Nokia 9 Pureview: How many cameras do you need?

More cameras, better pictures?

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In an age where smartphones have two or three cameras, the Nokia 9 Pureview stands apart. Unlike any other, it has a penta-camera primary set-up. And some pretty high-end specifications to go with it.

Display and design

Hardware wise, the Nokia 9 Pureview is a robust package. Up front, you find a 5.99-inch Quad-HD+ OLED panel with HDR10 for rich multimedia watching. Paired with it is an underwhelming single-firing speaker that is easily muffled.

The flush penta-camera set-up is an example of good engineering from Nokia

All around, the phone is made from premium materials such as glass and metal for a good feel in the hand. The flush primary camera set-up is also impressive. But for 2019 standards, there is a good deal of bezel around it which makes the phone feel a bit larger. As for the fingerprint scanner, it is embedded into the display and its performance is average.

Should the phone have had a tear-drop style notch?

Nokia has got the phone covered in terms of durability too. There is an IP67 water and dust protection rating on the phone, which is useful. And the phone’s screen comes protected with a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 5.

Performance

In my brief time using the phone, performance has been a non-issue. Coupled with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor clocked at 2.8GHz and 6GB RAM, everything has run smoothly. And the primary reason for that may also be the phone’s software.

Performance is snappy thanks for Android One on the Nokia 9 Pureview

Nokia prides itself on its software experience. With the Nokia 9 Pureview running Android One, it is as close to stock Android as possible. The clean operating system eliminates any lag or unnecessary bloatware. At the same time, the phone will receive constant monthly updates for 18 months after release, something Nokia promises for its entire line-up. While a bit surprising, the Nokia 9 Pureview does not come with external storage support. So the 128GB out of the box is all you will get.

Camera

The five-camera array on the Nokia 9 Pureview consists of 12MP shooters each with an f/1.8 aperture. Three of these are monochrome sensors whereas the other two are traditional RGB. Working in tandem, I have found the experience to be on the slower side. This may be because of the multi-camera processing but even basics like switching between camera modes is slow. Or switching to the front 20MP selfie camera.

While unique, the five cameras on the Nokia 9 Pureview are underwhelming

You can use a native monochrome mode, multi-layer depth processing among others but I just feel the options are underwhelming for the primary setup. There is no dedicated AI mode nor a night mode for low-light capture. And so far, photos have not been as impressive as I thought.

Conclusion

So far, the Nokia 9 Pureview has been a mixed bag. Certainly, aspects like its screen and performance are solid. But its cameras have been underwhelming in spite of being promising on paper. More testing on the camera will follow as well as how the 3,320mAh holds up with Nokia’s 18W charging.