Smartphone with the most unusual camera

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All happy smartphone owners are equally happy, but each unfortunate person is unhappy in his own way. In Nokia 9 PureView, of course, not everything is mixed up. But this smartphone, which is designed to bring the resurgent Finnish company back to the lists of innovators and avant-garde artists, combines several different technologies at once. This is the world’s first six-camera phone, but it’s not so much the number of cameras that makes it stand out, but their layout: two RGB sensors sit side by side with three monochrome ones, all of them with the same focal length. Instead of some crazy zoom, we get fancy (and non-switchable) HDR, which is processed by a special signal processor from the sensational startup Light. The sixth camera is based on the already more or less familiar TOF sensor, which allows you to get a depth map. In this case, not only for portrait mode with the usual software bokeh, but also for changing the depth of field after the fact.

These are the two key features of the Nokia 9 PureView — they are both related, as you would expect from a smartphone of that name, to the performance of its camera. However, there are others: the traditional design without notches and retractable elements, but with rather large frames around the six-inch OLED display; last year’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 flagship platform; corporate laconic design.

Did these components create something special — or is the Nokia 9 PureView doomed to a place in the list of curiosities that, for one reason or another, failed to sell, but remained in the memory of technology historians, like the Nokia 808 PureView in its time? We understand.


Nokia 9 Sony Xperia XZ3 OnePlus 6T Xiaomi Mi 9 Oppo RX17 Pro
Display 6″, P-OLED, 2560 × 1440, 490 ppi, capacitive multi-touch 6 inches, OLED, 2880 × 1440, 537 ppi, capacitive multi-touch 6.41″ AMOLED
2340 × 1080 dots, 402 ppi, capacitive multi-touch
6.39″ AMOLED
2340 × 1080 dots, 403 ppi, capacitive multi-touch
2340 × 1080 dots, 401 ppi, capacitive multi-touch
Protective glass Corning Gorilla Glass 5 Corning Gorilla Glass 5 Corning Gorilla Glass 6 Corning Gorilla Glass 6 Corning Gorilla Glass 6
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 845: Quad-core Kryo 385 Gold @ 2.7GHz + Quad-core Kryo 385 Silver @ 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 845: Quad-core Kryo 385 Gold @ 2.7GHz + Quad-core Kryo 385 Silver @ 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 845: Quad-core Kryo 385 Gold @ 2.8GHz + Quad-core Kryo 385 Silver @ 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 855: One Kryo 485 Gold core 2.85GHz + three Kryo 485 Gold cores 2.42GHz + four Kryo 485 Silver cores 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 710: two Kryo 360 Gold cores, 2.2 GHz + six Kryo 360 Silver cores, 1.7 GHz
Graphics controller Adreno 630, 710 MHz Adreno 630, 710 MHz Adreno 630, 710 MHz Adreno 640 Adreno 616, 750 MHz
RAM 6 GB 4 GB 6/8/10 GB 6/8/12 GB 6 GB
Flash memory 128 GB 64 GB 128/256 GB 128/256 GB 128 GB
Memory card support Not There is Not Not There is
Connectors USB Type-C USB Type-C USB Type-C USB Type-C USB Type-C
SIM cards Two nano-SIMs Two nano-SIMs Two nano-SIMs Two nano-SIMs Two nano-SIMs
Cellular 2G GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
CDMA 800/1900
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
CDMA 800
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
Cellular 3G HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 MHz HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 /1900 / 2100 MHz WCDMA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
Cellular 4G LTE Cat.16 (up to 1024 Mbps): bands not specified LTE Cat.18 (up to 1200 Mbps): bands not specified LTE Cat.16 (up to 1024 Mbps): bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 32 , 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 46, 66, 71 LTE: bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 20, 28, 38, 39, 40 LTE Cat.15 (up to 800 Mbps): bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 32, 34, 38, 39 , 40, 41
WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0
NFC There is There is There is There is There is
Navigation GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo, QZSS GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo
Sensors Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass) Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass) Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass) Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass) Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass)
The fingerprint scanner Yes, on screen There is Yes, on screen Yes, on screen Yes, on screen
Main camera Six module: 5 × 12 MP, ƒ / 1.8 + TOF camera, contrast autofocus (with laser assistant), dual LED flash 19 MP, ƒ/2.0 OIS, hybrid autofocus, LED flash Dual module, 16 + 20 MP, ƒ / 1.7 + ƒ / 1.7, hybrid autofocus, dual LED flash Triple module: 48 MP, ƒ / 1.8 + 16 MP, ƒ / 2.2 + 12 MP, ƒ / 2.2, hybrid autofocus, dual LED flash Dual module, 12 + 20 MP, ƒ / 1.5-2.4 + ƒ / 2.6, phase detection autofocus, optical stabilization, LED flash
Front-camera 20 MP, ƒ/2.0, fixed focus 13 MP, ƒ/1.9, no autofocus, no flash 16 MP, ƒ/2.0, fixed focus 20 MP, ƒ/2.0, fixed focus 25 MP, ƒ/2.0, fixed focus, no flash
Nutrition Non-removable battery: 12.62 Wh (3320 mAh, 3.8 V) 12.65 Wh non-removable battery (3330 mAh, 3.8 V) Non-removable battery: 14.06 Wh (3700 mAh, 3.8 V) Non-removable battery: 12.54 Wh (3300 mAh, 3.8 V) Non-removable battery: 14.06 Wh (3700 mAh, 3.8 V)
The size 155×75×8mm 158×73×9.9mm 157.5×74.8×8.2mm 157.5×74.7×7.6mm 157.6×74.6×7.9mm
Weight 172 grams 193 grams 185 grams 173 grams 183 grams
Hull protection IP67 IP65/68 Not Not Not
Operating system Android 9.0 Pie Android 8.0 Oreo, Sony Xperia skin Android 9.0 Pie, OxygenOS shell Android 9.0 Pie, MIUI shell Android 8.1 Oreo, ColorOS shell
Current price 420$ 420$ $420 for 6/128 GB version, $320 for 8/128 GB version, $520 for 8/256 GB version $320 for 6/64 GB version, $320 for 6/128 GB version 420$

