With five cameras in a nonlinear design, the Nokia 9 PureView of HMD Global stands out of the crowd of smart phones the Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona. The five cameras operate simultaneously to produce photos full of information, which you can then edit as you think best since the phone provides RAW files along with the traditional JPEG images. This smartphone is aimed at photo enthusiasts and not necessarily to a general audience, which may explain, in part, that whether a phone is limited edition. While there are many things that catch our attention, there are features and omissions that are not good news. Let’s take a look at what you like and don’t like about the Nokia 9 PureView, and if you want to know more in-depth details, you can see our full review.
What we like
Receive a RAW image and JPEG
We have already seen phones that offer RAW files, along with JPEG, as the Pixel 3, but in the case of Nokia 9 PureView, each of the cameras capture the same photo, and then the images overlap one on top of another to deliver a large additional amount of data, compared to the photos of standard lenses or two cameras. The difference in editing a RAW picture of Pixel 3 in comparison with the edition of a Nokia 9 note immediately, because you have more to work with, offering a better image quality. Photographers know the benefits of taking pictures in RAW, and the rich photos of Nokia 9 the make fun of edit.
The camera design without bulk
A lot of cameras in smart phones have bumps in the camera, where the lens protrudes from the back (the iPhone XS is a good example). This can cause the phone to not be completely flat when placed on a table. It is not a big problem, especially because a case can solve this, but we would like to highlight the phones that make an effort to ensure that this design defect did not exist at all, and the Nokia 9 succeeded. Despite having five cameras on the back, there is no bump in the camera and it is completely flat.
Play with the depth map
One of the most interesting features of the Nokia 9 is how the five cameras can capture more than 1,200 layers of depth. This not only offers a bokeh effect (defocus) more natural, but you can also use the depth Control in Google Photos, is the photos app the default, to re-focus the images. Then, if you take a photo and the focus is on the background instead of the subject, only you should touch the main subject and the focus will change. Then, you can increase or decrease the level of blur in the foreground or in the background, producing photos that look like they were captured from a digital camera DSLR. It is a very useful and fun to use.
The software Android One
Regardless of the cameras, the Nokia 9 must first meet its functions as a smart phone. Fortunately, the phone is part of the program Android One, so it has no bloatware and is a software of Android simple and easy to use. That, plus the promise of fast updates of versions during two years, as well as security updates for three years. Of course that is using the Snapdragon processor 845 last year, but the Nokia 9 can still handle almost any task presented to him.
The Monochrome Mode and the Pro Mode
To continue with your aim of helping creative minds, the application of the camera of the Nokia 9 comes with a camera mode, Monochrome and Pro. Three of the lenses in the back are, in reality, sensors are monochromatic, as it can capture up to 2.9 times more light than the RGB sensor. Therefore, when you change the mode to Monochrome, the camera merges three photos of the three sensors are monochromatic in one, and the final results are magnificent. To have a real mode black and white is much better than using a filter.
There is also a mode of camera Pro which allows you to control the shutter speed, ISO and exposure. This is present in most of the phones HMD, but the Nokia 9 goes a step further because now you can capture long exposures of 10 seconds. Just place the phone on a tripod and change the exposure to 10 seconds of duration when you’re in the dark, and you’ll see how the Nokia 9 illuminates its environment, such as a digital slr camera or DSLR. There are other phones and camera applications from third parties who can achieve this effect, but along with the rest of the features for photographers, the Nokia 9 takes the flower.
What we do not like
The lack of MicroSD card slot
The Nokia 9 saves a JPEG file and also in RAW format every time you take a photo. The JPEG images are copied automatically in “high resolution” (unlike the original resolution) free of charge in Google Photos. The RAW will end up consuming your storage space free of Google, and we hope that you will eventually need to buy more space in the cloud as you take more photos in the Nokia 9. The phone comes with 128 GB of internal storage, but the MicroSD card slot would have helped a lot of photographers to expand storage internally, instead of having to jump in a monthly subscription plan with Google.
The slow processing
The biggest drawback of the setup of five cameras is the time it takes for the phone to process a photo. You get a preview as soon as you touch the shutter button, but you can’t do anything with it until 30 seconds later, or sometimes more, because that is what it takes to merge and display these images rich in detail. It is not an extreme factor, but it can be frustrating to some who want to share photos quickly on social networks, or on other platforms.
The fata of optical image stabilization
Something that is annoying is the lack of optical image stabilization. Of course, you also have to understand how difficult it is to implement it when there are five cameras in the back. Remember, even the camera triple in the Galaxy S10 Samsung lacks optical image stabilization in the lens ultra wide-angle lens. This means that, if you have shaky hands, the Nokia 9 can offer you a few blurry photos, especially in low-light conditions.
The sensor of digital printing on screen
Increasingly phones have fingerprint sensors in the front, specifically at the bottom of the screen. And although manufacturers use different technologies to implement this resource, up to now we have not had problems with the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus, which uses ultrasonic technology to your scanner.
However, we must point out that it was not the same with the sensors of OnePlus 6T and Huawei Mate 20 Pro. When we failed repeatedly and the truth is that we also had some problems with the sensor in the Nokia 9 after setting it up, which we were disappointed a little. Fortunately, there is an option of face unlock, which, although good, is not as secure.
The speakers at the bottom
If we could turn it into a rule, prohibiríamos the speakers at the bottom. We believe that it would be ideal as Google and Razey the speakers of the phones were stereo and are placed in the front. It is easy to block the speaker in the Nokia 9 because the sound only comes from the bottom, which forces you (in some occasions) to change the way in which you hold the phone to avoid this problem.
In this model, you can appreciate the small bezels around the screen, so we’re not sure why HMD could not place the speaker on for at least in the lower frame.
Leaving aside the tastes and complaints, we will test the Nokia 9 PureView in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for our full review.
*Updated by Maria Teresa Lopes on march 14, 2019.
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