Nokia 8 Sirocco is priced at Rs 49,990.
It is crafted out of steel and glass with spilling display design, which gives it a very premium appeal.
As an Android One device, the Nokia 8 Sirocco will receive timely OS updates for two years.
The thing about a premium smartphone is that it should drip ‘premium’ inch for inch. That’s because you pay a lot of money for that premium phone and you want what you’ve paid for. Another thing about a premium smartphone is that even if it misses on a couple of checkpoints, you sort of compromise and live with it, because it is a ‘premium’ smartphone, isn’t it?
HMD Global which is reviving the Nokia brand across the globe by introducing some enviable devices while also stirring nostalgia among fans, recently introduced its Android One Nokia 8 Sirocco in India. It costs Rs 49,999, falling firmly within the realm of premium, although on the lower side of it. I reviewed the Nokia 8 Sirocco and here’s what I have to say on whether it makes the cut to the recommended list.
Compact, display focused
The first thing that makes you go wow is the build of the Nokia 8 Sirocco. It uses stainless steel and glass to give you a pocketable, good-looking, and also a sturdy device; something that resonates with the Nokia brand. HMD Global has incorporated the Galaxy S7 / S8-like spilling display design, albeit one that does not come with added tricks. The display edges are curved solely for the aesthetics, but I am not complaining. The edges are exactly where you see the glass merging with the metal. The sleek sides provide a good grip but the glass body makes it slippery if you keep it on your lap or at the edge of the sofa.
The back panel is another thing oozing premiumness. In good light conditions, the glass back almost acts like a mirror. I presumed it to be a fragile, glass-body phone, but it is protected with Gorilla Glass 5 on the front as well as the back, giving it impressive strength against accidental drops. I did end up dropping the phone, once face down, from a height of 3 feet, and must I say, it survived unscathed.
The back panel features the dual-camera module, which pops out of the body a bit, followed by the fingerprint sensor which is seamless. On the whole, the back panel is equally marvelous as the display on the front, but it is a fingerprint magnet. For a good looking phone, snapping on a cover (not for protection, but to make it look hygienic) is unfair.
You power on the Nokia 8 Sirocco, and the P-OLED QHD display will stun you. It is a great piece of hardware, one which is also comfortable to hold at 5.5-inch and delivers quality viewing experience. It is a treat to watch videos or movies on the Nokia 8 Sirocco. The display is super responsive to touch, is bright even outdoors, and delivers great color contrast.
The Nokia 8 Sirocco is easily one of the best designed, sturdy Android phones out there, however, for the generation used to taller displays with even lesser bezels and notches, it might fall a tad short on expectations.
Snapdragon 835, isn’t that old?
Smartphones releasing this quarter will be coming with the newer Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC. The Nokia 8 Sirocco, announced at the MWC, and released in India only recently packs the older Snapdragon 835 SoC. That isn’t to say that it is not a good chipset, but it is old. For a dual-camera smartphone with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage, the Snapdragon 835 SoC appeared to result in a bit of heating. Running multiple apps was not an issue. However, using the camera app, or listening to music for a prolonged time resulted in the phone warming up around specific areas. It wasn’t too bad though.
Coming to the specifications, the RAM on offer is massive, while the default storage is also decent for any average user. Irrespective of whether you click pictures, like to have dozens of apps, or simply need to carry your work-related data on your phone, the Nokia 8 Sirocco offers you a decent configuration. You also get Google Cloud storage with it. But if you are looking at expanding the storage or using a second SIM card, then you don’t have options. There’s just one storage and single SIM model to buy.
The second best thing about the Nokia 8 Sirocco after the design and build quality is the Android Oreo OS running out-of-the-box. The smartphone is an Android One device, which basically means you don’t have to worry about Android or security updates. As part of the program, Nokia 8 Sirocco users will receive timely updates for the next two years. Also, given that all Nokia phones now run stock Android, there is no bloatware, which means you can put the massive RAM and storage to actual use, the way you want.
Watch: Nokia 8 Sirocco First Look
The battery inside the Nokia 8 Sirocco is 3,260mAh which gets you through the day decently enough. It comes with support for wireless charging. However, the wireless charger is not provided in the box. The standard charger which comes with the phone is good enough to provide you significant fuel in an hour’s charging time. For a moderate user like me, the phone survived a work day before I had to plug it in for charging before going to bed.
The tie-up with Zeiss gives Nokia phones an edge over other competitors as professional-level quality is promised. The Nokia 8 Sirocco comes with a combination of a 12-megapixel wide angle sensor and 13-megapixel telephoto sensor with dual-tone flash. Up front, there’s a 5-megapixel sensor with support for display flash.
At default settings, the camera is capable of capturing true colors and sharp details. There’s also a live bokeh mode support which allows you to take pictures and adjust the focus later. As for the selfies, the camera resolution is relatively low for a flagship smartphone. At 5-megapixel, the self-portraits turn out decent if the lighting is good. In low-light conditions, the camera struggles to deliver sharper results. Here are some of the samples taken from the rear camera.
Below are some samples testing the secondary telephoto sensor at the back. It is capable of delivering 2X optical lossless zoom, after which the images start losing resolution.
The camera is one of the important features of the Nokia 8 Sirocco but it is not truly exceptional. What I also observed during the review is that the camera module at the back and the area around it started to warm up while taking pictures. On the whole, if you are taking images in bright outdoors or controlled light settings, the images will turn out to be crisp enough.
For an impressive build, great display, and stock Android, the Nokia 8 Sirocco deserves to be called the flagship device which is not too tall for your small hands. However, the asking price is considerably high, particularly for a phone that runs a 2017 chipset. At Rs 49,990, you will find yourself compromising with the older Snapdragon 835 chipset, no support for dual-SIM or storage expansion, along with average overall camera performance. If one looks at the competition, a similar configuration is available for a lesser price in the form of OnePlus 5T, and the soon-to-be-launch OnePlus 6 will likely outdo the specifications while keeping the price lower than Rs 50,000.
A legendary brand such as Nokia has only recently resurrected and for it to get the recipe right might take a while. Given that the Nokia 8 Sirocco has somewhat got the calculation correct in terms of design and features, where the company has gone wrong is in the terms of its pricing. In a market like India, consumers are price conscious. Even if there is a lot of nostalgia around the brand, when it comes to actual purchases, the preference will always be for a device which offers the same level on paper at a lower price. Had the Nokia 8 Sirocco been priced in the sub-Rs 40,000 segment, it would have become the new flagship killer. On the whole, the Nokia 8 Sirocco is a device built with great intentions, but one that falls a notch below the expectations. Buy it for the build, software and the brand value, if you do.