The Nokia 9 Challenge: the Nokia 8’s successor will need magic to stand out

A year after its release, we updated a unit of Nokia 8 to Android 8 Oreo. It gave us an opportunity to point out what HMD Global needs to do better to make the Nokia 9 a flagship worth drooling over in 2018.

It has been a year since the arrival of the Nokia 8. It hit the market running Android 7.1 and promising a superb camera experience, thanks to its rear dual camera with Zeiss optics, along with Dual Sight, a feature that lets you take a picture with both front and rear cameras at the same time.

Design

The Nokia 8 feels well built, in traditional Nokia style, and looks like a Lumia minus the polycarbonate shell. The 6000 series aluminium, splash-proof body feels premium in the hand too. The design is just not striking. By comparison, the LG G6 is from 2017 too, but definitely a much better design.

Even at launch, the Nokia 8 did not wow anyone with its design. It wasn’t horrible; it just didn’t give the aura of a 2017 flagship. And now, with sexy, edge-to-edge smartphones flying around everywhere, it is even less striking. By comparison, Nokia 7 Plus was love at first sight.

Software

The Android 8.1 Oreo software update was 1.6 GB in size and, according to the changelog, it also added Camera Pro, user interface improvements and improved system stability.

nokia 8 oreo update notification

Before update, system used 13.25 GB out of 64 GB. After the Oreo update, the system had only 9.9 GB of the internal storage. Android Oreo is more space efficient.

Also read:  Leaked video and specs of the Nokia 8

The update brings very little visual changes to the user interface. As a matter of fact, the only differences we can see are in the camera app. It looks totally different in terms of layout and icons. This is the Camera Pro after all, so that is expected.

In addition to the Oreo update, three other system updates followed to bring the Nokia 8 up to 1 July 2018 security patch.

nokia 8 with android 8 oreo review

Nokia 8 Camera Pro Samples

We gave the updated camera a spin. Here is what the new Camera Pro interface looks like:
Nokia 8 Camera Pro Samples: natural lighting indoors

We took some sample photos. First up is an outdoor photograph:
Nokia 8 Camera Pro Samples: outdoors

And here is a cropped section of it:
Nokia 8 Camera Pro Samples: outdoors cropped

And here is an indoor shot:
Nokia 8 Camera Pro Samples: bookshelf indoors

Lastly, we have a dual sight photograph. We are not convinced that there are a lot of uses for this gimmick, to be honest. We’d prefer regular mind-blowing main and/or selfie camera photos to this. But, hey…
Nokia 8 Camera Pro Samples: dual sight photo

Nokia 9 Needs To Be Much Better

This is mid-2018 and we are expecting the announcement of the Nokia 8’s true successor, Nokia 9. What does HMD Global need to do better this time?

Nokia 9

  1. Design. Nokia 9 must have a trendy FullView display and edge-to-edge design. This is a no-brainer. Every other flagship comes in this form. Ditch the Lumia-like look too. Follow the sexiness of the Nokia 7 Plus design style. From the leaked official images, it looks like HMD Global has this sorted out.
  2. Camera. HMD Global has acquired the PureView trademark. They also need to deliver on the technology, something that Huawei seems to have run away with. However HMD is going to do it, a Nokia 9 camera that does not measure up to the very best will be a disappointment. Nokia 8’s camera is good; it just doesn’t stand with the best. As at January 2018, Nokia 8 camera was in 19th place. Oh, dear.
  3. Video Recording. A self-respecting 2018 flagship should be able to record 4k video. Nokia 8 didn’t even have 1080p video recording at launch.
  4. Stereo Speakers. Come on, Nokia! Stereo speakers are long overdue as a standard on your flagships.
  5. Water Resistance. Yes; you know, like IP68.
  6. Android 9: Seriously; Nokia 9 better ship with Android 9 Pie.
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There are rumours that the Nokia 9 will have an in-display fingerprint scanner. That is also called an under display fingerprint scanner. Not bad. Face Unlock would be okay too, though the jury is still out about how secure it is. We are definitely expecting a Snapdragon 845 processor. It will be nice to see one or two surprise features too.

It is about time that HMD Global delivers a high-flying flagship with all the bells and whistles. Nokia 9 needs to be a top-dog smartphone that is exciting and future-proof from the get-go. It already has outstanding devices like Huawei P20 Pro, Xiaomi Mi 8, and Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus to contend with before it even arrives. And by the time it hits the markets, Pixel 3 XL and the next iPhone will have been added to the list.

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One thought on “The Nokia 9 Challenge: the Nokia 8’s successor will need magic to stand out

  • August 29, 2018 at 3:35 am
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    Wonderful piece, design is definitely an integral ingredient to push the upcoming Nokia 9 up the big boys ladder.

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