Nokia 8 Sirocco Review


Believe it or not, the Nokia 8 Sirocco is at the top of the company's lineup at the moment, complete with a high-res display, a fast chipset, a dual camera, and plenty of storage. It is, however, also the company's most expensive phone, and a lot of water went under the bridge since its unveiling, so are the fine specs and fast Android One chops enough to justify the pricing? Read on to find out...

In the box:

  • Protective case
  • In-ear headphones
  • 2.5A wall charger
  • USB-C cable
  • USB-C audio jack adapter
  • Warranty and information leaflets

Design

Glassy heft, retro aspect ratio


To sum the Nokia 8 Sirocco in one sentence, it is a phone that is more pleasant to look at than it is to actually use on a daily basis. It looks striking in glossy black, and the thin, contrasting metal rim helps to exude a premium feeling. The device has a solid, reassuring heft to it, and the curves on the sides of the display further add to its coolness factor. Plus, the phone is IP67 water-resistant.

Nokia 8 Sirocco

Nokia 8 Sirocco

Dimensions

5.55 x 2.87 x 0.3 inches

140.93 x 72.97 x 7.5 mm

Weight

oz (0 g)

Samsung Galaxy S9

Samsung Galaxy S9

Dimensions

5.81 x 2.7 x 0.33 inches

147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5 mm

Weight

5.75 oz (163 g)

LG G7 ThinQ

LG G7 ThinQ

Dimensions

6.03 x 2.83 x 0.31 inches

153.2 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.71 oz (162 g)

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s

Dimensions

5.94 x 2.95 x 0.32 inches

150.86 x 74.9 x 8.1 mm

Weight

6.67 oz (189 g)

Nokia 8 Sirocco

Nokia 8 Sirocco

Dimensions

5.55 x 2.87 x 0.3 inches

140.93 x 72.97 x 7.5 mm

Weight

oz (0 g)

Samsung Galaxy S9

Samsung Galaxy S9

Dimensions

5.81 x 2.7 x 0.33 inches

147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5 mm

Weight

5.75 oz (163 g)

LG G7 ThinQ

LG G7 ThinQ

Dimensions

6.03 x 2.83 x 0.31 inches

153.2 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.71 oz (162 g)

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s

Dimensions

5.94 x 2.95 x 0.32 inches

150.86 x 74.9 x 8.1 mm

Weight

6.67 oz (189 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display


The Nokia 8 Sirocco lands a high-res, 1440x2560 Quad HD AMOLED display. The best thing about it is that it looks nice and sharp thanks to its high pixel density, and during our testing, we've never had issues with outdoor visibility. On the downside, the screen is much “colder” than it should be, appearing downright blueish when it's supposed to display white, especially towards the curved sides. Thus, cold colors like green and blue appear especially jumbled and over-pronounced compared to the reference sRGB gamut. No extra display color settings are provided, so what you see is what you get.


One thing we weren't expecting to find here is the so-called “jello effect”. It is noticeable when scrolling up and down – the content appears to slightly stretch and compress as you swipe. It's presence is not a big deal, but it is a tiny flaw nonetheless.

About the display's curved sides, they do look cool, but serve no other purpose but an aesthetic one. While watching full-screen video – most of which successfully fills the entire screen's traditional proportions – there will always be these two slim bars at the top and bottom where colors are a bit off. This proves more problematic when gaming, as it is common for buttons and health bars to occupy that area of the screen.

Interface and functionality

Screeching fast Android updates, clean interface, thoughtful gestures

If you've seen one Nokia interface, you've seen them all, as the company was one of the first to jump on the Android One bandwagon that provides clean, bloat-free UI (Android 8.1 Oreo in this case), spearheading version and security updates. For example, Nokia phones get the Android P betas concurrently with Google's Pixels now, and ditto for the latest security updates.

