Ten Reasons to opt for the Nokia N8 over the 808

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Yes, the Nokia 808 is undoubtedly the most powerful and feature-packed Symbian handset ever created, I'm not disputing that and I love mine to bits. And, in a straight fight, the 808 tops its predecessor under most criteria. Yet I also wanted to acknowledge that the N8 also has a place, even in the modern smartphone world of 2012, that it offers ten things that the 808 does not, and that the typical '808 vs N8' comparison is not all one way traffic...

N8 and 808

I suppose I should emphasise that opening paragraph again, since there are bound to be people reading this with a perspective failure - I'm not saying the N8 is better overall - the Nokia 808 PureView trumps the N8 on about 20 counts. But, as ever in the mobile world, every device tends to bring a few steps forward and at least one step backwards, i.e. progress is made, but the older devices often have a few facets which are better - this is normal.

So, with tongue only very slightly in cheek, here are ten ways in which the Nokia N8, from 2010, is better than the Nokia 808, from 2012:

  1. Camera pixel size, ease-of-macro and overall resolution
    With sensor pixels that are 1.75 microns, with slightly less 'flattened' optical paths and with a default 12 megapixel resolution, there are situations where the N8 arguably makes for a better camera phone. For example, typical outdoor shots in good light, where there's often little benefit in the 808's pixel oversampling. The latter is also 'stuck' at 5 megapixels in terms of output resolution. You can raise this to 8mp in Creative mode, but that's a dangerous area of the 808's interface and it's all too easy to fiddle with a setting and then forget to change it back again - the N8, taking native 12mp images, can be a better bet. Sometimes!
    Plus it's easier to take 'macro' shots on the N8, without having to pull back and use zooming (as on the 808).
  2. Phone size and weight
    The N8 is smaller in every dimension than the 808, not least in thickness, with a camera island that hardly protrudes at all by comparison - 808 owners reading this, take a moment and look at your old N8, sitting in that drawer, doesn't it look tiny now?
  3. Price
    The N8 was cheaper when new than the 808 is now - and, in August 2012, the N8 can be found well under £200 if you shop around, compared to well over twice that for the 808. Bang per buck, the N8 arguably wins.
  4. Charging options
    The N8, like the C7 and most Nokias of previous generations, charges via microUSB and a 2mm Nokia pin - just another option in a world where there are still an estimated two billion Nokia 2mm chargers in existence. 
  5. Build materials
    The 808 is, admittedly, superbly built, with a grippy and solid chassis that's hard to dislike. But it's not metal. The cold feel of metal in the hand when you pick a phone up is still something that's impressive and reassuring.
  6. Headphones
    While the 808 cheaps out and supplies a bar bones stereo headset with just single button call pick up and no media control,  as shown below, the N8 came with a full multimedia control headset, with volume, back, forwards and play control. Yes, you can buy this as an extra for the 808, but it's annoying to have to do so.
    N8 box contents
  7. Extra cables are supplied
    As shown above, both HDMI and USB on the go cables are provided in the N8 box (in most regions), so you're good to go. On the Nokia 808, you have to buy both - assuming you can find them for sale officially.
  8. microSD is hot swappable
    On the 808, if you want to take out the microSD, perhaps to load some media on or to copy files directly into another phone, you've got to power the entire smartphone down. On the N8, you just 'Safely remove' on the menu and take the card out of the side hatch - very handy! 

  9. Takes a full size SIM card
    This is a bit of a personal thing, but for the many people who still haven't cut down their main SIM card, having a phone which takes full size SIMs natively may be another plus factor. And no, you can't just use a microSIM in an adapter - that's a recipe for disaster
  10. Greater application and game compatibility
    Even though applications and games are theoretically fully compatible between Belle and Belle FP1, many titles simply aren't in the Nokia Store yet for the 808, mainly because developer haven't bothered to tag them as compatible. The N8 has been out for two years and just about everything is offered in the Store. 

Quite a list - it surprised me as I was compiling it! As I said earlier though, the number of improvements in the 808 run to about 20 or so, so N8 to 808 is definitely an overall gain. But hopefully you'll have been as impressed as I was by the showing here of the 2010 stalwart, now updated itself to 'Belle Refresh' and fairly close to the software levels in the 2012 newcomer.