Hands-on review: The Nokia 8.3 5G
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Hands-on review: The Nokia 8.3 5G

Hands-on review: The Nokia 8.3 5G

Nokia’s quest to win back fans with camera, Google integration

If you are of a certain age, your first phone was likely a Nokia (3310 in my case). Much has happened since. Nokia lost grip of a market it pioneered, went through an identity crisis interspersed with a change in ownership – first a mismatched dalliance with Microsoft before finally going under the tutelage of the Finnish firm HMD Global. And this is where we find ourselves today.

With phones in the same price range largely looking the same and having nearly standardised specs, it is getting harder and harder to differentiate between brands, especially within the extended Android family.

Some of the Nokia 8.3 5G’s key highlights include a fingerprint sensor integrated into the power button which makes unlocking the phone much more fluid and intuitive. The Nokia 8.3 5G also comes with a dedicated Google Assistant button, making accessing your favourite assistant even easier.

Nokia’s tight alliance with Google is important here, if not a little ironic.

Nokia was a late convert to the Google Android doctrine. Nokia continued to run proprietary Symbian OS even as Android became the dominant force in mobile (part of why the brand lost its mojo), and then Windows Phone OS when it was under the Microsoft wing.
Now Nokia is part of Android One, a Google-devised programme for smartphone manufacturers that guarantee the OS is a solid and stable version of Android. As part of Android One, users get first dibs of any software upgrade for two years as well as three years of monthly security updates.

Nokia customers also get a six-month 100GB Google One membership trial included ($1.99/month value) when they purchase a Nokia 8.3 5G.

The 64MP, quad-camera architecture is as versatile as it is sharp.
Camera
The front (selfie) camera has emerged as somewhat of a paradox for phone manufacturers. On the one hand, it is a very crucial part of the architecture in the era of Instagram and TikTok. But we are also consuming lots of media on our devices and every millimetre of screen real estate counts.

So, pop up cameras, cameras on a swivel or cameras under the screen are all being considered by manufacturers at varying degrees of urgency.

For Nokia, the camera takes residence in the left corner of the device, visible via a small opening.

But the real war of the sensors is happening behind the phone. The camera has become the biggest differentiator for smartphone brands. Big names in the sensor business have been tapped to create the best camera experience for the creative genius in all of us. Nokia went with Zeiss a brand with more than 100 years of imaging experience.

Zeiss’ street cred shows, with the camera featuring built-in cinematic effects such as anamorphic (capturing an extremely wide field of view without distorting faces) and blue flares (that bright, sci-fi looking flash of light when shooting into headlights or streetlights). These features will elevate your footage from drab to fab at the touch of a button. Plus, share your now stunning 4K videos fast, thanks to 5G.

The 64MP, quad-camera architecture is versatile. Instagram-bound close-ups of that delectable ramen will look as brilliant as your grand desert vistas, and with as much drama as your kids’ portraits. Action Cam mode can replicate some of the effects of the GoPro you never got for Christ-mas as you embark on your dune bashing adventures.

The screen is a sizeable 6.81-inch affair, one of the largest displays in its class. It is sharp too, thanks to Nokia’s proprietary PureDisplay technology.

Nokia may have lost some of its shine, but the 8.3 5G shows this old warhorse still has a few tricks up its saddle.

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