Nokia’s latest flagship, the Nokia 8 Sirocco made waves at the MWC 2018. HMD Global, the firm behind the iconic name that adorns its new smartphone says, that they have the latest technology of screen and camera going on for the Nokia 8 Sirocco. The company also claimed the sirocco to be the ultimate statement of flagship design. However, with all the flagships we’ve seen in the MWC, especially the Samsung Galaxy S9, the Sirocco will have its work cut out to steal the limelight. Let’s find out if it justifies the lofty price tag.
When it comes to smartphones, the ultimate deal breaker has to be the screen. At a price tag of roughly $900 or about ₹58,000 , it’s a no brainer that the phone comes with a 5.5-inch Quad HD pOLED display (2560 x 1440p). The display is bright colorful and vibrant and would serve as a great surface for gaming and entertainment. With a QHD resolution, it runs shoulders with its flagship peers, and elevates itself above the cut-price flagships from the likes of Honor and OnePlus. At 140.93 x 72.97mm, the screen is slightly wider than the Samsung Galaxy S9, but the curved edges of the phone, enable it to nestle better in the palm much like the Samsung’s older flagships, namely the Galaxy S6 edge and the Galaxy S7 edge. Nokia might not be the first OEM to put curved edges on a display, however the entire design language makes it a very stunning device to look at. The curved edges light up when you receive a notification and the animations are oddly satisfying at the same time. The sides of the glass almost melt into the metal and scream premium all the way. The one thing to keep in mind is that the entire panel is borrowed from LG and it’s the same pOLED panel that’s used on the Pixel 2 / 2XL and it has the same color shift issue when you’re not looking at the screen directly. The color shift isn’t too prominent, however it’s definitely worth mentioning.
When it comes to the design and body of the phone, HMD Global has now opted for a stainless-steel frame instead of an aluminum one. Stainless steel being 2.5 times stronger than aluminum, adds to the already legendary Nokia’s sturdiness. After having shifted from the traditional design language to an all glass back housing, the phone oozes that luxury feel. It almost looks like a fusion between the Blackberry Priv and the Samsung Galaxy S9 which by the way is as premium as a phone can get. The curved edges and that wide display offer little area to grip onto, making this phone very slippery and that glass back acts as a fingerprint magnet. The sides of the phone taper into the buttons, viz. the power button and the volume rockers. This taper makes it a tad bit tricky to hit the buttons well. It’s one of those things that you’ll eventually get used to. The fingerprint scanner has now been moved to the back of the phone. The phone comes packed with a USB Type-C port for you to plug in your earphones, as the Sirocco doesn’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack. Adding to the long list of flagship features, we also get an IP67 water and dust resistance which means the phone can survive an occasional bath.
The flagship comes bundled with a dual lens camera from Zeiss optics. you get a 12MP primary sensor alongside a 13MP telephoto lens, letting you take photos with that bokeh effect. The camera app has a feature that lets you adjust the amount of background blur in real time, so that you can fine tune it to suit your taste. The sirocco greatly benefits from the Pro camera mode and it lets you go bonkers with the adjustment of the ISO, Exposure, sharpness etc. letting you set your picture before you hit that shutter button. Coming to the front camera, you get a 5 MP lens that suffices for your video calls and those crazy Snapchat selfies.
Under the hood:
There’s a lot of horsepower under the hood, although it doesn’t ship with a Snapdragon 845. The Snapdragon 835 that the phone comes with, is coupled with 6 gigabytes of Ram and a whopping 128 gigabyte onboard storage. The 835 has performed exceptionally well on all the flagship devices in the 2017 and we all know, its no sludge. However, on a 2018 top-tier device, the Snapdragon’s 835 seems a little out of place. The 6 gigabytes of ram make up for it and the device performs well regardless of what you throw at it. The Sirocco being a part of the Android One project ships with stock android Oreo 8.0 out of the box. This means that there aren’t many proprietary features, software wise. Being a part of the Android One program, means that it will receive all the latest updates pretty quickly. The Stock android also accounts for the buttery-smooth user experience on the phone with no stutters or lags whatsoever. The 3,260mAh battery on the phone isn’t enormous, and should see out a day on a single charge. The pOLED screen ensures you a decent battery life and this earns it a respectable endurance rating in our test. The Sirocco supports wireless charging, making it easy for you to top up the juice as long as you have a wireless charging pad to hand.
It takes a few moments for the design and aesthetics of the Nokia 8 Sirocco to sink in. It’s like an outlandish render come to life. It goes to show that HMD Global is capable of producing devices that put up a good fight when made to cross swords with the flagships from the industry giants like Samsung and Apple, not just knocking out me-too devices. The Android One integration, the stunning display and a great premium build, help lay down a solid foundation for the company. However, the Snapdragon 835 makes it hard to justify that hefty $900 price tag. The jury is still out on the camera and the overall day to day performance of the phone. The Nokia 8 Sirocco might not be a huge success for the company but, it’s a step in the right direction.