Android One for the win

  • Stock Android 8.1 Oreo
  • Guaranteed Android updates

The Nokia 8 Sirocco is equipped with last year's Snapdragon 835, which makes us wonder if HMD has a true flagship planned for later this year.  On paper and in synthetic benchmarks, this handset will lose out to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S9 or the Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact

But when it comes to real-world usage, the Nokia 8 Sirocco is super snappy and we think the bloat-free Android One experience has a big part in making this phone work as fast as Google’s Pixel 2 phone, which is also using the same chipset. With 6GB of RAM and 128GB of UFS 2.1 storage, the Sirocco offered a butter smooth experience in almost every app we tested it with. 

Another advantage to Android One is that you’re guaranteed an upgrade to the next two versions of Android so expect Android P and Android Q(?) to be available on the Nokia 8 Sirocco. HMD has done well to keep its older phones updated to the latest version of Android and judging from that, the Sirocco could be one of the first non-Google phone to get the upcoming version of Android.

Other than the pro camera app and a help/feedback app, there aren’t any non-Google apps installed on the Nokia 8 Sirocco. While other manufacturers like to include their own version of apps for the dialer, the text messages client, the photos app or the email app, HMD uses Google’s apps for all of these.

We ran the Geekbench 4 benchmarking app on the Nokia 8 Sirocco and it averaged a multi-core score of 6,590, which is in line with the flagship phones from last year.

But again, while those benchmark numbers compare to last years flagship (including the original Nokia 8), real world performance on the Sirocco is a different story and it's as fast to operate and launch apps as almost any top-of-the-line Android phone of this year.

Movies, music and gaming

When it comes to consuming media or gaming, the 16:9 aspect ratio on the Nokia 8 Sirocco makes it a better device than many flagship phones with an 18:9 display. Most new movies or YouTube videos are shot in 16:9 which means that don't get black bars on the sides watching videos on the Sirocco and instead, enjoy a fully immersive experience.

Games and many apps also fall into this category as there are still quite a few developers that haven't updated their apps to make use of the new taller screens- no issues running such apps on the Sirocco. Also, the Snapdragon 830 processor, bundled with 6GB RAM provides plenty of power for almost any game.

Coming to audio, there is just one speaker on the Nokia 8 Sirocco located at the bottom, next to the type-C charger. It's reasonably loud and doesn't produces good quality audio, but we're used to seeing stereo speakers on high-end phones which the Sirocco doesn't have.

There's also no 3.5mm jack to plug in a pair of "old-fashioned" headphones, but at least you get a decent pair of type-C earphones inside the box.