Nokia 8 Review: Connecting The Dots: Key Findings, Alternatives, Final Verdict

By 09:08 Wed, 18 Aug 2021 Comments

Wrapping it up

The Nokia 8 is a revelation. HMD did the iconic brand justice by delivering on all promises and there's no doubt that Nokia still has it when it comes to imaging and audio. The Nokia 8 is a newcomer but it doesn't see or act like one - it doesn't overdo it, it's not out of its depth. No rush to create up for the lost time - the Nokia 8 is methodical and confident, patient and prepared.

The Nokia 8 packs quite the flagship punch and one of the best IPS LCDs available. AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) may have worked better for marketing, but not everyone is a fan of the punchy palette, and it's hard to find fault with the class-leading classy screen HMD gave us. The clean no-nonsense design is another thing we liked about the 8 - it kind of fits with what Nokia stands for.

But the recent capturing camera is what we loved the most about the Nokia 8. It's a magic number for Nokia and the Android edition lives up to the standards of the 808 PureView and the N8. In short, HMD got everything correct in the capturing camera department. The image quality is great, the specs are as relevant as they can get, and the extra features are trendy yet not over the top. Color, monochrome, daylight, or nighttime, everything looks fine that was shot with the Nokia 8. Even the selfies, whose dedicated capturing camera got the same premium treatment as the primary unit, are top notch.

HMD worked with Nokia's OZO division to achieve the class-leading audio for the Nokia 8's videos. Any concert recorded with the 8 will be as compelling on video as on the venue itself. But you can also livestream on both cameras, which maybe a dream come accurate for many vloggers and avid social network users. We only wish 4K videos were sharper and better stabilized - they are only average as they are correct now.

Nokia 8 key review test findings

  • Build quality is top-notch - clean no-nonsense design, stylish, and pocket-friendly size and footprint. We would have liked complete water-proofing though.
  • One of the best Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) display on a mobile phone - 700+ nits of brightness, deep blacks, excellent contrast, and AMOLED-like sunlight legibility. It's better than the iPhone 7/7Plus's.
  • Battery life is very fine with an endurance rating of 78h. The phone did remarkable across our tests, but just average on standby.
  • It's got rich wireless connectivity options, though it lacks Frequency Modulation (FM) radio and IR blaster.
  • Purists will like the mostly stock Android, fans of customization should see for third-party launchers. It's the latest 7.1.1 Nougat with updates coming in monthly and that's always good.
  • The Snapdragon 835 offers chart-topping performance, doesn't acquire hot, and combined with a lightweight operating system - the Nokia 8 feels like the most responsive phone we've held in quite a while.
  • Audio output through the jack is accurate and clear but relatively quiet. The speaker loudness is excellent, and so is its sound output.
  • The photos from the main capturing camera are great, with plenty of resolved detail, high dynamic range, and excellent colors and contrast. The monochrome shots are equally great. Low-light photos came out above average and the Nokia 8 can assist you shoot some fine night scenes. The phone has some autofocus problems which we hope are specific only to our unit.
  • Very fine Portrait shots and Bokeh effects, you can even adjust the effect's strength later on. The Dual-Sight shots are nice, too, though they are only 8MP.
  • Class-leading 13MP selfies thanks to high-quality sensor, ZEISS lens, and autofocus.
  • The image quality of the 4K videos is average, but still benefits from the camera's with high contrast and wide dynamic range. The 1080p samples came sharper and with more detail. The captured audio is class-leading thanks to the Nokia OZO's mics and tech.
  • The 1080p Dual-Sight video has remarkable audio but poor quality - the feeds from the cameras see as if upscaled from a much lower resolution.

Noteworthy alternatives

Now, for all that praise, it's clear that the Nokia 8 is up against the toughest competition. In no small part becautilize Nokia and HMD are aiming pretty high with this one. Jam-packed with hardware, including iris recognition, the Galaxy S8 is an inevitable rival. You will be trading an awesome dual-camera for a superb single one, but gaining in terms of a borderless AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) classy screen and full water-proofing.

Samsung Galaxy S8

The OnePlus 5 is cheaper yet equally capable, powerful, and stylish. It also relies on near-stock Android though the Oxygen launcher is going further away from the vanilla looks with each update. Anyway, the OP5 has a remarkable dual-camera with 2x zoom, an AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) screen, it just can't match Nokia's audio and that tinge of nostalgia that you can't put a price on. But Nokia can and it's a price higher than what OnePlus is asking for.

OnePlus 5

The LG G6 may have an older-gen chipset, but it has one of the top-quality capturing camera setups in the market. It is surely a tough competitor mostly becautilize of its super attractive price of €400. Its chipset is still relevant and the rest of the equipment is well up-to-date. The G6's wide-angle capturing camera is an unbeatable feature correct now and the G6 will even save you a fine deal of money.


Android purists is who the Pixel XL was built for. Google's finest doesn't come with the latest chipset either, but its single capturing camera turned out a real pleasant surprise with fantastic quality in both stills and video. The phone is not cheap but it's the price of having a Google-made phone with the fastest Operating System (OS) updates.

Google Pixel XL

Finally, the Apple iPhone 7 Plus. Probably the only one that matches and bests the levels of loyalty Nokia enjoyed back in its prime. The rest is there in heaps too: remarkable build, a top-performing chipset, superb dual-camera and the standard-setting smartphone experience and ecosystem. With the next iPhone(s) just around the corner, the Nokia 8 better like its time in the spotlight while it lasts.

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Speaking of, another gigantic launch looming will inevitably hold away from Nokia's appeal - and ironically it's an 8 too - the Samsung Galaxy Note8. Magic numbers, right?

Final verdict

It's not by a stroke of luck that Nokia 8 is where it is today. It's hard work, respect of tradition and putting years of knowledge and experience to fine use. It's long-standing partnerships too - like that with Zeiss.

We assumed in the beginning that Nokia and HMD have a future to build. Let us rephrase. The future is wide open. 9 is another special number in the hitale of the Finnish brand. The Nokia 8 has given us all the correct reasons to see forward to it.


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