HMD GLOBAL has unveiled the Nokia 8, the first “flagship” Nokia device to arrive running Android.
With its top-end specs and premium aluminium design, HMD is clearly hoping that it’ll be able to take on the likes of the Galaxy S8, especially when the Nokia 8’s more-affordable price tag is considered.
We’ve pitted the two smartphones head to head on paper to see which one comes out on top.
Nokia 8: 152x74x7.9mm, 160g
Galaxy S8: 149x68x8mm, 155g
When it comes to looks, it’s going to be hard to beat the Galaxy S8. The Samsung flagship boasts a full-screen front, curved edges and a high-end metal and glass finish, and we described it as a “thing of beauty” in our full S8 review.
The Nokia 8 ain’t going to be stealing the Galaxy S8’s design crown, with HMD Global opting to shun the trend for full-screen smartphones in favour of a blocky, bezel-equipped handset that retains the physical home button. That’s not to say it isn’t a good looking phone, as the Nokia 8 comes in a unibody design which has apparently been “milled from a single block of 6000 series aluminium”.
It isn’t going to beat the S8 when it comes to functionality, either. Samsung’s flagship is IP68 water and dust-resistant, so it will survive a dunk for 30 minutes in depths of up to 1.5 metres. The Nokia 8, on the other hand, is only IP54 splash-proof, so it unlikely will withstand a dunk in the toilet.
Nokia 8: 5.3in QHD (2560×1440, 554ppi) IPS LCD display
Galaxy S8: 5.8in QHD+ (2960×1440, 570ppi), AMOLED HDR-certified Infinity display
The Galaxy S8 is also hard to beat when it comes to its display. The 5.8in QHD screen, besides its fancy curved edges, boasts an 18.5:9 aspect ratio, which means it’s better suited to streaming video. It also opts for Super AMOLED, meaning it offers punchy, vibrant colours, and packs a pixel density of 570ppi, which means its slightly sharper than the Nokia 8’s 554ppi LCD panel.
Hardware and storage
Nokia 8: Snapdragon 835 CPU, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, microSD up to 256GB
Galaxy S8: Exynos 8995 CPU, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, microSD up to 256GB
On paper, the Nokia 8 and Galaxy S8 are fairly evenly matched when it comes to internal specs. Both phones pack flagship processors – the Nokia 8 opting for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 and the Galaxy S8 for Samsung’s homegrown Exynos 8995, and both pack an equal amount of RAM and built-in storage. Both also offer microSD slots, allowing for the onboard memory to be expanded up to 256GB.
Nokia 8: Android 7.1.1 Nougat
Galaxy S8: Android 7.0 Nougat
The Nokia 8 and Galaxy S8 both run the Google’s latest Nougat software but differ in their customisation. Samsung’s skin, although scaled back compared to previous efforts, equips the device with a handful of custom features (aka bloatware), including Galaxy Apps, Samsung’s own Gallery app and a tool for pairing your Samsung-branded wearable.
The Nokia 8, on the other hand, comes with no custom software besides its camera app, with HMD Global promising a largely-untouched Android experience, and quick software updates once they’re released.
Nokia 8: Dual 13MP with Zeiss optics, OIS; 13MP front-facing
Galaxy S8: 12MP with OIS, (F1.7), autofocus; 8MP front-facing
HMD Global has been keen to talk up the camera on the Nokia 8, which comes equipped with dual 13MP sensors (one RGB, one monochrome) and Zeiss optics for “superior image quality”. There’s also a new, ugh, “bothie” mode, that will activate both the front and rear cameras to capture phones and videos. Unlike the similar functionality found on Samsung smartphones, the Nokia 8 is also capable of broadcasting this video to Facebook or Youtube.
The Galaxy S8, on the other hand, sports a single-lens 12MP camera, with an f/1.7 aperture lens, optical image stabilisation and 8x digital zoom. While this doesn’t sound as impressive on paper, we lauded it as one of, if not the best smartphone camera we’ve tested this year in our full review.
Nokia 8: 3,090mAh, fast charging, USB-C
Galaxy S8: 3,000mAh, fast charging, wireless charging, USB-C
On paper, the Nokia 8 wins this round too, with its meatier 3,090mAh battery which HMD claims will last for more than a full day. There’s also support for Quick Charge 3.0, which is carried out via the handset’s USB-C port.
The Galaxy S8 packs a 3,000mAh battery, but we found it easily breezed through a day and a half of usage. As well as fast charging support via USB-C, the handset also offers wireless charging capabilities.
Pricing for the Galaxy S8 starts at £689 SIM-free. HMD has yet to announce exact UK availability details for the Nokia 8 but has said it’ll fetch €599, which works out to about £544.
Although the Nokia 8 is HMD’s highest-spec Android smartphone to date, we don’t think Samsung has much to worry about. The Nokia 8’s design, with its chunky bezels and boxy design, feels somewhat dated compared to the likes of Samsung’s latest flagship, and it’s LCD display will struggle to rival the S8’s curved AMOLED offering.
However, it’s worth noting that the Nokia 8 likely will be more than £100 cheaper when it goes on sale in the UK, so it might manage to woo those looking for a more affordable Android flagship. µ
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