Nokia 9 PureView — information about the filling according to the CPU-Z application

⇡#Design, ergonomics and software

Nokia smartphones of the “new era” stand out against the general background with a low-key but thoroughbred design. It is suspected that this is one of the four main components of the return brand’s success — along with a big name, Android One and reasonable pricing. Nokia 9 PureView is made in the same style. Here there was no place for some fashion trends like almost absolute framelessness, requiring tricks to place the front camera. The front camera is classically inscribed in a frame above the upper edge of the screen in 18:9 format. More recently, such an aspect ratio was new (the flywheel was launched in 2017 by LG), and now it seems almost archaic against the backdrop of universal worship of narrow displays with a ratio of 19:9, 19.5:9, or even 21:9, as is the case with the latest Sony Xperia.

But I would not say that the Nokia 9 PureView looks like an outdated smartphone. Despite the fact that the display occupies a not too solid percentage of the front panel area (the manufacturer does not indicate it, of course), this is not striking. Rather, on the contrary, it looks to some extent an uncompromising solution, along with a relatively small screen size of six inches.

As a result, the smartphone is convenient to use, it did not turn out too healthy. And even though this is still an inevitable work with two hands, and in terms of dimensions, the “nine” is comparable to its competitors who received displays with a diagonal of 6.4 or 6.5 inches, there is no question of any serious loss in terms of user experience. Just outwardly, this is a smartphone for lovers of the classics — just for the target audience of Nokia.

