Any deviation from the current state of affairs will always draw its naysayers. Change is never embraced fully, never by all, so it was no surprise that HMD Global’s Nokia 9 PureView was met with enthusiasm and criticism in equal parts. By now, you know the basics of the phone: five cameras on the back, an in-display fingerprint sensor and no notch. How do these features translate in user experience, though? We checked the phone ourselves and let me tell you, it’s not a device for everyone.
In fact, if you’re an impatient, perfectionist, not-all-that-into-photography soul, Nokia 9 PureView is not for you. The smartphone is definitely an exercise in patience and targeted towards photographers or beginners who want to shape a good photo until it fits their vision.
The five camera array that sits on the glass back of the device is made from 12MP sensors. Its design reminds me of a gun’s cylinder though I suspect that wasn’t the company’s intention. Even so, it was able to make that formation thanks to a ToF sensor and a flash that sit nearby.
All five cameras work together to make one single image, capturing 10 times more light (than traditional phone cameras) thanks to the mix of monochromatic and RGB sensors.
This unique arrangement together with the time-of-flight technology allows Nokia 9 PureView to capture an insane 1200 layers of depth, 100 times more than your average smartphone. Doing so implies a lot of processing effort so, indeed, the entire process is sluggish and will drive you nuts if you’re looking for speed or are simply used to work with bursts of photos.
If you can overlook that fact, you’ll be able to enjoy true monochromatic pictures, adjust the focus of your photo post capture, getting the blur you envisioned.
Zeiss and Nokia remain dedicated to photography so it wasn’t a surprise when we found out that the phone allows you to capture RAW DNG photos. Here is where your photography skills can truly shine – with this mode on and the phone’s impressive capacity of capturing depth and detail, you can virtually turn a pretty photo into a modern work of art.
Are you prepared – with the knowledge and patience – to edit it until dawn? If so, Nokia 9 PureView gets as close to a mirrorless camera as a phone could. To emphasize this, Adobe is ready to update Lightroom to support the phone’s camera profiles.
It doesn’t hurt that Nokia 9 PureView is a looker. The lack of a notch and a camera bump are huge pros, while the midnight-blue color and in-display fingerprint sensor keep the sleek design intact.
In fact, it allowed for fun projects like this one:
Meanwhile, a missing headphone jack and microSD slot are equally big cons. Since its apparition, it caused concern among reviewers with its glitches when Depth and DNG RAW modes were enabled and the malfunction of the in-display fingerprint sensor. Yet, HMD Global assured users that the next software update would take care of the bugs.
Now that we’ve put all the cards on the table, will you take the leap and buy a Nokia 9 PureView? The phone’s price is $699 and it could challenge you to become a better mobile photographer. But is it enough to ignore all the other great 2019 flagships?