HMD Global announces the Android One Nokia 9 with 5 rear cameras
Ever since they revived the Nokia brand, HMD Global has been getting nearly everything right about their smartphones. They offer fast updates (both in terms of monthly security patches and major software updates), near-stock builds of Android, nifty software features, and a variety of products at multiple price points. One segment in which HMD Global has struggled to compete in is the premium tier. At Mobile World Congress 2019, HMD Global announced a new flagship smartphone: the Android One Nokia 9. While it has the previous generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, HMD Global has packed camera hardware that we’ve never seen before on an Android smartphone.
We’ve heard rumors about the device launching with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 and an in-display fingerprint scanner not once, not twice, but three times, so it’s nice to see HMD Global finally confirm what we’ve been hearing for nearly a year now—and it’s glorious. The penta-camera setup has been described by many of our readers as trypophobia-inducing several times in the past, and if you thought so before, we don’t think the official renders will sway your mind.
HMD Global has packed three 12MP monochrome f/1.8 cameras and two 12MP RGB f/1.8 cameras for a total of five rear cameras. Having three monochrome and two RGB sensors might seem unnecessary, but the benefits are substantial for dynamic range and depth-of-field. Since each monochrome sensor can carry 2.9 times more light, the end result is 10 times more light than a single sensor. The setup also allows for greater control over the depth-of-field, since depth maps, which are usually less than a single megapixel, are now the full 12 megapixels of the photo—resulting in up to 1200 layers of depth data for incredibly accurate bokeh shots. The dedicated monochrome mode allows for sharp, atmospheric shots thanks to the three monochrome lenses.
Photos taken from the Nokia 9 are handled exceptionally well in Google Photos since it can recognize the depth map. The Google Photos app will let you refocus on alternative areas of a scene, adjust both the foreground and background, or adjust the depth even after you have taken a shot. You can alternatively export RAW DNG images to Adobe Lightroom for advanced editing. Given the multi-camera setup on the Nokia 9, this should allow you to edit raw images with incredible dynamic range and detail. Even the stock Nokia Camera app has a lot to offer, with the next-generation Nokia Pro Camera UI allowing you to see your camera adjustments in real-time, capture time lapses with up to 10 seconds of exposure time, and control the exposure with fine detail.
Light and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
The Nokia 9’s penta-camera setup is made possible thanks to technology from Light, the computational imaging company which recently announced a partnership with Sony to make reference designs of smartphones with more than 4 cameras. The result is that we’ll hopefully see more smartphones like the Nokia 9 in the future. Based on what we’ve seen so far from a sample photo shared on Instagram, the multi-camera tech is certainly promising.
So how does it work? There’s a dedicated Light Lux Capacitor which makes it possible for 5 cameras to work together. The Nokia 9 also makes full use of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 mobile platform’s computing power across its entire heterogeneous computing architecture. The CPU, GPU, DSP, and ISP all work in unison to process up to 240 megapixels of data.
Nokia 9 Specifications
Apart from the penta-camera setup, the Nokia 9 sounds like your standard late 2018 flagship. It has a 5.99-inch 1440×2880 OLED display, 6GB RAM, 128GB storage, a 3,320mAh battery with wireless charging support, an in-display fingerprint scanner, and a 20MP front-facing camera. The device runs Android 9 Pie and is part of the Android One platform, which means you’re guaranteed two years of Android platform upgrades and three years of monthly security patches. HMD Global has done a stellar job at updating their devices, so you shouldn’t have to worry about the device being abandoned by the company.
|Dimensions and Weight||155 x 75 x 8.2mm, 173g|
|Display||5.99-inch 1440×2880 pOLED display, HDR10, 6000 series aluminum Gorilla Glass 5|
|CPU/GPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 with the Adreno 630|
|Battery||3,320mAh, Qi wireless charging|
|Software||Android 9 Pie (Android One)|
|Audio||3 Acoustic Overload Point (AOP) microphones to record in noisy environments with minimal distortion|
|Connectivity||Cat. 16 Gigabit LTE, NFC, Dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi*, Bluetooth|
WCDMA Band II, IV, and V*
LTE Band 2/4/5/7/12/13/17/38/41/66*
Single or Dual SIM depending on the market*
*Information sourced from FCC filing.
|Ports/Buttons||USB Type-C, no headphone jack|
|Security||In-display fingerprint scanner|
|Protection||IP67 water resistant|
The average retail price of the Nokia 9 is €599, or $699. The device is headed to the U.S., but we don’t have any other availability information at this time.
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