Nokia 8

Nokia re­turns to the high-end smart­phone mar­ket with style and power – but is that enough?

PC Pro - - November 2017 Issue 277 - DARIEN GRA­HAM-SMITH

The Nokia 8 aims to make a state­ment: the world’s on­ce­dom­i­nant phone brand is back. Not that the 8 is the first new An­droid smart­phone from Nokia. Last month we re­viewed the cheaper Nokia 3 ( see is­sue 276, p57), and it has also re­leased mid-range Nokia 5 and 6 hand­sets. But the Nokia 8 is the most im­por­tant – the pre­mium hand­set that’s set to com­pete with the likes of the iPhone and the Galaxy S8.

It’s won­der­fully slim, mea­sur­ing 7.3mm, and be­cause it’s hewn from a sin­gle block of alu­minium it has a so­lid­ity like few other phones. Its cham­fered edges and curved sides en­sure that it sits snugly in the hand, and make it easy to ac­cess the front-mounted fin­ger­print reader with­out ad­just­ing your grip or shuf­fling the phone about in your palm.

Front and cen­tre, of course, is the screen. It’s not an edge-to-edge de­sign, such as the Sam­sung Galaxy S8’s or the LG G6’s, but at 5.3in across the di­ag­o­nal it’s a de­cent size, and its 2,560 x 1,440 res­o­lu­tion trans­lates to an im­pec­ca­bly crisp 554ppi. It’s su­per-bright too, hit­ting a blind­ing 663cd/m2, so ev­ery­thing looks vi­brant. A coat­ing of Go­rilla Glass 5 means it also has a good chance of sur­viv­ing ac­ci­den­tal drops with­out shat­ter­ing.

Un­der the alu­minium, the Nokia 8 has the sort of in­ter­nals you’d ex­pect from a mod­ern flag­ship smart­phone: an eight-core Qual­comm Snap­dragon 835 processor and a full 4GB of RAM. Pre­dictably, there­fore, the 8 achieved bench­mark scores that were on par with all the big-hitters of the An­droid world: 6,540 in Geekbench 4’s mul­ti­core test, 1,930 in the sin­gle-core bench­mark. That’s a hair’s breadth be­hind the Galaxy S8 (turn to p65 to see how it com­pares to the Asus ZenFone AR and other top-end phones). The same was true in the GFXBench Man­hat­tan 3 gam­ing bench­mark.

There’s even bet­ter news when it comes to bat­tery life. The mar­ket­ing has made much of the Nokia 8’s “ad­vanced heat man­age­ment so­lu­tion” – an in­ter­nal liq­uid-cool­ing sys­tem that’s de­signed to draw heat away from the chipset. The idea is to ex­tend bat­tery life by keep­ing heat lev­els to a min­i­mum, and we have to say, it works (see our fea­ture on ex­tend­ing bat­tery life on p46).

With this in place, the Nokia 8 played back con­tin­u­ous video for a stonk­ing 18hrs 46mins on a sin­gle charge. That puts it ahead of the best that Ap­ple, Sam­sung and Sony have to of­fer; in this class, only the OnePlus 5’s 20hrs 40mins could beat it.

At the rear of the Nokia 8 sits a 13-megapixel Zeiss-branded camera. In fact, it’s a dual-camera ar­range­ment: in ad­di­tion to your bog-stan­dard RGB sen­sor, there’s an f/2.0 mono­chrome sen­sor

that’s used to

“Un­der the alu­minium, the Nokia 8 has the sort of in­ter­nals you’d ex­pect from a flag­ship phone – in­clud­ing the lat­est processor”

re­solve fine de­tail. The in­put from the two sen­sors is com­bined in-camera to cre­ate a fi­nal im­age that of­fers both sharp de­tails and bright, punchy colours. This isn’t a Nokia in­no­va­tion – we first saw it on the HTC One M8 way back in 2014 – but it works well here.

The front camera also uses a 13-megapixel sen­sor, and, in­trigu­ingly, it’s pos­si­ble to ac­ti­vate both cam­eras at once, to cap­ture what Nokia is op­ti­misti­cally call­ing a “bothie”. The re­sul­tant im­age shows both the scene in front of you and, to the side, your reaction to it. It’s a fun lit­tle fea­ture, and it works with video as well as still im­ages; I can see it catch­ing on for Face­book and YouTube live streams.

The Nokia 8 is an at­trac­tive and pow­er­ful smart­phone, no doubt about that. Ev­ery­thing about it oozes qual­ity, from the high-res screen to the im­pres­sive bat­tery life – and, hap­pily, Nokia has equipped it with stock An­droid. The price is com­pet­i­tive with other flag­ship phones too; it’s worth men­tion­ing that you get 64GB of on­board stor­age, which can be ex­panded by up to 256GB via a mi­croSD slot. The only ques­tion that re­mains is whether, in 2017, there’s much ap­petite in the mar­ket for an­other high-end hand­set. It’s a long time since the Nokia brand alone was enough to sell phones. Even so, the Nokia 8 is, on its own mer­its, a wor­thy ri­val to the es­tab­lished gi­ants of the mar­ket. It might not fully re-es­tab­lish the pres­tige of the Nokia of old, but it’s a big, con­fi­dent stride in the right di­rec­tion.

BE­LOW No need for the blues – you can choose the Nokia 8 in mul­ti­ple colours SPEC­I­FI­CA­TIONS Octa-core 2.45GHz/1.9GHz Qual­comm Snap­dragon 835 processor 4GB RAM Adreno 540 graph­ics 5.3in IPS screen, 2,560 x 1,440 res­o­lu­tion 64GB stor­age mi­croSD slot dual 13MP rear camera 13MP front camera 802.11ac Wi-Fi Blue­tooth 5 NFC USB-C con­nec­tor 3,090mAh bat­tery An­droid 7.1 74 x 7.9 x 152mm (WDH) 160g 1yr war­ranty

ABOVE The Nokia 8 is hewn from a sin­gle block of alu­minium

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