Nokia 8 review: Zen like Star Trek's Captain Picard
Nokia
It is 26th September 2017. One day has passed since the 51st anniversary of Star Trek , a TV series which pretty much has defined modern consumer electronics. And it is also the day HMD Global helps Nokia achieve a major milestone in its home away from home -- India. It is launching the Nokia 8 which is its latest flagship smartphone running the Android 7.1. The Nokia 8 is a different beast. It isn't flashy like the iPhone X which might be kind of a hustling James Tiberius Kirk and it for sure isn't Darth Vader like the Galaxy S8 . It is more zen like another Captain of the Enterprise, a diplomat, intelligent, poised and masterful in its own regard. It exudes the kind of Zen one expects from Captain Jean Luc Picard played by Sir Patrick Stewart in Star Trek: The Next Generation. There isn't anything frivolous about the Nokia 8 except perhaps for its bothies. It sticks to basics and more or less nails them like a seasoned diplomat. Almost Captain Picard like.

The Good


The design is the biggest giveaway into the mind of HMD Global's design team when the crafted the Nokia 8. Obviously some niceties from the Nokia 6 have made their way to the Nokia 8 design but this has been refined to the death. It is a classy phone with a nicely beveled posterior allowing for sublime in hand grip complemented by its odd yet fitting 5.3-inch screen size and 6000 series aluminum body and lush matte blue colour. Yep, it isn't winning any sex appeal awards here with a bezel-less screen but then again neither was an ageing Captain Picard with his bald head. Still women called him the sexiest man in the quadrant. The Nokia 8 for sure is one damn classy phone in the looks department, but it isn't following any modern aesthetic value systems.

Looks aside it is a phone which is damn powerful and intelligent. Qualcomm's latest flagship processor is at the heart of its experience coupled with 4GB RAM (yes, that's more than enough), 64GB storage, dual SIM and LTE to top things off. It has the basic ingredients to take on any Android smartphone out there but what makes it even better is the way Nokia has optimised everything. The phone runs vanilla Android 7.1 with the latest Google security patch. At the time of writing this review the phone has even received the latest September patch which is only there as of now on the Pixel and a handful of other phones. It also packs in the Google Assistant which gives it the smarts that would be the envy of even an iPhone user.


So yes, this is what makes it Picard like. It is a damn brainy phone and matches the tactical genius of Picard but has enough horsepower to run graphically intensive games and multiple apps at the same time without breaking a sweat. There's a heat pipe and a graphite sheet inside the chassis which keeps things cool like Picard.

HMD Global’s Nokia 8 is more ageing Professor X than Iron Man

It is 26th September 2017. One day has passed since the 51st anniversary of Star Trek, a TV series which pretty much has defined modern consumer electronics. And it is also the day HMD Global helps Nokia achieve a major milestone in its home away from home -- India. It is launching the Nokia 8 which is its latest flagship smartphone running the Android 7.1. The Nokia 8 is a different beast. It isn't flashy like the iPhone X which might be kind of a hustling James Tiberius Kirk and it for sure isn't Darth Vader like the Galaxy S8. It is more zen like another Captain of the Enterprise, a diplomat, intelligent, poised and masterful in its own regard. It exudes the kind of Zen one expects from Captain Jean Luc Picard played by Sir Patrick Stewart in Star Trek: The Next Generation. There isn't anything frivolous about the Nokia 8 except perhaps for its bothies. It sticks to basics and more or less nails them like a seasoned diplomat. Almost Captain Picard like.
The 5.3-inch display too is a very nice one. It isn't the largest nor does it have OLED technology and neither is it bezel-less, but who cares as this has one of the most colour accurate and bright LCDs I've ever seen on a phone. It works brilliantly even in bright sunlight and generally with its qHD resolution and Corning Gorilla Glass it is a joy to use for playing games, typing mails, reading or watching YouTube. This is a great example of form over function -- something Picard is known for as the Captain of the Enterprise.

