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Hands-on with Nokia's new lineup from MWC 2018
HMD Global had a great start with their Nokia line up last year, and it looks like they are keen not to lose any of that momentum. At MWC, the company is announcing a line up of five new phones for 2018… and there are some really interesting designs and features here to delve into.
Here’s what we know.
Nokia 8110 4G
First up, HMD is bringing back another nostalgic Nokia class, the Nokia 8110. This banana-shaped feature phone will be running KaiOS with 4G support and, like the revamped Nokia 3310, is positioning itself to be a great ‘secondary’ device to take on nights out or use as a conversation starter. At €79, that’s a very affordable proposition. The device will be landing in May.
The first Android offering is the Nokia 1, which HMD hopes will serve as a ‘transition’ device for those moving from feature phones to their first smartphones. This will be running Android Oreo (Go edition) and is made to be tough with colored polycarbonate surrounding the chassis. In fact, it’s a little bit reminiscent of the retired Nokia Lumia series. It comes with a 5MP rear camera and 2MP on the front and will be available from April 2018 for $85.
Nokia 6 (2018)
A considerable step up is the ‘All New’ Nokia 6, which replaces last year’s model. Like other recent offerings, this will be machined from a single block of aluminum giving it a durable and attractive design. Two-tone anodization provides a two-tone color scheme that helps the phone stand out a bit as well. We got to play with the black and copper version which looked very striking. It will also be available in white and iron, and blue and gold. The updated Nokia 6 looks and feels very nice and premium for a mid-range phone.
Nokia 6 (2018) owners will also get to benefit from the Zeiss optics and ‘bothie’ dual sight mode previously seen only in more premium models. They’ll also get 360-degree spatial audio and a bump up to the Snapdragon 630, which offers a 60% speed increase. The handset will also support fast charging, though the 5.5-inch polarized display remains the same.
The all-new Nokia 6 will be available in April 2018 and will come in both a 3GB RAM 32GB storage and 4GB RAM 64GB storage variety. It will set you back around €279.
Nokia 7 Plus
The Nokia 7 Plus is an even more interesting proposition and threatens to take the crown in the ‘affordable premium’ space. This device is once again cut from a single block of 6000 series aluminum and is coated in 6 layers of ceramic paint, which not only makes it feel great in the hand but also helps to hide any antennae lines. The edges are anodized twice for even more color variations and it genuinely feels very slim, solid and premium. What’s more, this is the very first Nokia device to sport an 18:9 aspect ratio. This creates plenty of real-estate on the 6-inch FHD+ screen.
The Nokia 7 Plus gets a slight specs upgrade over the original Nokia 7 with a Snapdragon 660 processor and comes with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. A bigger upgrade is the camera, which brings the same Zeiss optics and a dual rear camera combining a 12MP and 13MP sensor (the latter being used for telephoto). The pro camera application will provide manual control over aperture, exposure, white balance etc. and provide real-time previews for users to see what they’re getting.
That’s a lot of bang for your buck considering the asking price is just €399. The Nokia 7 Plus will be available from April 2018, when you can be sure we’ll be putting it through its paces.
Nokia 8 Sirocco
Last and certainly not least, we have the Nokia 8 Sirocco. The Nokia 8 Sirocco is HMD’s most premium handset yet. To that end, the handset is this time machined from a single stainless steel block, which reportedly means it will be capable of withstanding 450lbs of pressure.
Another first for the Nokia brand is here too comes in the form of a 3D curved gorilla glass display which bends around the sides in a similar manner to a galaxy device. This contributes to an incredibly thin side profile and the whole thing looks a lot more like a real flagship than the Nokia 8 of old.
Other forward-thinking features include a 2K pOLED display, IP67, wireless charging, 128GB of storage and an impressive 6GB of RAM. It features the same high-end camera specs as the Nokia 7 Plus along with the same spatial audio capture seen on the original Nokia 8.
The only things preventing this from being a home-run is the decision to include the same Snapdragon 835 SoC seen in the last gen offering, and the 16:9 ratio on the 5.5” screen. It seems very strange to have a line-up where the most premium device is not the tallest. Of course, that’s a matter of taste and some people may appreciate the more compact form factor.
To be fair, the device is also considerably more affordable than a Galaxy phone, coming in at around €749.
Pure, secure and up-to-date
HMD made a point during the presentation of committing to a purer Android experience, repeating the mantra of ‘pure, secure and up-to-date’. To that end, all their devices from the Nokia 3 and up will be part of the Android One program. That means minimal bloatware and rapid updates – which is something the company has been very good about so far. This will come as great news to many viewers and may even be a deciding factor for fans of the stock Android experience.
There’s a huge amount to take in here, and you certainly can’t fault HMD’s ambition! These devices are undeniably well-made and many punters will be happy to hear about the commitment to a pure Android experience. But is it a case of too much of a good thing? Is the lack of a clear nomenclature or progression going to confuse buyers?
Most likely the hardware will do the talking, and of course, we’ll be bringing you our more detailed thoughts on that once we have more time with the devices. However you cut it, this is an impressive showing from HMD Global and we can’t wait to try them out.
More importantly, what do you think?