Nokia 8 Quick Review – It’s More About Performance than Glitz

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HMD Global made it amply clear that it’s capable of making beautiful phones while keeping intact the Nokia virtues of the yore. After testing waters with a range of budget phones, the Finnish smartphone maker is now confidently betting bigger on its brand acceptance with its high-end flagship phone, the Nokia 8.

The new Nokia 8 India price is set at Rs. 36,999, which makes it significantly cheaper than tier-1 flagships but positions it directly against the towering OnePlus 5, with which it shares more than a few similarities. We went up close with the new flagship at the India launch event today and have jotted down our first impressions in the Nokia 8 quick review below.

Also Read: Nokia 6 FAQ – All questions answered

Nokia 8 Specifications

Model Nokia 8
Display 5.3-Inch, QHD IPS LCD Display
Processor Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor
RAM 4GB
Internal Storage 64GB expandable up to 256GB
Software Android Nougat 7.1.1
Primary Camera 13 MP (Colour + OIS) + 13 MP (Mono), 1.12um, f/2.0, 76.9˚, PDAF, IR range finder, dual tone flash
Secondary Camera 13MP PDAF, 1.12um, f/2.0, 78.4˚, display flash
Dimensions 151.55×73.7mm x 7.9mm
Battery 3,090mAh with Quick Charge
Others 2G/3G/4G/Volte, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, USB Type C, Bluetooth 4.2 LE, GPS / GLONASS, NFC, Splashproof (IP54)
Price Rs. 36,999

Nokia 8 Design and Build

The Nokia 8 is a slim phone with a metal back, 2.5D glass laden fascia, and well concealed U-shaped antenna bands. Now if that sounds familiar, that’s because it’s a fairly standard description for mid-rangers these days.

But there is more to Nokia 8 design depending on the color you choose. The matte blue edition felt fairly standard (read: unexciting), the silver variant looked elegant, and the copper color is deftly polished for a unique and interesting glossy finish.

We would be remiss not to mention the slim edges that make it convenient to handle (and differentiate it from Nokia 6, but unfortunately make it look like the Nokia 5) and the ‘Splash proof’ certification that might just protect you against accidental spillage.

Nokia isn’t using a fancy 18:9 display, and neither does it seems to be putting in any extra effort to shave off those extra bezels, resulting in the huge forehead and beefy chin, unlike contemporary flagships.

Nokia 8 doesn’t have much to offer on the design front, which was ironically one of the biggest strength of its affordable phones (Nokia 6, Nokia 5, and Nokia 3). Having said that, the Nokia 8 doesn’t feel like a blatant copy of an existing flagship and the bezels that it retains makes it tougher than existing ‘full vision’ display phones. After all, those lofty 18:9 panels have their own compromises involved, the primary one, in our opinion, being no room for fingerprint sensor on the front.

Nokia 8 Display

The Nokia 8 has a super sharp 5.3-inch 2k display. It’s vibrant, has high contrast and feels flagship grade. We will still need to closely examine it in proper lighting to judge the finer details like white point, but for now, this looks like the part that Nokia got right.

Nokia 8 Performance and Software

The engine driving Nokia 8 is, once again, at par with what the big boys have to offer. There is Snapdragon 835 (the best in business as of today), with 64GB storage and 4GB RAM that has to drive the light and almost pure stock Android software.

Needless to say, there was no performance lag on the phone in our initial time with it, nor do we expect the performance to falter in the long run. For now, the phone is running Android 7.1 Nougat based software. Nokia has also guaranteed Android Oreo for all its phones.

The fingerprint sensor on the front is extremely fast, and the OZO directional audio recording is also an added perk.

Nokia 8 Camera Samples

Nokia 8 Camera

The camera is the part on which Nokia is banking on to make a difference. To start with, the Zeiss optics (and branding) is back. Nokia 8 uses Carl Zeiss lens on both – the rear dual cameras and the front selfie shooter.

The rear cameras, engineered in partnership with Zeiss, combines a monochrome and color sensor. In the camera app, you can choose to shoot images from the color sensor or the monochrome sensor (Black and white shots) or use both cameras for SLR or bokeh effects.

The camera also has a ‘Bothie’ mode, which splits the viewfinder into two halves and allots one each to the rear and front camera. This enables you to integrate the view from both the front and rear camera in one single image or video frames. Yes, you can shoot Boothie image, video or directly go Bothie Live on Facebook and Youtube.

Also Read: How To Get Nokia 8 Like ‘Bothie’ Feature On All Smartphones

This is something that video bloggers or people who frequently go live on Youtube or Facebook would definitely love.

We clicked a few shots from both the Nokia 8 and OnePlus 5 camera comparison. Since all of these were clicked in poor indoor lighting, we still can’t compare the two snappers, but what we saw (we did compare the images from the two on a bigger display) confirms that this would be a close call. On one hand, the Nokia 8 could handle tricky lighting relatively better, and on the other, the OnePlus 5 outperformed it in quite a few images.

The option to shoot true monochromes counts as an advantage too. The camera struggles a bit in the Bothie mode, especially to lock focus. Images are better when you use individual sensors than when you club their feed in the bothie mode.

Nokia 8 Quick Review

Our initial reading is that the Nokia 8 won’t disappoint with everyday usage. It has an extremely fast chipset, light software, ergonomic body, and a brief camera comparison with OnePlus 5 tells us that it can level up to the best in its class when it comes to photography.

The Nokia 8 does justice to what Nokia stands for, but the phone doesn’t dazzle, something a Nokia flagship just had to and perhaps that’s why it feels a bit expensive. A price tag of around 30- 32K INR would have been more convincing.

10 Best Stock Android Phones Available Under Rs. 20000 In 2019

Deepak SinghDeepak Singh
Deepak has more than 8 years of experience in covering technology for several eminent publications in India. He currently leads an enthusiastic team of young writers at Smartprix and tries to uphold the highest quality standards.

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