Nokia 9 PureView: Hands On, Impressions, Thoughts

Earlier this week at Mobile World Congress, HMD Global introduced its new top-of-the-range Nokia 9 PureView smartphone. The new handset brings in a unique camera featuring six modules (five RGB/monochrome sensors, and Time-of-Light sensor) co-designed by Nokia, Light, and Zeiss, coupled with Nokia’s latest photography software. As the technology behind the phone was explained in our initial coverage, this piece will focus on design, comfort of use, and overall impressions about the handset.

The Design

As we noted in the original coverage, the Nokia 9 PureView uses a pretty typical body design that comprises of a 6000-series aluminum skeleton, surrounded by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 on both sides. The frame of the phone is rounded on the sides with chamfered diamond-cut edges that appear rather exquisite. Unlike the Nokia 8 Sirocco, the Nokia 8 PureView does not feature a display that is curved along the side bezels of the device, but uses a “classic” flat pOLED 5.99-inch screen featuring a 2880×1440 resolution including an in-display fingerprint scanner.

The N9P will be available in only one color: an almost black “deep blue”. The color of the Nokia 9 PureView is meant to emphasize positioning of the device at the top of Nokia’s lineup, and it does manage to do this thanks to its fantastic looks. While the seven-element camera design gives the phone a very (maybe too much of) industrial appearance, the colour of the phone does give it a much more approachable feel.

The Hands-On

One of the reasons why Nokia/HMD decided to go with rounded edges on the Nokia 9 PureView’s, rather than the trapezoid-like design of the Nokia 8 Sirocco, was to ensure maximum comfort when taking pictures. The phone has a very comfortable in-hand feel, which is important for long duration use. The diamong-cut edges of the handset also enable for a very firm grip, something that will be appreciated by the target audience of this device, such as for when taking pictures.

The Nokia 9 PureView is based on the Snapdragon 845 SoC which ensures great performance while running very smoothly. Meanwhile the interface of the camera software was adjusted avoid accidental switching from one mode to another, which sometimes happens on other phones during intensive usage. Nokia says that the Adobe Lightroom CC and the Google Photos programs already ‘know’ how take advantage of Nokia’s advanced six-module camera. Meanwhile, the Lightroom CC is not pre-installed, which, as Nokia puts it, a part of the promise of not loading unessential software on its phones.

In general, the Nokia 9 PureView feels like a great phone that promises to shoot pictures of excellent quality in all weather and lighting conditions, which is of course its key feature. Some may not like the fact that the handset does not have a 3.5-mm audio jack, however in today’s age where almost half of the top-range flagship do not sport the connector, it’s a disadvantage that needs to be evaluated by the individual user.

The Gallery

Due to lack of time and consistent access to the Nokia 9 PureView hardware, it was impossible for us to try out its camera in real-world conditions. As a result, all we can share are images shot on the Nokia 9 Pureview as distributed by Nokia.

The New “Nine”

Withiut any doubts, we liked the Nokia 9 PureView. What we especialled like is that that it is not a an ideological successor of the originial 9-series. Here is why:

If we recall Nokia’s traditional model naming concept (which was described here), the 9-series phones were positioned as the company’s most advanced handsets from technology standpoint. The first Nokia 9000 Communicator phone was introduced at CeBit 1996, and to a large degree we may think of it as about the grandfather of today’s smartphones. The device featured a QWERTY keyboard in a horizontal clamshell design, a display with a 640×200 resolution, a web browser, a variety of business applications, among other capabilities that have greatly evolved since then.

Being aimed at business users, the Communicator featured a very strict design that was hardly attractive to general audience, and could probably startle the fashion-minded crowd (which used their Nokia 8-series phones). The price and the looks clearly made the Nokia 9-series Communicator a very niche product. The last Nokia 9300 Communicator was launched in 2004, two years later it was replaced by the Nokia E61 smartphone with a QWERTY keyboard.

Today’s Nokia 9 PureView represents the pinnacle of technologies that HMD Global has in terms of hardware and software. It is not exactly a successor to the classic Nokia 9-series because it is positioned completely differently, but the high-tech nature of the device is evident. The Nokia 9 PureView is also not a successor for the Nokia 8 Sirocco: while its Midnight Blue color is absolutely dazzling, the smartphone itself is aimed at tech-oriented rather than style-oriented audience. In the meantime, it is necessary to note that the coolest thing about the new “9” is that it weds advanced technology with style, something that the original 9-series just could not do.

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