Nokia 8.3 5G

Cool factor 3½/5
Usability 4/5
Value for money 5/5

It is safe to say that buying a smartphone in 2021 goes beyond excellent hardware. The ecosystem is just as important, as seen by Huawei being cut off from Google Mobile Services and the Play Store.

HMD Global, a Finland-based company which designs and markets Nokia handsets, has released its first 5G smartphone, the Nokia 8.3. While other handsets like Samsung, LG and Huawei typically come preloaded with bloatware, Nokia does not; it runs an unmodified version of Android.

Aside from the drawcard that is stock Android, it is part of the Android One family, a collection of third-party devices promoted by Google. These handsets will receive at least two years of operating system upgrades and three years of security updates, which ought to give users peace of mind.

The Nokia 8.3 5G runs on a Snapdragon 756G chipset. It’s not the latest processor, but keeps the phone’s cost down, making it one of the more affordable 5G handsets available at about R14,000. Nokia says it is a "truly global 5G smartphone" as it supports the most 5G bands across high, mid and low frequencies.

It has a large 6.81-inch screen, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of base storage that is expandable, a quad camera set-up, and a huge 4500mAh battery (but no wireless charging). There is also a 3.5mm audio jack, side-mounted fingerprint sensor and Near Field Communication support.

The handset is rather large. You have to use both hands to navigate and it does not fit into pockets. I was continually (accidentally) hitting the dedicated Google Assistant button to the left.

The PureView quad camera with Zeiss optics consists of a 64MP main shooter, 12MP ultra-wide, 2MP macro and 2MP depth sensor. It has a 24MP selfie camera. The phone also shoots videos in 4K and has Cinematic and Action Cam modes. The camera does what you need it to do on social media. However, I was not impressed with the portrait shots on the front camera. Pictures were grainy and dark in a well-lit environment with natural light.

The Nokia 8.3 is a great mid-range phone with 5G support, decent camera and a battery that lasts all day. It’s a good mix of hardware with software that promises support for at least two years.

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