After a long wait, a few days ago HMD finally unveiled the first true Android Nokia flagship – the Nokia 8. Now the obvious question to ask is how does Nokia’s new handset compare against one of the most popular Android premium phones of this year – the Samsung Galaxy S8? We highlight the main differences below:
Design and display
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While this year’s smartphone design trend seems to be disappearing bezels, Nokia decided to stick with the classic approach. So the Nokia 8 comes boasting pretty chunky bezels, especially on the top and the bottom.
In contrast, the pretty Galaxy S8 has done away with a physical home button (which is present in the Nokia 8) and slimmed down all bezels considerably. The glass and metal combine to create a highly aesthetically pleasing phone which is also lightweight at 155g.
It’s certainly lighter than the 160g of the Nokia 8 which is built out of a single piece of 6000-series aluminum. We’re not saying the Nokia 8 is not pretty, it is – but the tall and narrow Galaxy S8 is far more impressive to look at. However, Nokia’s flagship does feel a bit sturdier than the Galaxy S8 when gripped.
We should also note the Galaxy S8 is water-and-dust resistant so it can survive being immersed in water for 30 minutes in depths of up to 1.5 meters. In contrast, the Nokia 8 is only IP54-rated which means it’s only splash-proof – fine if a few drops of water touch it, but be careful not to drop it in the pool.
Both phones use a USB-Type-C port for charging, but Samsung’s handset also includes Qi Wireless charging for added convenience.
As a plus for the Nokia 8 flagship, the handset has the fingerprint sensor embedded into the physical home button, as opposed to the Galaxy S8 which has it living on the back next to the camera – a move which was heavily criticized.
Moving on to the display, the Samsung Galaxy S8 takes advantage of a 5.8-inch AMOLED panel with 18:5:9 aspect ratio and 2960 x 1440 resolution.
The Nokia 8 is a bit more standard coming with a 5.3-inch IPS LCD display with 2560 x 1440 resolution (QHD standard). The display also takes advantage of a Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and 2.5D Glass to produce a sleek curved on the edges of the glass – although it’s certainly not as pronounced as on the Galaxy S8.
The two phones are quite similar in the hardware department. Both flagships include the powerful Snapdragon 835 processor and they both offer 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage (with microSD card slot for memory expansion). So you can expect either device to run extremely smoothly and to be able to handle with ease even the most intensive tasks you throw at them.
While the Galaxy S8 does not feature a dual camera setup, it does include a primary 12-megapixel with wide f/1.7 aperture, phase detection autofocus, OIS (optical image stabilization) and LED flash that can take some stunning shots.
Can the Nokia 8 compete? At least on paper, it sure seems the phone offers something comparable. Equipped with three Carl Zeiss-branded cameras, the flagship boasts a dual camera setup on the back which pairs a 13-megapixel sensor with f/2.0 and OIS with a second 13-megapixel monochrome sensor. Oh, and there’s the special “Bothie mode” which activates both the front and back cameras for a more complete video shooting experience.
On the front, there’s also a 13-megapixel Carl Zeiss selfie shooter with f/2.0 aperture which should be able to offer pretty great results, on par with the Galaxy S8’s 8-megapixel (with f/1.7) self-portrait snapper.
Furthermore, the Nokia 8 also comes equipped with OZO Audio which adds 360-degree audio to your smartphone. Users will be getting “a fully immersive audio experience” when watching 4K videos.
The Galaxy S8 relies on a 3,000 mAh battery, while the Nokia 8 has a slightly larger 3,090 mAh one.
Given that both phones take advantage of the same processor and come equipped with a power hungry display, we’ll have to assume users won’t see much of a difference when it comes to power consumption.
The Galaxy S8 has never been a spectacular device – battery life-wise. However, the fuel cell is able to sustain user activities throughout the day, in most instances without needing to be re-charged.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 continues to be on the older Android 7.0 Nougat version, while the Nokia 8 launched with Android 7.1.1 Nougat. Both these phones will be updated to Android O once Google will make it available. However, we can speculate the Nokia 8 will get Android O sooner than the S8 which is expected to get Android 7.1.1 Nougat first.
The Galaxy S8 ships with the Samsung Experience UX on laid on top, which has been cleaned up and is now focusing on useful extras like the new Bixby AI assistant. Comparatively, the Nokia 8 offers a pure Android version, with HMD promising fast updates for the phone.
The Galaxy S8 is the first Samsung smartphone to take advantage of a virtual assistant. Although the Bixby platform is yet to truly take off, we expect some good things from it in the future. Nokia’s first comeback flagship does not offer a virtual AI-driven helper.
Like the Galaxy S8, the Nokia 8 also offers an always-on display. What it does not have is an iris scanner and a heart-rate scanner.
On the other hand, the Nokia 8 boast liquid cooling technology to ensure the phone is kept cool even under heavy use.
At launch, the Nokia 8 will be available only in Europe for approximately $700. HMD didn’t share any info about a potential US launch, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed the phone will land across the pond at some point in the future.
As for the Galaxy S8, the phone is widely available for purchase. You can check out our Where to Buy guide here. For example, Amazon is selling the unlocked Galaxy S8 version for $684 at the moment, but you can choose to buy it from a carrier instead.
The Nokia 8 certainly looks like a great offering with its Carl Zeiss-branded cameras and OZO audio, but the Galaxy S8 will most likely end up overshadowing it thanks to its modern design and extra features such as IP68 certification and Bixby – the virtual assistant.