The Nokia 8 flagship keeps the bezels, adds a 'bothie' camera

Nokia 8
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

HMD Global, the Finnish company that licensed the rights to produce Nokia phones, is revealing the company’s first Nokia-branded Android flagship phone today. The new Nokia 8 will be available in early September across Europe, priced at 599 euros ($705). As we saw with the leaks, the Nokia 8 has a 5.3-inch display (2560 x 1440), and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage.

The specs are mostly what you’d expect from any top phone this year, but HMD is sticking with capacitive keys and larger display bezels despite an emerging industry trend to slim bezels down and move the fingerprint sensor to the rear. In terms of design, the Nokia 8 is slim at 7.3mm on average across its curved frame, and it places the antennas at the top and bottom with a full aluminum back like we’ve seen from Meizu, Apple, and even OnePlus / Oppo. There are glossy blue and copper colors, and matte blue and grey options too. During a brief closer look at the handset, I personally preferred the matte colors.

Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

Instead of design superiority, HMD is offering some camera tricks. This is the first Nokia-branded Android phone to feature Zeiss optics on the front and rear cameras. Both are 13-megapixel sensors, with a dual-camera array at the rear that also includes a monochrome camera. HMD isn’t customizing the camera software very heavily here, but it has added what it calls a “bothie” mode.

The bothie mode (yes, really) is similar to what we’ve seen Samsung and LG do in the past, and it will activate both the front and rear cameras to capture photos or video. What’s slightly different here is that the Nokia 8 will also broadcast this video (with the front and rear cameras) to Facebook or YouTube natively through the camera interface. Ultimately it’s a camera gimmick, especially with the bothie naming, but it could prove popular for sports scenarios or even people attending and streaming protests.

Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

The Nokia 8 also includes another trick, thanks to the integration of Nokia’s Ozo Audio. Ozo has typically been reserved for Nokia’s futuristic camera for filming virtual reality, but HMD is now bringing the audio portion over to the Nokia 8. In real terms, it means that videos will capture 360-degree audio, allowing for it to be broadcast live on streams. If you’re listening to a Facebook live stream with headphones, you’ll be able to hear the 360 audio.

Nokia was one of the first phone makers to embrace notifications and information on a phone display when it’s off, and while others have followed HMD is now bringing back the always-on display. The Nokia 8 includes an LCD display, so this makes things more tricky than an OLED equivalent, but HMD has built a proprietary solution with a low-power mode for a small section of the display. It will show calls, emails, and text messages, and HMD plans to add social network notifications in the future.

Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

After my brief time with the Nokia 8, I wasn’t left blown away by the handset. It’s very much an average “flagship” compared to what we’re expecting from Apple this year, and what we’ve seen Samsung achieve with the Galaxy S8. HMD isn’t setting the bar high here with an uninspiring design, a lack of waterproofing or wireless charging, and a price point that doesn’t make this a cheap Android phone with good specs. That’s especially relevant when HMD has competition like the OnePlus 5.

HMD’s Nokia 8 joins the existing mid-range Nokia 6, Nokia 5, and Nokia 3 devices as the flagship handset in the range. It will go on sale across Europe in September priced at 599 euros ($705), but it’s not clear if this handset will reach US shores like the Nokia 6 did.

Comments

It sounds like they over priced a bit as sounds like a middle device. Unless, the camera somehow proves to be best in class(do we know what the sensor size on this is?).

It’ll be discounted in less than 3 months.

How is this a "middle device"? It has the newest Snapdragon processor, lots of memory and storage, quality cameras and top notch materials. It doesn’t have the minimal bezels, but that’s about all it lacks. Has this been reviewed yet?

Well I don’t think we know how the camera’s perform yet, nor battery life. But, on the face of things the design, at least for me, is not the best(has nothing to do with bezels). If it had something that made it a bit different, like front facing speakers, or a larger battery, it would be less lost in a sea of sameness(at least spec wise). Not to say this isn’t a good phone, because the specs are mostly great, specially for the size.

Materials used are top notch much like on 6. But just like with every other Android phone the trick is in software, hardware has reached its peak and everything that shows up is nothing but a gimmick that doesn’t add nothing like bezeless design.

Now it’s a perfect time for Android premium manufacturers like Sony, HTC, LG, Huawei to come up with their own software, premium software with a lot better user experience

It’s almost the same price as the Oneplus 5 here.

I’d suspect the price shows the high quality of materials and manufacture than Nokia has been famous for in the past. I’m sure we’ll see "tests" on YouTube between this Nokia and others (i.e. drop tests, etc etc…)

Looks like a decent device, but price could be a bit lower. For me personally a bit too big.. Nokia if you’re listening, give us something a bit more manageable as well, 4.7 inches would be nice, 1080p display, no second camera gimmicks, nothing less than snapdragon 625 and decent camera, and take my money (upper midrange money :)).

Also top and bottom bezels on Nokia 8 could be symmetrical, this would drive me nuts a little bit if I bought it.

Oh and water resistance as well.

Nokia 6 exists but it has a Snapdragon 430, which is fine if you don’t play big games.

I’m sure there are people happy with that processor, but I just would not buy something running Android with pretty low end processor. I bought phone with marginally more powerful processor once, not doing it again. My phone became laggy as hell eventually, exactly what happened with phone before that. And also Nokia 6 is too big, that’s another problem, I want something smaller than 5 inches, which is like unicorns these days.

I’d second this, though I’d ask for a nexus 5x/6p camera(if BB KeyOne can do it in a midrange device I don’t see why Nokia can’t), and make the top a front speaker(like the 5x but a little better of course).

Was there any mention of worldwide release dates? If they do the typical 1:1 euro to dollar conversion, at $599 it would be reasonably competitive with the Pixel XL.

Not coming to the US according to Engadget. So much for their big comeback; we only get the midrange Nokia 6 and the rest of the world gets this flagship.

Come on. Most of the time the new stuff comes only to the u.s. Other example: The LG 6. It has the worst configuration in europe.

I’m guessing this is supposed to be a ‘both-ee’ camera, not a bothie camera. A bothie (or bothy) is a basic shelter you find out in the countryside.

I appreciate the attention to the English language, but HMD doesn’t

It’s a silly term like "selfie."

I’m guessing this is supposed to be a ‘self-ee’ camera, not a selfie camera. A selfie(or selfy) is a basic shelter you find from life and the crippling depression that accompanies it.

/s of course

Too bad about the price. Looks like a simple, functional device with no dumb gimmicks. I was hoping they would try to compete against OnePlus; I was really considering it if they could hit the $450-$500 range. $700? Hard pass.

People buy $700 iPhones and Galaxy phones. What’s another expensive phone?

599 euro will likely be 599 usd, since you don’t pay taxes on phones as we do.

We pay taxes on phones too; it’s just that the tax is charged separately and isn’t included in the price. Total prices including sales tax are a bit higher.

They only bet on the brand. Everything else does not have much appeal …

Well, pure Android is very appealing, but yeah they’re asking a bit much. There’s some cool stuff like OZO audio, but it’s not very flashy and average consumer doesn’t care about that much. Also they should keep those top and bottom bezels same size, that kind of asymmetry annoys me a bit.

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