Nokia 8 is an important series of Nokia phones, so no wonder that everyone has been eagerly anticipating the Nokia 8.3 5G. Nokia 8 was usually the first Nokia smartphone to bring some advanced technologies to a more affordable price range of Nokia smartphones. It has been like that since a long time ago, and Nokia Mobile continued that tradition. The first Nokia 8 brought the double camera setup with Zeiss lenses. Nokia 8 Sirocco gave us a glimpse into the marvellous design, materials used and rich hardware. Then Nokia 8.1 happened, which changed the story a bit, since that phone was really a successor of the now legendary Nokia 7 Plus, so the 8 series lost a bit of that affordable flagshipness that folks expected to get. Nokia 8.2 never came to life, but Nokia 8.3 did and brought us the first Nokia smartphone to support NA and SA 5G networks. Nokia 8.3 is also coming with a Snapdragon 765 5G series chipset, but the difference between the Snapdragon 8XX and 7XX is now not that noticeable so that can be overlooked. Since the hardware of the device is a bit ordinary, everybody focused on its camera, and so did Nokia Mobile, and boy Nokia 8.3 can shoot. Do check our full review below and see if Nokia 8.3 5G is a right phone for you.
Name: Nokia 8.3 5G (TA-1243); BabyGroot
Dimensions: 171.9 x 78.6 x 9 mm
Mass: 220 g
Display: IPS LCD, 6.81 inches, 1080 x 2400 pixels; 386 ppi
Nokia 8.3 5G is a representative of the upper price segment of Nokia smartphones, so, understandably, the box feels more prestigious than the others. Well, the looks are pretty much like the other boxes of Nokia smartphones, with Nokia 8.3 displayed on the front, together with Nokia and Android logos. On the back, you get the standard text with all the important features that are making the phone unique, like a PureView camera with Zeiss optics, OZO Audio, or Qualcomm 765G processor. The box opens by taking the top cover off, and the first you see s the large Nokia 8.3 wrapped in cellophane with some Google promo text. The device sits in a thin carton cradle that has a SIM door key, and below it, you will find a quick start guide printed in several languages. Next to it is a smaller box that holds an 18W charger, a meter log USBa/USBc cable, and a strange-looking Nokia wired earphones, like old WH-308. Earphones can serve as a handsfree since they have a multi-functional button and a microphone.
Design and ergonomics
When I first saw the Nokia 8.3 on renders, I liked the idea of a Nokia phone housing a 6.81-inch screen. But a large screen usually means that the body of the phone could be large, and that is the case with 8.3. This is a beautifully built large phone, which is not the thinnest or lightest, but look gorgeous for its dimensions. Nokia 8.3 measures are 171.9 x 78.6 x 9 mm, and you also get 220 grams of mass, which you will sense in your hand like you are holding a smartphone tank, but a tank that is also beautiful to see and quite nice to hold. The phone is well balanced and ergonomically well designed, which makes it fit nicely in hand when surfing or doing calls.
You definitely won’t be able to touch the whole content of the display with just a thumb, but Android allows you to summon a dropdown menu from the bottom of the display, which is nice. There will be some position switching in hand though, especially when reaching for some shortcuts in the menu. Maybe using two hands is better since that lowers the chance of dropping it on your feet. The fingerprint scanner is positioned well at the right side of the device, but it took me a while to get used to using it. You might definitely consider reregistering fingerprints after a week or two of usage since you’ll be noticing that you unlock the device differently than you anticipated.
I noticed that the Gorilla glass back is slippery on some materials, so do not be surprised if your 8.3 falls off a couch.
The front of a Nokia 8.3 is dominated by a large ad crisp LCD panel, which is perforated in its upper left corner by a 24 MP selfie camera. The screen is surrounded by a thin bezel, except in the bottom part where the bezel forms a chin that holds the Nokia logo. It would be good if designers managed to make the bottom bezel the same size as the upper one that holds a thin speaker and proximity and ambient light sensors to its left.
The front glass is mounted in the plastic rim, which is more than a millimeter thick, but it will provide good protection for the screen from various physical stresses, and hopefully prolong its life. With Nokia 8.3, the smooth transition from the screen panel to the sides is gone. Do not get me wrong, everything is done seamlessly, but you can sense the rougher transition under your fingers, and that makes it a bit unpolished. The case bod is dressed in a polycarbonate layer, which makes Nokia 8.3 5G warm to the touch. The sides are also wide, which provides a solid grip for the phone.
