The Nokia 8 Sirocco and Nokia 7 Plus are pretty unique propositions from Nokia. This is one of the first times I’ve seen a flagship device that isn’t immediately superior to its mid-range counterpart. Thus, the decision as to which device to go for is not simply a matter of budget in this case. Let’s break it down in this Nokia 7 Plus vs Nokia 8 Sirocco comparison and uncover the differences that really matter.
Take the design for instance. Don’t get me wrong, the Nokia 8 Sirocco is a flagship device in many regards – it’s just that a lot of its most compelling features come with caveats.
The Nokia 8 Sirocco has a beautiful design and incredibly tough build-quality. It is crafted from a single stainless steel block and coated entirely in curved glass. It’s also incredibly slim at 7.5mm. It has a beautiful 1,440 x 2,560p P-OLED display that cascades over the side of the device like a Samsung Galaxy S9. It’s a 5.5-inch panel with a 16:9 aspect ratio. There’s also IP67 certification but no headphone jack (though we can trust that in this case, the omission really was in service of the slim form factor).
In my review of the Sirocco, I said that I loved the design. It feels weighty and has a really unique look to it that you really have to see in person. I personally really liked using this device.
On the other hand, those tapered edges are pretty sharp and some people find the Nokia 8 uncomfortable to hold as a result. Likewise, the display gets a bit discolored where it curves on the sides, and the metal body can get hot during charging and gaming. Its slimness also comes at the cost of a headphone jack and creates some pretty narrow buttons.
The Sirocco's tapered edges are pretty sharp and some people find it uncomfortable to hold as a result.
So how does the considerably cheaper Nokia 7 Plus stack up in terms of design? Really well, actually. It’s crafted from a single block of 6,000 series aluminum and coated in multiple layers of ceramic paint. It likewise feels hefty and premium in the hand and has an attractive copper accent around the side. The screen isn’t as crisp at 1,080 x 2,160p and because it’s an LCD it isn’t as punchy either. But it’s a larger panel at 6 inches and comes with the more modern 18:9 aspect ratio. That extra real-estate is great for watching movies, reading web pages and more.
While the Nokia 7 Plus doesn’t look quite as stunning as the Sirocco, it also doesn’t bring any of the big compromises. There’s even a headphone jack! Although you do lose the water and dust resistance.
In terms of performance, you’re basically looking at a Snapdragon 835 with 6GB of RAM in the Sirocco, versus an SD660 and 4GB of RAM in the Nokia 7 Plus. That means that you should see significantly greater performance in gaming and multitasking on the Sirocco, and that’s exactly what I found in my own reviews. I even played some emulated GameCube games on the Sirocco!
If your reason for choosing the Sirocco over the 7 Plus was that you wanted the very best… well then it doesn’t quite add up.
But this discrepancy comes with disclaimers too. For one, the 660 is likely to be more than sufficient for pretty much all your gaming and productivity needs, even if it isn’t a flagship chipset. At the same time, the 835 is not a current gen flagship processor either as it has now been succeeded by the Snapdragon 845.
The 835 is still no slouch, don’t get me wrong. But if your reasoning for choosing the Sirocco over the 7 Plus was that you wanted the ‘very best’… well, then it doesn’t quite add up. Both devices are running Android 8.1 and are part of the Android One program, so they’re nippy and… stocky… as you’d expect.
The Nokia 8 Sirocco has more internal storage at 128GB versus 64GB, but the 7 Plus has a bigger battery at 3,800mAh vs 3,260mAh. This is very noticeable on the Nokia 7 Plus, thanks in part to its lower resolution display. I know I’d rather have a bigger battery than more storage.
Finally, the camera set-ups are also interesting. Both devices have dual cameras with the exact same specs on the back but around the front, the Nokia 7 Plus actually has a significantly higher megapixel count! It’s only a 5MP shooter on the Nokia 8 Sirocco, versus a 16MP selfie camera on the Nokia 7 Plus!
So, in theory, the 7 Plus actually has the superior suite of cameras – though strangely I actually found that the 8 Sirocco delivered the better pictures from the rear. This may have something to do with the more powerful processor, maybe allowing for some better post-processing, or it might be my imagination. It’s slight at any rate.
So, while the Sirocco is ostensibly the flagship here, it has a smaller battery, no headphone jack, smaller screen, worse selfie camera, and divisive (though impressive) design. The 7 Plus may have the middle-of-the-road internals, lower-res LCD screen, and absent IP rating, but that’s really its only crime.
Nokia has created an incredibly compelling mid-range smartphone and a somewhat ho-hum premium alternative.
What Nokia has done here is to create an incredibly compelling mid-range smartphone and a somewhat ho-hum premium smartphone. And for that reason, the Nokia 7 Plus is definitely the better device in terms of value for money. Now let’s hope HMD blows all our socks off by sticking some killer internals into a 7 Plus body sometime soon!