Nokia 9 release date, news and rumors

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Update: A source claims that a future Nokia phone will have five camera lenses and use a Snapdragon 845 chipset. They don't name the phone but there's a good chance they're talking about the Nokia 9. It also looks like we might finally see the Nokia 9 at MWC 2018.

Prior to the launch of the Nokia 8 it had been a long time since we'd had a Nokia flagship, but another new one is rumored to be on the way, and it’s set to be bigger than the Nokia 8.

HMD Global - the company that’s revived the Nokia name on smartphones – has so far otherwise unleashed a handful of entry-level and mid-range phones, like the Nokia 5, but the high-end Nokia 9 might launch soon, and it could be positioned to compete with the likes of the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S9.

We’re starting to hear rumors about it, all of which you’ll find below along with our expert analysis, and as soon as we hear anything new we’ll add it to this article.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? A Nokia Android flagship
  • When is it out? Possibly late February
  • What will it cost? It will have a high-end price

Nokia 9 release date

Our best guess for a launch is MWC 2018 in late February, as we're expecting to see a lot of handsets there and HMD Global has revealed that it has been "super busy" planning for the event.

Other than that all we have to go on is a comment from a representative for HMD Global, who has hinted that the phone is on the way, and that it will have a larger screen "to meet the needs of absolutely all users."

TechRadar’s take: MWC 2018 seems the obvious place to launch the Nokia 9.

Nokia 9 screen

Hottest leaks:

  • A 5.5-inch QHD OLED screen

We've heard multiple sources say the screen on the Nokia 9 will be a 5.5-inch QHD display.

QHD typically means 1440 x 2560 and it’s the standard flagship screen resolution, though some phones, such as the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, are now pushing above that. 5.5 inches is a fairly typical size too – not a small screen but not quite a phablet either.

The possible use of OLED is perhaps the most interesting aspect. This is the screen tech used by Samsung on many of its phones, but one which isn’t widely used elsewhere.

It tends to deliver more vibrant, but potentially less natural colors than an LCD display, and could soon be the tech of choice among flagship makers, with Apple also rumored to be using it in upcoming handsets.

However, the Nokia 8 stuck with LCD, and is only slightly smaller at 5.3 inches, so for the Nokia 9 to stand out we'd think it might push the size up further.

TechRadar’s take: We only have one screen rumor and it comes from an anonymous source with nothing to back it up, so we’d take it with a huge helping of salt.

Nokia 9 design

Hottest leaks:

  • An all-metal body
  • Water resistance
  • A curvy build

One source claims the Nokia 9 will have an all-metal body, while another says to expect it to be IP68 certified, which would make it dust proof and water resistant to 1.5 meters deep for up to 30 minutes.

The most recent leaked image of the phone only shows the front, but you can see that the bezels are tiny and it has a dual-lens front-facing camera. There's no fingerprint scanner, so this is likely on the back.

This could be the shape of the Nokia 9. Credit: 91mobiles / Weibo

However this doesn't match up with an earlier leaked image giving us a close look at the front and back of a phone believed to be the Nokia 9, where it looks a lot like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, with a curved screen, bezels above and below and what appears to be a glass back - in contrast to the all-metal claims.

The Nokia 9 could be a curvy, glass-backed phone. Credit: @baidunokibar

The image also shows a dual-lens camera and a rear-facing fingerprint scanner.

Leaked renders match up with that, while adding dimensions to the mix, revealing that the Nokia 9 will apparently be 140.9 x 72.9 x 7.5mm. You can also see from these images that there's no 3.5mm headphone port.

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The Nokia 9 shown here looks a lot like the photo above. Credit: OnLeaks / CompareRaja
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This side of the Nokia 9 seems to house volume controls. Credit: OnLeaks / CompareRaja
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There's no sign of a headphone port in these images. Credit: OnLeaks / CompareRaja
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There's a USB-C port on the bottom of the Nokia 9. Credit: OnLeaks / CompareRaja
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This side of the Nokia 9 looks to house the SIM card slot. Credit: OnLeaks / CompareRaja

We've also seemingly now seen an image of the Nokia 9 in the flesh, or at least its backplate, and it matches the renders above, complete with a glossy finish, a dual-lens camera and a rear-facing fingerprint scanner.

This could be our first look at part of the Nokia 9 in the flesh. Credit: Baidu

One other leak we've seen supposedly shows an early prototype of the phone, but it's encased in a plastic case to stop us seeing the full design, and the camera layout doesn't match the image above.

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Credit: Frandroid
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Credit: Frandroid
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Credit: Frandroid
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Credit: Frandroid
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Credit: Frandroid

A couple of sketches have leaked out of the supply chain too, but we're not 100 percent sure of their authenticity for now - they show a Nokia 9 with very narrow bezels top and bottom, just like several other 2017 flagships.

TechRadar’s take: The latest, flat screen leaked image of the Nokia 9 looks convincing, while water resistance is believable, as it’s a feature found on a number of high-end handsets.

