At last, the time has come and we finally get a proper Nokia flagship smartphone that’s running on Android. It’s called the Nokia 8 and it’s an important device because it will show the world whether HMD Global (the company that owns the right to Nokia’s smartphones) has a grasp on how to make a compelling Android flagship — one that will capture the magic of the Nokias of old.
The result? Well, as it stands now, it looks like it’s a little bit of yes and no.
Starting things off, Nokia’s flagship smartphone features a lot of the specs you would have come to expect from a 2017 flagship smartphone. In front, the Nokia 8 has a 5.3-inch Quad HD IPS display, tucked under Gorilla Glass 5, pushing a resolution of 2560×1440 pixels with 554 pixels per inch. This display is also capable of pushing up to 700 nits of brightness.
Inside, you’ll find an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor mated to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable (up to 256GB via microSD) storage. So, as far as internals go, Nokia seems to have hit the nail on the head. Well, except for the small 3,090 mAh battery.
Over in the camera department, the Nokia 8 also sports 2017s favourite flagship smartphone feature: Dual cameras. On the Nokia 8, these are 13-megapixel cameras where one shoots RGB while the other does Monochrome — much like the Huawei P10. However, while the P10 features Leica-certified lenses, the Nokia 8 will sport Zeiss optics with an aperture of f/2.0, PDAF, and an IR range finder.
What is special, though, is that you get the same 13-megapixel f/2.0 camera in front as well. Yep, that’s a selfie camera with PDAF (still pretty rare) and 1.12-micron pixels.
But all of that is for a reason because Nokia seems to think that the Nokia 8’s killer feature is something called a bothie (or Dual-Sight as the ad suggests). That’s pronounced both-ie, as in like selfie but with the word “both” instead of “self”. Yes, I agree, it’s a super dumb name but what it does may be just as dumb.
What this bothie feature does is allow the phone to capture photos and videos with both the front and rear camera, splitting your image right down the middle. This feature also lets you stream your recorded content directly to social platforms like YouTube straight from the camera application.
I don’t really know what to think of this feature but I do know it’s not a feature I’ve been pining for….ever. Couple that with the Nokia 8’s “safe” (I mean, boring) design that’s straight out of 2016 and one starts to wonder if HMD isn’t at least a little unsure of what makes a good Android flagship.
However, if you take a look at the near-stock Android and the promise of being one of the first phones in the world to get Android O and you’re suddenly a little more willing to forgive them for trying something new. Then there’s the fact that the Nokia 8 will feature Ozo Audio recording. Basically, this borrows from Nokia’s sophisticated Ozo camera that is used to film virtual reality. With the audio portion ported to the Nokia 8, the smartphone is supposedly able to record binaural 3-D 360-degree audio which is interesting stuff.
The Nokia 8 will also feature an always on display (AOD) for the time and certain notifications (more coming soon), despite the fact that it uses an LCD display. According to The Verge, HMD built a proprietary solution with a low-power mode for a small section of the display to pull this AOD component off. It’s also got a new antenna line design and a heat pipe that supposedly disperses heat evenly.
And that’s about it. There’s no water resistance (only splash, at IP54) no wireless charging, no 18.5:9 aspect ratio screen, no wide-angled camera, stereo speakers or a sophisticated bezel-less wrap-around display.
Sophisticated and futuristic, then, are two words that don’t describe the Nokia 8. Safe, on the other hand, is probably the perfect word to describe this new flagship and who can really blame HMD for playing it safe when their success in the market is anything but guaranteed.
The all-metal bodied Nokia 8 will come in four colours — matte blue, polished blue, polished silver and copper — and will be priced at EUR599 (around RM3,030) with global availability set for early September.
What do you guys think of the Nokia 8? Let me know in the comments below.