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REVIEW: New Nokia 8 Gets All The Basics Right, As For ‘Bothies’ It’s A Gimmick

They were mercifully dumped by consumers, and like a lot of brands in the tech space quickly forgotten, now a Brit Company is bringing the Nokia brand back to life and if their new Nokia 8 handset is anything to go by they have a big chance of taking on Apple and Samsung in the Premium market.

The $899 Nokia 8 which will be available at JB Hi Fi next month only has a slither of opportunity in this market up against Apple with their iPhones and Samsung with their top end Galaxy models owning over 74% of the premium market.

Where the opportunity arises for British Company HMD is among people who want a top end premium Android phone bit don’t want to fork out $1,400 for an iPhone or $1.100 for a Samsung Galaxy S8.

In this space, the competition will be the HTC U11 and LG with their new V30 two Companies who have failed to dent the top two. This is not because their smartphones are inferior in fact both LG and HTC have excellent smartphone offerings. It’s because they lack brand clout and don’t have the marketing budgets to compete.
Also set to feel the heat from the arrival of Nokia are several Chinese brands who also lack brand clout in the Australian market.

Nokia have a great offering with their new Nokia 8 which is a significant improvement over their bottom end models which will; struggle up against offerings from the likes of Alcatel in the prepaid market.

If the Nokia 8 takes off there is every chance that the Nokia 3 and 5 will get pulled up as demand for the Nokia 8 grows.
When I first got the Nokia 8 I was sceptical but after using this device for several days I am seriously impressed. In fact, I intend to take the device to Europe this week for the IFA trade show in Berlin so it will be interesting to see how it really stacks up in a business and leisure environment, at this stage I think I am going to be impressed.

Out of the box this device feels extremely good in the hand, the Quad HD resolution 5.3-inch LCD screen delivers excellent resolution. This device is also the nicest looking and feeling HMD Nokia phone yet, with sloping sides and an aluminium back It’s also thin and light.

Nokia is also shipping it in both matte and glossy colours, so you don’t have to put up with a fingerprint magnet if you don’t want to.

The shiny steel of my device instantly stood out as my favourite colour, but the matte blue is slick and a lot more subtle.

Using it over 3 business days and over a weekend I found the 3050mAh battery really delivered especially as I use my smartphone for business up to 10 hours a day. What I would like to see in this device is wireless charging like the HTC U 11, and Samsung Galaxy 8.

One thing you immediately notice about this device it that it lacks all the bloatware and customisation that other premium brands are building into their devices. It’s running an almost stock version of Android 7.1.1, that Nokia said will be updated to Android O very quickly.

There are a few software additions, but most feel like they may actually be useful.

This device runs the latest version and Android and that is it. You get everything running on the Android OS that other devices are trying to emulate, voice, video calling, messaging and a host of integrated capabilities that appear to run smoother.

All you do is log into Google. The device is powered by a Snapdragon 835 SoC, 4GB of RAM and a water-cooling element that is designed to disperse heat around the phone more efficiently.

This feature actually works. Unlike other model smartphones, you don’t get heat build-up when multiple apps are running on the device. On one occasion, I had six apps open and there was still no heat build-up.

The Nokia 8 has three cameras: two on the back and one on the front. They all boast camera technology co-engineered by Zeiss.

This is the first Nokia-branded Android phone to feature Zeiss optics on the front and rear cameras. Both are 13-megapixel sensors, with a dual-camera array at the rear that also includes a monochrome camera.

HMD isn’t customizing the camera software very heavily here, but it has added what it calls a “bothie” mode.

As with the Huawei P10, one of the rear cameras takes monochrome pictures and, according to Nokia, will help enhance low-light performance.

This claim is questionable as I am set to see this technology actually deliver.

One gimmick that Nokia is pushing is called “Bothie” while unique to Nokia it does not work in a lot of environments.

When we first got our hands on this device we took a seaplane along the NSW Coast to Palm Beach and along Pittwater.

When you activate the video camera and then the ‘Bothie’ switch you will get two screens one aligned on your face and the other on the image you are trying to shoot, well that is the objective the only problem is as I found out shooting through the window of an aeroplane was that when I aligned the camera for the optimum image it actually shot my chin and not my face.

The Dual-Sight mode snaps a picture with both the front and rear cameras simultaneously but for a gimmick free phone this is one big tech fail.

Both Samsung and LG have tried and failed with similar features before and if a Dual-Sight mode is set to work it needs to record the two cameras images to separate files when shooting video so that one can edit in a two-way shot.

With my still shot’s the colours were strong and vibrant. They were okay.

Then there is the Live-streaming straight from the app to social network, to get this feature to work HMD engineers have incorporated the Ozo audio codec. This allows you to shoot a stream that delivers surround sound due to the use of three microphones built into the Nokia 8.

I will tell you how well this works after my trip to Europe.

The success of the Nokia 8 will come down to price, which currently sits at $899. For JB Hi Fi sales guys this is the optimum smartphone to recommend.

Conclusion
The Nokia 8 has plenty going for it, and of course it has the nostalgic Nokia name, but it’ll need more than ‘Bothie’ gimmicks to really make a dent against the competition.

I for one like to get the basics right, phone, camera, messaging and social network capability. I love the HTC U11 for its high res audio but he Nokia 8 delivers on all these fronts and is a deserving competitor in the premium smartphone market.

If they stay with less gimmicks and more raw basics that work exceptionally well they will get a seat at the premium table, the name Nokia still needs to have some branding work done on it but if the phone works and is seen as a solid invest by consumers, word of mouth will work for this brand.

Rating 9/10 

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