Nokia 9 PureView Review: 6 Cameras, yay or nay?

When I first saw the Nokia 9 PureView, which was like a few months back, I thought “wow, this is sick, are those 6 or 7 cameras?” And yes, that’s technology, we always get something new and exciting.

I’ve used a lot of Nokia products in the past, and they had me for a while. My first one was the 3310, still have an old picture of it. But I’m sure you all know it.

We had all those jokes about Nokia phones causing earthquakes and breaking your leg if they vibrate. Long story short, eventually, I saw “the light” when I used a Samsung phone and ever since then, I just stuck to Android. But that’s a story for another day.

It’s great that Nokia is trying to push out more Android products. I can’t say if the 9 PureView is “it” (it is a limited edition product as well), but that’s why we are all here, to know more about the device… so…

This is Shaibu from Shu’s Techs, and today, I will be reviewing the Nokia 9 PureView.

I want to put it out that this review is based on research. With your support, in the future I will be able to get my hands on these devices before reviewing them. So please share, like and comment to support me.

With that being said, let’s get to it.

Key Features

  • Android 9.0 (Pie), AndroidOne
  • 5.99 inch 1080 x 2340 IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen
  • Octa-core CPU (4×2.8 GHz Kryo 385 Gold and 4×1.7GHz Kryo 385 Silver)
  • Adreno 630 GPU
  • 6GB RAM
  • 128GB Internal Storage
  • 20MP Front Camera
  • 5x 12MP Rear Cameras and Time Of Flight Camera
  • 3320mAh non-removable battery
  • Dual Nano SIM

Design

This Nokia product comes in only one color, which is Midnight Blue. However it does look good. The back of the phone is made with Gorilla Glass 5.

Considering the fact that most premium phones are built with a higher version of Gorilla Glass puts the 9 PureView in that category as well. It is also IP67 rated, this means it can resist both dust and water.

So if you like using phones around pools and most water bodies, as long as you don’t go beyond 1m deep for more than 30 minutes, the phone should be okay.

Okay, back to the back (pun intended), being made out of Gorilla Glass is a really nice feature, at least this gives the phone some form of protection, like from scratches and occasional drops.

However, one thing you should note is that this phone is slippery. It’s best to get a case for it. Now don’t go get a slippery case because that won’t fix anything.

Anyway, the glass is also curved on the edges, this gives you that really comfortable feel when the phone is held. The phone also rests really well on flat surfaces. This is actually quite impressive because you will find bumps on some phones with 3 or even 2 cameras.

I’m bringing this up because being that one of the main attractions of the 9 PureView is its 6 cameras at the back, it’s really nice to see that those cameras don’t protrude. Most people won’t appreciate this aspect of the phone but I just have to put it out there.

We’ll talk about the cameras down the road, so just read on.

Turning over to the front, you also get a Gorilla Glass 5 build, it’s one of those expected things. One thing you won’t expect to see though is really thick bezels.

Yes, at the top and bottom of the front of the 9 PureView are really thick bezels. In the age of Notches and absolutely nothing on screens like the Vivo V15 Pro, Oppo F11 Pro, we are getting bezels. Well, look on the bright side, at least you won’t have to worry about Notches disturbing your display.

However, on the sides, the bezels are slim, so… yeah.

For placements, at the top, you get the SIM trey. On the right side, you get Volume Rockers and the Power Button. The bottom has the Speaker Grilles, a USB Type-C port and a microphone (there’s also a microphone at the back, just above the cameras).

Looking at the front, you get the Selfie Camera at the top with a traditional earpiece for calls at the middle.

That’s about it, so no, you don’t get a 3.5mm Headphone Jack. Never really expected this on a Nokia product but okay.

Overall, the Nokia 9 PureView has a decent build, it could pass for a Flagship device if you’re going to look at the dust and water resistance aspect. Also, being built with Gorilla Glass also supports that “flagshipness”.