Nokia does throw in a few thoughtful touches to the plain Android look and functionality, though. You can set a double-tap gesture to wake the phone up. The phone also has something called Glance Screen (similar to Samsung's Always-on Display), that can light up the AMOLED panel when you pick up the phone, showing time/date, battery stats and notifications in monochrome. You can choose from different clock styles and notification displays, too!

Also, you may not have the ability to swipe on an empty screen area to unfurl the notification shade, but you can do it with a swiping gesture on the fingerprint scanner at the back. Double-pressing the lock key quickly takes you to the camera app from a locked state, rounding up the good coverage of most basic useful gestures and shortcuts on the Nokia 8 Sirocco.

Processor and memory

Not furious, but pretty fast, and with plenty to memorize in

At the price that Nokia was asking at launch for the Sirocco, one might expect a Snapdragon 845 inside, but will have to make do with the 835 version. It's still a 10nm chipset, though, and the clutter-free Android Oreo on the Sirocco simply flies. The smooth operation is undoubtedly also aided by a large 6GB DDR4 RAM package, while storage is taken care of with a generous 128GB flash memory module from the get-go. Gaming, on the other hand, isn't a perfectly smooth experience. Casual, less-demanding titles run well, but we did notice choppiness in more graphically intensive titles like Riptide GP Renegade.

AnTuTu Higher is better
Nokia 8 Sirocco 201297
Samsung Galaxy S9 244207.33
LG G7 ThinQ 239753.5
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s 263515.33
JetStream Higher is better
Nokia 8 Sirocco 61
Samsung Galaxy S9 61.834
LG G7 ThinQ 88.304
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s 75.076
GFXBench Car Chase on-screen Higher is better
Nokia 8 Sirocco 15
Samsung Galaxy S9 25.66
LG G7 ThinQ 20
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s 33
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
Nokia 8 Sirocco 22.33
Samsung Galaxy S9 43.33
LG G7 ThinQ 31.66
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s 54
Geekbench 4 single-core Higher is better
Nokia 8 Sirocco 1932
Samsung Galaxy S9 3709
LG G7 ThinQ 2439.5
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s 2463
Geekbench 4 multi-core Higher is better
Nokia 8 Sirocco 6678
Samsung Galaxy S9 8814.66
LG G7 ThinQ 8793
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s 9021.33

Camera



The Nokia 8 comes with a Zeiss-branded dual camera setup that combines a 12MP shooter sporting large, 1.4-micron pixels and wide, f/1.7 lens with a 13MP telephoto secondary camera for 2x magnification. We also appreciate the Pro mode that's available for manually adjusting white balance, focusing, ISO, shutter speed and exposure compensation. A Live Bokeh mode that blurs portrait backgrounds and slow-motion video round up a nice set of camera extras. Unfortunately, we found the camera app to be acting up a few times, not registering our shutter taps at all so we had to close and reopen.

Image quality


When given favorable conditions, the Nokia 8 Sirocco can take good-looking, very likeable photos with its main camera. Details are sufficient, and colors are given a slight boost to make them pop, although noise filtering could use some improvement. Unfortunately, the camera is a bit fiddly when it comes to setting the exposure with a tap on the screen, and this can lead to shots that are under- or overexposed. Low-light photos are definitely usable, but noisier and less detailed compared to what we've seen from other high-ends. The Auto HDR feature (turned off by default) does help in trickier lighting situations, but slows down the picture-taking process noticeably.

As for the secondary 2x zoom camera, its performance puts it in the “hit or miss” category. Proper, optical zoom is nice having as it brings the subject closer to the photographer with minor losses in quality, but in the case of the Nokia 8 Sirocco, motion blur can easily spoil the image. Also, the camera performs poorly in low light, so we'd advise you to be conservative with its use.

Taking a pic Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec) Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Nokia 8 Sirocco 1.6
1.7
750
672
Samsung Galaxy S9 0.7
1
No data
No data
LG G7 ThinQ 1.6
2
360
No data
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s 2.2
3.2
740
No data

Selfies and Live Bokeh


The front-facing camera is a run-of-the-mill, 5MP affair. In tricky dynamic range situations, like shooting against a clear sky, it aims for the face which is understandable, but results in overexposed selfie backgrounds. Distortion near corners is easily noticeable with this one.

