Review: Nokia 8.3 5G – A Middle class smartphone

Review: Nokia 8.3 5G - The list of shortcomings at this price is dramatically long. It is hard, apart from the price, that would remain in memory for a long

The advertisement stages the Nokia 8.3 5G from the traditional Finnish brand as the ultimate gadget. In our test, we clarify to what extent wish and reality diverge in a harsh market environment.

Times are so tough that even James Bond has to give in. Since the theatrical release of the latest thriller was delayed by the secret agent, the first 5G-capable Nokia smartphone, which plays a role in “No Time to Die”, also premiered later.

For this reason alone, the 8.3 is facing a difficult mission here. In terms of size and weight, the representative of the upper middle class is one of the “heavy boys”, but has charm. Northern lights inspired the designers to create the black and petrol blue coloring and the changing light reflections on the subtly reflective back. The implementation was successful and gives the Finnish phone exclusivity.

The metal (gorilla) glass housing shines with formidable processing quality. The transitions between the display front, the monochrome coated frame and the back are flawless. Buttons and the cover of the card slot fit in perfectly. There is no evidence that certifies water and dust tightness. But otherwise this smartphone is prepared for everyday adventures.

Key Specs

Software Android 10
Screen 6.81″ FHD+ PureDisplay
RAM / Storage 8 GB / 128 GB
MicroSD Expansion Up to 512 GB
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
Camera Quad camera: 64MP + 8MP Ultra-Wide + 2MP Macro + 2MP Depth with ZEISS cinematic effects​
Battery (mAh) 4500

Practical LCD display with 60 Hz refresh rate

The stately size also has its good side: You look at a bright IPS display with an impressive 17 cm diagonal, practical resolution (1080 x 2400 pixels) and good display quality, especially in a bright environment. This makes it easier to ignore the abandonment of OLED technology.

There is no mode with a higher frame rate for smoother transitions when scrolling. So it stays with the usual 60 Hertz. The tested 8 GB RAM / 128 GB Storage variant offers around 102 GB of free storage space.

The price-related expectations are also met by the other ingredients: The Snapdragon 765G is clearly behind Qualcomm’s top chip SDM865 in our benchmark comparisons. Mobile games and especially the operation still run really smoothly.

The fact that the existing performance reserves should be enough for most users over a longer period is also due to the slim, almost untreated Android, which was still implemented in version 10 at the time of the test.

Android One documents the close partnership with Google. Their specifications promise the timely provision of security updates for three years and two system updates. The rollout of Android 11 was announced by the end of 2020.

An additional button placed on the left also shows the connection with Google. A push of a button calls their language assistant on the scene. If you can make ends meet without using the hands-free mobile phone, you can disable this function in the system settings.

The screen is released via face recognition via the 24-megapixel front camera. As soon as a protective mask covers the face, we recommend using the fingerprint sensor, which is conveniently integrated in the on / off switch. The latter will be used more often because the display does not show any information in standby and the northern lights do not have a notification LED.

The connection options leave little to be desired: the pre-installed FM radio fits the existing headphone socket, which also accepts the stereo headset supplied. True wireless-in-ears can also “make music” via Bluetooth 5.0. When playing media in front of an audience, only a mono speaker is responsible.

The data throughput is limited in the home network by WLAN-ac and the older 2.0 standard via the USB-C port. The faster the data is on the move via mobile communications: Nominal LTE downstream rates of up to a maximum of 1.2 Gbit / s and the multi-use 5G modem integrated in the system chip provide the 8.3 with strong connectivity, including mobile payment via NFC. The hybrid slot allows either dual SIM operation or memory expansion by up to 512 GB.

Passable quad camera

Optics specialist Zeiss was once again on board for camera development. A 64-megapixel sensor works behind the wide-angle lens, which bundles four pixels at a time and thus increases the light output. If necessary, the Nokia 8.3 also saves photos in maximum resolution and in RAW format. A 16: 9 ultra-wide-angle camera extends the image section.

