Nokia 8 – A Fitting Flagship – Review

When Nokia came back, I wanted them to stare, where they left: Top End Lumia mobiles. But instead, they were testing the waters with the wrong stick. They came back with mid-range devices which is a crowded and highly competitive segment. Top end mobile is where a company like Nokia can really make a dent and after a long wait, we have the Nokia 8. Is it too late? Do we have better mobiles in that tier? Let’s check out in this review.


Nokia 8 looks a lot like the old Lumia mobiles. The Polished Blue color which I was playing around with is a very photogenic mobile. It comes in other colors like tempered blue, matte black or steel, but the Polished Blue is the best of the lot. It is bright and shiny. It has curved back and corners making it very comfortable to hold in the hand, but it is mildly slippery. The mobile has a 5.3-inch display and that is the perfect size to hold and operate in one hand. Above the display is the 13 MP camera and below is the oddly shaped fingerprint scanner. The fingerprint scanner is fast and accurate. The navigation keys are backlit. Though it is not an edge-to-edge mobile, the display has symmetric bezels making it look very stylish. It is an ergonomically designed mobile. It is IP54 splash resistant. If I say, “As sturdy as a Nokia”, that would have sturdy twice in the same sentence. So this Nokia 8 is a stylish, sturdy and sensibly designed mobile.


The 5.3-inch display is an IPS LCD panel with 1440p resolution cramped into it, giving it a high pixel density score. The display is of high quality. It has brilliant outdoor and indoor visibility. The viewing angles are good. The contrast levels are so deep that it almost feels like an AMOLED display. Nokia 8 has one of the best displays among the flagship devices.


The world has been longing for a great camera mobile and I would say that has never been satisfied by any mobile till date. Nokia’s PureView and Carl-Zeiss lens combination had given us some great camera in the past and with Nokia 8 having a Carl-Zeiss less, the expectation levels just went up the roof. But I guess HMD’s Nokia failed to understand that and gave us a mediocre camera experience with the Nokia 8, though it had all the necessary hardware. Nokia 8 had 13 MP dual camera at the back. It also has a 13 MP camera on the front. The color reproduction, contrast levels, focusing speed, low light performance is all just about “AVERAGE”.

There is this bothie feature, that lets you click a photo with a composite shot from front and back camera. It would excite anyone who wants to tell a story on the social media, but I don’t see anyone using it regularly. There is nothing on the Nokia 8’s camera that would blow your mind. It does not meet the expectation levels. The camera UI is also basic. The icons are confusing and the UI is sluggish. It is a good camera hardware, but the software let it down. Nokia can improve the experience, but will they?

Check out some of the camera samples

Performance and Hardware

Nokia 8 runs on Snapdragon 835 with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage. It is blazingly fast. It is good for multi-tasking, but I still feel that there must have been a 6 GB RAM variant available in India. There is no lag in the UI. It is a fast mobile. The gaming experience on this mobile is smooth and shows no signs of lag or frame drop. Also, the mobile mildly heats up by about 8 degrees on 30 minutes of non-stop gaming, though it has a dedicated cooling mechanism. Unique to Nokia 8 is the Nokia OZO which lets you record and reproduce hi-fi surround audio. I found it mesmerizing, but it is best used by anyone who understands sound. Overall, the performance of the Nokia 8 matches any flagship device in the market.


Nokia 8 runs on Android Nougat with Stock UI experience. It does not have any bloatware. Nokia has promised regular software updates and Oreo is also on the way tot Nokia 8 very soon. The UI is fast and has no lags. It was a smooth user experience using the Nokia 8 as my daily driver.


Nokia 8 has a 3000 mAh battery which can last for a full day of moderate usage for most users. It gives about 4+ hours of screen on-time regularly. It supports QuickCharge 3.0 and the mobile can charge from 0 to 100% in 1:30 hours. Nokia 8 may not be a battery beast, but it has good enough battery life to stay with you for a whole day.


Nokia 8 has a sturdy design, splash resistance, and fast performance. The camera does not excite me and the price tag scares me. Though we can scream “Nokia is back”, “Nostalgia”, “Wow Nokia”, at the end of the day, Nokia is late to the party and there are better mobiles in the market right now. Nokia must pull out some sort of insane stunt to thrash competition, but the Nokia 8 does not have any tricks up its sleeve. For a price of Rs 36999, I would rather prefer Oneplus 5T, LG V30 or even the older LG G6. HMD’s Nokia has got a long way to go, but I do have a positive feeling about Nokia’s future in India.




A Technology evangelist, Giridhar reviews gadgets and mobile applications. He is also a passionate photographer and a user experience designer by profession.