After months of rumors and speculation, HMD Global unveiled the Nokia 8, the first Nokia flagship that runs Android. This carries a bit of historical significance, but it also means that Nokia has entered a domain full of strong and worthwhile contenders. Whether the Nokia 8 remains afloat in this crowded field of smartphones partly depends on how much the Nokia name can carry the phone, but also whether the Nokia 8 is a good option on its own.
On the spec tables below, I’ve included the Moto Z2 Force, OnePlus 5, HTC U11, Samsung Galaxy S8/S8 Plus, and LG G6. Keep in mind there are other notable releases from this year and even from last year, a particularly strong point if you are someone willing to save some scratch to get something a bit older.
Starting things off with processors, the Nokia 8 joins the growing list of phones that feature Qualcomm’s latest 10nm Snapdragon 835 mobile platform. All the phones except the LG G6 feature the processor, with the LG G6 featuring last year’s Snapdragon 821. It is still a speedy chipset, but the Snapdragon 835 will give you more future-proofing, extra performance, and more battery life in the long run.
| ||OnePlus 5||HTC U11||Galaxy S8 / S8 Plus||LG G6||Huawei P10 Plus
|5.8-inch / 6.2-inch|
|5.5-inch QHD LCD
|SoC||Snapdragon 835||Snapdragon 835||Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895||Snapdragon 821||Kirin 960
|CPU||4x 2.45 GHz Kryo 280 +|
4x 1.7 GHz Kryo 280
|4x 2.45 GHz Kryo 280 +|
4x 1.7 GHz Kryo 280
|4x 2.4 GHz Kryo 280 +|
4x 1.7 GHz Kryo 280 or
4x 2.4 GHz Samsung M2 +
4x 1.7 GHz Cortex-A53
|2x 2.35 GHz Kryo +|
2x 1.6 GHz Kryo
|4x 2.4 GHz Cortex-A73 +
4x 1.8 GHz Cortex-A53
|GPU||Adreno 540||Adreno 540||Adreno 540 or Mali-G71 MP20||Adreno 530||Mali-G71 MP8
|RAM||6 / 8 GB||4 / 6 GB||4 GB||4 GB||4 / 6 GB
|Storage||64 / 128 GB||64 / 128 GB||64 GB||32 / 64 GB||64 / 128GB
The Nokia 8 also keeps pace with other flagships in terms of displays, with the phone featuring a Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440) resolution. Apart from the OnePlus 5, which sticks to a 1080p AMOLED display, all the other displays feature at least QHD resolution. Even putting the OnePlus 5 aside, however, discrepancies remain between display technology.
For one, the Nokia 8’s and LG G6’s panels are LCD, which means that they do not support Daydream VR. Meanwhile, the LG G6’s and Galaxy S8/S8 Plus’ panels support HDR, but even then, the specifics are a bit fuzzy. All of the displays are scratch-resistant to an extent, but the Moto Z2 Force’s display technology prevents it from shattering when dropped, at the expense of a scratch-prone screen. Finally, whereas the LG G6 and Galaxy S8/S8 Plus feature taller, 18:9 displays, the Nokia 8, Moto Z2 Force, OnePlus 5, and HTC U11 feature more traditional 16:9 displays.
In other words, if you do not care about any of that, the Nokia 8’s display will serve you just fine. If you sweat over the details, however, it might be best to do a bit of homework on all of the phones.
Things get a bit simpler when it comes to memory. The Nokia 8 features 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB UFS flash across the board, though the Tempered Blue variant features 6 GB of RAM and double the storage. Regardless of the color choice, the fast UFS options are a boon and the microSD card slot is there if those storage amounts are not enough.