Nokia 8
Then there are the cameras. The Zeiss dual 13-megapixel cameras are very interesting. They are optically stabilised and generally in day light they take great photos with nice levels of colour accuracy and even manage to perform very decently in low light. However what makes them special is the " Bothie " which is marketing speak for the Nokia 8's ability to engage its front 13-megapixel camera along with the rear dual cameras at the same time to take split view photos, videos and even live videos which can be enabled through the stock camera app itself. Honestly the bothie concept is a neat one, something that's been done to a lesser effect before too, but the Nokia 8 is the one phone which actually does it the best. More than that the ability to live stream video on Facebook and YouTube from within the camera interface is god sent. HMD Global doesn't stop here as it has integrated 4 high dynamic range microphones in the phone to enable Nokia OZO 360 spatial audio which is a first for a smartphone. Suffice to say this is the best smartphone to use if you like to bootleg your concert videos. Recently, at the Gizmodo India Deep Space event we used the Nokia 8 to live stream the performances of Else If! and Strange Movements and the effect was amazing.


Last but not the least is the battery life of the phone. Thanks to the smaller screen and optimised software and a special antenna design, this phone sips less power when hunting for a strong cellular signal which enables its average sized 3,090mAh battery to deliver in excess of 12 hours of battery life which is like a full work day for most people. It also gets charged using the USB Type C standard and supports fast charging.

Basically, it has the entire package. Mostly, and is very zen like Picard while doing so, attracting zero attention.

The Bad

Captain Picard wasn't without faults and so isn't the Nokia 8. It is a great phone but it does have some flaws which need to be addressed. To begin with, Nokia isn't providing a water resistant frame. Yes, the phone has IP 54 certification but that's not good enough these days when phones are over indexing on IP 67 certifications.

The front mounted fingerprint scanner does make this phone a little taller than it should be which can be irritating to look at considering the phone doesn't have a bezel-less design. The display could also use some more brilliance. Perhaps an OLED panel would have added to that.

Lastly, the camera is slow. There are no two ways about this. The camera is slow to click photos which results in many missed or blurred shots. This becomes worse in low light and at the same time the phone captures a lot of grains too which isn't ideal considering what one gets in some of the flagship smartphones these days. Even its bokeh mode is inferior from what Samsung has introduced in Note 8 and what's been there on the iPhone 7 Plus for over a year.

Overall, the big gripe would be that it doesn't have any attention grabbing hardware features like a strong bokeh mode, a bezel-less screen or a ceramic back.

Should you buy it?


HMD Global has channeled the legendary Captain Jean Luc Picard with the Nokia 8. It doesn't bother with frivolous features in almost an iPhone like way. It focuses on the basics and a couple of breakthrough technologies and mostly delivers. If you're looking for a lot of glamour here you wouldn't get here. You will only get class -- Patrick Stewart like class, class that Nokia is known for and Star Trek like tech Nokia helped bring to the masses.

HMD Global’s Nokia 8 is more ageing Professor X than Iron Man

It is 26th September 2017. One day has passed since the 51st anniversary of Star Trek, a TV series which pretty much has defined modern consumer electronics. And it is also the day HMD Global helps Nokia achieve a major milestone in its home away from home -- India. It is launching the Nokia 8 which is its latest flagship smartphone running the Android 7.1. The Nokia 8 is a different beast. It isn't flashy like the iPhone X which might be kind of a hustling James Tiberius Kirk and it for sure isn't Darth Vader like the Galaxy S8. It is more zen like another Captain of the Enterprise, a diplomat, intelligent, poised and masterful in its own regard. It exudes the kind of Zen one expects from Captain Jean Luc Picard played by Sir Patrick Stewart in Star Trek: The Next Generation. There isn't anything frivolous about the Nokia 8 except perhaps for its bothies. It sticks to basics and more or less nails them like a seasoned diplomat. Almost Captain Picard like.