  Nokia 9 PureView, front panel: above the screen - front camera, earpiece microphone, light and proximity sensors

Nokia 9 PureView, front panel: above the screen — front camera, earpiece microphone, light and proximity sensors

Both front and back, the Nokia 9 PureView case is covered with tempered glass Gorilla Glass 5. At the back, it is rounded at the edges, due to which the smartphone can leave an insufficiently flat surface, but it fits more comfortably in the palm of your hand. The most pleasant design solution is a chrome border around the case perimeter; this is already a trademark of the new Nokia, and it never ceases to please the eye. Unless no, no, yes, and it will blind you with a reflection in the sun. The edges of the smartphone are made, as usual, of aluminum with plastic veins necessary for the correct operation of the antennas.

  Nokia 9 PureView, back panel: a web of six cameras (one of them is TOF) and dual LED flash with a dedicated special border;  above it is a microphone

Nokia 9 PureView, back panel: «web» of six cameras (one of them — TOF) with a dual LED flash highlighted with a special border; above it is a microphone

The color scheme is one and only, Nokia 9 PureView can only be dark blue (from a certain angle of view — in fact, black). And this, I must admit, is beautiful, albeit boring.

  Nokia 9 PureView, the left side is devoid of functional elements

Nokia 9 PureView, the left side is devoid of functional elements

  Nokia 9 PureView, right side: power and volume keys/camera shutter

Nokia 9 PureView, right side: power and volume keys/camera shutter

Despite all the classicism, the Nokia 9 PureView has lost its analog audio jack. Alas, here the company leaned towards fashion, but at least compensated for this with the declared moisture protection, albeit according to the IP67 standard.

  Nokia 9 PureView, top: dual nano-SIM slot and microphone

Nokia 9 PureView, top: dual nano-SIM slot and microphone

  Nokia 9 PureView, bottom: microphone, USB Type-C port and main speaker

Nokia 9 PureView, bottom: microphone, USB Type-C port and main speaker

Otherwise, there are no original ergonomic solutions, except, of course, the back panel, almost half covered with cameras. Their lenses do not protrude above the body, and this seems to be good, but in fact, due to the increased area of ​​​​coverage of the body with lenses, it is very easy to smear at least one of them in the end. It is impossible to understand by touch that you just touched the lens. Unlike Samsung devices, the smartphone does not know how to understand this problem: it does not notify you of a picture distorted due to a fingerprint on the glass, so you need to monitor this yourself. There is no dedicated shutter button like the 808 PureView.

The fingerprint scanner in the Nokia 9 PureView is placed on the screen, and judging by how it works, an optical sensor is used, not an ultrasonic sensor, and a very low level one. Alas, the screen scanner works here, perhaps worse than anywhere else we’ve seen it before (then Huawei Mate 20 Pro took first place in this sad competition). Already at the stage of recording a fingerprint, he starts to blunt and demand to “press the screen harder”, the sensitivity is very low. This continues in the process of using it — most of the attempts to unlock the smartphone with your finger end up in the fact that you simply enter the password. Or you turn on the face identification method — it works much more stable, albeit only in normal lighting. For facial recognition, no additional sensors are provided, only the front camera, which also affects the security of this method.

The Nokia 9 PureView runs Android 9 Pie with almost no impurities. Almost — because there is no absolutely pure “robot”, each manufacturer is obliged to make some contribution, to create a shell, albeit conditional (including Google itself does this in its Pixels — this is also not pure android). With Nokia, this contribution is traditionally minimal, and the company’s smartphones are usually included in the Android One program, which provides first-line updates and unlimited space in the Google cloud service for photos and videos recorded on a smartphone. This is very fitting for a camera phone like the Nokia 9 PureView, which doesn’t even have a memory card slot… Stop. It would be appropriate if he was included in this program. But it was this gadget that the program bypassed — the fact is that, under the terms of the agreement between Nokia and Google, only five models can be included in the program at the same time, and the «nine» was not included in this number. Does this indicate low expectations for smartphone sales? Why, they say, spend a position on a device that few people will buy anyway? Or is it some kind of internal certification issue? Let’s leave the question unanswered.

