Hands on: Nokia 8 Sirocco India review

Looks like a flagship, feels like a flagship.

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Our Early Verdict

The Nokia 8 Sirocco is HMD Global's attempt to craft the perfect flagship smartphone. The Android One integration is great to have on top of a great design and display.

For

  • Premium metal and glass design
  • Wireless charging
  • IP67 certification

Against

  • Last year's chipset
  • No headphone jack

The Nokia 8 Sirocco is HMD Global's attempt at creating the "ultimate statement of flagship design with the latest screen and camera technology".

Although it's a bold claim to make, HMD admits that the Nokia 8 Sirocco is made "for fans" who have been asking for a premium flagship that actually pushes the boundaries. 

It's true to an extent that the Nokia 8 Sirocco ticks all the boxes that the original Nokia 8 missed. The moment I held the phone in my hand, I was impressed. 

However, with a fleet of new flagships making their way to the market, it wouldn't be as easy for the phone to compete with rivals. Especially with a price tag of Rs 49,999. But that's a question we can answer in our full review.

Nokia 8 Sirocco is compact and fits well in hand.

Nokia 8 Sirocco is compact and fits well in hand.

Nokia 8 Sirocco availability, price and offers

The Nokia 8 Sirocco will be available at a best buy price of Rs. 49,999.

Available in black, consumers can pre-book their Nokia 8 Sirocco starting April 20 from Nokia's online store, Flipkart.com and select retail outlets. The phone will start selling from April 30. 

Airtel customers buying the Nokia 8 Sirocco will get a data benefit of 120GB. While prepaid customers will get 20GB additional data on each of the first 6 recharges of Rs 199 or Rs 349, postpaid customers can avail 20GB per month on the Rs 399 or Rs 499 plans, for 6 months. Airtel customers will also get an extended free subscription to the Airtel TV app till December 31, 2018 and ICICI bank will offer a 5% cashback till May 31, 2018.

Additionally, consumers will get 25% instant discount on domestic hotels at MakeMyTrip. 

The Nokia 8 Sirocco will be available at no cost EMI on credit cards and through Bajaj FinServ and Home Credit.

The new Nokia 8 Sirocco is shiny yet solid smartphone

The new Nokia 8 Sirocco is shiny yet solid smartphone

Design and display

New Nokia 8 Sirocco specs

Dimensions: 140.93 x 72.97 x 7.5mm
OS: Android 8
Screen size: 5.5 inches
Resolution: 2560 x 1440
CPU: Snapdragon 835
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 3,260mAh
Rear camera: 12MP + 13MP
Front camera: 5MP 

With the Nokia 8 Sirocco, the company switches from the blocky design language, in favour of something that looks futuristic and premium. The phone is covered in 95% vacuum moulded Gorilla Glass and has a stainless steel frame at its core.

It has a Blackberry Priv-like curved display that matches the build quality of the Galaxy S8. It's made mostly out of glass and shines, but that also makes it prone to fingerprints and it feels slippery. 

The edges of the Nokia 8 Sirocco taper from 7.5mm to 2mm and it was fun finding the discreetly placed SIM tray on its thinnest point. Similarly, the volume buttons and the power key are flush with the edges, which sometimes makes it a little tricky to click. 

The phone sits well in your hand, where the curved edges on the back allow it to nestle against your palm. The company purposely used a 5.5-inch display to make the phone compact. 

The Nokia 8 Sirocco is a short and wide phone that feels really nice to use with one hand, until you get annoyed with the sharp edges on the sides. 

To compliment the svelte design, the company had topped it with IP67 dust/water resistance and wireless charging.

Power, performance and interface

The Nokia 8 Sirocco packs plenty of power under the hood, but it's still not the best we have right now.

It is backed by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC with 6GB of RAM, which was flagship-class in 2017, and was also used in the original Nokia 8. While Snapdragon 845-powered phones haven't made it to the market just yet, Nokia may have to contend with criticisms for having an older generation chipset. That said, the practical difference between the 835 and 845 is minor.

Simply put, it might not compete against upcoming flagships on benchmarks, but it has plenty of power to run pretty much anything you throw at it.

You get the stock Android 8 Oreo on the new Nokia 8 Sirocco

You get the stock Android 8 Oreo on the new Nokia 8 Sirocco

The unit we used was fresh out of the box, so we couldn't spot any performance blemishes initially. But this might change once the phone is put to regular use, full of apps, games and other forms of data. 

Still, stock Android Oreo felt smooth as silk during my limited experience with the phone.

It's also enrolled in Google's Android One program, which guarantees the next two big Android updates and three years of security updates.

It is powered by a 3,260mAh non-removable battery that we expect should last a day per charge, but you'll have to wait for our in-depth Nokia 8 Sirocco review to find out exactly how it performs.

There's Qi wireless charging built in too.

Camera

The cameras on the Nokia 8 Sirocco are tuned by Zeiss Optics, an old partner for Nokia phones as far as cameras are concerned. 

You get a 12MP main camera sensor alongside a 13MP telephoto lens, which lets you click pictures with blurred backgrounds.

There are two cameras on the back of the Nokia 8 Sirocco

There are two cameras on the back of the Nokia 8 Sirocco

It also features a Live Bokeh mode that allows you to adjust the level of blur you need in the picture.   

Unfortunately, the demo area was dark and we didn't get a chance to test it in daylight. We still managed to take some shots that looked really nice on the phone's display, but we'll put it to test in our full review. 

Round the front, you get a 5MP camera meant for selfies and video calls. 

It supports wireless charging.

It supports wireless charging.

Early verdict

The Nokia 8 Sirocco is a noteworthy upgrade over the original model. It's fast, handy, pretty and brings stock Android software, with a guarantee for updates. All of these are good reasons to buy this phone, though we can only confirm that once we've reviewed it.

While the pricing may make it Nokia's least selling phone of the year, if the point of this was to be a full portfolio player on the market, it's goal achieved.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.