Nokia 9 Pureview: First impressions review

Chris Rowland 27 February 2019 NEWS

Here are our early hands-on impressions of the Nokia 9 Pureview announced by HMD Global at MWC 2019.

In recent mobile generations, the battleground has become more focused on individual phone features. Some users are looking for brilliant screens. Others seek better battery life. Many are looking for their camera to give them incredible results.

Enter the Nokia 9 Pureview by HMD Global, the first phone to have five cameras built in to provide users amazing images every time. Or at least that's the claim.

Nokia 9 Pureview: On the plus side

  • 5 seriously impressive cameras. On the Nokia 9 Pureview, 2 of the cameras capture images in full-colour RGB, while the remaining 3 capture in monochrome. The 3 monochrome sensors give the Nokia 9 the capability to capture 2.9 times more light than a traditional RGB sensor. The Nokia 9 Pureview can then use that monochrome image, combine it with those captured in colour for more detail and better low-light performance in the final shot.
  • The camera isn't a feature, it's a headline act. The five camera system isn't just about getting good light and colour. It's about getting the best possible photographic results in any condition and offering a wider range of photographic modes to do so. Everything from fully automated image capture to the pro mode which allows the user to finely adjust settings to give them the chance to not just get great results, but to create them and then utilise some of the included software to make adjustments to achieve the perfect picture.
  • Simple is good. One of the ways that many manufacturers differentiate themselves these days is to have their own user interface (UI). Nokia have made the decision to keep their UI simple, stock and pure. This gives the phone a very comfortable and familiar feel to any user who has used Android generally in the past without needing to adjust to the idiosyncrasies of a customised user interface.
  • Water resistance. The Nokia 9 Pureview is IP67 rated so it can be submerged in up to 1 metre of water for up to 30 minutes without risk to the device. Of course it's recommended not to test this for yourself.
  • Good screen with inbuilt fingerprint sensor. The screen is a stunning 6 inch QHD (2560 x 1440) OLED display without the recently trending "notch". The Nokia 9 Pureview features an in-screen fingerprint sensor, so you simply tap on the screen to unlock it, rather than reaching around the back for a sensor you can't actually see.
  • Reasonable battery size. We couldn't test out the Nokia 9 Pureview's battery, obviously. But with a 3,320 mAh battery most users should see a full day of use without the need to find power.

Nokia 9 Pureview: On the minus side

  • Mixed performance story. The Nokia 9 Pureview has 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM, which is decent for a premium phone, but it's running on the Qualcomm 845, rather than this year's Qualcomm 855, which many flagship competitors are adopting. What's more, that 128GB of storage isn't expandable in any way.
  • No headphone jack. For users who are upgrading for the first time in a few years, the USB C port is a point of interest that will make your life easier, because you can plug in the power, or any accessories in either direction with ease. However, this will require some new accessories to accompany your phone as there is no headphone jack on the device.

Nokia 9 Pureview: Early outlook

The hands on time on the Mobile World Congress floor is very limited, but in the time we had with the phone there's a lot to like beyond the market leading camera. The performance and simple, stock Android experience is excellent.

Being a top range device, it's not going to appeal to everyone. However, at US$699 you could well be holding a flagship phone with possibly the best camera currently available for under $1,000 quite soon. That could make it a great value for money proposition for a huge potential user base.

For more news from MWC 2019, check out our MWC 2019 news hub.

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