⇡#Display and sound

The Nokia 9 PureView has a completely modern display, P-OLED with 2K resolution (2560 × 1440 pixels). Unless a diagonal of 5.99 inches may not suit users accustomed to modern “shovels”. At the same time, the pixel density is good — 490 ppi, this is quite an elite level, which allows you to count on the utmost clarity, at which even watching a video with 4K resolution on a smartphone takes on some meaning. Panels for Nokia are supplied by LG.

The display is equipped with a touch coating that responds to 10 simultaneous touches, all basic multi-touch gestures are supported. There is a polarizing layer. The oleophobic coating is very effective — the original appearance of the smartphone can be maintained without much difficulty by occasionally wiping the screen.

The maximum measured brightness is 487 cd/m2. This is quite enough to ensure high-quality operation of the display in the sun. The display is certified according to the HDR10 standard, that is, in peak modes, the brightness will reach 600 cd / m2, creating the required dynamic range for this standard. We consider the contrast of displays on organic light-emitting diodes to be conditionally infinite.

As with most smartphones with OLED displays, on the Nokia 9 PureView you can enable a screen saver with a clock, alarm and notifications even when the display is locked — here, however, it will only be activated when the gadget is connected to a power source, adapter or docking station. This decision of the manufacturer seems to be quite justified, despite the seemingly insignificant energy costs — the “nine” as a whole has very serious problems with autonomy, we will talk about them in more detail in the corresponding section towards the end of the review.

In Nokia 9 PureView, the on-screen settings are hidden in the PureDisplay submenu, where you can either give color, brightness and contrast control to your smartphone (it will try to select settings depending on the situation — it turns out, frankly, with varying degrees of success), or select one of the presets: bright , «cinema» or standard. I tested the smartphone with standard and cinematic settings.

  Nokia 9 PureView, gamma in standard color mode.  Yellow line - Nokia indicators, dotted line - reference gamma

Nokia 9 PureView, gamma in standard color mode. Yellow line — Nokia indicators, dotted line — reference gamma

  Nokia 9 PureView, color temperature in standard color mode.  Blue line - Nokia performance, dotted line - reference temperature

Nokia 9 PureView, color temperature in standard color mode. Blue line — Nokia performance, dotted line — reference temperature

  Nokia 9 PureView, standard color gamut.  Gray triangle - sRGB coverage, white triangle - Nokia coverage

Nokia 9 PureView, standard color gamut. Gray triangle — sRGB coverage, white triangle — Nokia coverage

The average gamma in the standard color rendering mode is 2.09 with a fairly calm behavior of the curves, which rush up only in bright colors. The color temperature is increased, but slightly — it ranges from 7,500-8,000 K. The colors are a little cold, but not critical. The color gamut is slightly wider than sRGB, but again not much — it is obviously set close to this standard by default. The average DeltaE deviation on the Color Checker scale (grayscale + extended color palette) is 5.36. This indicator does not fall within the limits of the norm, but it does not go very far from these very limits.

  Nokia 9 PureView, Cinematic gamma.  Yellow line - Nokia indicators, dotted line - reference gamma

Nokia 9 PureView, Cinematic gamma. Yellow line — Nokia indicators, dotted line — reference gamma

  Nokia 9 PureView, Cinema color temperature.  Blue line - Nokia performance, dotted line - reference temperature

Nokia 9 PureView, Cinema color temperature. Blue line — Nokia performance, dotted line — reference temperature

  Nokia 9 PureView, Cinema color gamut.  Gray triangle - sRGB coverage, white triangle - Nokia coverage

Nokia 9 PureView, Cinema color gamut. Gray triangle — sRGB coverage, white triangle — Nokia coverage

When the smartphone is switched to the “Cinema” color rendering mode, the picture becomes very warm, the color temperature approaches the reference mark of 6,500 K (but mostly stays around 7,000 K), the gamma stabilizes (average value is 2.20), and the color space expands to close to DCI-P3. At the same time, the accuracy of matching colors with targets also increases, but not to the reference level: the average deviation of DeltaE on the Color Checker scale is 4.33 at a rate of 3.00. The level is good, but not perfect.

