It runs Android Nougat, rather than the new Android Oreo. No phone has launched with this yet, although HMD, the manufacturer that leases the Nokia name, has said that all its Android phones will receive the Oreo update “in the coming months”. The Nokia 8 uses a totally plain (some would say “pure”) version of Android that’s mercifully free of rubbish and bloatware. You’re left instead with a neat interface that’s nippy and easy to use.
There are two cameras on the back. One shoots in colour, the other only in black and white, much like the dual-camera setup of Huawei’s P10 ($679.00 at Amazon Marketplace). Shots in color are good, although it can struggle to maintain an even exposure when there’s a bright sky over a more shadowy foreground.
The dedicated black and white mode is fun to use and delivers rich shots that are similar to the black and white photos you’ll get from the P10. That said, if you’re not into artsy monochrome shots then this feature is wasted on you. You’ll probably have more fun experimenting with the super-wide-angle lens on the LG V30.
There’s a bokeh mode, which artificially blurs the background around your subject. It works well enough for the odd snap and a panorama mode, which produced good results. The front-facing 13-megapixel camera takes well-exposed shots that’ll show off your grinning face perfectly well for Facebook.
One neat camera trick it will do is combine simultaneously taken shots from both the front and back cameras into a single image that Nokia calls a “bothie”. Yes, like “both”. You can live stream a video bothie to Facebook or YouTube. Vloggers who love to show their own smiling faces and their lovely surroundings will no doubt love this feature.
If you really don’t want to stretch to the Galaxy S8, rest assured that the Nokia 8 is still a decent all-around phone that’ll easily chew through your everyday needs. But it won’t be the phone that’ll excite you when you pick it up, and that’s a shame for the once-cell phone king, a brand that’s been trying its damnedest to stand out.