Display

Display-wise, the 9 PureView is really decent. It comes with a 5.99 inch P-OLED panel with a Resolution of 1440 x 2880 pixels. You get really clear and sharp displays, with good color accuracy. On this panel, blacks are also really deep.

The best part is you don’t have to worry about Notches getting in the way of your screen. So be it gaming, or just watching movies with the phone in general, it really is a nice experience.

Being that it is an AMOLED screen, you also get the “Always On Display” feature. When activated, you get to see time, date, battery percentage and notifications as the phone sleeps. But if you plan to save battery, it’s best to deactivate it.

The Nokia 9 PureView doesn’t come with a physical Fingerprint Scanner on the back. You get the scanner under the display.

What’s odd about it is that it is quite high up, almost in the middle of the screen. Funny part is, a lot of users have had issues using the fingerprint scanner. Just registering your finger is difficult. If you manage to get past that phase, unlocking the phone takes a lot of work by using the scanner.

I sort of delayed my review to see if Nokia will be fast to fix this, and it seems like they “silently” did this. I did some looking up a day before writing this review and it seems like those people that were having this fingerprint scanner issues aren’t having it anymore.

Yes, in-display fingerprint scanners aren’t there yet, but we’ve had some really fast ones on a lot of phones. It’s sad that Nokia had this issue with theirs. Well, sometimes you don’t get it right on the first time.

There isn’t an official statement yet by Nokia about the fingerprint scanner being fixed (even though it seems it has been) so I’ll just be all science fiction and say “the Nokia 9 PureView is a self-fixing device, in the dark while you sleep, the phone just finds all its bugs and fixes them…Detroit Become Human”.

Hopefully, there will be a statement, and as soon as it’s out, don’t expect to find it here. Maybe in the future I will create a NEWS section on the website.

The good thing about this fingerprint scanner issue is that it is not a hardware problem. If it was, there may be cases of the phone being returned but since it’s a software problem, all you just have to do is wait for an update and it will be fixed as soon as it comes.

On to something else, for outdoor usability, the 9 PureView passes with flying colors. The phone gets really bright outdoors, you won’t be struggling to see your screen under direct sunlight.

Overall, I’d say this phone has a really good screen. I don’t consider the fingerprint scanner as a display factor. Yeah, it may still be buggy on some units but it doesn’t limit the overall display experience in anyway.

Only thing I can say that isn’t too positive about this screen is that, you’re basically getting a 6 inch screen here, which is not that awesome in today’s world of really huge screens.

Maybe for movies or just videos in general, sure, it’s fine. But when it comes to gaming, I’m talking about really intensive games, well, I don’t think this screen is the best. It may be fine, but your thumbs should already be covering some parts. What you have left may not be that much.

Cameras

The Nokia 9 PureView’s main sellers, its cameras. On the back there are 6 cameras. Unlike most phones that have like Ultrawide cameras, Telephoto cameras and Depth sensors, on the 9 PureView, the case is different.

We’re talking 5 12 Megapixel cameras and a Time of Flight camera for all that depth sensing. The 5 cameras are a combination of 2 RGB lenses and 3 Black and White lenses.

All 5 cameras work at the same time to take photos, and although the pictures come out to be one of the best natural looking images, the process however is quite slow. It takes about 6 to 10 seconds to fully process a single shot. Who wants to wait that long before viewing a photo they just took?

This phone does some heavy processing when it comes to taking pictures. It’s 5 cameras working at the same time. 6, if you include the TOF lens as well. There’s been reports of the phone getting really hot and using a lot of battery power to take all those pictures.

There’s also issues with the camera app being very very slow. It’s not your quick way to shoot photos, so keep that in mind. Something else a lot of users have mentioned is the camera app crashing.

Now just like the fingerprint scanner, a software update could fix this. This time, Nokia has given a statement about fixing the slow and occasionally crashing camera app.

