Nokia 9 PureView Review - PhoneArena - Mash Viral
The Nokia 9 is probably the most anticipated smartphone of the Android era of the brand. The reason is one: the unique configuration of the rear camera, which does not include three, not even four, but five cameras! But as a phone is more than a camera, let's start our exploration of the Nokia 9 PureView as we always do.
What's in the box:
- Nokia 9 PureView
- Headphone with 3.5 mm jack
- 3.5mm Type-C to USB Adapter
- 18W AC adapter
- USB Type-A to USB Type-C cable
- SIM tool
The Nokia 9 PureView dresses the room. With Nokia's metal trim around the perimeter and its imposing stature, it is poised to become the brand's flagship phone. The wait for the arrival of the Nokia 9 has however been long and it shows. The front looks generic and will not really impress you. With its big (in 2019) low and low, it looks a bit dated and reminds us of the LG G6 (released in 2017). Yet for some people, this kind of look is better than a notch. But compared to the Galaxy S10 +, for example, it looks like a phone from another period.
From left to right - LG G6, Nokia 9 and Galaxy S10 +
The dull impression that gives the front is not however in the back. The entire camera set includes the five main cameras, the flash and the ToF camera, all of identical shape and positioned in a hexagonal formation. Better still, the components are lined up at the back of the phone. As a result, the camera does not bump, making the back panel as stylish as possible.
The cameras are a verified conversation starter. This arrangement arouses curiosity even in people who are not so interested in the phones, simply because it seems so unusual (we would call it even weird). If you decide to get this phone, be prepared to answer the question "What are all these cameras doing?" Again and again. When you are bored of this, keep your phone face up. Nobody will watch it twice. And although the smooth back is not too slippery when you hold the phone, when you place it on a surface even slightly inclined, it begins to drift slowly like a tiny glacier. If you are not careful, you may hear a snap a few minutes after you have rested.
Beyond this, nothing has really interesting with the Nokia 9. You get a power button, a volume rocker on the right and a type-C USB key at the bottom. No button of the Google assistant is present on this device, which is another telling sign of the anticipated release of this phone.
Overall, the Nokia 9 PureView is a heavyweight device, with an appropriate thickness and weight. It's certainly closer to major devices such as the iPhone XS Max, the Galaxy S10 + and the OnePlus 6T, despite a smaller screen.
Speaking of the display ... Display
The Nokia 9 has a 6-inch OLED display with a resolution of 1440×2880 pixels, which provides crisp and clear images. Although you can not adjust the resolution, you can switch between three display modes: Vivid, Cinema, and Basic. Vivid has the most intense colors, while Basic is a bit dull. There is also a "Dynamic" mode that allows you to switch from one mode to another depending on what you do with your phone.
There is also a permanent display option that you will probably want to use because the Nokia 9 does not have a LED notification LED, despite the immensity of real estate above the display.
In terms of quality, we have nothing to complain about. The screen becomes bright enough and the videos are superb, especially at a resolution of 1440p. That's what you expect from a flagship phone. What's on the screen, though, is not quite a flagship category ...
View measurements and quality
Fingerprint sensor and unlocked face
The Nokia 9 has an integrated fingerprint reader, similar to the OnePlus 6T, Xiaomi Mi9 and Huawei Mate 20 Pro. What is not similar, though, is the performance. Whenever we try to use it, we receive messages to press harder or to try again. Very often, he will not even try to read our finger.
Very well then, would you say that there is always the unlocked face! That's right, but first, it's less certain, so if you really fear that people want to access your phone (or need to authenticate your payments), that's not an option. And second, it's not much more convenient than the fingerprint reader. Not only is it slow, but it also gets bad reads at random, even under good lighting, forcing you to use the fingerprint reader. Or simply enter your PIN. These combined problems create a feeling of uncertainty that you feel every time you take the Nokia 9, which is so frustrating that you just have to give up the phone.
While these improvements can theoretically be improved with software updates, but when users pay a few hundred dollars for a Nokia 9, their experience will be the same. And it's simply unacceptable.
Interface and functionality
So, once you have finally passed the obstacle course that unlocks the Nokia 9, what are you welcome? Well, you get Android One, or as some people like to call it: "stock Android". Now, Android One phones have their advantages: they are simpler, they get updates in a timely manner, and lack of bloatware and potentially useless features. But it's not just butterflies and rainbows.
With all the annoying apps that clutter your home screen, Android "pure" gets rid of some useful things. You get fewer settings and customization options than you might find on other phones. Overall, it's a simpler experience, but you do not need a system-wide dark mode or an easy way to extract your notifications - benefits offered by other phones. There is also the somewhat boring semi-gestational interface of Android One, and there is no way to return to the classic buttons on the screen.
