Here is the hands-on with possibly the most talked about phone of MWC, the Nokia 8 Sirocco.

I wanna thank Myriam Joire over at the Mobile Tech Podcast for waking me up to the fact that this isn’t the first time the name Sirocco has graced a Nokia product. The only Nokia used the brand on a super premium trim on the old 8800 over a decade ago, and it’s easy to see some parallels on the new version, mainly in the use of stainless steel for the frame and this glossy black finish. Those good looks are backed up by IP67 dust and water resistance.

 

Adding to the positives, this phone ships with Android One, like most of the new Nokia lineup, which means there’s no bloat out of the box and it also means it’ll get consistent software updates for two years and security updates for three, at least that’s the promise. I spent about a day with the phone running Android 8.0 and it didn’t have any of the hesitation or jitter I detected in the early builds of the standard Nokia 8 last year. Powering that experience is a Snapdragon 835, not quite top of the line but no slouch either, and an okay-sized battery, of which can be recharged wirelessly if you’re fancy, and HMD has managed to leverage some of the old Nokia relationships here, too.

Nokia 8 Sirocco Hands-on: Bold and Beautiful

The new phone has a Zeiss-branded dual camera system and a pro mode that looks and works exactly like what I used on my old Lumia Windows phones. Now that might come as a surprise to some of you because there’s a common misconception that the new Nokia is some kind of Chinese imposter looking to make a quick buck on a storied brand name. Okay, well, first of all, HMD Global is headquartered in Finland literally across the street from the old Nokia headquarters, and secondly the folks in chard at HMD are mostly ex-Nokia and ex-Microsoft employees, and no I haven’t been paid to say any of this, I’m just tired of the same specious cynicism showing up in the comments of every Nokia article I make.

Nokia 8 Sirocco Hands-on: Bold and Beautiful

Moving on, this phone does, have a shortfall, or three, that you should know about. The most disappointing to me is that the ergonomic focus of the old 8800 Sirocco didn’t make it over to the 8 Sirocco. What I mean is that the fingerprint sensor being almost flush with the back glass makes it tough to find by feel and same deal with the side keys. Just in general with its wide display and edges that taper to just two millimetres, this phone is hard to hold. If you had any experience with Samsung’s old Galaxy x6 Edge it feels a lot like that, while the severe curve to the cover glass leads to some substantial discolouration on the edges of this PO lit display.

There are always costs to placing aesthetics above usability but I feel like other manufacturers have had more time to figure this out than the new Nokia. Speaking of costs, the Nokia 8 Sirocco will make ya around 749 Euros lighter if you want to walk away with one. That doesn’t undercut the iPhone 8, which starts about 100 Euro higher, but it seems a little pricey for a phone with a last generation processor launching in April of 2018. No plans for an Indian release, sadly, but if that changes you can bet I’ll be lining up to review this one.

It’s just hard to resist the combination of pure Android, premium build, and a newly resurgent brand name. Even one with a history as complicated as Nokia’s.

Nokia 8 Sirocco technical specifications

DIMENSIONS: 140.93 x 72.97 x 7.5 mm
BATTERY SIZE: 3260 mAh
SCREEN SIZE: 5.5 in
DISPLAY TECHNOLOGY: POLED
FRONT CAMERA: 5 megapixels
REAR CAMERA: 13 megapixels
FLASHLIGHT: LED
ANDROID VERSION: 8.0 – Oreo
RAM: 6 GB
INTERNAL STORAGE: 128 GB
CHIPSET: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
NUMBER OF CORES: 8
CONNECTIVITY: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth

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