In general, it must be said that the combination of the display format (quite reasonable 18:9 — the picture is almost not distorted when stretched to full screen), resolution and HDR support makes Nokia 9 PureView one of the best smartphones for watching videos. For a full entry into the top, only a more accurate factory display setting is missing.

The audio capabilities of the Nokia 9 PureView seem debatable. There is no mini-jack, so wired headphones will have to be connected through an adapter, but this is not so bad, and it has long been familiar. The second half of this very trouble is that the output path does not differ in power — the sound in high-end wired headphones (I test smartphones with OPPO PM-3 headphones) is of good enough quality, but not very loud even when twisted to the maximum. There are no such problems with wireless headphones — everything is fine with the volume, and aptX with aptX HD are supported. The built-in speaker in Nokia 9 PureView is monophonic, it is located on the bottom edge, it does not overlap with your finger if you hold the smartphone in landscape orientation, but it does not differ in sound quality or volume. I’ve missed calls on public transport a few times in situations where there were no problems with other phones.

⇡#Hardware and performance

The Nokia 9 PureView is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, last year’s most popular flagship platform. The decision is non-standard — after all, the season of the 855th snapdragon is already in full swing, but it is not without reason: due to the choice of last year’s chip, it was possible to slightly reduce the cost of the device, and the power level of this SoC is still enough for the eyes. However, there are nuances.

The first nuance is related to the overall optimization of the smartphone and how it works with basic applications. At first glance, this may not be a problem. «Pure» Android, powerful platform, what’s the catch? And the catch is how all the applications related to pictures in one way or another work on the Nokia 9 PureView. And Instagram*, and VSCO are slow to start, unstable (VSCO generally crashes on a regular basis), and, most importantly, load images horrendously slowly. Adobe Lightroom, which the smartphone itself recommends installing at the first start, works noticeably more stable, although it is also not at all fast.

Typical situations for Instagram* (left) that for VSCO — the latter hung altogether, it needed to be restarted

The situation as in the screenshots above (a white screen that requires restarting the application in VSCO or unreadable images in Instagram — they load so slowly, if you wait five minutes, they will load) — a common thing, an ordinary experience for the owner of Nokia 9 PureView, who kills all the fun of using the gadget. He obviously has some kind of software problem with image processing and embedding them into basic applications for any mobile photography lover — and for a camera phone, very basic ones. Moreover, other applications also have certain problems with optimization, the «nine» as a whole does not work too fast, yielding in smoothness, for example, to last year’s Nokia 7 Plus. Similar problems arose over time in the year before last flagship Nokia 8, for HMD Global (the company behind the Nokia smartphone brand), this, alas, is not news. In operation, Nokia 9 PureView is perceived rather than as a flagship smartphone for $500, but as a device for 15-25 thousand, and with serious flaws at certain points.

At the same time, Nokia 9 PureView has enough RAM, but without a large margin, taking into account the 2K screen — 6 GB LPDDR4X. And the permanent memory is 128 GB without the possibility of expansion and without unlimited space on Google.Photo, which I mentioned above. Taking into account the fact that Nokia offers to actively shoot in RAW, in which each picture taken with this device «weighs» 12-13 MB, such tightness seems fatal for the gadget. Another «alas».

Neural computing is minimally involved in the Nokia 9 PureView, the same camera practically does not rely on artificial intelligence. But when using third-party applications, you will not lack power.

Above, I talked about the first nuance with performance. The second nuance is problematic cooling. The CPU Throttling Test shows that Nokia 9 PureView’s throttling performance is mediocre, but not catastrophic: lowering frequencies to 74% of the maximum with an average performance of 164.5 GIPS. It’s okay, but the problem is the temperature to which during the 15-minute test, and even with regular use — especially when photographing — the smartphone body heats up. It literally heats up, the temperature quickly reaches 45-50 degrees, which affects both the comfort of using a smartphone and the likelihood of overheating. You can play on the Nokia 9 PureView, and at first it is very comfortable, but after 10-15 minutes the frame rate will start to sag — you either have to lower the graphic settings or stop the game session.

