Aside from revisiting the iconic “banana phone,” HMD Global also unveiled a new variant of the Nokia 8: the Nokia 8 Sirocco. With a mostly glass construction and a stainless steel frame, the Sirocco is one premium Android One smartphone – it’s arguably the company’s sleekest-looking phone to date too.
Even though it’s an Android One device, the Nokia 8 Sirocco features hardware befitting of a flagship smartphone. It comes with a 5.5-inch 2560 x 1440 curved pOLED display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset paired with 6GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, and a 3,260mAh battery. Oh, it’s also IP67-rated, though this comes at the expense of the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Just like the Nokia 8, the Sirocco variant features a dual-camera system too, but it’s a different implementation. Unlike the Nokia 8’s combination of an RGB and monochrome sensor, the Sirocco rear cameras consist of a 12MP primary camera and a 13MP telephoto shooter; both with Zeiss optics. The front-facing camera, on the other hand, is a 5MP wide-angle snapper.
Despite the Sirocco’s mostly glass construction – HMD claims 95% of the phone is covered in glass – it’s really well-built. The thin, stainless steel frame further adds to the phone’s solid feel (it’s also quite a hefty phone), and there’s really no denying the Sirocco’s premium look and feel.
However, I’m not a fan of the Sirocco’s wedge-like design. See, the phone’s dual-curved display and glass back taper at the phone’s stainless steel frame. If you were to hold the phone on its sides, you’ll really feel just how thin the frame is – not the most ergonomic design choice.
Beyond the design of the Nokia 8 Sirocco, the phone’s pOLED display is sharp, bright, and vibrant, which make for a pleasant display to look at. Viewing angles are good, and black levels are unsurprisingly great too – it’s the inherent advantage of OLED displays, after all.
Also, while the Nokia 8 Sirocco has a “conventional” 16:9 display, its minimal bezels rival that of other 18:9 smartphones. It’s not quite as thin as, say, the new Samsung Galaxy S9‘s bezels, but it’s still plenty impressive.
In the software side of things, the Sirocco’s Android One status really gives it an edge. Its software experience is as stock as it gets, and the phone feels really zippy and responsive – this can be attributed to the Sirocco’s Snapdragon 835 chipset. While it’s not as fast as Qualcomm’s brand new Snapdragon 845 SoC, the 835 is still a very capable chipset.
And then we have the Sirocco’s new dual-camera system. In my brief time with the device, the 12MP primary shooter is quite good. The camera interface doesn’t feel sluggish, and the final images don’t look too shabby either. However, I did notice that the 13MP telephoto camera isn’t quite as capable – the main 12MP camera definitely boast superior performance.
The Nokia 8 Sirocco is a sleek, premium smartphone, and it’s one of very few truly high-end Android One devices. However, it also carries a rather steep price tag – it retails at 749 euro, which comes up to about RM3,605.
At that price point, the Sirocco has to contend with a number of very competent flagship phones. On top of that, it still remains to be seen just how capable it truly is, especially when it comes to camera performance and battery life. Nonetheless, we’re definitely excited to put the Nokia 8 Sirocco through its paces in a full review to find out.