Before smartphones, Nokia used to be a powerhouse brand. I’d wager that a majority of you who aren’t under the age of 20 have owned a Nokia at one point in time. My first phone was a Nokia and I had a great time playing Snake on it. Fast forward to 2020 and Nokia isn’t quite what it used to be, but the name is still being used by HMD Global in a line of budget-friendly smartphones under the Android One program. Their flagship phone, the Nokia 8.3 5G is a bit more upscale and features some impressive specs that aren’t quite flagship, but comes pretty close.
The Nokia 8.3 5G shares a lot of design cues from Nokia’s other phones. The front of the phone features a huge 6.81″ 20:9 FHD+ PureDisplay with a pinhole camera at the top left corner. There is the tiniest of bezels up top that seems to house some sensors as well as a slightly larger bezel at the bottom with the Nokia logo. The screen is flat and I do like how the display does not curve off the edges. There is no under-screen fingerprint reader here.
On the rear of the phone, you’ll find a rather beautiful glass back rooted in Nordic design. It only comes in one color – Polar night – and it takes its inspiration from the northern lights. It’s a very cool effect when seen under lights and definitely adds some flash to an otherwise common design. The rear also sees a circular lens element housing the quad-cam setup as well as an LED flash. The Nokia logo on the rear also appears sideways, as it does on all other Nokia phones. There is a nice curve on the rear glass which does make it more comfortable to hold.
The frame is made of metal and is painted in a shiny, high-gloss dark blue color that matches the rear. It’s very premium and feels very smooth to the touch. While the Nokia 8.8 5G is a very large phone, it at least will feel comfortable to hold.
So on the border, the top has one of the mics. On the right, we get another mic, a sim/SD Card tray, the volume buttons, and the power/sleep/wake button. This button also doubles as the fingerprint reader. Placing the fingerprint read on the side makes the rear look a bit cleaner. At the bottom, you’ll find an 3.5mm audio jack, the third mic, a USB-C port, and a speaker. On the left, we get the Google Assistant button.
Overall, the Nokia 8.3 5G is a straightforward design that doesn’t really do anything crazy. It’s a safe design and one that won’t offend anyone or really stand out.
The Nokia 8.3 5G isn’t a true flagship, but it is a flagship for Nokia. This is their most powerful phone right now and the specs here do match up with what I’d call flagship mid-tier.
What’s important here to note is that this is a 5G phone which means it’s ready for the best of what most carriers have to offer right now. That means it’s at least a bit future proof for the time being. 5G comes courtesy of the Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chip paired with an Ardreno 620 GPU. This version of the phone has 8GB RAM and 128GB ROM while the 64GB version only has 6GB RAM.
There’s also Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac as well as Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, NFC, and FM radio. The battery is a 4500mAh unit and can be fast-charged at 18W.
The quad-camera on the rear has 64 MP @ f/1.9 (wide), PDAF, 12 MP @ f/2.2, 13mm (ultrawide), AF, 2 MP (macro), and 2 MP (depth). This features Zeiss optics and can record video at 4K@30fps. The front selfie camera is a 24 MP @ f/2.0 (wide) and also has Zeiss optics.
The Nokia 8.3 5G boasts a quad-cam setup in the rear where three are used for actual photo taking while the fourth is a depth sensor. AS far as main cameras go, the 64MP Sony unit is fairly large for a smartphone and produces very good photos. The photos seem to be very bright, clear, and vivid. Night photos do show some weird blurring effects and noise, but other than that, they’re still fairly good. There’s a lot of detail that can be seen so most users should be pleased with these. They’ll work for social media.
The camera app too is pretty good too and simple to use. There are various modes, including a Portrait mode and a Pro mode where you can mess with a ton of settings manually. You also get a beautify option, slow motion, time lapse, landscape, and a night mode.
You can see more photo samples at my Flickr page, here.
While not really a pure flagship compared to other devices, this is a flagship for Nokia and even Google is using these specs for their flagship Pixel 5. The use of the Snapdragon 765G allows for the phone to be lower in price than those using Snapdragon 865 chips and the performance doesn’t really seem to suffer that much. It does help that this version of the Nokia 8.3 5G has 8GB of RAM.
The UI feels very snappy, very fast and that’s probably because it’s basically running stock android. Most of the apps installed on setup are Google apps except for Netflix, Amazon, and a Nokia My Phone app. These can be deleted, except for the Nokia app.
The Nokia 8.3 5G also features several different ways to secure your phone. Not only can you use the usual means of unlocking, such as pin codes or fingerprints, but your face also works. Face unlock here is pretty quick with only a tiny delay before the phone unlocks. If you decide to use your fingerprint, you’ll be happy to note too that the side mount fingerprint reader is also very quick and fairly accurate. I had no issues using it at all.
Apps usage is also very good and the Nokia 8.3 5G does a great job running anything you throw at it. Games run pretty smoothly so you should also have no issues running your social media apps or any other kind of apps on here.
Movies also look pretty good on the large 6.81? display with good color representation and brightness. What is not so great is the audio which only comes out of one speaker at the bottom. It doesn’t sound that bad at all though, but a stereo speaker setup would have been much better. This might be okay for something casual you’re viewing or listening to, but you’re better off plugging in some headphones if you’re planning on watching a movie or listening to music.
Another small issue that might annoy some people who are used to other Android launchers is that you can not get rid of the Google bar at the bottom of the screen nor can you get rid of the At a Glance widget at the top. These are permanent and the only way to really remove them is to use another launcher.
Lastly, the 4500mAh battery can get you through the day on normal usage. Of course your times will vary based on what type of apps you use or games you play.
The Nokia 8.3 has much to like and I believe firmly holds its ground against others in this tier and price range. While not the cheapest 765G chipset phone out there, it’s also not the most expensive either. I would suggest opting for the 8GB/128GB model just for that extra oomph and if you need more storage, invest in an SD Card, which are very cheap these days.
While not perfect and does have some minor annoyances – can’t remove some widgets, only one external speaker – this is a solid smartphone that is devoid of bloat and has a really good main camera.The Nokia 8.3 should satisfy those who enjoy taking photos.
What I like though is that this is pretty much a pure Android experience and the Nokia 8.3 5G will be supported for at least 2 years and receive Android 11 at some point in the near future. Not only is the support on the Nokia 8.3 5G great, but thanks to the Polar Night color, it also looks very good.
If you’re feeling nostalgic and want to pick up Nokia’s current flagship 5G phone, you can pick up the Nokia 8.3 5G here on Amazon.