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Sharp focus

Take a close look at the image above these words. What if I told you it was taken by a slim point-and-shoot camera running the Symbian operating system, one that packed in phone functionality and wireless data connectivity as well? You see, that’s the dilemma the Nokia 808 PureView has to contend with — the beast of 41-megapixel shooter that is packed into this phone overshadows pretty much every other feature.

Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, to be honest. This is hardly the lightest/ slimmest phone on the block — it weighs 169g and is 18mm at its thickest, obviously to make place for the large camera assembly. It feels solid in the hand, no surprise given Nokia’s strong tradition of making stuff durable and built to last.

And it runs the latest Symbian Belle mobile platform, which works pretty smoothly on the 1.3GHz processor and graphics processor combo. Yet, having Symbian on a premium priced phone is…anachronistic. It just doesn’t match up to the user experience on competing platforms.

So let’s face it, the only real reason this phone caught our eye is its humongous 41-megapixel CMOS sensor. It measures 1/1.2in, larger than the iPhone 4 and the N8 and that of most advanced compact cameras.

Dizzying as the numbers may sound, you don’t have to shoot all your images at the full resolution. There are loads of size options, allowing you to snap at a more levelheaded 5 or 8 megapixels.

Shooting at this resolution does have benefits, as it allows you to use a nifty trick called oversampling, which combines upto seven pixels into one “pure” pixel — eliminating a lot of noise found on mobile phone cameras while at the same time allowing you to zoom in upto 3X without losing details.

Shooting with the 808 is a revelation of sorts — the outstanding amount of detail you can capture has to be seen to be experienced. The results blow most point and shoots, and most certainly all smartphones I’ve seen, clean out of the water.

Low-light performance, a common weakness of phones, is impressive on the 808, and the only place where the 808 doesn’t hold up well is shooting small objects at short focusing distances. Oh, and the Xenon flash is a tad heavy-handed.

Can this be the only camera in your arsenal, and should camera makers quiver in fear? While image quality is exceptional for a phone, it lacks not only the versatility of interchangeable optics but also the true optical zoom on similarly priced (or cheaper) super-zoom cameras. So, while it may certainly be the most groundbreaking handset yet in the mobile camera space, it’s just not worth buying this pony for its one single trick.

Rating: 7/10
Price: Rs 33,899
URL: http://bit.ly/NpmXH2

Waiting to surface

It’s “surfaced” finally, after having done the rumour rounds for years now, and the Microsoft Surface tablet looks to be a truly enticing proposition. Though launch is quite some months away, I think this baby has a few tricks up its sleeve that should have Android tablet makers quaking in their boots. For instance, the Surface ships with an iPad-esque magnetic Touch Cover, only this one has a fully functional set of pressure-sensitive flat keys that let you hammer away at documents on the tablet. Both versions of the tablet will run variants of Windows 8, with one of them being powered by a capable Intel i5 processor. Factor in the USB ports which are standard on the Surface tablets, and you essentially have a fully functioning Windows 8 PC in a form factor that would be the envy of current ultrabook makers. If Microsoft prices this right, this could be the PC-tablet combo to own in 2013.

Price: to be announced
URL: http://bit.ly/MaH3FK