Processor, performance and memory
The Nokia 9 PureView is equipped with Snapdragon 845, the flagship chip of Qualcomm 2018. HDM Global, the company behind the Nokia phones, explains this decision with the long development process required to operate the complex camera network with the mobile system. Of course, it's not a bad chip, so the performance is more than decent. You can play PUBG with high settings without problems. After a while, the phone becomes a bit too hot, but it is not unbearable. In non-intensive activities, you should not notice delays or delays, thanks in part to the aforementioned Android One software.
The chipset is coupled with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Although the storage is very correct for this price, if you plan to take a ton of RAW photos, you may run out of space quite quickly. A single RAW image is about 40 MB, which means that only 25 images will allow you to carry 1 GB of storage. Talking about taking photos, it's time for the main event ... Cameras
As it is clearly stated, photography is the priority of this phone. The five camera sensors at the back measure all 12 MPs and work together for each photo you take. Unlike other phones where one of the cameras is the main shooter and associated with a wide-angle camera and a telephoto lens, there is no optical flexibility. Two of the sensors are RGB and collect color data, while the other three are monochrome and deal with light and shadows.
The idea is to have a sharper picture with more details in each part. Only one typical camera achieves this with HDR - taking multiple images in quick succession and then combining the best parts in the software. With the Nokia 9, there is no switch in HDR mode in the camera application, because virtually every photo is an HDR photo. But instead of taking a burst of photos, the phone simultaneously takes all five cameras at the same time, which should reduce the blur. The disadvantage is that each camera takes a picture from a slightly different angle. The final result therefore depends on the quality of the processing and the combination of images. This leads us to the camera software of Nokia 9.
Camera SoftwareThe Nokia camera is far from perfect, to put it mildly. As for the design, it's pretty standard: you have different modes at the bottom and quick settings at the top.
However, when you start using it, the problems begin. The application is extremely slow even when you simply navigate, and switching from one mode to another often takes a few seconds. The initial photo is quite fast, but as we just said, this phone has to process a lot of data for each shot. So when you take a few pictures and want to see what you got, you are greeted by a slightly fuzzy picture and a message saying "treatment". When this is done, you get your final image.
The problem is that all this treatment is sometimes a little too much for the camera application and hangs or misbehaves in different ways. Sometimes it closes completely after you have taken some quick snapshots, only to allow you to discover then that not all the photos you have taken are actually in the gallery. Other times, he announces with a message that he can not connect to the camera itself. And on one occasion, he cut the treatment, which resulted in a glitchy photo.
The fact that you do not know when or what will cause the application to crash means that you can not do anything to prevent it. So, if you have to capture a moment, you point, shoot and hope that everything will be fine! You may find that the phone is having trouble following the necessary treatment depending on the temperature at which it warms up. Of course, this also means more battery consumption. And it's not like it takes a few seconds to "merge" an image. Processing normal photos usually takes 5 to 10 seconds, while bokeh processing can take more than 20 seconds. It does not take a lot of effort to line up with a bunch of photos and make the phone sweat.
Let's see the essential. You took the picture successfully, it went through the fusion machine and you have the final result. This is good? Well, here's the best experience we've had with the Nokia 9. You're looking at a blurry overexposed photo, you're thumbing around and watching the rotating animation wheel while the phone is doing its job, then suddenly BAM! The photo goes from an ugly duckling to a swan in the blink of an eye! The change is so big that it can shock you the first few times you see it. You get the detail, the colors change, the bokeh effect appears. Everything finally comes together, literally and figuratively.
Sample Images - Nokia 9 PureView
Here is the thing, though. This before-and-after effect allows you to perceive photos as being better than they actually are. Now, that does not mean they are bad. In fact, overall, we are delighted with the photos taken by the Nokia 9. However, despite all the troubles you are going through, they are not really as amazing as you might expect.
Normal day images are not very different from those taken by virtually every other modern smartphone. They look lively, maybe even too much, depending on your preferences, and they are very detailed. But nothing of them makes you say "This throws all phones out of the water!", Because that's just not the case. If anything stands out, it's the lack of liveliness of the colors. Now, this could be due to other phones artificially reinforcing the colors and distorting our perception. Be that as it may, most images give the impression of a slight hue, even in relation to reality.
Bokeh Examples - Nokia 9 PureView
At night, the Nokia 9 works less well than most other flagship products. The high details promised and the tons of light captured are not there. And that's where the picture is bright enough. Do not expect anything near Google Night Sight or Huawei's Night Mode in an extremely dim light.
