PC Magazine has awarded an “Editor’s Choice” and four stars to the new Nokia N82 five megapixel camera phone (see left) that the editor waxes enthusiastic about because of its high quality photos and videos.
Sascha Segan, the magazine’s lead analyst for cellular phones and PDAs, writes, “Finally, a camera phone that gets the camera part right! Thanks to the Nokia N82's excellent xenon flash, I'm genuinely comfortable using it to replace my digital camera, and even my camcorder in a pinch.”
The handset features a Carl Zeiss lens and autofocus (see below). “It's the first camera-phone flash I've tested that's worthy of the name, and lets you take good photos indoors even of moving objects,” Segan says.
The N82 is the first (I think) Nokia phone to incorporate a Xenon flash, that produces a brighter light than typical LED flashes. A few other handsets, such as at least two from Sony Ericsson, also have Xenon flash.
The lens is covered until it’s manually opened to turn on the camera. One of my pet peeves about most camera phones is the lack of any type of protection for the lens.
Despite the high quality of many of the N82’s photos, Segan says they can’t compare to “top-notch” digital cameras. However, even comparing a camera phone with a digital camera — and not laughing about it — is a major accomplishment for camera phone technology.
One problem, he says, is “in our outdoor tests, it consistently blew out a bright sky. Shutter delay varies, depending on whether the camera decides it needs to implement autofocus (this camera really seems to have a mind of its own).
“Without autofocus, shots are pretty much instantaneous; with it, you're forced to wait about a second for the autofocus to lock on. When it does, pictures are sharp and accurate, and the flash puts images miles ahead of those from every other camera phone we've tested.”
Excellent video quality
Segan says the N82’s video quality is the best he’s ever seen. “It takes smooth, clear 640-by-480-pixel videos, up to an hour long, at 28 frames per second.”
Many analysts believe the high-end Nokia Nseries handsets take the best videos of any camera phone (although I haven’t seen the quality of the LG Viewty’s 120 frames-per-second videos). There’s sometimes debate, though, about whether Nokia’s five megapixel photos are better than, for example, the Sony Ericsson five megapixel camera phones.
There’s a lot more to the N82, such as GPS, an accelerometer, an excellent Web browser and WiFi. But I’m focusing on the imaging capabilities.
I wrote a detailed article about the N82 when it was introduced in November. The launch was filmed with an N82 and also included interviews with Nokia product managers discussing features.
As I wrote yesterday in my mobile television weblog, I’m heading out to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week and I hope to be able to post photos and videos taken with…..an N82.