Hands On With Nokia 9 PureView: 5 Cameras Is Better Than 1

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HMD Global has finally taken the wraps off of the Nokia 9 PureView. The world's first penta-camera smartphone. The Nokia 9 PureView has been rumored and leaked for quite some time. Dating back to last year – in fact many thought it was going to be unveiled in October 2018, but that didn't happen.

The manufacturer is pretty pleased with itself, that it has the world's first smartphone with five cameras on the back, and well it should be. That's no small feat, but it is one that will likely be happening pretty soon. With other OEM's doing two, three and even four cameras. The five cameras on the back of the Nokia 9 PureView might surprise a lot of people, in how they work.

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Unlike the LG V40 ThinQ or the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, the Nokia 9 PureView is not using different focal lengths. In other words, it is not sporting a telephoto, and a wide-angle lens on-board. Instead, Nokia has taken five sensors that are essentially the same 12-megapixel sensor (similar to the one on the Pixel 3), with two being monochrome and three being RGB or color sensors.

The idea here is to use all five sensors on every single picture. That gives Nokia a ton of data, but that also means it's going to get in a lot more light than some of the other phones out there that only have a single camera lens. HMD Global says that you should get around 10x more light out of these sensors than a traditional smartphone. Obviously, in a short, controlled, hands-on experience that wasn't easy to do or check out. So we'll have to wait until we get a device in our hands to check out.

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First impressions on the camera though, are pretty good. This could be the camera to beat the Pixel 3 and Huawei Mate 20 Pro, though it does need five cameras to achieve that level. For those wondering, it does support shooting in RAW and you can edit those on the Nokia 9 PureView through Lightroom.

HMD Global did work with Adobe to make sure Lightroom could handle these photos, since they are far different than the photos from a Pixel 3 or LG V40 ThinQ. But, HMD Global made sure that the app was not pre-installed on the phone. As it wants to keep that "stock Android" feel going, since this is an Android One smartphone – like all of the other Nokia smartphones.

Software-wise, there's not a lot that's new on the Nokia 9 PureView. It's mostly the same old, same old for HMD Global. And that is Android One, based on Android 9 Pie. So you're getting a very similar experience to the Pixel 3.

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Internally, the Nokia 9 PureView is a bit of a mixed bag. Spec-heads are not going to like the fact that HMD Global is using an older chipset in the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 for this one. But, the Snapdragon 845 is no slouch, and Nokia worked hard with Qualcomm to push the Snapdragon 845 to its limits, when it comes to these five cameras. You'll also find 6GB of RAM inside with 128GB of storage. There is no micro SD card slot, however, you do get unlimited Google Photos storage with the Nokia 9 PureView. The only caveat there is that your RAW images that you upload to Google Photos, do count towards your quota.

If you thought the five cameras on the Nokia 9 PureView was the only innovative thing here, you'd be wrong. HMD Global also included an under-display fingerprint reader – this is an optical one, like many other smartphones out there and not the ultrasonic one that Qualcomm has made. The fingerprint read works pretty well, it's still a tad slow. But that is par the course when it comes to these first-generation under-display fingerprint sensors. So no real surprise there.

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HMD Global has a glass sandwich with a metal frame for the Nokia 9 PureView, which feels really good in the hand. There is also no camera bump at all, and part of that is because the company decided to outfit the phone with a 4,000mAh capacity battery. Which should be plenty to get you through a full day. Nokia is promising two full days, though we'll have to wait and see if that holds true.

Finally, the display. This panel looks impressive on the Nokia 9 PureView. It is a 5.99-inch Quad HD+ P-OLED display, which doesn't appear to have any issues with blue tints, weird off-axis viewing or anything of that sort. Though it's important to remember that we only spent around an hour with the Nokia 9 PureView, and not several days. So those issues could still arise.

The Nokia 9 PureView has not yet been announced for the US, but HMD Global has said that it will be available in the US. It will be priced at €599 in Europe, so expect similar pricing when it lands on the other side of the Atlantic.

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