• Saturday, January 20, 2018

Nokia 8 Review - Best of Finland

Introduction

What does the Finnish flagship, the Nokia 8, have in store for us? Find out in our review!

After we’ve tested Nokia representatives of the lower and middle class – Nokia 3 and Nokia 6, today we’re testing the best Nokia has to offer at the moment – the Nokia 8. Just as the others, the flagship also comes with a high quality aluminum chassis, and other attributes of the Nokia 8 are: the strongest Qualcomm chipset, excellent cameras and amazing display.

Nokia 8 is imagined to be a competitors to the leading devices of other manufacturers – Samsung, LG, Sony – and as such it really has to show that the time of terrible Windows smartphones is ancient past for Nokia, and that it can be what the “N” series once was – the very top of the smartphone game. First impressions promise a lot, build quality is great, and the back which holds a double camera setup gives an impression that this device hides amazing photo shooting capabilities. The factory box of the Nokia 8 contains: a Nokia fast charging adapter, a USB Type-C cable, Nokia 3.5mm in-ear headphones and some paperwork. Available color options are: Polished Blue, Steel, Polished Copper and Tempered Blue which we have for our test. Does the Nokia 8 do good to the brand? Stay with us for more details…

Video review


Unboxing


Display


As every other modern flagship, the Nokia 8 also has an amazing display. Although it stepped well into 2017, the Nokia 8 has the classic aspect ratio with no “infinity” display design. However, this is still a great display. The diagonal feels very nice at 5.3”. Although this is a premium device, this diagonal places it just under the Nokia 6 which has a 5.5” diagonal.

The matrix used to build the display of the Nokia 8 is IPS LCD – the same one we could see in other devices of the Nokia lineup. The panel can show up to 16.7 million colors, but still we cannot say we did not expect AMOLED display. Anyway, the quality of the display itself is nothing but perfect. The resolution of the panel is QHD (2560 x 1440) and with the standard aspect ratio of 16:9 it results in 554 PPI which is amazing. The resolution of the panel, as well as the number of pixels per inch, will satisfy even the most demanding users. Because this is a typical 16:9 aspect ratio display, the panel sadly doesn’t go edge-to-edge, so the screen to body ratio is only around 70% of the front panel of the device. If we were to speak about image reproduction, the results are: remarkably sharp images, good color reproduction with amazing blacks (but still not as good as on AMOLED displays), and great visibility on the sunlight. The colors stay very sharp even when viewing angles are changed, so this really won’t be an issue. The brightness of the panel is great, and with the ambience light sensor, which automatically adjusts the brightness according to the environment, the brightness can reach up to 700 nits! Video reproduction on the display of the Nokia 8 is really great, and when it reproduces 2K material, it is a real pleasure to watch.


Low light use can be hard on the eyes, so Nokia has built in a system called Night Light, which reduces the stress on the eyes by emitting a yellowish shade. This effect can be adjusted, and it is also possible to time its activation for specific periods. Double Tap to Wake Up is another very useful function, and it lets up wake up the device by tapping the display twice.
 

Hardware and OS


Most manufacturers opted for Qualcomm chipsets in their 2017 premium devices, so this time as well we find the Snapdragon 835, which is one of the best chipsets, alongside the Kirin 970 and Samsung Exynos 8895. We saw that far weaker chipsets easily cope with pretty clean Nokia’s Android environment, so the Snapdragon 835 offers remarkable experience.


The chipset consists of two quadcore clusters. The first cluster packs high performance cores which are clocked at 2.5 GHz, and they are there to ensure amazing performance in high demanding tasks. The second cluster packs four power saving cores which are used in everyday tasks, and they are clocked at 1.8 GHz. Furthermore, there is the GPU which usually follows this CPU – the brutal Adreno 540, which really stands and one and only logical choice to power up the QHD (2K) panel of the Nokia 8. Complimenting this story about the CPU and the GPU are two more very important points – the RAM and ROM. The Nokia 8 comes in two memory configurations – 4GB RAM / 64GB ROM and 6GB RAM / 128GB ROM. 4GB of RAM is still more than enough in the premium class, but the more the better! That’s why we warmly welcome the stronger version. When it comes to the internal storage memory, 128GB is more than enough, and since the Nokia 8 offers storage expansions up to 256GB, the theory maximum of 384GB will disappoint no one.


