I was eager to see how well the Nokia 808 PureView performs in the audio department. Music is a key need of mine and I

Audio Performance on Nokia 808 PureView

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Nokia 808 versus HTC One X music

I was eager to see how well the Nokia 808 PureView performs in the audio department. Music is a key need of mine and I absolutely love to have it pumped out heavily. Well, what I did was pit the 808 against the HTC One X and the BlackBerry PlayBook.

While the PlayBook isn’t marketed with any audio gimmick, it has become the benchmark device for comparing audio quality here at MOBILITY. And so far, it has trounced EVERY mobile that has been pitted against it. HTC markets the One X as a BeatsAudio device, yet it is so left in the dust by the PlayBook that it is almost unbelievable.

First up, we played the same track on the One X and then the 808 via the built-in loudspeakers on each device. There was no competition. The 808 was so much better both in terms of output volume and quality that everyone who witnessed the demonstration had their jaws dropping. The 808 is much louder and fuller. HTC just seem unable to produce loudspeakers that don’t sound tinny and muted. Oh, well.

Next, the 808 went up against the PlayBook and came out in good standing. The 808’s speakers produce louder audio than the PlayBook does, but as far as we can tell, the tablet edges out the Nokia flagship narrowly in the audio quality department. That’s saying something, considering that the PlayBook has trashed every other device that I have pitted against it.

I wish I could say that Nokia included a superb set of earphones with the 808, but both in terms of physical build and output, the supplied headset disappoints a bit. I was expecting something of the same quality as came with the N8 years ago. As such, unless you have a better set or are willing to go buy, average music quality via the supplied ones is what you are stuck with. Average is not bad, but this is a flagship, and of course, I am spoilt.

Play Over FM Radio
Besides listening to music via the built-in loudspeaker and earphones, the option to broadcast over an FM channel is there. That is good for those drives when I want my full music library available, or even a party setting with family and friends.

The FM Transmitter works well. It pumps the music with adequate volume and quality. There’s a lot of bass in the output, so if you love music that you can both hear and feel, you’re covered.

Does the Nokia 808 PureView meet up to expectations in terms of audio output? Yes. However, if you prefer earphones, please do yourself a favour and go get a decent pair.


  1. one functionality I miss from my mobile is Fm transmitter. I wonder why no OEM does it like Nokia. I remember watching a movie on my N8 while the audio was transmitted to the car stereo, it was unbelievably crisp and sounded like I was in a theater. I feel like getting one again.

  2. It is said that Beats Audio is a set of equalizer settings that works best with Beats earphones. Mister Mo you could try using a good pair of Beats headsets with the HTC, the PlayBook and the PureView devices to see which one sounds best, then there could be a true test of their audio capabilities. I expect the Nokia to come out tops

  3. One feature i would love to see on more devices is the FM transmitter, my friend loves to show off this feature on his N900.

  4. HTC and beats I still can’t understand why the so called beats speakers on HTC phone have very poor output. My dream phone will be a beast like the 808 pureview running on jelly bean, Damn!!

  5. I don’t want to believe the HTC sound is this poor. I have used some HTCs in the past and listening to music through high end ear plugs are the best you can have next to sonyericsson. I haven’t used any HTC with beats audio before but expect better performance.

  6. I can’t believe nobody commented on the Dolby Headphone function of the Nokia 808… it’s AWESOME. Previously we had “stereo widening” which wasn’t really impressive… but Dolby Headphone got it right. Whether you’re listening to MP3’s or watching a video, it’ll surprise you… the video app has a “double D” symbol on-screen that will toggle the function, and as for the music player you have to get into the settings menu and switch it on there…

  7. Hi Donald,

    Dolby playback is nice, but is let down by the poor included earphones. Hopefully, I can get my hands on a pair of good earphones, and then write about it. This set of earphones are so creaky and spoils the music listening experience.

  8. Belushi,

    There is a difference between the audio quality via built-in loudspeaker and via earphones. HTC’s built-in speakers have always been poor. But listening to music via the included earphones is superb.

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