Nokia 8 Sirocco
There was something of a lack of new flagship smartphones at MWC 2018, but Nokia had plenty of new devices to feast your eyes on, including a sleek handset to rival the Galaxy S9. Although a Nokia 9 was a possibility, the firm actually announced the Nokia 8 Sirocco, which is quite a
radical phone for HMD – the company with the rights to the Nokia brand. For now, this is the Nokia 9.
The 8 Sirocco will arrive in April 2018. We don’t have UK price just yet, but it could be even more expensive than the Galaxy S9, which is rumoured to cost £739.
It’s interesting that the price is going to be very similar to Samsung’s new phone because the 8 Sirocco has a design that’s extremely reminiscent of the Galaxy range of late. That’s not a bad thing unless you feel like Nokia has ripped off Samsung’s design.
Unlike the other Nokia handsets that use an aluminium casing, the 8 Sirocco is almost entirely glass – more than a whopping 95 percent, according to HMD. This is vacuum moulded Gorilla Glass 5 and it looks extremely stylish.
Like the Galaxy phones, it’s curved at the sides (front and back) and the two pieces almost meet down the sides, apart from a sliver of stainless steel which is less than 2mm thick.
The stainless steel has ‘dual diamond polished chamfers’ for grip, which sounds great. However, the metal down the sides is so thin it feels a little bit sharp.
The Nokia 8 Sirocco is thinner than the Galaxy S9 at 7.5mm and as such doesn’t offer a headphone jack, which is a shame. The phone is waterproof, though with an IP67 rating.
There are more similarities with the Galaxy range as the fingerprint scanner is rear mounted. The camera
array does stick out a little way but not so much that it’s an issue, partly as it’s central.
At this price, Nokia needs to be offering serious specs to go with the high-end design. On the whole that is the case, though it’s not all hunky-dory.
The screen is a little different from rivals since although it’s got the curved edges like Galaxy phones, it’s the more traditional 16:9 aspect ratio. At 5.5in, it’s just a little smaller than others and not as tall.
It’s got a 2K Quad HD resolution and uses plastic OLED technology. Nokia has gone for a more compact package that actually might be easier to use for some. We’ll test it out further but the display looks perfectly crisp, bright and colourful.
We’re expecting a wave of smartphones with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 but the Nokia 8 Sirocco is a little out of date because it’s powered by last year’s Snapdragon 835.
That’s not the end of the world, but we would expect the latest chip at this high-end price.
It helps that you get 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage as standard. However, there’s no microSD card slot, so it’s not all plain sailing here.
It’s a shame there’s no headphone jack, but you do get a USB-C adaptor included there are some audio features in the form of three mics that can capture audio in 24-bit resolution. Nokia promises distortionfree recordings up to 132dB with ‘spatial audio’.
When it comes to connectivity, the Nokia 8 Sirocco is packed as you would expect a flagship to be with
dual-band 11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, GPS and various sensors including the fingerprint reader on the back.
Moving onto photography and this is an area the Nokia 8 Sirocco looks to be strong. Where rivals may force you to buy a plus model to get dual-cameras, they are standard here.
At the back you get a 12Mp camera with large 1.4μm pixels and a decent f/1.75 aperture. This is accompanied by a 13Mp telephoto lens with an f/2.6 aperture and a dual-tone flash.
The front offers a less impressive 5Mp camera for selfies, also with 1.4μm pixels and an f/2 aperture. All the cameras seem decent enough but we’ll need proper testing time to see how they stack up to rivals.
Although the cameras seem decent, it’s worth noting that the Nokia 7 Plus has the same ones.
The glass design means wireless charging is possible. You can also charge via the USB-C port and the firm says you can get 50 percent battery in 30 minutes thanks to fast charging. Battery life should be good with an above average 3,260mAh battery.
If you’re not a fan of the somewhat busy user interfaces offered by the likes of Samsung and LG, then the Nokia 8 Sirocco might be a good choice for you. Although it has Android 8 Oreo like others, the phone is part of the Android One program. In fact, all of Nokia’s new phones – apart from the feature phones – are, too.
You might have thought this was for cheaper phones but that’s not the case, and actually means you’re getting a clean and simple Android experience similar to that of the Pixel phones.
It means no preinstalled apps from third-parties and other benefits like regular security updates, Google Assistant front and centre and the guarantee of upgrades to future Android versions for two years.
The Nokia 8 Sirocco is a really interesting device from the firm that’s completely different to its other phones. With similar design, it’s a direct rival to the Galaxy S9, although with some specs that aren’t so impressive despite a very similar price.
No headphone jack or 18:9 screen might be enough for some to go elsewhere but the Android One software is a lure for those wanting the simple life. Chris Martin
• 5.5in (2560x1440, 534ppi) P-OLED capacitive display • Android 8.0 Oreo • Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 835 processor • Octa-core 4x 2.5GHz Kryo & 4x 1.8GHz Kryo • Adreno 540 GPU • 6GB RAM • 128GB storage, microSD up to 256GB • Fingerprint scanner • Dual rear-facing cameras: 12Mp (f/1.75, 1.4μm, OIS) and 12Mp (f/2.6, 1μm), dual pixel phase detection autofocus, 2x optical zoom, Carl Zeiss optics, dualLED dual-tone flash • 5Mp front-facing camera: f/2.0, 1.4μm, 1080p • 802.11ac Wi-Fi • Bluetooth 5.0 • A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS • Micro-USB 3.1 Type-C • Non-removable lithium-ion 3,260mAh battery • 140.9x73x7.5mm
Thanks to the glass design wireless charging is possible