Being that the camera app is like the biggest setback on this phone, something else to really consider is the size of every image you take. The 9 PureView shoots pictures in RAW format.

Most of the time, these files come out really heavy, if you don’t have somewhere else to store files (like a laptop), you will be running out of space pretty quickly. I am just going to specify here that no, the Nokia 9 PureView doesn’t have a slot for a microSD card.

A lot of consideration should have been made here, knowing that this phone shoots a lot of heavy pictures should have given users an option to be able to expand storage with a microSD card.

Well, let’s actually talk about the pictures. A lot of work has been done here to give you really sharp looking pictures, maybe too sharp. But in good light, the photos come out sharp with natural colors. Light and shadows are captured really well and overall, it isn’t too bad.

Low light shots aren’t as impressive, you get really noisy photos with average color accuracy.

You get the option to take Portrait shots with the TOF camera and one of the RGB ones. The subject separation is actually really impressive. Nokia really did it well here.

Maybe if they had used different lenses, like say a Telephoto and an Ultrawide one, who knows, this could have been the phone with the best range of cameras of 2019.

Videos however aren’t shot with all the cameras, the phone only uses one of the RGB cameras. With it, you can shoot up to 4K videos at 30 frames per second. You don’t get any kind of image stabilization when shooting these kind of videos so expect them to be a bit jerky.

To shoot videos with Electronic Image Stabilization enabled, you’ll have to shoot them in 1080p. This should smoothen out the movements in your videos.

The videos shot with the 9 PureView are okay, there’s enough detail, dynamic range but some amount of softness.

The Selfie camera on the phone is a 20 Megapixel shooter. There’s not much to complain about here, the camera really brings out natural looking selfies with accurate colors and details.

You can shoot up to 1080p videos with the camera as well.

The Nokia 9 PureView supports Face Unlock using the selfie camera, a lot of users switched to this over the buggy fingerprint scanner. Due to the fact that most phones that only use the selfie camera for all that unlocking, it isn’t that safe.

If the phone had some other sensor to assist the selfie camera, sure it would be more secure. With regards to this, it’s best to just stick to using a PIN or pattern for all that locking and unlocking.

So overall, well, aside from the fact that the phone’s camera app is currently a nightmare, it’s not really safe to use this phone as your daily camera phone. There are lots of other options out there that offer more features.

It’s a good thing this is a limited edition phone. Hopefully Nokia will get a lot of information on this and build something better in the future.

Performance and Features

Aside from the crashing camera app, the Nokia 9 PureView actually does really good when it comes to how well it performs.

Under its hood, you get a Snapdragon 845 chipset. It has and Octa-core CPU (4×2.8 GHz Kryo 385 Gold and 4×1.7GHz Kryo 385 Silver). Although this chipset is from last year, it doesn’t take away the speed at which it performs.

Gaming is smooth with stable frame rates. Did I mention Adreno 630 for handling graphics?

Most basic apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp etc. should work without lagging and all that. But yeah, the phone’s camera app has made it known that if an app isn’t optimized well, it will have issues even if you have a really fast chipset.

I wouldn’t really put this phone in the long term gaming device category. Midrange games shouldn’t have a problem running on this phone for a long time. But there are some games out there that need some of the latest chipsets to run smoothly.

One of the best parts about this phone is its Operating System. The Nokia 9 PureView runs on Android 9.0 (Pie). At the back, if you look a little bit close to the bottom, you’ll see the “androidone” logo.

What this means is that you’re getting a really clean Operating System here, you don’t get a lot of custom apps. It’s just how Google wants Android to be.

This also means that you will be getting software updates fast for as long as 2 to 3 years.

Other Operating Systems that have to go through some extra customization to add up some features will take longer to get updates. There has to be a lot of testing to make sure the updates go well with the extra customization.

Since androidone means no extra customization, you get software updates as fast as Google releases them.

Androidone also has its own sort of “Gesture Navigation”, this time you have buttons though. There is an arrow on the bottom left and a “pill” shaped button in the middle.

