Nokia has become known for providing solid hardware at an excellent price. Its latest phone, the Nokia 8 V 5G UW ($699.99), is the company’s first multi-band 5G smartphone. Nokia’s latest flagship features a snappy Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chipset, a battery that can easily get you through the day, and impressive 5G connectivity, but it lacks common features—a crisp OLED display, water resistance, and even wireless charging—found on other phones in the same price range. In short, it’s hard to justify its steep price tag in the very competitive midrange 5G market.
The 8 V 5G features a glass-over-aluminum design that doesn’t venture too far from other flagships. It’s a big phone, measuring 6.8 by 3.1 by 0.4 inches and weighing a hefty 8.1 ounces.
Google Pixel 5 ($699) and Samsung Galaxy S20 FE ($699.99), it lacks the immersive punch many have come to expect.
The back of the phone is a glossy gray that takes on various luminescent qualities at different angles. Up close it almost resembles a powder-coated finish, but from a few feet away it looks like a standard black. A circular camera module sits at the top center and below it you’ll find Nokia and Verizon’s 5G logos prominently placed. The 8 V 5G looks good, but its size, heft, and polished finish make more difficult to hold than other phones with textured backs.
The bottom of the 8 V 5G is home to the USB-C charging port, speaker grille, and headphone jack. The top is bare. On the left you’ll find a Google Assistant button; the hybrid fingerprint sensor and power button, volume rocker, and SIM slot are on the right. The buttons are surprisingly easy to reach—even with small hands—and provide minimal resistance when tapped.
Durability is mixed. The front and back of the phone are made of strengthened glass, which should stand up fine to minor drops or dings. It completely lacks an IP rating, however, which seems like a major miss when compared with phones in this price range such as the Pixel 5 and the Apple iPhone 12 Mini. Without even a nod to water resistance, accidental drops in, say, the bath will likely be catastrophic.
The 8 V 5G is a Verizon-branded phone and is optimized to work on the carrier’s network. It operates on both sub-6GHz and mmWave bands. (Verizon’s term for mmWave is Ultra Wideband.)
Call quality is a win. Our test calls were crisp and clear. Noise cancellation worked without a hitch, even on a windy day when extraneous noise might be expected to creep in. Maximum earpiece volume clocks in at 80dB, which is loud enough to hear on all but the most busy streets.
“nationwide” 5G, our speeds averaged 78.8Mbps down and 62.1Mbps down. On mmWave, our speeds shot up to 865.11Mbps down and 144.2Mbps down.
Dialed up to maximum volume, over 100dB, the 8 V 5G’s bottom speaker is loud but underwhelming. Timbre is thin and bass is absolutely nonexistent. We don’t expect a lot when it comes to smartphone audio, but we don’t think stereo speakers are too much to ask for on a $700 handset.
Dual-band Wi-Fi is on board, as is Bluetooth 5.0 for wearables. There’s also NFC for mobile payments and boarding passes.
The 8 V 5G features a quad camera stack on its rear and a single front-facing camera. On the back you’ll find a 64MP sensor with an f/1.8 aperture, a 12MP ultra-wide lens with an f/2.2 aperture, and 2MP depth and macro sensors. The front-facing camera is 24MP. All of the lenses use Zeiss optics.
With good light, the primary camera on the 8 V 5G performs admirably. Our test shots were crisp with excellent color accuracy. The ultra-wide lens tells a similar story, though we did notice some loss of fine detail in several of our test shots as well as some complex distortion.
Samsung Galaxy A71 5G and TCL 10 5G UW. Storage comes in at an anemic 64GB, of which about 39GB is available out of the box. You can add an additional 1TB of storage with a microSD card.
Android 10. It’s scheduled to get 18 months of security updates and Android upgrades for two years.
November 12, 2020