Since there is no telephoto, only a lossy digital 10x zoom brings subjects closer. Due to its meager 2 megapixel resolution, the macro camera offers (too) little for demanding close-ups. A depth sensor, among other things, ensures portraits that are worth seeing. This fourth optical unit facilitates the bokeh delimitation between the subject and the blurred background.

In practice, the wide-angle optics deliver a respectable image quality, even if – for example with moving objects, in the edge areas and in the background – more details and clarity would often have been desirable. The same applies to the night mode, which is also available. In our laboratory test, the Quality Benchmark (QB), the main camera achieved the grade “good” in light and dark surroundings.

Comparable smartphones such as the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro or the Motorola Edge did one grade better here. In the price-related QB comparison, on the other hand, the ultra-wide angle camera lands at the top.

Nokia pays special attention to video recordings, which are made in a maximum of 4K resolution with 30 fps. In addition to the three lens systems, there is an “Action Cam” program with 60 fps and electronic image stabilization to choose from. Two microphones and the so-called Ozo audio technology deliver authentic and opulent all-round sound recordings in video clips.

Other extras such as a filter to minimize wind noise, the HDR dynamic expansion and a cinema mode complete the video offering. In addition to the 21: 9 format suitable for the screen, the Nokia 8.3 also offers additional manual setting options, similar to the Pro mode. The H-Log format enables color corrections in the cinema editor based on given settings.

If you want, you can also add Zeiss effects such as lens flares to your “cinema strips”. Regardless of these extras, the cinema version hardly improved the image quality compared to conventional videos, which, like the photos, reached a solid level.

Camera result

Ups and downs in the test lab

The Nokia 8.3 5G showed two faces in the measurements: There was room for improvement in terms of wireless properties. In view of the 3G dismantling, the UMTS discipline is less important in practice than the ratings in the GSM and the much more important LTE network. In the 4G pass-through, the transmission power at 800 MHz, which the network operators often use to supply rural regions, was too low.

Pleasing: The acoustics when making calls were good. Even better: the endurance. One battery charge is sufficient for 10:25 hours under practical conditions. The 18 watt power pack charges the battery almost completely in around 1.5 hours. Wireless charging is not supported. In the end, the number of points for an “ultimate gadget” is too low.

The best smartphones that are comparable in size and price, such as the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro, simply offer more in total. But that shouldn’t hide the fact that the Nokia 8.3 5G easily achieved the overall rating of “good” and can also combine a lot of positive things with its high-quality design, impressive display size, 5G, microSD expansion and headphone port.

Nokia 8.3 5G – Conclusion

Nokia has delayed the launch of the 8.3 5G model for a long time(perhaps it was caused by the waiting for the premiere of the latest Bond and the related marketing campaign) and she probably slept her time. It is hard, apart from the price, to find something that would remain in my memory for a longer time and would make me want to use it. On the contrary – it has a lot of small, annoying flaws that make using it not just pleasant. And even very good photos and above-average video capabilities were not able to blur this impression. The list of shortcomings at this price is dramatically long – IPS screen with 60Hz refresh and big chin, poorly working light sensor, plastic backs, no waterproof, inductive charging, stereo speakers, Google assistant buttonlocated in an annoying place, the sluggish operation of the fingerprint reader … The competition is moving forward, Nokia stands still, and as you know who’s standing still, he moves back. Let Nokia finally move forward and as soon as possible, otherwise it may be too late for her.

Positives of Nokia 8.3 5G

  • exclusive design and top processing
  • comfortable 6.8 inch LCD
  • three years of security updates and two Android upgrades
  • Quad camera with 64 MP sensor and extended video equipment
  • 5G support
  • Google voice assistant button
  • good acoustics and long endurance
  • Headphone jack and radio

Negatives of Nokia 8.3 5G

  • weaker radio properties
  • no telescope
  • No IP certification
  • no wireless charging
  • WiFi 5 and USB 2.0 only

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