It’s been more than 18 months since HMD Global brought the Nokia brand back into the high-end smartphone limelight… for a fleeting moment, but instead of unveiling a 9.1, 9.2, or 9.3 PureView sequel to the embarrassing 9 PureView powerhouse, the company is today announcing the long overdue sales start of the upper mid-range Nokia 8.3 5G.
HMD’s first-ever 5G-enabled handset is making its commercial debut at a “global average price” of 599 EUR a full half a year after an original announcement on the heels of a cancelled MWC 2020 appearance, even though the eye-catching 6.8-incher was supposed to arrive in stores around the world this summer.
Stateside, the Nokia 8.3 5G is officially scheduled to go up for pre-order tomorrow, September 23, on Amazon at a starting price of $699 before expanding to Best Buy sometime “in the weeks to follow.” Billed as a “future-proof globally connected” device, this bad boy is of course unlikely to support Verizon’s blazing fast (but terribly spotty) mmWave-based 5G network in an unlocked variant.
On the bright side, we’re pretty sure you will be able to activate the “new” phone on your US carrier of choice, Big Red included, and use it to tap into T-Mobile and AT&T’s low-band 5G networks. At $699, however, you have to seriously wonder if that’s enough to take on the likes of the LG Velvet, Motorola Edge, and Samsung Galaxy A71 5G, all of which pack the same respectable Snapdragon 765 processor as the Nokia 8.3 5G.
Set to be made available in a single Polar Night hue, HMD’s most advanced 2020 handset is certainly a head-turner, with a trendy hole punch design and a shiny rear cover sporting a “signature light refraction pattern” inspired by the northern lights. Speaking of, there are four cameras on the back of the Nokia 8.3 5G, including a 64MP primary shooter with Zeiss optics, a 12MP ultra-wide-angle lens, a 2MP macro cam, and a 2MP depth sensor.
But there’s no telephoto lens, as on the Motorola Edge 5G, and despite its 220-gram weight and 9mm profile, the Nokia 8.3 5G doesn’t come with a boundary-pushing battery under its hood. The 6.81-inch “PureDisplay”, meanwhile, is not equipped with 90 or 120Hz refresh rate technology, but at least the $699 configuration has a hefty 8GB RAM count going for it, as well as 128 gigs of internal storage space, microSD support, and yes, even a headphone jack.
Still, we simply can’t shake the feeling this overall respectable but far from groundbreaking device badly needs a discount to challenge all the aforementioned 5G-capable flagship killers, as well as the $699 and up Snapdragon 865-powered OnePlus 8. Perhaps HMD Global should take a page from Lenovorola’s playbook, which continues to sell the unlocked Motorola Edge 5G at $500 after a $200 price cut.