⇡#Communications and wireless communications

The Nokia 9 PureView has two nano-SIM card slots. Both slots work with LTE category 16 (up to 1024 Mbps in, up to 150 Mbps out). The manufacturer does not indicate the ranges on which a smartphone can communicate with base stations. I did not notice any communication problems during the two-week testing, in this regard, PureView is stable.

  Nokia 9 PureView, SIM slot

Nokia 9 PureView, SIM slot

All the necessary wireless modules, with the exception of the infrared port, are present: NFC (with Google Pay support), Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac. The navigation module works with GPS (including A-GPS), GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo. Navigation is fast and accurate.


Finally, about the main thing for which all the fuss was started — about the camera. Nokia 9 PureView is truly a unique smartphone in this respect, having no analogues even close. It has a block of five main cameras, an additional TOF camera that works as a depth sensor, and a dual-LED flash. Thanks to their whimsical arrangement on the rear panel, reminiscent of a spider or a web placed by it, the new Nokia received the slang nickname “spiderphone” around the same time as its birth.

Two RGB sensors and three monochrome sensors of the same size, 1 / 2.9 » (the size of an individual pixel is 1.25 microns), and the same resolution, 12 megapixels, are responsible for photography here. Optics with a relative aperture work with each of the sensors ƒ/1.8. There is no optical stabilizer on any of the camera groups, which is logical in its own way, otherwise the design could become very cumbersome. But at least on the central camera, which alone records the video, it was possible to install a stabilizer.

  Camera Light L16

The idea to install multiple cameras and combine the image from them in an effort to get the widest possible dynamic range and low-noise image in low light came to the mind of a lot of people — at the smartphone level, Huawei was the first to implement it with its dual-camera P9. At the level of specialized cameras, the Light company broke all the patterns, which raised a significant amount for its debut L16 device on Kickstarter and even released this sixteen-camera (!) Device for sale, but, apart from the likely prospects of the technology, could not demonstrate anything — in terms of quality and shooting speed The Light L16 left a lot to be desired. This is the best of Light, probably ahead — the company is working on new devices. But HMD Global believed in the technology now – and applied it to the Nokia 9 PureView.

From Light here is a signal processor that does the main job of combining the image from five (six in the case of multi-layer shooting) sensors. Further, the picture is transmitted to the standard signal processor, which is part of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, and the user sees the result of this two-stage processing. You can take the result in both JPEG and RAW (DNG). The beauty of this approach is the very wide dynamic range, because any full-color image captured on the Nokia 9 PureView is, in fact, HDR combined while shooting on five cameras at the same time, two of which in addition have monochrome sensors that capture more light than RGB. You can’t disable HDR and you can’t shoot with one of these cameras. You can only activate the black and white mode — in it the new PureView shows itself almost the best: monochrome shots taken with this smartphone make a very pleasant impression. The picture is deep, clean and noble.

With color images, the situation is more complicated. On the one hand, yes, absolutely right, the dynamic range is impressive, there is enough detail even in the most contrasting scenes. On the other hand, the software that processes images sometimes works too rough, sorting through both contour sharpening and trying to pull details out of shadows or overexposed areas. JPEGs can often seem unnatural, some kind of plastic — and with rather pale colors. In general, pale colors are often called natural, but here, unfortunately, this is not quite the case. RAW files do not have these problems — if you want and love manual processing, PureView leaves a very good space for creativity.

Here I offer some original JPEGs as an example (left) and for comparison, pulled from RAW in mobile Lightroom with default settings (center) and with settings to taste (right). You can see that Adobe is not “friendly” with Nokia 9 PureView DNG files — the application understands them and allows you to work freely with them, but it may not always be possible to choose the right settings for default processing in automatic mode. However, this is, of course, the problem of the Adobe program, not HMD Global.