The Live Bokeh mode can be used to add a more professional, more artistic look to your portraits. The results aren't perfect when it comes to how accurately the blur has been applied, but the shots are still worth sharing on social media.

Video


The Nokia 8 Sirocco is capable of shooting 4K video that is detailed, with nice, saturated colors, but the darker-than-reality exposure algorithms sometimes rear their ugly heads in video capture as well. The 1080p footage is stabilized for a smoother recording, while continuous autofocus works great in all modes, refocusing between objects near and far nearly instantaneously.

Sound recording was stellar, too, with the three noise-canceling mics around the phone, which kept ambient noise to a minimum while we talked, and etched our voice loud and clear in the footage. Nokia touts 24-bit audio plus the ability to record at up to 132 decibels, and we can attest that the handset is indeed a very capable audio-grabber.

Sound and call quality



The long mesh of the earpiece grill lets out very good voice quality to our discerning ears, with no audible distortions, even at higher volume. The Nokia 8's trio of noise-canceling mics, strategically scattered around the phone, behaved commendably, too, by weeding out the ambient fluff, and relaying our timbres loud and clear to the receiving end.

The single built-in speaker is positioned at the bottom of the phone. It sounds loud and clear even at high volumes, but don't expect getting much bass out of it. Since the Nokia 8 Sirocco lacks a headphone jack, a pair of USB-C in-ear headphones are included in the set. The sound quality is decent for a pair of in-the-box headphones. A USB-C to 3.5mm adapted is also bundled with the phone.

Headphones output power (Volts) Higher is better
Nokia 8 Sirocco 0.22
Samsung Galaxy S9 0.75
LG G7 ThinQ 0.75
Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
Nokia 8 Sirocco 83
Samsung Galaxy S9 78
LG G7 ThinQ 81
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s 76

Battery life

Just shy of excellent, battery life is as good as it gets with QHD resolution and 3200 mAh pack


The Nokia 8 Sirocco – paired with a 3260mAh battery, the Android One experience, and its OLED display – did well on our battery test, enduring nearly 8 hours of continuous use. Our real-life experience with the phone confirms that it can easily last through a day of normal usage, and we were close to reaching the 2-day mark last weekend.

The phone ships with a 2.5A wall charger that tops off the battery for a bit less than two hours from discharged state, and also offers a Qi wireless charging coil inside for those long days behind a desk.

Battery life (hours) Higher is better
Nokia 8 Sirocco 7h 53 min (Good)
Samsung Galaxy S9 7h 23 min (Good)
LG G7 ThinQ 6h 32 min (Average)
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s 7h 57 min (Good)
Charging time (minutes) Lower is better
Nokia 8 Sirocco 114
Samsung Galaxy S9 107
LG G7 ThinQ 107

Conclusion



There's a lot to like about the Nokia 8 Sirocco. The solid glass-and-metal design feels premium, and the specs offer plenty of processing power and storage. When you add the clean Android One software that is fast and free of bloat, one can't help but wonder what might be the catch.

Well, the catch is that Nokia somehow decided to price the Sirocco at the whopping 749 EUR at launch. The price has fallen a bit, but this bracket still puts the Nokia 8 Sirocco against formidable direct competition. For this kind of dough, you can get almost any Android flagship out there, including the Galaxy S9 or the LG G7 ThinQ, and these come with faster chips and better cameras.

Still, if it falls down in price, the Sirocco will be a great option for those Android purists who like their interface fast and clean or their displays in a more traditional aspect ratio. Until then, the price tag may chase away many potential buyers, irregardless of the nostalgia whiff that Nokia's Sirocco models may send down their spines.

