Reviews

James Bond’s new Nokia mobile phone offers up a cheap rival to Apple and Samsung

NOKIA is bouncing back after years in the smartphone doldrums with this snazzy James Bond tie-in handset.

And the good news is it’s a fantastic little box of tricks for those seeking a solid, all-round smartphone without the eye watering cost of Apple’s top level handsets.

Nokia used to be the kings of mobile technology, with their early naughties 3360 model still today heralded as a classic.

Flash-forward to today, and the firm isn’t really muttered in the same breath as both Apple and Samsung when it comes to phone tech.

They’re hoping that’ll change now with the 8.3 5G, as the aggressively priced future-focused unit is looking to cash-in on growing demand for big, bright screens, thin design and powerful cameras.

Dubbing the handset a “truly global 5G smartphone” the firm reckons it brings new levels of connectivity with advanced 5G network compatibility and a powerful PureView quad-camera to capture those vital life moments.

You’ll see the phone being used by the stars of Bond movie No Time To Die when it is eventually released in cinemas, thanks to a deal with the moviemakers.

But Nokia doesn’t need a thumbs up from film stars to make this phone cool.

It looks incredibly slim and seek in the hand and fits comfortably in the palm. The ‘Polar Night’ dark blue colour is deep and impactful.

There’s a lightness to the weight and the centralised camera on the back catches the eye, looking dominant and powerful.

There’s a 6.81in screen that has a beautiful clarity and brightness to it, video looks wonderful and large and the Pixelworks visual processor inside the box gives that imagery a vibrancy of colours to enjoy.

Being 5G, the internet speeds are lightning fast – if you’re lucky enough to enjoy an area that has a 5G signal of course – but even then, in 4G mode, it’s swift and more than comparable to big rivals.

Those speedy uploads means you can capture pictures on the impressive camera on the go and get them posted online in an instant, stored forever more in you Google Photos drive.

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There’s also a free 6-month trial of Google One out of the box, meaning an additional 100GB of online storage across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos – an all-in-one membership that can be shared with up to 5 additional people.

And those 64megapixel Zeiss optics on the camera itself are just excellent, giving a clarity that’s dazzling.

I particularly liked the Apple-esque Portrait mode, where the backgrounds blend out into a blur while the focus of your picture remains pin-sharp.

It’s not quite as effortless as the iPhone 11 Pro’s version, but the differences are minimal considering the huge difference in handset cost.

Inside the unit is a Qualcomm 765G Snapdragon processor, which basically means it’s super powerful and can run pretty much any task at lightning fast speed.

Games play excellent on screen, with even graphics heavy titles like the never-ending Asphalt race titles working beautifully.

The touch panel works well and I felt no particular lag to the gameplay when tapping away at the screen.

Video too looks fantastic and that’s where the huge display comes into it’s own, a big brash display that’s like a mini TV set in the palm of your hand.

The technology provides immersive HDR quality and amazing colour reproduction for all your streaming media, photos, videos or games, even when the content is only available in standard dynamic range.

This is done by dynamically upscaling the colour depth and detail by a factor of 64, transforming all your entertainment into cinematic-style experiences.

Simplicity lovers will also enjoy the fact there’s no fancy cabling here, and if you prefer old-fashion plug-in earphones then there’s a classic minijack on the machine itself.

But don’t let that fool you, if you get the handset before October 21 you will get over £100 worth of accessories for free. they include a pair of excellent wireless black Nokia Power Earbuds. We tried them and they sound fantastic.

The Nokia 8.3 5G combines the power button with a side-access fingerprint sensor for a smoother and more seamless way to access your phone.

It means you get more screen as there’s no need for a centre fingerprint scanner on the front.

Nokia also promises a guaranteed two years of OS upgrades and three years of monthly security updates, along with a suite of Google apps to ensure the software inside stays cutting edge.

I should also mention the battery life, which is generous and seems to easily last the day and beyond, even with heavy use.

This is not a perfect phone though.

I found the auto brightness feature flawed. The handset often went way too dark as it tried to automatically alter to the room light, leaving me on several occasions having to go into settings to bring the brightness back up again.

That’s annoying and urgently needs a software fix.

Also, while it’s unfair to compare a £500 phone to a £1,200 one, I did notice the fluidity of moving through the app ecosystem wasn’t as good as my normal iPhone 11 Pro and the screen did jerk a few times as I tried to snappily and speedily change from one app to the other in quick succession.

The camera is great, but the pictures do feel a little ‘digital’ at times and I think as the phone evolves in future software, Nokia could look again at ensuring a more natural tone to imagery, especially indoors.

The Google Assistant button is annoyingly places on the side of the handset too, which means it’s prone to accidental tapping.

But ultimately these are fairly minor gripes, and what we’re left with here is a very strong mobile unit, ready for 5G and already on the market a week ahead of rival Apple’s expected 5G iPhone 12 announcement.

It’s got great features, great tech inside and is prepped for the future.

For £500 you can’t really go wrong.

VERDICT 4/5

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