Nokia X30: Defending the PureView

Nokia X30
Nokia X30

During the entire history of the PureView brand, there was never a PureView device without a ZEISS lens and it makes sense why. One of the major advantages of PureView over competition, at least to the Nokia Corporation’s standard, is the use of premium ZEISS lenses integrated into the Nokia hardware and software. While it is unclear if ZEISS manufactures the lenses itself or if it is simply sourced from a third-party supplier but has undergone extensive ZEISS quality certification, it is clear (no pun intended) that having the German brand on previous PureView makes a lot of difference in terms of image quality. 

Nokia Corporation said that it maintains some sort of control over what Nokia Mobile put up on the market, but we don’t see certain strict quality controls nor has there been some sort of intervention to protect the integrity of its IP. Nokia Mobile isn’t exactly a lost cause though (it has its ups and downs) but it falls victim to foolish decisions that allowed absurd products to sneak out with the Nokia branding. 

Now that the company seems to be starting over again from scratch, we hope it comes with an ear to listen to the community. OnePlus and other brands such as Realme succeeded because of their commitment to the community. Nokia, being one of the most popular brands in the world, could take advantage of this, while also maintaining what is true to the Nokia identity, straying away from the nonsensical gimmickry the tech industry has been putting up in the past couple of years. 

With that said, the Nokia X30 is a great device that definitely deserves the Nokia brand. As a PureView device, however, it falls short of many expectations such as the lack of the ZEISS lens, as well as some industry-leading innovations that its predecessors are known to have. 

I’ve had small conversations with Abdulla (MrNokia) about this, and he confirms that the Nokia X30 yields better results especially in lowlight versus any other Android Nokia device. There are also some technologies that are mostly never talked about like the Capture Fusion which segments both the main and ultra-wide camera to deliver sharp landscape images, a dedicated second-generation Night Mode which improves lowlight images without brightening the scene, Dark Vision which can capture photos even in extremely lowlight scene, and Night Selfie, and Tripod Mode. The lens is also protected by scratch-resistant DX+ glass which Gorilla developed.

Nokia X30
Nokia X30 boasts improved lowlight images

The X30 also features other premium level hardware like an in-display fingerprint sensor, a Full HD+ AMOLED panel with 90Hz refresh rate, Gorilla Glass Victus protection, a recycled aluminum chassis, and software support for up to three years — one of the best (if not the best) in the Android world so far. 

However, is it enough to refer to the Nokia X30 as a true “PureView” device? It all depends on how we define PureView. 

While Nokia Mobile has brought its best foot forward (yet) on this release, there are still many things they left along the way. While the Nokia X30 features an OIS, device doesn’t support 4K video recording (a testament of the ridiculously limited ISP of modern Snapdragon 6 series). It also doesn’t have that sharp ZEISS lens, but what I think is the biggest blunder of all is that it doesn’t have any innovations to call its own. 

Well, to be fair, most smartphones in this segment offer little to no innovations whatsoever. We are talking about upper-mid-level device here. Nokia Corporation definitely has done this before with the Nokia Lumia 830. In fact, based on price-to-spec ratio, I would say that the Nokia X30 offers better value than the Lumia 830 when it was released.

Lumia 830
The Nokia Lumia 830 is a midrange Windows Phone with PureView, Maurizio Pesce

The PureView brand is defined as having the best camera on a Nokia device, and to Nokia Mobile’s credit, they have done justice to it — let’s give them that. The lack of a ZEISS lens, however, coupled with comically limiting ISP, and lack of any unique hardware quirks, while considered nitpicking, definitely makes the X30 a league of its own (for better or for worst). 

While the device didn’t live up to its PureView predecessors, it still deserves the  PureView brand simply for having the best camera the Nokia brand currently offers. We can only hope for a better Nokia X series in the future, one in which we don’t have to write a long article to justify why it is a PureView device.