If you're a smartphone manufacturer that wants to perform well in the US market, there's one key ingredient your phone needs. No, it's not the latest chip or an OLED display. In fact, it has little to do with the phone itself. Okay, okay, enough teasing. We're talking about carrier support. The vast majority of Americans buy their phones from one of the three major carriers: Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T, and if your phone isn't on them, for most people it might as well not exist.
That's why today is a very important day for Nokia
. HMD Global, the company behind Nokia smartphones, is bringing its currently most premium smartphone, the Nokia 8 V, to US consumers in partnership with Verizon, the biggest carrier, in case you don't know. The Verizon exclusivity is right in the name: Nokia 8 V 5G UW. Yes, it's a mouthful, but Nokia wanted to make sure the name is descriptive enough of what the phone stands for. The V is for Verizon, 5G is quite self-explanatory, and UW stand for Ultra Wideband, which highlights that the phone supports Verizon's mmWave network for super-fast, low-latency internet.
Support for Verizon's 5G network requires some hardware changes in some phones, which is why the carrier often gets dedicated versions of popular models with the "UW" moniker at the end. The same is valid for the Nokia 8 V, which some of you might have recognized from the pictures as the Nokia 8.3. But for now, let's look at this phone as if it's a brand new one.
Nokia 8 V design
The Nokia 8 V's looks are in line with Nokia's phones of the recent months. At the front, we have a 6.8-inch IPS LCD hole-punch display with a slightly thick bezel at the bottom. A nice change we're seeing on this Nokia is the lack of branding on that same bezel, something users generally weren't fans of. Thanks to that change, the design is much cleaner, which is definitely a plus.
On the back, the Nokia 8 V has a very recognizeable camera bump shaped like, well, a donut is the most appropriate word. It looks similar to that of the Huawei Mate 40 Pro but much smaller and with less impressive cameras inside, but more about them later.
There's no fingerprint sensor on the back, or under the display for that matter. You can find it, instead, in the phone's power button.
Overall, the phone looks nice but that's nothing new for Nokia's smartphones. Even budget models have built quality that often exceeds what you'd expect for that price point. Now it's time to talk about what's inside.
Nokia 8 V specs
Nokia markets this phone as an affordable flagship. And in 2020 that means one thing: it's powered by the Snapdragon 765G. This chip made the rounds this year, from the Pixel 5
and the LG Velvet
to countless other phones, the 765G proved as one of the best price-to-performance chips. It has enough power to keep the average user happy with the performance and its efficient cores provide excellent battery life as well.
In the Nokia 8 V, the Snapdragon chip is paired with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. These specs are lower than those of the Nokia 8.3 5G, but that's a sacrifice we've seen before with other Verizon versions of phones. And while the storage is lower than what we've used to see from Android phones at this price point, at least the phone has a slot for a micro SD card and supports up to 1TB of expandable storage.
Keeping the phone alive is a 4,500mAh battery that supports 18W fast charging. Combined with the frugal chip, you can easily get 2 days of battery life if you're not a very heavy user.
One last thing while we're talking about specs, the Nokia 8 V has a headphone jack!
Nokia 8 V cameras
When it comes to cameras, the Nokia 8 V has a quad-camera system. As you might have guessed from this being an affordable flagship, one of the four cameras is a depth sensor. And another one is a 2MP macro camera. Here are the full specs of the cameras:
No telephoto camera on this phone, but the large 64MP main sensor should do a good job at providing 2X zoom photos via cropping. Nokia is especially proud with the ultra-wide angle camera, calling it "best-in-class" and as having "incredible low light performance". Those statements are worth putting to the test. Of course, Nokia combines the pixels of the main camera to form bigger ones for its night mode photos, so the main camera should perform well under low light as well.
Nokia 8 V price and release date
The Nokia 8 V is priced at $699.99 and goes on sale tomorrow, November 12, on Verizon's website
and at Best Buy. Compared to the Pixel 5 and Galaxy S20 FE
, both of which are priced the same, the Nokia 8 V doesn't sit very favorably. It lacks an OLED display with high refresh-rate, has lower memory and storage and the S20 FE has the more powerful Snapdragon 865 chip, besides the better display. Even if the low-light performance of the ultra-wide camera is superior, that will hardly be a reason to choose the Nokia over the other options. The bigger battery seems like the most obvious advantage right now. The Nokia 8 V is closer to the Pixel 4a 5G
specs-wise, and that's a phone that's $100 cheaper over at Verizon.
Still, if you're a fan of the brand or really want that headphone jack (which the Pixel 4a 5G also has), you can consider the Nokia 8 V. It will serve you well and Nokia has a good track-record with software updates, which is quite important.