not in a square (see http://www.lense.fr/2012/02... to understand what I mean).


September 25, 2013, 1:27 pm

The shot you post in 41MP is given as true 41MP (fullRes in flickr), but it doesn't permit to see if there is not a strong deformation on the sides of the shot.
In any case, there is a trick but I don't see where!

Lucas Santana Lopes

September 25, 2013, 8:29 pm

No its not fake, I swear these are shots taken with 41.5MP using a weird aspect ratio by hacking the cameraapp, I really dont get why nokia didn't allow using this new 'weird' aspect ratio to make use of the full sensor.. You can only see a little of deformation and blackened sides when using the xenon flash in this aspect but nothing much more than that, images arent manipulated and upscaled not even by the phone which makes me sure the 808 can really take 41MP shots, but its just not allowed by built in app with 4:3 or 16:9 mode.. Remember: the sensor area is retangular and not made like a circle, the optics are* and the 808 CAN achieve this resolution on other signed apps from other developers like cameraPro, QtCamerademo, HdrPro, etc. Nokia just didnt want to make it available to shoot in this weird aspect ratio by defaut.


October 9, 2013, 10:48 am

hey andrew, better check your facts straight... the 1020's processor size is 1/1.5 while the "still...King of CamPhone Nokia 808" is 1/1.2 - here's the image guys (http://i-cdn.phonearena.com...

Mike N.

October 22, 2013, 11:00 am

The difference between their size is the type: 808 Pureview has FSI (Front Side Iluminated sensor) and Lumia 1020 has BSI (Back Side Iluminatied sensor), a little compressed . I mean that the distance between 2 pixels is bigger in the first case.

Mike N.

October 22, 2013, 11:02 am

How can you shoot 41.5MP pics if the sensor is only 41MP???

Lucas Santana Lopes

October 23, 2013, 1:30 am

The sensor is 41.48MP but this number is broken for easier understanding.
7728 x 5368 = 41483904 pixels.

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