Nokia 8 zeroes in on the Galaxy S8 and its friends

We've been impressed with the hardware that recently-reborn Nokia has been packing into its HMD Global Oy-manufactured smartphones. Even better, the Finnish marque has opted to not reinvent the wheel and is sticking to vanilla Android for its software. Until now, Nokia focused its Android efforts on entry-level and mid-range devices. The Nokia 8 takes a different tack and shows that the company looks to compete in the high-end arena too.

The 8 is built around the same "10-nm" Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 as Sony's Xperia XZ Premium, HTC's U11, and some versions of Samsung's Galaxy S8. The four CPU cores run at 2.5 GHz and the chip has a full-length copper heatpipe atop it, so it could potentially offer better sustained performance than some of its platform-mates. The SoC is augmented by 4 GB of LPDDR4X memory. Buyers will be able to install plenty of apps and games on the 64 GB of internal storage (128 GB on the navy blue model). If that isn't enough room, the microSD slot can accept cards as large as 256 GB.

The storage will come in handy for holding the images generated by the Nokia 8's fancy camera setup. The world-facing camera and the self-facing snapper are both 13-MP f/2.0 units. The main camera has dual monochrome and color sensors and is topped off by an IR range finder and a dual-tone flash. The two picture-snappers can be used together to create what Nokia is calling a "bothie." The cameras can record 4K video and Nokia OZO spatial 360° audio, something that could make for somewhat less-awful recordings of coffee shop acoustic sets. Users can get those images and any other data on or off the phone using a USB Type-C port.

Nokia says that manufacturing 8's aluminum unibody requires 40 steps of machining, anodizing, and polishing. Unlike some other recent range-topping handsets, Nokia's latest has a healthy bezel around the screen. This approach doesn't look as cool as an edge-to-edge screen, but offers some usability benefits. As for the screen itself, it's a 5.3" IPS display with a Corning Gorilla Glass cover and a 2560x1440 resolution that works out to 554 PPI.

The phone packs Google's latest Android 7.1.1 Nougat operating system and always-on Google Assistant AI helper. Nokia says it "packed the full spread of Google's most popular apps and no unnecessary extras" in the software. Furthermore, the company vows to provide regular updates to keep users on top of features and security.

The Nokia 8 measures 5.9" tall, 2.9" wide and 0.31" thick (15 cm x 7.4 cm x 0.8 cm) and is available with black, navy blue, copper, and silver finishes. The handset goes on sale in Europe early next month for €599 (about $580 without taxes).

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