The Nokia 9 PureView is a peculiar-looking phone with an ambitious goal, and for that, it deserves respect. It doesn’t fulfill those ambitions, and the phone is no joy to handle, but it’s an intriguing choice for folks who want to put up with its idiosyncracies for potentially richer shots.
Those looking for an advanced phone should look elsewhere: the Nokia 9’s sole cutting-edge feature, its in-screen fingerprint sensor, is woefully poor. Expect basics and you won’t be surprised.
At the end of the day, the Nokia 9 PureView seems more like an experimental offshoot rather than an innovative flagship – which appears to be the case, given its intentionally limited production run. Perhaps HMD reasoned that folks would shy from the phone’s rear, which admittedly looks like a cluster of arachnid eyes.
Instead, they should steer clear if they want an all-purpose handset – but if they’re avid photographers with access to mobile photo editing apps and an aversion to paying full flagship prices, this might be the phone to try.
Should I buy it?
The Nokia 9 PureView is for phone photo enthusiasts - anyone eager to tinker with their pictures in post-production using photo-editing apps in either mobile apps or proper software should take a closer look at this phone. Those looking for an all-around device at the sub-flagship price point, or hunting for a phone that takes superior photos without editing, should probably look at other options.
The OnePlus 6T is a good alternative to the Nokia 9 PureView as a sub-flagship value pick. Instead of focusing on photo capability, the 6T is a more well-rounded device, with comparable specs at an even cheaper price.
The 6T is pretty lightweight in terms of software, running a lean version of Android. Its drawback: currently, only T-Mobile carries the OnePlus 6T, which might make it tricky for consumers to get ahold of without buying it unlocked.
Full review: OnePlus 6T
Google Pixel 3
The Google Pixel phones have topped our best camera phone lists for years, and for good reason: the photos turn out well in most situations. The Google Pixel 3 is the latest, but it's cheap enough by now to compete within the Nokia 9 PureView's price tier.
Both phones have fairly comparable specs, but the Google Pixel 2's interface is friendlier to navigate. Plus, as a Pixel phone, it will likely be the first to get the new Android Q OS when it launches. Its single camera almost certainly won't produce the raw photo data produced by the Nokia 9's DNG-format photos, but they often look better unedited.
Full review: Google Pixel 3