On the right, you will find a SIM door at the top, then a volume button with almost the same length as a SIM door, and below it a fingerprint scanner, which is also a power button. It is strange that the SIM door looks like an extra volume rocker button, but the real button is slightly elevated, clicky, and comfortable to use. The power button is sitting in a slight dentation of the body, which is wide enough for a thumb to be positioned nicely over the sensor.
I noticed that SIM doors have a rubber ring around it which might help prevent some spills getting inside the phone, but Nokia 8.3 is not waterproof in any level.
On the left side, you will just find a Google Assistant button, which is not remappable but can be disabled in the settings to prevent unnecessary activation of the digital assistant.
The top of the device holds one of two microphones, and the other one is diagonally opposite of the first on the bottom side. Next to the microphone is a 3.5 mm audio jack, USB-C charging port, and loudspeaker on the left side. The position of the loudspeaker on the left bottom side is not the best, because you will be covering it a lot with your hand when playing games or watching a video.
The back of the device is its most beautiful part. There is an elevated camera module that holds an outstanding 64 MP main camera, 12 MP ultra-wide, useless 2 MP macro, and 2 MP depth camera. The camera module is protected with a Gorilla glass, like the whole backside, and in the middle of it is a shiny circular patch that is holding a Zeiss logo. The left of the camera module is a dual-LED flash. In the middle of the backside is the greyish Nokia logo, and on the bottom part, the text tells you more about the designer, country of origin, and model number.
Nokia 8.3 is coming in one color, which is Polar Night, and there is a light reflection effect that might remind you of the northern lights. The phone looks so good with this color option, and you will appreciate it regardless of gender.
Nokia Mobile choose to use one of the largest screens up to date with Nokia 8.3 5G. The screen measures 6.81 inches in diagonal, and it is the same size as the Nokia 7.2 or Huawei P30 Pro. But you would think that this screen will take almost all of the front surface of the phone, but thanks to the thick bezels, it covers just 83%.
While there is the everlasting debate whether the LCD or AMOLED screen should be used on pricier phones, I like how the screen of 8.3 behaves. It is sharp with 1080 x 2400 pixels, has a great color reproduction, which you can adjust within the settings since this is a PureDisplay screen. This means that the SDR video can be converted to HDR, and that color, contrast, and brightness can be adjusted dynamically according to your usage.
Nokia 8.3 definitely doesn’t have problems with the outdoor visibility, since the display has good contrast and polarizing filters, and there is also the option of boosting some extra contrast when the bright sunlight hits the screen.
You will definitely enjoy playing games on the screen of 8.3. Since it is quite large, the display of the Nokia 8.3 is also great for watching movies and TV shows, and the front-facing camera will not bother you since it is positioned in the bottom left corner.
Nokia 8.3 is a quite heavy smartphone with 220 grams of mass, but the phone is well balanced, so you will not be dropping it. Since its larger surfaces are covered with Gorilla glass, it will be sliding on slightly tilted areas covered with fabric.
The large screen cannot be used singlehandedly, which means you will be using both hands on many occasions, but the large screen is ideal for browsing the web, reading, and answering emails, or watching videos though. Since the phone is big, you can rest it on a table and browse through the screen content, and the phone won’t be moving around even though its camera module is a bit more elevated than the competition, but that is the advantage of having a camera module in the center of the body.
This smartphone can be also used for calls, believe it or not, and the speaker is quite loud, and its sound quality is great. Also, the noise reduction is quite good according to persons on the receiving end, probably thanks to two microphones placed on the opposite edges of the phone. I had a slight problem with a proximity sensor, which would not perform the best during the call, so I would end it with torchlight turned on, or alarm clock settings on.
The loudspeaker is quite loud, but the sound reproduction could be better. There is a lot of middle tones being reproduced, but that is not the worst thing about the loudspeaker. The worst thing is its position on the bottom left, which means that you’ll be covering it with the palm of your hand, which is annoying if you are playing games with the sound turned on.
One of the things that I have been looking forward to seeing on a Nokia phone is side-mounted fingerprint readers since it gives you an option of unlocking the phone without picking the phone. But the fingerprint reader isn’t performing so well, and sometimes it doesn’t read my thumb or index finger on the first try.
Nokia 8.3 is one of the first devices to use Qualcomm’s octa-core Snapdragon 765G processor that is made in a 7nm process, which means it is power efficient. The phone performs nicely, it is quick to open apps, install them, and play games thanks to Adreno 620 GPU. It feels just like you are using an 8XX series processor. I did notice occasional stuttering in some games, but 8.3 is generally performing well. I am not a fan of some more graphically demanding games, but I can say that Asphalt Nitro, BrawlStars, and Subway Surfers are working great.
