Nokia 8 Review: An interesting flagship with room for improvement

 

After presenting the Nokia 3 , Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 and the Nokia 3310 , HMD Global presents the Nokia 8. With a high-end configuration, a pure Android version and cooperation with Zeiss for the camera, the Finnish manufacturer intends to outshine Samsung, LG and more. But is this really the case? Find out in our in-depth review of Nokia’s first flagship.

Good

  • Very good battery
  • General performance
  • Double video/livestream
  • Stock Android

Bad

  • Camera
  • Classic design
  • LED notification

Lowest price: Nokia 8

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Nokia 8 release date and price

What HMD Global has accomplished during these 8 months is impressive. It has brought the Nokia 3310 to the market, as well as three Android smartphones since July. The Nokia 8 is the Finnish manufacturers first high-end smartphone, aiming to rub shoulders with the market leaders: Samsung Galaxy S8, LG G6 or OnePlus 5.

AndroidPIT Nokia 8 Colours 1 Available colors: copper, grey, and blue ! / © AndroidPIT

Available since September 8, 2017, the Nokia 8 is available in copper, grey and blue with a single slot for the nano SIM card. Price wise, the Nokia 8 to be around 600 dollars. They will be available with either a single or Dual SIM

Nokia 8

Nokia 8 design and build quality

The Nokia 8 looks pretty cool, but it does not have the charm of the Galaxy S8 or LG G6. If you place the Nokia in between these two phones, it just doesn’t compare. However, upon handling the phone you can clearly see the workmanship invested in this phone.

AndroidPIT nokia 8 9020 The Nokia 8 offers a classic design. / © AndroidPIT

The case is aluminum, and it handles well with slightly rounded corners. The Gorilla Glass 5 layer also has rounded corners, and the space between that and the screen is barely noticable. Sebastien Ulrich, General Manager of HMD Global, assured me that although it is made of 6000 series aluminum, it’s not easy to bend, unlike the iPhone 6 which showed signs of weakness shortly after the launch. Apple has opted for aluminum 7000 series for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 because it has zinc, guaranteeing more strength. According to HMD, the engineering of the unibody requires 22 hours of work.

AndroidPIT nokia 8 9027      We liked the finish of the Nokia 8  / © AndroidPIT

On the front of the phone, you’ll find a fingerprint reader that also acts as the home button. Either side are two buttons for navigation (return and multitasking). I must admit I was a little disappointed about the accuracy of those two buttons, and also about the lack of LED notification. If you’re used to this feature, it may take some time to get used to.

On the back of the Nokia 8 is the logo, and above is the camera, which is a product of their cooperation with Zeiss, which became official on July, 6th 2017. The director of HMD Global assured me that the camera and the software algorithms were a result of both of their efforts.

AndroidPIT nokia 8 9048 It does not offer LED notification / © AndroidPIT

Overall the finish of the Nokia 8 is quite impressive, however, both the matte and the polished version tend to become dirty with fingerprints. But this a common problem amongst most smartphones. In terms of design, the Nokia 8 doesn’t make me shout “I must buy it!” but the handling of it is great thanks to its compact size. Another element that may be missed by some is the IP54 certification that protects the device from water splashes, or the IP67 or IP68 that would allow it to be completely submerged in water, like with the Galaxy S8 or the LG G6.

Nokia 8 display

For its first high-end smartphone, HMD opted for a 5.3-inch IPS display and uses a QHD resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels. We do not have an 18:9 format or curved edges. The maximum brightness of the screen is 700 nits. To compare, the screen (IPS) LG G6 reaches “only” 600 nits, the screen (AMOLED) Galaxy S8 reaches 1000 nits.

This screen has an Always On feature. Like LG’s smartphone, part of the screen switches on when a notification is received, with visible information. If you do not need this feature, you can simply disable it in the options.

AndroidPIT nokia 8 9023 The screen is a great feature on this smartphone. / © AndroidPIT

The screen has a very good contrast, balanced colors and excellent brightness, even in sunny outdoor conditions. The QHD definition is also great, and you can make use of virtual reality if you have a compatible headset.

Nokia 8 software

As we’ve seen in other models, Nokia smartphones use Stock Android. The one we tested uses Android 7.1.1, with the most recent security patch. We noticed that although there were only Google applications on the phone, 15 GB of the 64 GB memory was already used. If you are a regular user of Stock Android, you’ll really appreciate the Nokia 8 experience.  

From the main screen, if you scan your finger to the right, and Google maps appears. The process is perfectly fluid and applications open quickly. The smartphone also functions well when multitasking, and does not show any signs of overheating even under heavy use.

Android Oreo will arrive quickly on the Nokia 8

However, during my test I observed some bugs, that I was surprise by considering this is meant to be a flagship. I have seen some unexpected application closures (Facebook and camera) that I would probably attribute to the fact that this is a pre-production model. The last update received in mid-September appears to have partially addressed these issues.

AndroidPIT nokia 8 9039 The Nokia 8 will quickly receive updates / © AndroidPIT

If you buy the Nokia 8 or another device from HMD, you will have security updates for at least 2 years, and these can be deployed quickly thanks to Stock Android. Sebastian Ulrich mentioned in autumn 2017 that Android Oreo would arrive quickly on these devices. A beta is already available, which supports this statement.

Nokia 8 performance

To be considered a high-end smartphone, all of the features you’d expect should be there. With its Snapdragon 835, 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal memory (UFS 2.1), we have a smartphone on par with the Galaxy S8, for example. If 64 GB is not enough, you can increase the size up to 256 GB with a microSD card.