I invite the most curious to download RAW files (209 MB) to try to work with them on their own and evaluate the plasticity of the picture.

The same problems apply to night shots — Nokia 9 PureView generally copes with shooting in low light, but it may not always give a natural full-color picture. And even when fiddling with RAW files in Lightroom, it is impossible to achieve the quality in night shots that, for example, the Samsung Galaxy S10 +, Huawei P30 Pro or Google Pixel 3 XL when night mode is activated. The absence of an optical stabilizer, the weakness of the software, and the absence of a night mode with multi-frame exposure also affect.

But here comes the second problem. About the bad friendship of modern mobile applications that work with photos, with pictures taken on PureView, I already wrote above. But after all, this smartphone spends a lot of time on processing the photos taken! Here you can not shoot and immediately see the result — you need to wait from six to ten (in the case of shooting a «multi-layered» photo) seconds, and only then the picture will become available. Yes, during processing, the camera application functions, you can continue to take pictures or even write videos, the smartphone fiddles with pictures in the background. But at the same time, the Nokia 9 PureView heats up great and consumes the battery mercilessly – alas, there are still problems with optimization in this regard.

Some examples of shooting with adjustable depth

I have already mentioned “multi-layered” shots several times. This refers to photos with an artificially blurred background — however, in Nokia 9 PureView, software bokeh can be adjusted not only in intensity, but also in location. In fact — to change the focus point after the picture is taken, PureView records up to 1200 layers at a distance of up to 40 meters from the photographer — no modern smartphone can offer anything like this. This function works well as a result, but it requires even more computing resources of the smartphone — the pictures are processed even longer and drain the battery faster.

The second mode, associated with blurring the background, is called «Vertical» in the camera application — something obviously went wrong with the localizers in the process of work. This is the usual mode of software blurring of the background, not adjustable after the fact. It works very well. An example is above.

Zoom is available in Nokia 9 PureView, and it is even emphasized as an icon on the basic shooting screen, but this is not an optical, but a software system. With a two-fold approximation, the loss of quality is noticeable, but not critical, you can use it (although PureView copes with this task worse than the Google Pixel 3, which, let me remind you, has one camera), and with five times the quality already suffers very much. This is the most common digital crop.

The camera application is designed typical for Nokia — with characteristic features such as the ability to simultaneously shoot on the main and front cameras with the combination of images into a single so-called Bothie. In general, the shooting menu is quite ordinary: with its pleasant moments — like the ability to independently set modes and priorities in it — and with unpleasant ones — like very slow work. The camera opens in about a second, and switches between modes take longer — one or two seconds, but sometimes you have to wait up to five seconds, especially when switching to monochrome mode.

The overall impression of the Nokia 9 PureView camera is literally woven from contradictions. On the one hand: a slow application, a very long time for processing images, coupled with strong heating of the case and battery draining, quite an ordinary level of night shots and very uneven work with JPEG in terms of both color reproduction and contour sharpness. On the other hand: a really excellent dynamic range, probably the best on the market, very fluid RAW files from which you can pull a lot if you want, an excellent monochrome mode and a working focus system after the fact. The Nokia 9 PureView camera is good, but very specific.

An example of video shooting on Nokia 9 PureView

An example of live video shooting on Nokia 9 PureView

Nokia 9 PureView has no special talents in video shooting. The smartphone records 4K video at up to 30 frames per second of medium quality. When you lower the resolution to Full HD, low-level digital stabilization is available. Only the quality of the recorded sound pleases — the proprietary OZO system using three microphones really works great.

The front camera of the Nokia 9 PureView is the most ordinary — 20 megapixels, aperture ƒ/2.0, no flash, no autofocus. It is possible to programmatically blur the background (without tricky tricks in the manner of the main spider chambers), a modest beautifier. The image quality is good, you can get acceptable selfies even in low light, the focus is fixed at the correct distance, and optical distortion is small.

