After playing the nostalgia card with the new version of the Nokia 3310 last year, HMD Global took advantage of MWC 2018 to lift the veil on its new high-end smartphone, the Nokia 8 Sirocco (not the Nokia 9, after all). We were able to take a look at the smartphone in person in Barcelona during the brand's press conference. Read on to discover our first (very postive) impressions.
Nokia 8 Sirocco design and build quality
The Nokia 8 placed more emphasis on the quality of the finishes than on the design of the exteriors. For its successor, HMD Global fixed this mistake and offers a device that looks just good as it functions. Nokia's new device is a real breakthrough in terms of design when compared to the rest of the series.
The brand is now on-trend with thinner bezels and a more modern design, but, if you're not a fan of the 18:9 format that we're seeing in flagships lately, then you'll be pleased to know that the 8 Sirocco has a 16:9 ratio.
Like the Samsung Galaxy S8, the Nokia 8 Sirocco has a metal body with two glass panels. These panels are slightly curved and the screen stretches along the edges of the phone, reminiscent of the Samsung Galaxy S series. Nokia has left the upper and lower bezels in order to make handling easier. The smartphone's ergonomic design has been successful in my opinion, as it's easy to handle.
As a result of this new design, the position of the fingerprint reader has been changed from the front to the back, underneath the dual camera. Before we start to see the implementation of the in-display fingerprint reader, this is a worthwhile compromise. The headphone jack is also missing, which is a shame. However, Nokia compensates for this with its IP68 certification, protecting the device from dust and water.
The Nokia 8 Sirocco features a nice 5.5-inch screen with 1440 x 2560 pixels QHD resolution. For its second high-end smartphone, HMD Global has decided to change its display technology. IPS is out, OLED is in. The smartphone now offers more vibrant but potentially less natural colors than an LCD screen. In practice, the rendering is good and the colours match the other OLED screens found on other high-end smartphones.
In addition to this new display technology, the other good thing about this Nokia 8 Sirocco is its software interface. The smartphone has a stock version of Android 8.1 Oreo. Based on recent experience with the Nokia 8, there is little doubt that the Nokia 8 Sirocco will soon benefit from the next Android update.
If you purchase the Nokia 8 Sirocco or another device from the Finnish manufacturer, you will also be entitled to security updates for at least 2 years.
As for stock Android, you either love it or hate it. Personally, I like it. The good thing with this version is that there is no bloatware, which makes the system more fluid. The applications open quickly and there are no signs of overheating when I started using them.
Camera developed in partnership with ZEISS
No, the Nokia 8 Sirocco does not yet offer the camera with 5 lenses placed inside a circular module similar to the one already seen on the Lumia 1020. This feature is likely to appear on the Nokia 10. Meanwhile, the partnership with Zeiss has been renewed and the Nokia 8 Sirocco offers a dual 12MP camera with a wide-angle lens and 13MP with a 2x zoom lens. The 5 megapixel front camera also features a wide-angle (84 degree) lens.
A cool feature of the Nokia 8 Sirocco is that it is always possible to use the "bothie" mode to take a picture using both front and rear cameras simultaneously. Nokia also had the good idea to update its photo application with a new manual mode. I am looking forward to receiving our test device to discover the photo potential of the Nokia 8 Sirocco.
The Nokia 8 on steriods
Like any respectful top-of-the-range smartphone in 2018, the Nokia 8 Sirocco boasts high-flying technical specifications: the Snapdragon 835, with 6 GB of RAM. Add to this the fact that the smartphone has 128 GB of Ultra Fast Storage (UFS) 2.1 internal memory, and you can see how impressive it is.
The smartphone is certainly one of the fastest on the market, and although the specifications have been updated slightly, unfortunately it's not yet possible to check how fast it really is. When we receive our test device, we'll be able to tell you more.
A promising battery
The Nokia 8 battery didn't disappoint us, and one would assume that the Nokia 8 Sirocco would follow the same path. The smartphone packs a 3260 mAh battery, so hopefully we can get through a day of messaging, browsing and gaming without a recharge!
It won't be available in the US in 2018
Finally, lets talk about the price and availability. We now know that the Nokia 8 Sirocco wont be arriving in the US this year, but in Europe it will be available from the beginning of April for €749 (around $920).
Nokia 8 Sirocco technical specifications
|Dimensions:||140.93 x 72.97 x 7.5 mm|
|Battery size:||3260 mAh|
|Screen size:||5.5 in|
|Front camera:||5 megapixels|
|Rear camera:||13 megapixels|
|Android version:||8.0 - Oreo|
|Internal storage:||128 GB|
|Chipset:||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835|
|Number of cores:||8|
|Connectivity:||HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth|
If the year 2017 had marked Nokia's return to the telephone world, 2018 seems to be the year of confirmation. Unlike its predecessor, the Nokia 8 Sirocco is finally worthy of HMD Global's ambitions. With a particularly attractive design, the Finnish manufacturer's new flagship offers top-of-the-range technical features that will enable it to compete with all the new stars on the market, including the Samsung Galaxy S9.
Combine that with the partnership with ZEISS for the photo part and a version of Android Oreo stock, then you will understand my enthusiasm. It remains to be seen whether these first positive impressions will be confirmed when we receive our test phone. To be continued...
Are you excitied by the Nokia 8 Sirocco? Will Nokia climb back to the top in 2018?