AndroidPIT Nokia 8 Colours 2 The interior is as important as the exterior / © AndroidPIT

I felt as though the Nokia 8 was reliable, and I enjoyed using it from day-to-day. The smartphone perfectly supports all uses (including games like Need for Speed No Limits) for everyday (chat, internet use). It’s also worth mentioning that the Nokia 8 is not compatible with Daydream.

In our table below, you can see how the Nokia 8 contends with the smartphones we have tested so far. Not surprisingly, due to its configuration, it is one of the best.

Nokia 8 benchmark comparison

  Nokia 8 Samsung Galaxy S8 + HTC U11 Xperia XZ Premium
3DMark SlingShot ES 3.1 3496 3.132 3599 3.245
3DMark SlingShot ES 3.0 4580 3336 4.129 3697
3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited 40584 28742 40034 40286
Geekbench Single Core 1930 2014 1905 1898
Geekbench Multi Core 6540 6479 6454 6294
PCMark Work Performance 6902 5094 6787 6338
PCMark Storage 4823 4772 4989
Google Octane 2.0 11086 10,440 11928 11.086

Nokia 8 audio

The Nokie 8 features a single speaker. The stereo sound of the Nokia 6 is unfortunately not up to scratch. Fortunately, the Nokia 8 is an improvement, however, it’s not impressive and there is some distortion at high volumes.

As for the audio output, those who care about good sound and have high-end headphones, will be happy with this. Regarding normal calling, the Nokia 8 scores pretty well, and the network coverage is good (even in the subway).

Nokia 8 camera

Like Huawei / Honor, we find a dual camera consisting of a RGB sensor and a monochrome sensor. Both offer a maximum definition of 13 megapixels. At the front, above the screen, HMD Global also offers a 13 MP RGB sensor. For the occasion, Nokia has renewed its partnership with Zeiss, the German manufacturer of high-end photo lenses

AndroidPIT nokia 8 9032 Despite the Zeiss partnership, the camera still disappoints / © AndroidPIT

Nevertheless, the reality is far from the promises of the brand and the quality of the shots is quite disappointing for a smartphone that wants to compete with the best in the market. Even in excellent light conditions, the photos lack sharpness, precision and contrast. Fortunately, the transcript color is correct and saves some of the disaster but the overall result is still a little bland and far from the level of its competitors.

As a video enthusiast, I appreciate the quality when changing from one camera to another: thanks to the use of the same sensor at the front and back, we can enjoy the same level of quality during video recording. Apparently, HMD Global speaks to influencers and offers them a new feature to tell their stories on video.

DSC01134 The camera application may be too simple for some / © ANDROIDPIT

What is Bothie? This is an image feature where you can take a photo or video with the front or back camera simultaneously: a useful feature for Facebook live or Youtube. This would allow you to conduct interviews with the Nokia 8. 

DSC01135 The “Bothie” video feature in use / © ANDROIDPIT

A good video must have a good sound quality. Thus, the manufacturer uses OZO audio camera technology, which gives this 360 camera not only an excellent photo quality but also 3D sound. In practical terms, this means that the 3 microphones of the Nokia 8 can be configured to be turned into a directional microphone. In the application, we find 3 configurations: Surround where all the microphones are used, then front and back in which it is possible to configure the microphones. In practice, it works well and the videos produced by the Nokia 8 are of better quality than the photos.

Nokia 8 battery

The Nokia 8 battery has a capacity of 3090 mAh. The Nokia 8 is among the best for battery life. Even with heavy use of the phone, sending regular messages via WhatsApp, emails, calling and playing videos and games, you can expect the battery to last a long time. 

If you use your phone less than I do,you will even exceed the day and a half of battery life. In our PCMark benchmark test, the Nokia 8 has lasted for almost 11 hours, more than the Galaxy S8 or the HTC U11.

AndroidPIT nokia 8 9051 The battery life scored well in our review / © AndroidPIT

Quick Charge 3.0 allows for fairly fast charging, around 50% in around 30 minutes, but it is unfortunately not possible to recharge the wireless device because of the aluminum case.

Nokia 8 technical specifications

Dimensions: 151.5 x 73.7 x 7.9 mm
Weight: 160 g
Battery size: 3090 mAh
Screen size: 5.3 in
Display technology: LCD
Screen: 2560 x 1440 pixels (554 ppi)
Front camera: 13 megapixels
Rear camera: 13 megapixels
Flashlight: Dual-LED
Android version: 7.1.1 – Nougat
User interface: Stock Android
RAM: 4 GB
Internal storage: 64 GB
Removable storage: microSD
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Number of cores: 8
Max. clock speed: 2.45 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Dual-SIM , Bluetooth 5.0

Final verdict

Overall, I enjoyed using the Nokia 8 and it is an interesting first flagship for the return of the Finnish brand. Admittedly, the design does not have the wow factor, compared to the Samsung Galaxy S8 with its infinity screen, however, I can see the appeal of this phone and know that many people would be satisfied with it. My favorite element has to be the Bothie video feature, as well as the battery life and the quick updates.

However, the Nokia 8 is a smartphone leaves a lot to be desired. In addition to the lack of IP68 certification, its biggest drawbacks are the quality of the camera which is not clearly at the level of its competitors, and small software bugs that interrupt the overall experience. Updates may solve this problem easily, however its more challenging to improve the quality of the photos. It’s price is not necessarily the most attractive, either, especially when you consider the alternatives on the market.

Where to buy Nokia 8

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Nokia 8

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