Nokia Mobile is still fully focused on Android One, which means that Nokia 8.3 is going to be receiving two major Android updates, starting from Android 11 till the end of 2020, and monthly security patches for the next three years at least. The software is pretty much nicely tuned up, and the device is performing well, but some bugs are noticed like the low sensitivity of the fingerprint scanner, bug in the notification muting of the display, proximity sensor not working the best it could, and classic occasional freezing of the Camera app that to be frank happened 3 times in the past 3 weeks, so that is not a huge problem. But, Nokia Mobile is releasing MR updates rather quickly for the newly announced devices, so the future updates will sort that out.
There is nothing much to be told about Android 10, except you can unlock the phone by double-tapping the screen, scanning your index finger, or even face unlock method which is not the quickest but it is working (without a mask, of course). You get a classic lock screen after waking up the screen and below it a home screen where you can put widgets or open multiple screens. There is an app drawer, and you can choose whether you will control the UI by navigation buttons or gestures. I must say that I got completely used to gestures, and those are working well, and remind me of some old Nokia times.
Nokia 8.3, unlike many other modern phones, is bringing an almost forgotten 3.5 mm headphone jack, which means you can still be using classing headphones. This also means that you will be able to use FM radio on this phone too. But there are some other ways of connectivity like Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, NFC, BT 5.0, and Nokia 8.3 got them all. GPS connectivity is working well. Nokia 8.3 has A-GPS, GLONASS, and BDS, and the positioning is quick to lock and precise. The quality of the BT connection is superb, and Nokia 8.3 is able to stay connected with Huawei Watch GT2 and Nokia Power Earbuds even if I move to the other corner of the apartment. NFC is also connecting well with the old but gold Nokia JBL PlayUp speaker.
There is also the 5G support, and Nokia 8.3 will be able to use non-standalone and standalone 5G networks. The only thing missing is the mmWave, but not so many operators are using it, so that will not be a problem, especially now when 5G is still a rarity and people rely most on a signal from 4G networks.
I did not manage to test the 5G network yet on 8.3, but that will be a reality soon so can be sure that Nokia 8.3 will endure the upcoming networking changes.
One could think that the main selling advantage of the Nokia 8.3 5G is in its 5G connectivity or a large 6.81-inch display but it is actually the main 64 camera sensor, with the f1.9 aperture and 0.8 um pixel size, which might be the best that Nokia Mobile launched to this day. The camera is coming with ZEISS certified lenses, and it is using pixel binning technology, which means that four pixels are combined to create 16MP sharp and realistically looking photography.
But the whole camera setup is not that special, it lacks 5X optical zoom lenses or optical stabilization, but it is performing rather quickly and well in all light conditions, good day light and finally low light. That can also be said for the ultra-wide camera, which is now useful for the photography, but it would definitely benefit from a more powerful sensor instead of a 12MP one with a 1.4 um pixel size. Then, for some unknown reasons, there is a 2 MP macro camera that hopefully will not happen again, and a 2 MP depth camera for making good portraits with blurred background. The selfie camera is equipped with a powerful 24 MP sensor, which also coming with ZEISS lenses, and the photos and videos are looking great.
Another good thing about Nokia 8.3 5G is its Camera app, which is one of the two apps that Nokia Mobile is preinstalling on their phones. The app in Nokia 8.3 did not bring some substantial UI changes, and it still looks the same as in previous models. It is rather simple to use, and you can change the camera modes or setups by swiping your finger across the screen, which is nice. The Camera app has a classic Photo mode, an improved Night mode, Video mode, and a Pro mode, that you can activate also by pulling the shooter button towards the centre of the display. Pro mode offers you manual controls of the camera, and I hope that a slight UI issue of not being able to see the value you are adjusting is going to be sorted out.
I know that many would like to see the dedicated camera button return to Nokia phones, but you can quickly start the app by double-pressing the power button, which is not the best solution since it is not so protruded, but it is a handy shortcut. You can use the volume up button as a camera shutter when the app is on, and that might be the solution for the problem of the missing dedicated camera button.
A new feature in the camera app is the Cinema mode, which is developed by ZEISS, and the possibility to record videos with 24 fps, 21:9 ratio, and up to 4K resolution. This option also gives you the possibility to record in H-Log format, and you also have Video Pro mode with real-time controls over the white balance, focus, ISO, and other parameters. Video is also recording audio in high-quality thanks to Nokia’s OZO Audio software, which is also a nice addition.