The device runs very smoothly, but we did see an occasional frame drop when navigating through the menu which could be a side effect of the relatively new OS. If we close one eye and choose to disregard this occurrence, which we hope will get patched out soon, the device runs perfectly. All applications are executed almost instantly, while photo and video editing tools (Premiere, Lightroom) go to an extent to show what this chipset is capable of. Modern 3D games didn’t pose an issue for the very powerful hardware, and you can see what we’re talking about in a separate video on our YouTube channel. Overheating is also not an issue for the Nokia 8, so the performances don’t drop even after longer gameplay. Great temperature values can be credited to the heatpipe built underneath the battery.
The speaker, which is used for sound reproduction, is located on the bottom part of the device, next to the Type-C connector, while the fingerprint scanner is located inside the Home button on the front side of the device. The fingerprint scanner works as expected from the one built into the device of this quality – it is fast and precise.

The OS of the Nokia 8 leans onto the 8th version of Google’s Android. It is the Android Oreo, version 8.0.0 with November security patches. The system is free of bloatware which greatly improves the performances, and taking into consideration the hardware built in – there is no room for mistakes.
 

Camera


Nokia has always stood as a serious player in the phone camera game. Innovation and excellent sensors developed in cooperation with the leading camera brands have almost always resulted in amazing photo and video taking experiences. Throughout the Nokia golden age we could see devices with optical zoom, great video capabilities as well as devices with crazy resolution cameras. The Nokia 8 follows this trend, and its sensors are also signed by Carl Zeiss. This is one of the first devices in which the manufacturer implemented the same sensor on the front as well as the back of the device. On the back we can find what 2017 has set as standard – a double camera setup. While some brands pair standards and wide sensors (Samsung, Apple) and others standard and night scene sensors (OnePlus), Nokia, just as Huawei, opted for one RGB and one monochrome sensor.



Although Huawei usually combines two different sensors regarding resolution and other parameters, Nokia chose to implement two essentially the same sensors, only difference is that one of them is “color blind”. Parameters of the sensors are: aperture f/2.0, 1.12µm pixel size, and both sensors have optical image stabilization. Of course the sensors have auto focus systems - that is Phase Detection Auto Focus and Laser Auto Focus. As we have already mentioned, this camera setup is signed by Carl Zeiss. Just below the sensors there is a two-tone double LED flash. When we’re speaking of the quality of the photos in general, we are pretty content. The sharpness is very good, and considering this is a 13MP sensors, there is no lack of details. Color reproduction is pretty realistic, and there is no oversaturation which could lead to unreal images. Macro shots are also great and noise in scenes is kept at pretty low levels. In night time scenes, the results are also very good - good color reproduction with low levels of noise and optical image stabilization only makes images better. The monochrome sensor combined with lower ISO values produces photos with even lower noise levels and better contrast. Also, in low light shooting environments, you can use both sensors simultaneously, and through image stacking technology you can achieve even better results. Not too much better, however, and you must also be aware of the fact that the software may take up to 5 seconds to edit these photos!



Another interesting option offered by the Nokia 8 is the system they call Dual Sight. As we’ve already mentioned, the Nokia 8 has exactly the same sensors on back and the front, and Dual Sight offers the capability to take photos by both cameras at the same time.



Results are, however, only produced in 8MP resolution, which doesn’t really make sense since these are both 13MP sensors. Also, it might be quite tricky to combine the scenes taken by both cameras. Of course, just as every other device with a double main camera setup, the Nokia 8 can take quite good photos with the Bokeh effect – it distinguishes the background from the focus of the image pretty well. It is also worth to mention that the AutoHDR mode is also implemented.


