Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Nokia 8, the company’s first flagship under new management



When we hear Nokia, we are often reminded of those golden days when there were no spec wars and slimming down wasn't exactly a priority. Nokia has had a long and illustrious history of making some kickass devices long before they faced market pressure. Unlike today’s smartphones, back then phones would come out in all shapes and sizes, spawning some of the most beautiful and funky devices that we've seen till date. But the problem was that Apple changed the smartphone industry for the good with the launch of the iPhone and the concept of having one device that operated a desktop grade OS and boasted of an intuitive UI far outpaced the Nokia’s of then that were still stuck on Symbian. 



Soon after, Nokia saw its demise in the market when it was owned by Microsoft. Unlike other manufacturers, Nokia didn't have a secondary line of Android devices until much later and was stuck on Windows Phone OS, which wasn't going to take over Android and iOS anytime soon. And eventually when Nokia did launch their line of Android smartphones, they were limited in functionality and hence didn't quite crater to the crowds too much. One thing lead to another and it was bye, bye Nokia.

Now though, Nokia is once again trying to rise up from the ashes under new management. They have already launched a slew of mid-range devices in the market and now Nokia is aims at the flagship market with the launch of the Nokia 8. So, let's see what’s in the device.

Design and display

The Nokia 8 has an all-aluminium metal body construction and an impressive slim profile. It has a really minimalistic design and is probably one of the most comfortable phones to hold in recent times. It has a nice matt finish at the back and the aluminium work is a thing of beauty. Unlike other smartphones, it doesn't shout out and you'd be hard pressed to tell that it was a Nokia if you don't see the logo. The back of the phone has a prominent bulge at the back that houses its two cameras and the flash.

Display wise, it comes with a 5.3 inch QHD display. 5.3 inches is just the perfect screen size in my opinion because it manages to retain the perfect balance between compactness and screen real estate. The display has an IPS panel rather than an AMOLED but it isn't as big of an issue as the panel renders nice, natural colours as compared to AMOLED’s over saturated colours. The Nokia 8 doesn't have an edge to edge, bezel less display unlike a majority of the competition but it does compensate in the area with its price and an iP54 splash resistant screen and body and Gorilla Glass 5.

Performance

This is one area where the Nokia 8 holds its own. The phone is packed with the fastest snapdragon processor available today, the Snapdragon 835 which makes minced meat of resource heavy applications. The phone performs beautifully because of this and to top it off, it has 4GB of LPDDR4 memory which is plenty. The SD 835 is an OCTA-CORE CPU running Snapdragon’s in-house KRYO core architecture. It has four cores clocked at a mammoth 2.45 GHZ and four of them running at a slightly lower 1.8GHZ. This processor is extremely energy efficient for its performance and hence should aid battery life. Graphics are handled by the equally powerful Adreno 540GPU which too is Snapdragon’s fastest mobile GPU at the moment.

Software

The Nokia 8 runs a stock version of Android 7.1.1 which is delightful. The stock Android layout is by no means flashy or gimmicky but its fast and fluid and aids the phone’s performance vastly. The Nokia doesn't have any tweaks like Moto’s which is a bit of a downer but stock android is very customisable and doesn't drain resources.

The phone also has a confirmed update to Android Oreo and unlike many other devices; it is bound to receive them soon as there isn't much to fiddle with. The phone also has no bloatware of any sort which is just excellent in my opinion.

Camera and storage:

The Nokia 8 has a dual primary camera setup like many phones of today. It has a 13MP+13MP Camera with a CMOS sensor with an f2.0 aperture. What makes the Nokia unique is that it is one of the first devices to implement Carl Zeiss lenses in its cameras and it makes a hell of a difference in the image quality. The lenses allow the sensor to capture very minute details and focus well. What isn't great however is that despite the good hardware, the camera itself is slow as compared to the competition and if anything I suspect it is because of the stock android camera app which isn't optimised enough to take full advantage of the available hardware. The focusing is also a bit slow and it tends to lose details in fast paced scenarios. With that said, the camera itself isn't bad and captures some decent images provided that the conditions are optimal and it also has OIS and 4K recording. So, all it will probably need is a software update to address these issues.

Coming to the storage, the Nokia 8 comes with a plentiful 64GB of storage with additional expansion of up to 256GB via an SD card. It doesn't have higher storage variants at the time of launch which is a bummer considering most flagship manufacturers are pushing the storage to 128GB.

Battery and Connectivity

The Nokia 8 comes with a relatively small 3090mAh battery. While this isn't the biggest that there is, but it does come with Quick Charge option. So if you do run out of battery, it should get charged up quickly.
Connectivity wise, the Nokia 8 supports all major 4G, 3G and 2G network bands that are present in India. It also supports dual sim cards in a hybrid slot with 4G available in both slots. It also comes with Wi-Fi 802.11, a/ac/b/g/n/n 5GHz with MIMO support, Bluetooth V5.0 and GPS with A-GPS and GLONASS. It also uses the brand new USB Type-C port for cable connectivity which aids to the future proofing of the device and it has graciously retained the 3.5mm headphone jack.

Final Thoughts: 

The Nokia 8 is a hell of a phone in many aspects. It has a very timeless design, is well built like the Nokia’s of old and doesn't break a sweat when it comes to number crunching. The Nokia 8 price in India is touted to be around Rs.36999 which makes it a fantastic value proposition since it competes in thehigher mid-tier of the market, long since dominated by iPhones and One Plus devices. The Nokia 8 makes for a fantastic alternative to those devices and is priced perfectly.

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