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Hands-on: The flagship Nokia 8 with Zeiss optics 'Bothie' camera and OZO audio

By Jonnah Pante & Liu Hongzuo - on 21 Aug 2017, 4:01pm

Hands-on: The flagship Nokia 8 with Zeiss optics 'Bothie' camera and OZO audio

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Nokia 8 officially announced

Nokia has announced its first-ever flagship Android OS smartphone – the Nokia 8. Our colleagues in Singapore had the chance to try it out, and learned about all the little things they tried to implement to make the Nokia 8 a viable contender in a competitive smartphone market.

It was a long time coming for Nokia – after the Finnish telecommunications company sold its Lumia smartphone business to Microsoft, the brand has taken a backseat in the handset business. That was true, until a couple of years ago where a Finnish startup called HMD Global bought the rights to manufacture and sell Nokia-branded smartphones again. Late last year, they launched the Nokia 3, Nokia 5, and Nokia 6 low-cost smartphones in the Chinese market, and brought it here in the Philippines earlier this year.

In a nutshell, the Nokia 8 offers flagship-tier hardware, along with a dual rear-camera system that's created in collaboration with Zeiss optics. It will also offer some subtle, but practical features, along with stock Android OS for the purists among us. This hands-on deconstructs some of these points.

 

Specs at a glance

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The Nokia 8 is a flagship Android smartphone with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset. With this phone, we'd finally have a healthy spread of Snapdragon 835 devices to choose from. Currently, it joins the Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+, Sony Xperia XZ Premium, HTC U11, OnePlus 5, and the Xiaomi Mi 6 as legitimate flagship devices for the current year. Here are the confirmed specifications for the 4GB RAM/64GB variant. The region will not receive the 128GB internal storage version of the Nokia 8 – that is reserved for the European market.

Since hardware specs were already reported through last month's leak, we shall keep this one concise for the phone-loving crowd. If you are interested in the phone's features instead, read on.

  • OS: Android 7.1 (Nougat), compatible with Android “O” after firmware update
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, an octa-core chipset - four cores clocked at 2.36GHz and the other four clocked at 1.5GHz
  • Display: 5.3-inch, IPS, QHD (2560 x 1440 pixels resolution), 700-nits brightness
  • Memory: 4GB RAM (LPPDDR4x)
  • Storage: 64GB (UFS 2.1), expandable by another 256GB (via microSD card)
  • Rear cameras: 13-megapixel, 1.12um pixel size, F2.0, 76.9° field-of-view, phase detection autofocus (PDAF), dual-tone flash, OIS (main camera only). Main camera shoots in color, secondary shoots in monochrome
  • Front camera: 13-megapixel, 1.12um pixel size, F2.0, 78.4° field-of-view, display flash
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11ac (MIMO), Bluetooth 5.0, GPS+AGPS/GLONASS+BDS, NFC, ANT+
  • Ports: USB Type-C (shape), USB 3.1 Gen 1 (profile), 3.5mm audio jack
  • Battery: 3090mAh, Quick Charge 3.0
  • Dimensions / weight: 151.5 x 73.7 x 7.9mm / 160g

 

Aluminum unibody rear

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flagship, hmd global, nokia, nokia 8, nokia flagship, ozo audio, zeiss optics

Part of the appeal for the Nokia 8 lies in its build quality. HMD Global opted to create the unibody look using the typical CNC-processed aluminum. To achieve the continuous-looking rear with no gaps or breaks, HMD Global decided to move the antenna lines to the top and bottom of the phone. The front is a conventionally-alluring Gorilla Glass 5 with a 2.5D curve on its sides. It mostly resembles the HTC U11 in appearance, but the Nokia 8 uses colors that are popular with the mainstream users (Polished Copper, Polished Blue, Tempered Blue, Steel).

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flagship, hmd global, nokia, nokia 8, nokia flagship, ozo audio, zeiss optics

The curved sides are tapered – giving an iPhone look, but it feels nothing like one. HMD Global said that the phone is 7.3mm thick on average, but it's 7.9mm at its thickest point and 4.6mm at its thinnest. That's the typical thickness of a flagship smartphone, which is also typical regarding ergonomic handling and grip.

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flagship, hmd global, nokia, nokia 8, nokia flagship, ozo audio, zeiss optics

The depressed fingerprint sensor can be found on the front of the phone, just below the IPS display, sandwiched between the Back and Overview soft keys. The sensor also doubles as a touch-sensitive slate where the Home button traditionally rests. We noted that the sensor is exceptionally slim, but HMD Global assured us that it's responsive and swift (I mean, who wouldn't, right?). Our trial run did not raise any immediate concerns regarding these three buttons, and any Android user would find them familiar anyway. Sadly, this soft button setup leaves huge bezels around the display, and the Nokia 8's front panel won't be winning users over from the S8 or G6 camps.

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