| ||Nokia 8||Moto Z2 Force||OnePlus 5||HTC U11||Galaxy S8 / S8 Plus||LG G6
|Cameras||Dual 13 MP f/2.0 rear with OIS|
13 MP f/2.0 front
|Dual 12 MP f/2.0 rear|
5 MP f/2.2 front
|16 MP + 20 MP f/1.7 rear with EIS|
16 MP f/2.0 front with EIS
|12 MP f/1.7 rear with OIS|
16 MP front
|12 MP f/1.7 rear with OIS|
8 MP f/1.7 front
|Dual 13 MP f/2.4 & f/1.8 rear with OIS
5 MP f/2.2 front
|Battery||3,090 mAh||2,730 mAh||3,300 mAh||3,000 mAh||3,000 / 3,500 mAh||3,300 mAh
|Fast charge||Quick Charge 3.0||TurboPower||Dash Charge||Quick Charge 3.0||Yes||Quick Charge 3.0
|3.5 mm audio||Yes||No||Yes||No||Yes||Yes
|Extras||USB Type-C, Nokia OZO audio||USB Type-C, Moto Mods||USB Type-C, Hi Res Audio, 2x Optical Zoom||USB Type-C, Boomsound Hi-Fi, HTC Connect, Hi Res audio, AI assistants, Edge Sense||USB Type-C, Bixby, Facial Recognition, Wireless Charging, Samsung Pay, HDR display||USB Type-C, Wireless Charging, HDR Display, Hi Res audio
|OS||Android 7.1.1||Android 7.1.1||Android 7.1||Android 7.1||Android 7.0||Android 7.0
Moving right along, Nokia puts its relationship with Carl Zeiss optics to good use with the Nokia 8’s dual 13 MP cameras. Both sensors feature f/2.0 aperture, but the color sensor is the only one with optical image stabilization – the monochrome sensor does not feature OIS. The front-facing sensor also stands at 13 MP with f/2.0 aperture and auto-focus, which allows the Nokia 8 to include its “bothie” feature.
This feature allows pictures and videos to be taken with the front and rear cameras at the same time. The phone also utilizes Ozo Audio that uses its microphones to capture a high dynamic range and record binaural audio. It is nice to have these features available out of the box, but, at least with the “bothie” mode, it can be replicated with the right app.
This is where the other options come in. The Moto Z2 Force, OnePlus 5, and LG G6 also feature dual rear cameras, while the single rear sensors found on the HTC U11 and Galaxy S8/S8 Plus are still impressive. The LG G6’s selfie sensor is really the only “okay” option available, but we are at a point where Android flagships finally feature capable cameras on the front and back.
In terms of battery, the Nokia 8 features a 3,090 mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0. The standard allows for rapid charging, but the emphasis is on improved efficiency. If fast charging is all you want, then things do not get faster than the OnePlus 5’s Dash Charge. You have to use the cable and power brick included in the box if you want to use Dash Charge, however, and the OnePlus 5 does not support any other fast charging standard.
Finally, the Nokia 8 does not mess around too much with bonus features. The phone features IP58 certification, so while it is reasonably protected against dust, it is only splash-proof. The phone also retains the 3.5 mm headphone jack, NFC, and Android 7.1.1 Nougat. We know that last bit is a weird thing to include for bonus features, but that is for a good reason: timely updates, which Nokia promised for its Android phones and has so far delivered.
The HTC U11, Galaxy S8/S8 Plus, and LG G6 also feature IP ratings for water and dust resistance, but the Moto Z2 Force and OnePlus 5 do not. With more and more flagships featuring IP ratings, it is becoming less of an excuse for higher-tier phones to have water and dust resistance.
Finally, we have to discuss virtual assistants because, for some reason, HTC and Samsung are dabbling with them with Amazon Alexa and Bixby, respectively. They, along with the Nokia 8 and the others, also use Google Assistant, with Nokia choosing to put efforts elsewhere.
Overall, the Nokia 8 checks off all the boxes that a 2017 Android flagship needs to. The problem, and one you might have caught on, is whether the Nokia 8 does enough to differentiate itself from the competition. Sure, the Nokia name is still an evocative one, but I am not sure whether it will convince folks to buy the Nokia 8 over something like the Samsung Galaxy S8/S8 Plus.
Another concern is the Nokia 8’s price, which currently sits at €599. My fears would be greatly diminished if it sold for $599, but if the phone sells for the conversion rate of around $705, that puts the Nokia 8 in a financial pickle. The OnePlus 5, which features similar specs across the board sans the display, sells for $200 less in the US. Funny enough, the only phone in this comparison that costs more than the Nokia 8, at least in USD, is the Moto Z2 Force.
Even with all of that being said, the Nokia 8 looks to be a solid Android flagship, but what do you think? Do you think the Nokia 8 stacks up well against the best of the best that Android has to offer thus far?
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