I was surprised by the quality of the shots the first time I tried Nokia 8.3, especially since I made a switch from Huawei P30 Pro which is an exceptional shooter. But I must say that taking photos with the Nokia 8.3 is rather simple, quick, and the quality of the photos is good. Daylight shots are nicely representing colors and have a good dynamic range. I do not like that the sensor is distorting the data at its ends, but the central part of the photo is exceptionally sharp. Maybe some software tuning is needed here to make the photos even better. The photo quality is a bit reduced here, but as always, do check our Flickr account to see more photos in full resolution.
So, you can shoot in 4:3, 16:9, 1:1 or take the ultra wide shot. Those are the options, and shots are pretty much great, on the PC monitor too.
Here are some daylight shots and indoor shots I did by just pulling the phone out of the pocket and mostly with automatic focusing (4:3, 1000x width).
Night shots are finally good enough to be shown to other folks, and they are turning rather well even though there is no optical stabilization (4:3, shots reduced to 1000 pixels width).
I need to commend the night mode which is now much better in photo quality.
The wide camera is finally good enough for daily usage. It is coming with large 1.43 um pixels which makes it also good for low light photos and videos which Zeiss Cinema mode is using.
A macro camera with a 2MP sensor is just something that should not be included in this phone since you can take better shots with a 64MP main camera, zoom the wanted object or surface and get a sharper picture. The camera doesn’t produce good enough shots that would justify its existence.
The selfie camera is performing also very well, and portraits are looking super sharp, and crisp, even in low light. The portrait mode is working well enough, and there are some ZEISS effects like Modern, Swirl, Smooth, classic, and others that you can use to make the shots look like they are taken with a real camera. Sorry about my face, especially in the dark.
Videos are turning well on Nokia 8.3 5G, especially in good light conditions, but a lot of work needs to be done on night or low light videos. Interestingly, it seems that Google helped Nokia Mobile create super stable videos, and you can really see that. Do not be surprised when you go into the video mode and see a slightly enlarged viewfinder, that is because algorithms are using a part of pixels to stabilize the video, and they are doing exceptional work. You can run, ride a bike, and still get an exceptionally steady video.
Nokia Mobile also included the wind noise filter which is not working perfectly but will reduce the problematic wind noise.
Night or low light videos are turning OK if there is some source of light and you are not moving around. If you do move, stabilisation algorithms are messing around with pixels, and in dark areas video tends to be grainy.
There is also the Cinema mode which is more for the filmmakers in you, and which is using both the 64 MP and 12 MP ultrawide camera with large pixels, but don’t expect great low light videos from the ultra-wide camera, and rather stick to the main 64MP one.
Another interesting feature that the Camera app is bringing is the shooting video with both the front and back camera. Nokia Mobile used to call it Bothie, but now that option is saved just for the video recordings which might be interesting for vloggers.
For powering a 6.81-inch display, 64 MP camera, Snapdragon 765G and 5G antennas, a good smartphone needs a battery of larger capacity to take it through a day. Nokia 8.3 5G has a 4500 mAh battery, which will be enough to keep the device running all day with 10 to 15 calls of 2 to 5 minutes, some 30 minutes (OK maybe 45 min) of Brawl Stars and Subway surfers, watching one Mandalorian episode, 9gaging, and doing standard social networking reading, surfing. The 18W fast charger isn’t the fastest, and it is charging some 1.16 % per minute and will get you some 50% of battery charge in 40 minutes, which is not the best, but will serve you well. I am usually charging overnight, so I do not mind the charging process being a bit slower, but a faster charger could become a standard in the class of smartphones where the Nokia 8 resides.
It would be nice if Nokia 8.3 5G was coming with a wireless charger since there is a place for a wireless charging coil in its body, and wireless charging is a thing for its price range.
Nokia Mobile finally brought a good phone that might be appealing to people that are looking for a good working smartphone. Nokia 8.3 5G got a nice design, especially the back, nicely performing back and front-facing camera, 5G connectivity, good performing processor, large LCD display with great color reproduction and sharpness, and a long-lasting battery. There are some key features that might make this phone even better like wireless charging, faster fast charging, higher refresh rates of the display, better macro camera sensor, smaller bezels, and a differently positioned loudspeaker. Those additions would justify the price also, and a fact that the phone should have been on sale in May 2020, not late November.
Anyhow, Nokia 8.3 5G is finally available and might serve well people who want a smartphone with a large display, capable camera, and a day lasting battery.
I switched from Huawei P30 Pro and thought I’ll be back because of its powerful camera and long lasting battery, but I’m still on Nokia 8.3 5G because it is fast, reliable and has a large flat screen that I prefer.
If you do choose Nokia 8.3, the phone won’t let you down, and it will serve you well, and also as a weapon since it is built like a tank like a true Nokia phone is.