With 5 cameras in tow in a spider-like design, the Nokia 9 PureView from HMD International stands out from the gang of smartphones popping out of Cellular World Congress 2019 in Barcelona. The 5 cameras work in unison to provide pictures wealthy with data, which you’ll then edit to your coronary heart’s content material because the telephone supplies RAW information alongside conventional JPEG ones. It’s meant for picture fans, not essentially a mainstream viewers, which can partly be why it’s a restricted version telephone.
Whereas there’s lots to love, there are options and omissions we dislike. Let’s have a look, and if you would like our in-depth impressions, try our Nokia 9 PureView hands-on overview.
We like getting RAW photos, and modifying them
We’ve seen telephones providing RAW information alongside JPEG earlier than, just like the Pixel three, however every digital camera on the Nokia 9 PureView (which we’re simply discuss with because the Nokia 9 from right here on out) captures a photograph, which is then stacked on prime of one another to ship a ton extra knowledge than pictures from commonplace single- or dual-camera lenses. The distinction in modifying a RAW picture from the Pixel three versus modifying one on the Nokia 9 is instantly noticeable, simply because you will have extra to work with. It’s additionally useful that Adobe will help the Nokia 9’s lens profiles in Lightroom, which might ship higher picture high quality. Photographers know the advantages of taking pictures in RAW, and the Nokia 9’s wealthy pictures make them enjoyable to edit.
We just like the flush digital camera design
A whole lot of cameras on smartphones have digital camera bumps, the place the lens protrudes from the again of the telephone; the iPhone XS is an efficient instance. That may typically make the telephone not lie utterly flat when positioned on a desk. It’s not an enormous downside or a dealbreaker, particularly since a case can resolve this, however we’d like to focus on telephones that make an effort to make sure this design flaw doesn’t exist in any respect, and the Nokia 9 is a winner right here. Regardless of having 5 cameras on the again, there’s no digital camera bump — it’s utterly flat, and that’s spectacular.
We like enjoying round with the depth map
One of many coolest options of the Nokia 9 is how the 5 cameras can seize greater than 1,200 layers of depth. Not solely does that provide a extra natural-looking bokeh (blur) impact, however you may also use Depth Management in Google Images (the default pictures app) to refocus photos. So when you take a photograph and the main focus is on the background as a substitute of the topic, simply faucet the topic and the main focus will shift. You’ll be able to then improve or lower the extent of blur within the foreground or background, producing pictures that seem like they have been captured from a DSLR. It’s a whole lot of enjoyable.
We just like the Android One software program
Whatever the cameras, the Nokia 9 has to meet its duties as a smartphone first. Fortunately, the telephone is part of the Android One program, so that you’re getting no bloatware, clear inventory Android that’s easy to make use of, on prime of a promise of quick model updates for 2 years, in addition to safety updates for 3 years. Positive, it’s utilizing final yr’s Snapdragon 845 processor, however the Nokia 9 can nonetheless deal with nearly something you throw at it.
We just like the Monochrome and Professional mode
To proceed letting these inventive juices move, the Nokia 9’s digital camera app comes with a Monochrome and Professional digital camera mode. Three of the lenses on the again are literally monochromatic sensors, as a result of they’ll seize as much as 2.9 instances extra mild than RGB sensors. So once you swap to Monochrome mode, the digital camera fuses three pictures from the three monochromatic sensors into one, and the top outcomes typically look beautiful. Having a real black and white mode is so a lot better than utilizing a filter, and it will probably make you wish to attempt totally different views when taking pictures.
There’s additionally a Professional digital camera mode that allows you to management shutter velocity, ISO, and publicity. That is current on most HMD telephones, however the Nokia 9 goes a step additional as it will probably now seize 10-second lengthy exposures. Simply set the telephone on a tripod and swap to the 10-second lengthy publicity when at midnight, after which see the Nokia 9 illuminate your environment, identical to a DSLR. There are different telephones and third-party digital camera apps that may obtain this, however paired with the remainder of the photographer-friendly options, the Nokia 9 turns into a special beast.
We don’t just like the lacking MicroSD card slot
The Nokia 9 saves a JPEG and RAW picture each time you snap a shot. The JPEGs are robotically backed up in “high-resolution” (versus the unique decision) without cost on Google Images. The RAWs will find yourself consuming into your free Google space for storing, and we anticipate you’ll finally must buy extra cloud storage from Google as you snap extra pictures on the Nokia 9. The telephone does include 128GB of inside storage, however a MicroSD card slot would have gone a protracted approach to serving to photographers increase storage internally, reasonably than having to leap on a month-to-month subscription storage plan with Google.
We don’t just like the sluggish processing
The most important draw back of the five-camera setup is the time the telephone takes to course of a photograph. You get a preview as quickly as you faucet the shutter button, however you possibly can’t do something with it till 30 seconds later (typically extra), as that’s simply how lengthy it takes to totally fuse and show these detail-rich photos. It’s not a dealbreaker, however it could show irritating to some who wish to rapidly share pictures to social media.
We don’t like the dearth of optical picture stabilization
What additionally might show annoying is the dearth of optical picture stabilization. Granted, it’s powerful to implement when there are 5 cameras on the again. Even Samsung’s triple digital camera Galaxy S10 lacks optical picture stabilization within the extremely wide-angle lens. So in case you have shaky fingers or are taking pictures a topic that strikes lots, the Nokia 9 might supply extra blurry pictures than not.
We don’t just like the in-display fingerprint sensor
Increasingly telephones have in-display fingerprint sensors, which is when the fingerprint sensor is positioned below the display on the entrance of the telephone. Totally different producers use totally different applied sciences, and up to now we’ve had little to no points with Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus, which makes use of ultrasonic tech for its scanner. The OnePlus 6T and Huawei Mate 20 Professional’s sensors failed fairly regularly for us, and we had some points with the sensor on the Nokia 9 after setting it up briefly, which isn’t promising. Fortunately, there’s a face unlock choice, but it surely’s meant extra for comfort and never safety.
We don’t just like the bottom-firing audio system
If we may make it a rule, we’d ban bottom-firing audio system. Take a cue from Google and Razer and make audio system on flagship telephones stereo and front-facing. It’s simple to dam the speaker on the Nokia 9 as a result of the sound solely comes from the underside, and that may imply shifting the way you maintain the telephone to keep away from this downside. There are already small bezels across the display, so we’re unsure why HMD couldn’t put the bottom-firing speaker on the underside bezel in any case.
Likes and gripes apart, we’ll be placing the Nokia 9 PureView by way of its paces over the following few weeks, so keep tuned for our full overview.