Hands on: Nokia 8 review

The comeback of Nokia is perhaps the strangest story in phones of 2017, and now its first range of devices seems to be complete, as the company has announced the brand new Nokia 8.

Earlier in the year HMD Global revealed it would be announcing new phones using the Nokia branding, and we saw the Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and the Nokia 6, which are all middling to good mid-range devices.

There was also the PR win of the new Nokia 3310 that got people sitting up and interested, and now finally here’s the flagship device from the company that we’ve all been waiting for.

Nokia 8 release date and price 

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The exact release date for the Nokia 8 is currently unclear but we’ve been given a launch window of September this year for most markets around the globe. We know for certain it’ll be coming to the UK, but there’s no clear release in the US or Australia yet.

We also know the price is set at €599 euros, which works out to be around £550 ($700, AU$890). That price would put it under the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S8, but still very much in high-end territory.

So far we don’t know what networks and carriers will be stocking the phone around the world, but we hope to see some deals information coming soon.

You can see our hands on video review of the Nokia 8 below

Nokia 8 design and display

The design of the Nokia 8 is one of the key elements and it’s one of the most – if not the most – beautiful phones we’ve ever seen with the Nokia branding emblazoned on the rear. 

There’s an aluminum unibody design that includes metal edges around the phone, but while the back is metal too, the feel on the rear will change depending on what version you buy.

There’s tempered blue and steel available, but both have a matt feel and are a little bit boring when put next to the shiny options of polished copper and blue that you can also buy. 

The body of the phone is thin, coming in at 7.9mm at its thickest point, but the edges curve down, so it sits comfortably in the hand. 

Those with smaller hands may also enjoy this device, as it comes with a 5.3-inch screen. It’s an LCD panel that has a QHD resolution and 700 nits of brightness. That’s high for a smartphone and should mean your phone’s display is easily viewable even in particularly glaring sunlight.

Antenna bands on the Nokia 8 are visible along the top and bottom of the phone, but each fits in with the look of the phone. The company has placed them on the top and bottom to try and give you a better signal when you’re holding the phone in your hand.

Below the screen is a fingerprint scanner between the two navigation buttons that seemed in an easy to reach position to tap to unlock the phone.

Nokia 8 battery and power

The Nokia 8 seemed to be snappy under the finger and because it’s toting the best-in-class Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset we’d expect it to be able to handle anything you want your phone to do.

It comes with 4GB of RAM to power that along, making it a match for most other flagships, while there’s also internal storage of 64GB and microSD support of up to 256GB, so you’ll be able to fill it full of your favorite apps and games too.

The Snapdragon 835 seemed to be speedy and we’ll put it through its paces for our full review. We think it should allow for some great battery life as well considering how we’ve seen this chipset perform on previous Android handsets.

That said, Nokia has only included a 3,090mAh battery in here so it may struggle to power a QHD screen. But Nokia has also included a liquid cooling system that it seems particularly proud of, which should mean the phone runs smoother and won’t get too hot and therefore use a lot more power.

We’ll be sure to fully test the battery on the Nokia 8 for our upcoming full review. The phone is charged up via the USB-C port at the bottom and there’s also Quick Charge 3.0, which should pump up the cell quickly, but there’s no wireless charging option.

Nokia 8 camera

Nokia wants to particularly highlight the camera tech on this phone and it’s no wonder, as it looks like an impressive setup. Much like most of the major phones in 2017, Nokia has opted for a dual-sensor here that uses two 13MP shooters.

One is an RGB lens and the other is a monochrome shooter and the two combine their images to offer better photos in low light. You can also shoot from just one of the lenses if you wish, but you’ll likely only want to use the monochrome one to do this, as it allows for true filter-free black and white shots.

Our testing showed some promise in the camera on the Nokia 8 with sharp and speedily shot photos, but we’ll be sure to dive deeper into the camera abilities for our full review.

There’s a 13MP front-facing camera as well that should give you some sharp selfie shots, and you can also livestream to either Facebook or YouTube from both cameras at the same time.

Nokia has given this feature the awful name of #Bothie, but the idea is you can shoot what you see in front of you as well as your reaction. This is a feature that some apps already offer, but having it ready and waiting on your phone makes you much more likely to actually use it.

Early verdict

The Nokia 8 seems like the full package with an attractive design, QHD display, powerful internals and some interesting camera features.

There’s little here that stands out though and that could cause the phone to struggle, particularly in a year like this when a lot of phones are fantastic and the Nokia 8 doesn’t come with an edge-to-edge display or something that truly distinguishes it from the crowd.

Especially given that the OnePlus 5 and Honor 9 offer very similar propositions for a lot less money, so it may end up being hard to recommend the Nokia 8 over them.

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