The Nokia 8 can take 4K@30fps videos. Both sensors can be employed, the RGB and the monochrome, but this time, sadly, not at the same time. Video quality is only average, since the scenes only have average details. What definitely improves the video quality is the audio that accompanies it, since Nokia’s OZO technology employs three microphones to record it. This way, within the video taking application you have the option to choose whether you want to record audio coming from the front, back or surround sound. Results are excellent, and the audio material taken within the video is very clear and loud.




Another option built into the video application is Facebook and YouTube Live Streaming. Dual Sight is available here as well, and the results are recorded in 1080p@30fps resolution. The front facing camera is excellent and probably one of the best available on the market at the moment. It is a 13MP sensor with the aperture of f/2.0 and Phase Detection Auto Focus system. Photos taken by the front facing camera offer the same quality as the ones taken by the main camera: plenty of details, great color reproduction and pretty low levels of noise. Something that is quite new in the Android world is the capability to shoot 4K@30fps videos – with the front facing camera. The quality of these videos is outstanding. Another advantage of the Nokia 8 is the camera interface itself. Although the rest of the OS has the same design and functionality as the stock Android, Nokia redesigned the camera application themselves, and they did a remarkable job. It is a really simple and easy to use interface.

 

Connectivity


The Nokia 8 comes in two versions: as a SingleSIM (SS) of DualSIM (DS) device. It is also 4G capable. Today we’re testing the Nokia 8 TA-1004 version which has only one hybrid slot with nanoSIM slots or a nanoSIM and a microSD card slot. The 3.5mm headphone port is also here and it is located on the top of the device. We really appreciate Nokia’s decision to disregard the trend of removing the 3.5mm headphone port. USB Type-C port is used for charging and data transfer, and due to the chassis being made of aluminum, wireless charging could not have been implemented.

When it comes to wireless connections, we have:
  • WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  • NFC
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • RDS FM-Radio
  • A-GPS

Supported frequencies are:
  • 2G GSM : 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
  • 3G UMTS : 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
  • 4G LTE : 700 / 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 / 2300 / 2500 / 2600 MHz
 

Battery


Just as in all the other Nokia devices, the battery of the Nokia 8 in not removable. The battery is a Lithium-Ion with the capacity of 3090 mAh. It will offer around 1 day of moderate use with around 4 and a half hours of SoT (Screen on Time).
The device supports fast charging through the Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, and it will take about 1 and a half hours to charge the device from 0 – 100%. In just half an hour of charging, you can charge the battery up to 48%. The Battery Saver option is there to improve the battery life, and it will automatically start once the device reaches 15% of the charge.

 

Final words


This flagship proves that Nokia is serious in the race to the top. Excellent build quality, very good cameras and strong hardware are all aces up the Nokia 8’s sleeve. Something that we really liked, and that we could see in other devices of the Nokia lineup, is almost stock Android environment which combined with the amazing hardware offers excellent user experience. There are, however, some downsides as well – this device is not IP68 certified, so it is formally not protected from water and dust, and the lack of FullHD@60fps recording capability, although the device has great hardware and camera sensors, somewhat ruins the impression about the camera. The price at the moment is very attractive, and the Nokia 8 seems to be a great choice if you seek a flagship and can close an eye to some of the minor disadvantages.

Do you like the Nokia 8? We’d love to see your opinion in the comment section below. If you have any suggestions or you would like to see a specific device being reviewed, feel free to write to us either here on our Facebook page. If you liked our review, please subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, and sit comfortably as we’re working hard on new material for you!

Nokia 8 Specifications

 

Advantages and disadvantages

Reasons for and against it

Amazing hardware
Great cameras; the same sensors on the front and the back
Build quality
Almost stock Android experience
Very good display
Does not record FullHD@60fps videos
A few bugs here and there in the Android Oreo version
No waterproofing