Nokia 8 – An affordable powerhouse

HMD Global recently launched the Nokia 8 in South Africa and we were able to spend a few hours with the device.

It made an excellent first impression, and for R9,499, it is a competitively-priced Android flagship device.

Its nearest competitor in South Africa, based on price, is the Huawei P10, which is available for around R10,600.

Higher-end devices it will also attempt to take on include the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Apple iPhone 7.


Its lower price point does not mean it skimps on power, however, and the Nokia 8 packs a high-resolution display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset, and will receive an upgrade to Android 8.0 Oreo.

It is also dust and water resistant at IP54, sports a high-end dual camera system on the rear, and comes with 64GB of storage.

The camera system features three 13MP sensors – a dual mono/colour system on the back, and one unit on the front.

The Nokia 8’s full specifications are detailed below.

Nokia 8
OS Android 7.1.1
Dimensions 151.5 x 73.7 x 7.9 mm
Display 5.3-inch 2,560 x 1,440
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Octa-Core (4x 2.5GHz + 4x 1.8GHz)
Storage 64GB + microSD
Main Camera 13MP (Colour + OIS) + 13MP (Mono)
Front Camera 13MP
Durability IP54
Connectivity Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB Type-C, headphone jack
Network LTE Cat. 9 3CA
Battery 3,090mAh
Biometrics Fingerprint

Camera test

One of the major features promoted about the Nokia 8 is its cameras.

As with other dual colour/mono camera systems, the idea is that the twin mode will give greater detail than a standard colour-only shot.

The images below were taken using the Nokia 8


Nokia 8 camera mono


Nokia 8 camera colour


Nokia 8 camera twin

Close ups

We also tested close-ups in its automatic (Twin) and macro modes.

Automatic (Twin)

Nokia 8 camera close-up auto


Nokia 8 camera macro

Nokia 8 “Bothie”

Nokia was also touting the device’s ability to shoot from the front and rear cameras at the same time – called a “bothie”.

While it appears to be aimed at those who will live stream using the device, you can also take photos this way.

Nokia 8 bothie

Nokia 8 panorama

Nokia 8 video test

Nokia 8 interface

Screenshots of the Nokia 8’s interface, running Android 7.1.1, are embedded below.

Nokia 8 homescreen

Nokia 8 app tray

Nokia 8 camera app

Pure Android

Major aspects which we did not test included the battery life and cellular network performance of the Nokia 8.

However, it has a battery of 3,090mAh – which should give more than a day’s standard usage.

It also runs Qualcomm’s premier Snapdragon 835 system-on-chip, which includes a Category 9-capable LTE modem.

While this is not the top-of-the-line modem – the Category 16 modem – the Nokia 8 will support 256-QAM and three carrier aggregation – which is more than suitable for the South African market at the moment.

Another feature we could not test is Nokia’s promise to keep its phones up to date with the latest version of Android.

Recent reports suggest that Nokia pushed Google’s latest security update for Android before Google was able to release it for its Nexus and Pixel devices, which is a good start.

Nokia 8 – A winner

The Nokia 8 is HMD Global’s first flagship smartphone since taking over the brand 9 months ago, and it appears to be a winner.

While it does not have the latest LTE technology or the top-end bells and whistles, it makes up for it in price and purity.

If it’s a pure Android experience you’re after in a flagship device, the Nokia 8 is worth looking at.

Now read: Nokia 8 vs Galaxy S8 vs iPhone 7 – Mega smartphone showdown

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Nokia 8 – An affordable powerhouse