Tapping on the pill will take you “Home”, if you swipe up on the pill, you will see your “Recent Apps”, swiping right on the pill will “switch apps” and if you tap and hold the pill, you will start up Google Assistant.

The arrow on the left takes you “Back”.

Performance-wise, I can’t say there’s a lot wrong with the 9 PureView, but it doesn’t come with the latest chipset, so keep that in mind if you plan on using this phone for a while.

RAM and Internal Storage

When it comes to RAM, you’re only get one option, it’s not a bad one either. 6GB of RAM.

At least you know all your apps are going to run smoothly and won’t get terminated in the background if you don’t use them for a while and they need to be there.

I’m talking about apps like your WhatsApp, Messanger etc. You may not constantly be using them but whenever you get that text, the apps always notifies you.

Most phones with lower RAM kill apps that haven’t been used after some time, so the ones you are currently using will work smoothly.

You won’t face issues like that on the Nokia 9 PureView. For now, 6GB of RAM is good enough for any kind of task you will be doing on the phone.

Internal storage is also one option, and well, depending on how you use the phone, it could be horrible or very good.

You get 128GB of internal storage. Yes, that sounds great, but if you’re going to be taking a lot of photos with this phone, 128GB is going to fill up like 10GB. The phone shoots photos in a RAW format and they take up a lot of space.

However, if you’re going to be doing most basic stuff like movies, music, games, you won’t need to bother about how much space you’re using for a while.

What the 9 PureView really needs is a microSD card, wouldn’t even had been a problem if we had to give up one of our SIM slots.

I can’t really recommend getting this phone due to this problem. If you have somewhere else to move files that aren’t needed on the phone but still need to be kept, then fine it’s okay to go for the phone. But if you don’t, storage is going to feel like a bottle of water in the Sahara desert.

Battery

The Nokia 9 PureView comes with a 3,320mAh battery. The battery life is decent, so to say. If you are a heavy user well, I can’t say you will be able to use this device for a whole day without charging.

However, charging the device isn’t going to leave you wishing you had a movie to watch while waiting for the device to charge. 30 minutes of charging will give you around a 50% charged battery.

The phone also supports wireless charging, it’s not as fast as charging with the brick but it will get the job done.

Light users should be able to use this phone for more than a day without needing to charge it.

Overall battery life is okay, not the best but still not all terrible.

Connectivity

For internet, you get 4G, 3G, 2G and WiFi.

You also get Bluetooth V5.0, NFC, GPS, USB 3.1 Type-C etc.

Price

This phone costs around $700.

Click here to get current Amazon Price.

*Please note that prices vary from time to time.

Conclusion

The Nokia 9 PureView has its good and bad sides. Sure 6 cameras are awesome, but take those cameras away and it really is a basic phone. Okay, put back the cameras but don’t make them all the same, maybe add a Telephoto one and an Ultrawide one.

The fact that you can’t expand storage is another aspect of the phone that will cause a lot of problems on the long run.

And the battery, not the best but there’s more to be desired.

For the good parts, the RAM size is impressive, screen is really good and you get a really good and fast processor.

I really can’t tell who should get this phone. If the phone is targeting picture enthusiasts, then a lot of work should have been put into the cameras (not making them the same) and the camera app. Although some updates should fix it, the first impression is already bad. Nokia has always had a way of coming back, wouldn’t be surprised if they do.

Gamers should also be a target, but most gamers check out specs before buying and although the Snapdragon chipset is still powerful enough to handle most games, the fact that it’s from last year will leave a lot of gamers wishing it was newer. We get picky sometimes.

Overall I think the 9 PureView is a nice phone, but there are a lot of things to fix, if Nokia can just produce a new version of it, I think it will work really well.

Okay guys, that’s it for now, make sure you share, comment and like if you enjoyed the review.

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Until next time, thanks for reading, see you on the next phone.

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