Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Nokia earlier had a knack for rolling out devices with unconventional designs and form factors. However, its game plan seems to have changed a little since another Finnish company, HMD Global, took it over to resurrect the dying Nokia brand.
In the past year, HMD Global has rolled out almost a dozen devices – smartphones and feature phones. In perspective, the range earlier lacked the true blueblood flagship and focused more on value-for-money smartphones. But the company unveiled its first premium flagship, the Nokia 8 Sirocco, at the Mobile World Congress this year. The device aims to set the stage for the company’s foray into the premium smartphone segment.
The Nokia 8 Sirocco, just like the original Nokia 8800 Sirocco edition, is an elegant looking smartphone wrapped in a premium glass & stainless steel curved body that packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 system-on-chip, along with 128GB storage and 6GB RAM.
The Nokia 8 is a step forward in the new direction. It does not have the notch screen, but it has curved sides on the front and back that blend into the aluminium frame, making the phone chassis ultra slim. The conventional 16:9 aspect ratio screen does not look bad, either, especially with small bezels on the top and bottom, and almost no bezels on sides, thanks to the curved screen property.
The 5.5-inch plastic-OLED screen catches the fancy of multimedia enthusiasts. Unlike the super AMOLED screens used in Samsung smartphones, Nokia’s is not perfect, but it sure has its strengths. The screen renders deep blacks and satisfactory illumination that allow sunlight legibility. By default, the screen is set to throw punchy colours full of contrast and saturation – not everyone would like it. But the power efficiency it allows is one area that could win the display some accolade. Even with a continuous multimedia playback and online streaming, the phone manages to go on for more than a day.
Talking about battery, the stock Android Oreo operating system is also partially responsible for improved battery-on time. The clutter-free OS comes with the Android One guarantee, which assures timely future updates till the hardware supports it.
Imaging has been known to be a forte of Nokia smartphones. But in this one, HMD Global seems to have missed something while refining the performance of the dual rear cameras, which use Carl Zeiss optics lenses. The 12-megapixel and 13MP rear cameras capture exemplary shots in day-light conditions, but they seem to capture light in low-light conditions. The result is that photos come dark. The 5MP selfie camera works satisfactory but it has nothing exceptional.
The Nokia 8 Sirocco is an unconventional flagship smartphone with a premium design, top-tier innards, wireless charging, water-dust resistance and the Android One promise of guaranteed future OS updates. The phone’s camera might not impress everyone, especially those who like nightlife photography. But the three omni-directional Nokia OZO microphones compensate for that by allowing crisp sound recording, even during the live jamming sessions.