It’s finally happened. After so many rumors, leaks, and general buzz for the last year basically, the Nokia 9 PureView is finally official and that back of the phone we kept seeing with all those cameras on it? Yeah, that’s real, but we’ll get to that and some photo samples from the pre-production unit I got to check out in a sec. We’ll get to that and a lot more in this complete walkthrough of the Nokia 9.
Now, if you aren’t familiar, a complete walkthrough on my site is where I go through as many features as I possibly can on a new device so you are better prepared should you be in the market to go buy one. With that said, there’s a lot to go through, so let’s get started with the styling.
And, trust me, that styling is unmistakable.
We have an aluminum unibody with dual diamond cut edges and we have Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back.
Because of that glass on the back, we have Qi charging.
On the front, we have a 5.99″ QHD+ pOLED display.
Above that, we have a 20MP front camera. You can see the video above for a sample from the pre-production unit.
You’ll also notice, HMD (the company now behind the Nokia brand for the last couple of years) decided to just go with small top and bottom bezels instead of a notch, etc. While it does make it look a bit older maybe in a world of bezel-less phones, I don’t mind it and think in some way it makes the device look more Nokia-like in some ways. And, of course, any of you out there that hate the notch with a fiery passion, I’m sure you’ll prefer this to that regardless.
For colors, the device will only come in one color: this glossy dark blue.
Built into the screen, we also have a fingerprint sensor which keeps the device looking clean. The scanner is an optical fingerprint sensor compared to the newer ultrasonic ones that we’re just starting to see, but it works well on the pre-production unit.
Moving around the device, we have the power and volume buttons on the right.
Nothing on the left.
On the top, our SIM card slot (there is no MicroSD card slot but the device comes with just one storage option: 128GBs.
On the bottom, we have a USB-C port that is capable of fast charging that 3320mAh battery and our mono speaker that you can check the video above for what that sounds like.
There are also holes around the device for 3 AOP mics for noise cancellation and help with activating Google Assistant.
Moving to the rear, we have what HMD is calling the “world’s first unique five camera array” that they created in partnership with Light (the company behind the crazy lensed light-field cameras) and using Zeiss optics.
Now, when I saw the leaked shots of the back of this phone, I secretly hoped that each of these was a different focal length (like we see with current three camera phones). So an ultrawide, a wide, a standard, a zoom, and a superzoom, etc. But, that is not the case.
Instead, three of these are 12MP monochrome sensors with an f1.8 aperture and two are 12MP RGB sensors for the same aperture. There is no real switching between them at all. In fact, every time you take a photo, all 5 cameras fire at once. This has a number of implications because of that.
Firstly, we’ve seen the monochrome and RGB camera combo on phones before and the idea behind that is that the monochrome sensor since all its photosites capture light compared to an RGB sensor that has one photosite for red, one for green, one for blue, etc. so it captures 2.9x more light than an RGB sensor can and so when combined with the RGB sensor’s color info you theoretically should get a much higher dynamic range shot than you would otherwise.
So, what does it mean when you have three monochrome and two RGB sensors? Well, the Nokia 9 is capable of capturing 60MP of data at the minimum and up to 240MPs of data using multiple-exposure during HDR shots.
That’s a lot of data to work with, we’ll have to see when I get a review unit to see how that translates to in image quality.
In addition to that, it can shoot RAW DNG which is the raw data from the sensors instead of a compress jpg. These files can then be edited with a lot more flexibility and Nokia even worked with Adobe to add their lens data, etc. to Lightroom (the popular photo editing app) just like Canon, Sony, etc. do with their lenses.
Here are some shots that Nokia showed us that were taken in RAW by professional photographers on the device and editing in Lightroom. They look insane, but again, let’s see what these look like when we have a review unit (follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for photo samples, ASAP).
The other benefit to this many cameras is an enhanced version of depth sensing. Now, most depth maps that are created for portrait mode on other cameras are 2-3 layers (with some being up to 7 layers). So there is a foreground, middle, and background, for example. The device can then blur the background a lot, the middle a little less and keep the foreground sharp.
The Nokia 9 on the other hand, with all those cameras, can create up to 1200 layers. The depth map is about 12MP compared to the 0.3MP of most camera phones. This means blur can be altered up to 1200 times in an image making for a much more gradual blur effect.
Here are some samples from the pre-production unit, but I’m interested to put it head to head with some other phones in a later video when there is a review unit.
For video, the camera only uses one camera but it can shoot up to 4K in HDR at 30fps and the camera uses electronic stabilization, not optical stabilization which I’d have preferred to see, but there you go.
Powering the device we have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor paired with 6GBs of RAM.
The device is IP67 rated so that’s up to one meter of water for up to 30 minutes.
For software, the device is an AndroidOne device which means it’s running the purest version of Android it can. So there’s no custom skin, no bloatware, etc. and Nokia, as always, promises monthly security updates to Android, and promised updates for Android versions for 2 years at least.
This is clearly a phone for photographers and I’m anxious to try it out and compare it to other devices that are coming out soon but in the meantime, there you go guys.
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