⇡#Offline work

The Nokia 9 PureView has a 12.62 Wh (3320 mAh, 3.8 V) battery. For a smartphone with a six-inch OLED screen, it seems to be enough. But not for a smartphone with a constantly running and very voracious signal processor developed by Light, as well as with mediocre optimization in all directions. Battery life is another of PureView’s weak points, and one of many. A smartphone with ordinary use can withstand daylight hours, it is not necessary to charge it more often. But it’s worth tensing it up — shooting a lot on a long walk, constantly chatting with someone or calling back or continuously using it as a navigator, and it will give up in 7-8 hours. This is the maximum battery life of PureView under a serious load, and then if you feel sorry for it and activate the economy mode ahead of time, which can save an extra half an hour.

In our traditional HD video playback test, at maximum brightness, with enabled wireless modules and active updates, the Nokia 9 PureView lasted just under 11 hours — not bad, but for a smartphone with an OLED screen, the result is weak.

Fast charging is supported with the supplied adapter. Well, how fast — Quick Charge 3 with a power of 18 watts. Half the battery is charged in about half an hour, fully charged in 1 hour and 40 minutes. USB Type-C (USB 3.1) is used as a port.


When you test one modern smartphone after another, it begins to seem that making a high-quality device of this type is not so difficult. What is this constructor — to assemble from ready-made components, as from modules, a gadget and roll Android onto it, and it’s better not to bother with the shell — few people like it anyway. Especially these thoughts were prompted by the experience of the revived Nokia: smartphones that are very simple in terms of stuffing and ideology in a case of laconic but thoroughbred European design. Reasonable, modest and even boring, but with taste — as if looking into the streets of Helsinki.

Nokia 9 PureView was supposed to be Alvar Aalto’s building on this street — a kind of Nordic symbol, an avant-garde point of attraction, a demonstration that Nokia may not be the same, but still capable of innovation. But it is PureView that shows that it is very difficult to make a high-quality and smoothly working smartphone in our time: there are so many pitfalls that break legs, you just have to miss something somewhere.

It is difficult to say what exactly is the root of the «nine’s» troubles. Most likely, there are several of these roots: the voracious and inefficient Light signal processor, the poor work of HMD Global software developers, and lack of time. PureView appears to be a raw product first and foremost, with the potential to get much better over time. Unless, of course, this time is really spent on patching and fixing numerous software flaws that lead to slow and unstable device operation, poor battery life and not very successful processing of photos in JPEG.

But the Nokia 9 PureView is already on sale, and even already starting to be sold at discounts — and in order for a smartphone to be considered a truly adequate purchase, these discounts should reach 40-50 percent. Still, it’s better to pause and wait for Nokia to work on the bugs — right now this smartphone is able to get on the nerves of even a devoted fan of the brand. But even today it can really please, albeit a very small layer of potential users. I’m talking about patient people who are ready to seriously and a lot of fiddling with RAW files received from the phone, as well as true connoisseurs of monochrome photography. Nokia really made a special smartphone that will be remembered. But perhaps too special and too raw.


  • excellent dynamic range of photographs;
  • high quality RAW files;
  • superb monochrome mode;
  • concise and thoroughbred design;
  • good sound recording quality;
  • moisture protection;
  • high-quality display;
  • originality of the concept.


  • unstable JPEG quality;
  • long image processing time;
  • serious software problems when working with applications related to the processing and publication of images;
  • mediocre video capabilities;
  • weak autonomy;
  • no mini-jack;
  • tendency to overheat;
  • Very poor fingerprint scanner.

* It is included in the list of public associations and religious organizations in respect of which the court has made a decision that has entered into legal force to liquidate or ban activities on the grounds provided for by Federal Law No. 114-FZ of July 25, 2002 “On countering extremist activity”.


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