Pros

  • Premium feel, compact for the screen size
  • Good battery life
  • Clean video sound recording and call quality
  • Bloat-free software, fast to get Android updates

Cons

  • Overpriced
  • Camera software needs work
  • Lock and volume keys are shallow and too thin for comfort

PhoneArena Rating:

6.5

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24 Comments

1. NateDiaz

Posts: 1087; Member since: Mar 03, 2018

At 141mm its probably the most compact 16:9 5.5inch phone, that's like really compact.

6. libra89

Posts: 2272; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

I love the size of it.

7. Humanoid

Posts: 1226; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

Yes... Most of them are at least 15cm. G4 was a bit less than 15.

2. notfair

Posts: 721; Member since: Jan 30, 2017

"OVERPRICED" based on what? Based on the brand name?

4. Yousefjaber206

Posts: 111; Member since: Jan 09, 2018

It packs sd 835 instead of sd 845

8. worldpeace

Posts: 3129; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

749 EUR for SD835 in 2018's phone is just unforgivable..

12. BL4NKF4CE

Posts: 128; Member since: Aug 06, 2017

I can get it in Canada for 750CDN, which is 482EUR.

22. Subie

Posts: 2356; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

Now you'd have to also add HST, or instead GST + PST before converting to Euros, as the Euro price most likely already includes VAT. Plus, please see post 21.

23. BL4NKF4CE

Posts: 128; Member since: Aug 06, 2017

I priced it out, I could order one for 792.87, that includes tax, shipping, and import costs.

17. mixedfish

Posts: 1552; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

Yes you can get the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 for 250Eur or even Xperia XZ Premium for 350Eur.

3. SIGPRO

Posts: 2815; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

Haha this review........

5. modu9 unregistered

Is this a review or a preview... a very, very bad one either way.

10. Subie

Posts: 2356; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

It seemed like a full phoneArena review to me. What in particular is bad about it? Or, is it just the final score that bothers you? I thought the review was mostly favorable. My guess is that the final score reflects the perceived value for dollar of what an Android flagship should bring this year...

9. E34V8

Posts: 109; Member since: Dec 16, 2011

6.5 ? Someone made a huge mess of this review.

11. BL4NKF4CE

Posts: 128; Member since: Aug 06, 2017

Why are you comparing benchmarks with SD845 phones when it has a SD835 in it? It should be compared to the S8, Pixel 2 XL, V30, Mi Mix 2, etc.

13. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3125; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Thus it should be priced accordingly to these older handsets and that's the crux of the article.

16. Subie

Posts: 2356; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

I agree. It's a flagship model from this year and being positioned as such. Thus the comparisons are fair.

18. BL4NKF4CE

Posts: 128; Member since: Aug 06, 2017

It's priced similar to what I can purchase a S8 here in Canada.

19. Subie

Posts: 2356; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

Find an officially licenced seller in Canada that sells both the S8 and the Sirocco and then compare prices. Currently the S8 sells, on sale for $720 CAD directly from Samsung.ca.

20. BL4NKF4CE

Posts: 128; Member since: Aug 06, 2017

That would be kinda hard considering the Sirocco isn't officially available in Canada.... lol.

21. Subie

Posts: 2356; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

Yes I know. That is why your price comparison isn't apples to apples. Some third party importer that offers a unit with no guaranty, return policy, or a manufacturers warranty doesn't count IMO.

24. BL4NKF4CE

Posts: 128; Member since: Aug 06, 2017

Every place I buy from offer returns, and warranty. So... yeah.

14. willk

Posts: 23; Member since: Jun 12, 2015

When I saw the score I was expecting a real flogging of this phone. Actually, except for the high price, it sounds like a phone I would be interested in purchasing. Why such a low 6.5 score? Seems like it deserved an 8.5 score based on the content of the review.

15. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

I don't think Nokia knows what they are doing with their strange smartphone lineup in 2018. Sirocco should be their flagship contender for 2018 but packs just a SD 835 is just absurd. And it is over priced for sure. Their low end models like Nokia 7 Plus and 6.1 are also a bit over priced.
8 Sirocco
  • Display 5.5" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2450 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3260 mAh(22h talk time)

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