Nokia 8 Hands-on Review

Let’s get one fact straight, this is not a phone which will blow away high-end flagships from the industry’s established players like Samsung, Iphone, HTC or LG but rather, this is a phone which focuses on practicality without being too heavy on your hard earned money and backed by Nokia’s stellar craftsmanship. A lot inspired like from the idea of Nexus phone.

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Nokia 8

And it is EXACTLY just that, essentially the Nexus phone of 2017. (I do not consider the Pixel in this comparison since it does not falls under the same price category at all and I also disliked the first Pixel for it being too unoriginal in its design). It says on the box “Pure up-to-date Android always”, of course time will tell if HMD delivers on that promise, but so far it looks good and according to several tech sites, Oreo is currently in testing phase and will be available on Nokia 8 by end of October. Ok without further ado lets dive down to what’s good and what’s not:

PROs:

> Stock Vanilla Android experience – 0% bloatware 100% focus on essentials and practicality: Nokia has left Nougat almost completely untouched with the exception of blue themed icons, glance screen feature, it’s camera app and Nokia care app

> 2017 flagship level processor and GPU, Qualcomm 835 and Adreno 540

> Great battery life and performance – 3090 mAH battery packed into a relatively slim phone (7mm)

> Videography is top notch – Thanks to in built OIS on ALL 3 cameras the video recording in this phone is excellent, all three cameras can shoot in 4K

> Blazing fast performance – expect a smooth lagless experience through and through, according to benchmarks the Nokia 8 performs almost on-par with S8, OnePlus 5 and even the Note 8!

> Great craftsmanship – Curved 2.5D Gorilla glass on the front side and backside is made out of Aluminium. The ‘matte’ blue version I have feels and looks great in the hand

> Good IPS LCD – Bright and legible even under direct sunlight and top notch color accuracy

> Price! – Now Nokia 8 is not yet out in the US, so I do not know how well it will be priced there. BUT here in Dubai the phone costs USD 460 which is INSANE and AMAZING. If you are tempted you could get the international variant from souq.com which is a subsidiary of Amazon

Now for the not so good stuff

> Not so trendy design – Now design is subjective and matters a lot on personal taste, for me I love the design but I can understand if the phone does not quite appeal to people who are expecting this year phones to go bezel-less. Like I said before the phone focuses on practicality, even when it comes to design

> No LED notification – this is a bit of a bummer, while the glance screen concept is nice but it currently only supports missed calls, emails and text messages

> Camera is bit of disappointment – here is the thing about the camera, I feel the hardware is up to the mark, it is the camera app where I think most of the problems originate while taking pics in both low and good light. Focusing is a big issue, when the camera is able to focus properly it takes amazing pictures without a doubt. While focusing in good light is not much of a issue, but when presented with low light situation the focusing gets slow and the app often settles on underexposing pictures in low light. Exposure can be somewhat dealt with the exposure level settings tucked away under the “Manual mode” which lacks a lot of basic features to be even worthy to be called “Manual mode”. In 2017 you would anyway expect the camera auto feature to do all the legwork and better expose situations and subject according to the light data it so claims to receive from the monochrome sensor, however thats sadly not the case here with Nokia 8. I’m optimistic though that a software update could greatly fix these issues in the future

> IPS screen – the IPS LCD which the phone uses is bright and displays accurate colors instead of opting for high contrast and “pop” colors found in most AMOLEDs. However that said many IPS screens suffer from ‘glow’ effect. This glow is very noticeable when you use the phone in low light and you can see the backlight glow in video and images with dark/high contrast scenes. Most AMOLEDs screens overcome this by shutting off the led backlight to parts of the screen where dark scenes are presented at a cost to small loss of color accuracy to display “true black” images. This may not be a CON to some people who do not watch videos in low light or in dark rooms though since the effect in normal light is not much discernible.

Now you may look at the cons and think why have I rated this phone a 5 instead maybe shaving off a star atleast?

The answer is simple, I can live with most of the cons except when it comes to camera and for the price I paid for this phone, I could not have asked for more. I’m glad to see Nokia coming back to the game and very excited to see what they bring in the future!

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