It’s been eight months since HMD launched as a company and licensed the Nokia brand. In those eight months, HMD has released eight phones, five of which are feature phones. The other three are Android based smartphones modelled as the Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 and all of them are targeted towards the low to mid-tier range. HMD says that these phones are selling well- in millions. However, the word Nokia that resonates with me is cutting-edge technology and that's exactly what was revealed today. Say hello to the Nokia 8.
Let’s start with the design of the phone. The Nokia 8 will be released in four colors: Polished Copper, Polished Blue, Steel and Tampered Blue. My favorite from them is the Copper variant which looks much better in real life than it does in pictures.
In fact, the Nokia 8 looks ordinary in pictures and you really need to hold it in your hands to appreciate the craftsmanship. It somewhat reminds me of the HTC U11 launched earlier in the year but feels a bit more comfortable- possibly because of the narrower width. My criticism on the design of the Nokia 8 is exactly what I had for the HTC U11- the back looks stunning but the front looks most ordinary with large bezels on the top and bottom of the screen. We’re entering a design stage where flagships should sport an almost full screen on the front.
Moving to the specs, the Nokia 8 is equipped with the latest Snapdragon 835 processor along with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage which can be expanded using a microSD slot. This slot can also be used for an additional SIM in some markets including the Middle East. The screen size on the Nokia 8 is 5.3-inches and it is powered by an LED panel with a 2K resolution that translated into a PPI of 554. HMD is also quite proud of the brightness levels on the screen that measures at 700 nits. All that is powered by a 3090mAh battery in a form factor that’s impressively thin at just 7.3mm.
One could argue that you can find all those specs on any other high-end phone. So what separates the Nokia 8 from the rest? There are three specific things that HMD is focusing on with their new flagship:
Dual Image Fusion Camera
Nokia was the first phone manufacturer to introduce Zeiss lenses on their phones and with Nokia 8, HMD returns to that with three 13MP cameras. On the back, you have a color and a monochrome camera- similar to what we’ve on Huawei’s phones to create photos that capture great colors and brightness. Thankfully the camera doesn’t protrude much out of the body (just 0.4mm) which HMD says wasn’t easy from an engineering perspective.
The feature that impressed me most was Nokia’s Dual Sight technology built inside the camera app. This allows you to simultaneously shoot with front and rear cameras and infuse that into one frame which can then be broadcasted live to Facebook and YouTube. Nokia showed a few reactionary videos to demonstrate how this works and I can see how this could work well. What I’m not very fond of though is the marketing hashtag that Nokia is planning on using #Bothie
OZO Audio Technology
Some of you might remember the insane 360-degree video capturing device Nokia unveiled at the end of 2015. The audio technology from that is coming to Nokia 8 which can record directional audio from the three microphones present on it. The exclusive acoustic algorithms capture audio with immersive 360° spatial surround sound which can then be shared with anyone, even devices without OZO Audio.
That’s Nokia 8 in a nutshell. It’s priced at 599 Euros in Europe and we'll have details for local prices in the Middle East soon. What would be interesting to see is how HMD handles the marketing for the phone considering it’s going up against the Samsung Note 8 and the new Apple iPhone. That’s not an easy battle to win and as Pekka Rantala, CMO at HMD mentioned, the company wants to think and act like a startup even if it’s representing a brand that’s over 150 years old.