If you are looking for a decent smartphone with acceptable update support, Nokia is one of the brands that stands out. With the Nokia 8.3 5G you are not only future-proof with updates, but also for the new 5G network.
Nokia 8.3 5G
price From € 579, –
OS Android 10 (Android One)
Screen 6.8 inch LCD (3200 x 1440, 60 Hz)
Processor 2.4 Ghz octacore (Snapdragon 765G)
Storage 128GB (expandable with memory card)
Battery 4,500 mAh
Camera 64, 12, 2 megapixels (rear), 24 megapixels (front)
Connectivity 5G, Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi, GPS, NFC
Format 17.2 x 7.9 x 0.9 cm
Weight 220 grams
Other depth camera, side fingerprint scanner
6 Score 60
- Android One
- Fingerprint scanner
- Battery life
- Google Assistant intrusion
- Macro camera
You can probably extract the unique advantage of the Nokia 8.3 5G from the intro: if you are looking for a future-proof smartphone, you have come to the right place. Not only because of 5G, but also because of the update support. A pain point that the other Android manufacturers with 5G smartphones are unable to rectify.
However, there are two comments to be made here: you may wonder whether 5G is already worth the investment. It may take a while before the new mobile network in the Netherlands really makes a difference. The other side note is the chipset, this is not the fastest available. This means that your smartphone will be running the latest Android version in a year or two, but may still have difficulty with heavier apps and sites.
Android 11 has just been released at the time of writing, the Nokia 8.3 5G still runs on Android 10. However, the update will not take long to reach this Nokia, since the smartphone runs on Android One: a clean Android version. So it is on the software side, as always completely good with this Nokia.
What you may not see very well in the images, but you immediately notice when you get your hands on the smartphone, is that the Nokia 8.3 5G is substantial. The device is large, thick and heavy. In addition, the camera protrudes a bit from the thick housing. So it is anything but a handy device.
The Nokia has a small screen edge at the bottom. At the top left, the front camera is incorporated in a hole in the screen. The large size and relatively thin edges of course already indicate that the screen size is not subtle either: 6.8 inches (17.3 cm) in diameter.
It is nice that Nokia has incorporated the fingerprint scanner in the on button on the right side. It works more accurately and faster than under-screen fingerprint scanners. The positioning is also more natural than a scanner at the rear, although the latter is of course a personal experience. Another plus is the Nokia 8.3 5G simply has an audio connection.
On the left, Nokia has placed a button that calls up the Google Assistant. This is actually hardware bloatware, which Samsung (rightly) also received a lot of criticism with a similar button for its own Bixby assistant. Especially the fact that you cannot give the button any other function, such as starting the camera. The button can only be switched off in the settings, after which you are left with a function-free button. That reinforces a negative feeling that the Google Assistant is forced on. Because not only the button calls up the assistant, swiping up the bottom corners of the screen, the Assistant app or a voice command all do the same. Such a button therefore seems far from additional, even if you need Google Assistant.
The display of the Nokia 8.3 5G is therefore large. However, the screen panel used leaves something to be desired. Not only is an LCD screen placed, which offers less high image quality than an OLED screen panel. The screen has a Full-HD resolution and a regular refresh rate of 60 hertz. Unfortunately, the screen used looks a bit gray and the maximum brightness is not optimal, which makes the screen difficult to read in sunlight.
Nokia with Android One
As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, the Nokia 8.3 5G does not have the fastest chipset and you may expect a little more computing power in this price range. Nevertheless, the Nokia 8.3 5G performs well in benchmarks and in practice. I didn’t notice any delays or long loading times for heavy apps. That will be partly due to the clean Android version that the smartphone runs, a huge plus.
The battery life is also fine. The battery has a capacity of 4,500 mAh, which is quite high. Without frills as a screen with a high refresh rate and 1440p resolution, you will notice that the battery is reasonably spared and you can continue with a charged battery for a long time. Longer than a day and a half is certainly feasible, although of course it depends on your use.
Four lenses have been placed at the rear: a wide-angle camera (16 megapixels), macro camera (2 megapixels) and of course the regular camera (64 megapixels). The fourth lens is intended to be able to estimate the depth of field, for example for portrait photos where the foreground or background is blurred. You often see such a camera arrangement of four lenses with smartphones, but the photos from the zoom and wide-angle cameras are often so distressing that you actually prefer to avoid them.
Unfortunately, that is also the case with the Nokia 8.3 5G. The 2 megapixel macro lens in particular adds nothing. It is a lens intended to capture fine details up close, not as a zoom camera. That’s already a domp. But with two megapixels you capture too little detail and in difficult lighting conditions you have a lot of noise and you lose all detail. It is better to fall back on the wide-angle lens, although you also notice a noticeable loss of quality in that, despite the fact that you capture much more through the wide-angle.
The macro photos of the Nokia 8.3 5G are deplorable. Although the leaves are from a real plant, they look like plastic.
So you are best off with the 64 megapixel regular camera. But don’t expect top-of-the-line photos here either. Under favorable conditions you have excellent photos, which are especially very detailed. Backlight or low light? Then you notice that there are shortcomings in (respectively) the dynamic range and noise level.
The big trump card of the Nokia 8.3 5G is the combination of Android One and 5G.
Alternatives to the Nokia 8.3 5G
The big trump card of the Nokia 8.3 5G is the combination of Android One and 5G. This way you can be sure that you are ready for the future in terms of updates and the mobile network. But as a smartphone in itself, the Nokia 8.3 is somewhat inconspicuous, unwieldy and pricey.
If you are in the market for an affordable 5G smartphone, you can also opt for the Motorola Moto G 5G (from 349 euros) or the OnePlus Nord (from 299 euros). These smartphones are a bit cheaper and do not have Android One, but are otherwise reasonably comparable. Aren’t both 5G and the software support deal breakers for you? Then you can also consider the Poco F2 Pro, a much more powerful smartphone.
Actually, the Nokia 8.3 5G is priced too high (from 579 euros). This device could easily compete with the affordable 5G smartphones from OnePlus (€ 299) and Motorola (€ 349, -), because the Nokia runs Android One. Apart from 5G and Android One, the smartphone does not excel at anything. However, many things could be just a little better: such as construction, the screen and the cameras.