The only area where this phone has an advantage is bokeh and dynamic range. When Depth mode is enabled, you can adjust the subject of the photo you want to distinguish in an ocean of blur. It's really an interesting feature and it's interesting to tinker with it, but it's not something you would do very often, if ever. Even without doing so, however, the portraits are beautiful.
With difficult lighting conditions, the results are random. Sometimes the Nokia 9 does very well. Other times, the colors seem extinct. In general, images tend to look a little darker than reality, giving them a dark atmosphere. It seems that Nokia thinks so too, and you often see a prompt saying "Correct lighting" when browsing images, which, if you press this key, will brighten it.
Now those who already know the Nokia 9 will say, "But what about post-processing? It can take RAW photos and make your photos look great in Lightroom! ". It's definitely an option. We are sure that you can achieve better end results than other flagship cameras. But let's be honest: how many people will take a picture, then open Lightroom or another photo editor (on their phone!), Import the photo, tinker with the settings and export? 5% will be a generous estimate. And all because their phone could not do its job properly. Of course, there is always the editing function in the Gallery application that offers some quick improvements in just a few clicks. But again, you need to do something extra to reach the level at which the phone should have been initially.
Overall, the Nokia 9 PureView is a one-turn pony that turns out half the time. It has five cameras, but as far as you're concerned, it could just as well be one. You do not receive any of the variety you make with other phones. And yes, Pixel phones have one and also lack this variety. And they always take better pictures. After all the hype and anticipation, the Nokia 9 just does not keep its promises.
With the main camera (the video uses only one of the five cameras), you can record videos up to 4K, with or without HDR, and all videos exceed 30 fps. HDR is off by default and we suggest you keep it that way. When this option is enabled, you lose the stabilization of the image even in 1080p (at 4K, there is none left). In addition, HDR video is incompatible with most devices and may not work with social media. Do not record any record unless you really know what you are doing.
Nokia 9 PureView Video Examples
With a regular resolution of 1080p, the videos seem a little soft, but are generally correct, and the image stabilization works pretty well. There is an option for picture-in-picture (also for pictures) that theoretically allows you to shoot something with the main camera and react with the main camera at the same time. We say in theory, because every time we try to use it for a video, the application of the camera froze. Sound quality and calls
As for the sound, the Nokia 9 is not very powerful. The only speaker at the bottom is the only audio provider for playing a video or music. Although it can be very loud, the sound is very metallic at maximum volume. A weird oddity is that the volume does not drop very gradually. Instead, when you go a few steps below the maximum, the situation suddenly becomes much quieter, and then the level of silence increases.
The quality of the calls is good. You can hear the other person loud and clear as well as they can.
With its 3300mAh battery, the Nokia is also not a champion of the field of battery life. The unimpressive benchmark result is consistent with our experience during regular use. Assuming you do what this phone is supposed to do - take a lot of pictures - you may get even worse results than those. During our sample collection day, we found that the phone had lost more than 50% of its charge in just a few hours on the screen, and that the largest drainer was Google Photos.
Regarding charging, the phone supports not only wired fast charging, but also wireless charging. However, it is very hot on a wireless charger, which is not ideal for the health of the battery and the phone. Conclusion
We were hoping that Nokia would upset the smartphone camera scene with its innovation and surprise us with what the Nokia 9 PureView can do, but unfortunately that is not the case. In the current state of things, the Nokia 9's camera has an advantage over the dynamic range and can apply a faithful bokeh effect, but that's about it all. And if the phone was not lagging in many other areas, it might have been enough to recommend it.
If you are a man who loves photography a lot, you'd better buy a good camera and edit your photos on your computer. And if you just want to be able to take great pictures with your phone and love the Android One experience, a Pixel phone will fit better. If the price goes down and Nokia solves the software problems that affect the phone, it is worth considering, but there was no objective reason to choose the Nokia 9 instead of the available alternatives.
HMD Global launched the world's first penta-lens smartphone - the Nokia 9 PureView at the MWC 2019. The flagship smartphone was launched with Android Pie OS and is apparently getting the next Android version soon.
The latest spotting of the Nokia 9 PureView on Geekbench means an update to Android 10 operating system is nearing its release. Google announced Android 10 in August and at the same time HMD Global
Nokia Mobile opened the Android 10 update cycle with the release of the new OS for the Nokia 8.1. During this quarter, Nokia 9 PureView, that was already spotted running Android 10,
Nokia 9 Pureview might be the second smartphone from HMD Global to get Android 10 update. The Finnish company released Android 10 update for Nokia 8.1 last week. Now, Nokia 9 Pureview running Android 10
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