Nokia 9 camera

Hottest leaks:

  • A dual-lens Carl Zeiss camera
  • A telephoto or wide-angle lens
  • A dual-lens front-facing camera

The earliest Nokia 9 rumors pointed to a dual-lens camera, and a more recent leak backs that up, with a tipster claiming it will have a 22MP dual-lens Carl Zeiss snapper on the back and a 12MP camera on the front.

Both of those cameras have more megapixels than most phones, though they’re not quite a match for the 41MP Nokia Lumia 1020.

However, even newer leaks suggest that there will be a pair of 12MP and 13MP lenses on the back and a 5MP dual-lens camera on the front.

As for what the second lens will be used for, a new version of the Nokia 5 camera app has appeared in an Android Oreo beta with options for 2x telephoto zoom and wide-angle shots.

Both of those features require a dual-lens camera and neither are possible on any current Nokia phone, so one or both of those things could be coming to the Nokia 9.

In the Nokia 8's case there's a monochrome lens and an RGB one, which are combined for better shots, especially in low light, so that's another possibility.

But one rumor suggests Nokia might go even further than a pair of dual-lens cameras, instead opting for five lenses. If so though we don't know what purpose they would serve and we'd take this rumor with a serious side of salt.

TechRadar’s take: Most of the rumors we’ve heard point to a dual-lens camera on the back, and the Nokia 8 already has such a snapper, so that will almost certainly be what we get, but we're less sure about the rumored megapixel count.

Nokia 9 battery

Hottest leaks:

  • A huge 3,800mAh battery
  • Fast charging

There’s only one battery rumor so far, and it points to a 3,800mAh juice pack with Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.

That would make it far bigger than most smartphone batteries, with even something like the LG G6 having just a 3,300mAh battery.

TechRadar’s take: A 3,800mAh battery seems surprisingly large for a 5.5-inch phone, so we’re not totally convinced by that, but it’s possible. Fast charging is likely, as that’s become a fairly standard flagship feature and is available on the Nokia 8.

Nokia 9 OS and power

Hottest leaks:

  • A Snapdragon 835 or 845 chipset
  • 4GB, 6GB or 8GB of RAM
  • Android 7 or later software

Early sources claim the Nokia 9 will have a Snapdragon 835 chipset and 6GB of RAM – though we’re only talking about two sources here.

That would make for a high-end spec, topping even the Sony Xperia XZ Premium and the US version of the Samsung Galaxy S8, both of which use that chip but have just 4GB of RAM. Though the chipset could feel a bit dated by 2018 standards.

One of the sources adds that the Nokia 9 will also have an Adreno 540 GPU and run Android Nougat 7.1.2, which at time of writing is the latest Android release, but may not be by the time the phone actually launches.

Since then we've seen two benchmarks for the phone, both of which also list a Snapdragon 835 chipset, but one of which lists 4GB of RAM, while the other claims it comes with 8GB. However, if there is an 8GB model in the works we wouldn't expect to see it in the west.

We've also now heard that an upcoming Nokia phone might have a Snapdragon 845 chipset. The Nokia 9 isn't named, but it would be the obvious candidate.

We wouldn’t expect to see any kind of overlay, as HMD Global has stuck with stock Android on its current crop of handsets.

TechRadar’s take: The rumored specs would put the Nokia 9 at or near the top-end, but they’re not unbelievable, especially as HMD will want to make a splash with its second flagship phone. That said, we'd guess 4GB of RAM is more likely than 6GB or 8GB.

Nokia 9 other features

Hottest leaks:

  • 3D audio recording
  • An iris scanner
  • A fingerprint scanner

According to one source the Nokia 9 will have both an iris scanner and a fingerprint scanner, much like the Galaxy S8.

The same – anonymous and unproven – source claims that it will have OZO audio enhancements. This is a Nokia tech which creates a surround sound effect when you’re recording audio. It lets smartphones with four microphones record 3D audio, those with three capture spatial 360 audio, and those with two capture spatial audio.

However, the source doesn’t mention how many mics the Nokia 9 has, so even if this is true we don’t know how heavily it will be able to take advantage of the tech.

TechRadar’s take: None of these rumors are unbelievable, but as they all come from the same unproven source we wouldn’t read too much into them.

Nokia 9 price

Hottest leaks:

  • A roughly $560/£415/AU$735 starting price
  • May cost more for higher storage capacities

The latest pricing rumor puts the 64GB model of the Nokia 9 at 3,699 yuan (roughly $560/£415/AU$735), while a 128GB version could apparently come in at 4,199 yuan (around $635/£470/AU$835).

That's a lower price than a previous rumor we'd heard, with a tipster reckoning it’s going to be expensive at $699 in the US (around £565/AU$935) and 749 euros (roughly £640/AU$1,060). Like the rumor above, they added that there will be both 64GB and 128GB models, but didn't specify which price this is for.

Direct conversions are rarely accurate, so we wouldn't rely on any of these prices being right, but one of them might be close.

TechRadar’s take: The more recent pricing rumor is most likely to be accurate, both because it's recent and because it puts the phone at a lower price, which seems likely to be the case given that the rumored specs might be a bit dated by the time it lands.