Home tech Five cameras are too much of a good thing: the Nokia 9...

Five cameras are too much of a good thing: the Nokia 9 fails in beauty

Nokia 9 Pureview Test.jpg

The Nokia 9 Pureview has five cameras on the back, a TOF sensor and an LED flash.

(Photo: kwe)

With five cameras on the back, the Nokia 9 Pureview comes into action to become king of smartphone photography and is overwhelmed by the task. After all, it is a very beautiful device and the manufacturers HMD and Zeiss show courage, which could be rewarded in the future.

It took a long time before HMD finally showed the Nokia 9 Pureview at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. It was actually expected a year earlier. The long wait time was driven by the ambitious Penta camera on the back, developed by the Finns in collaboration with Zeiss. The expectations of their capacities were high, it should be no less than the new camera king of smartphones. But claim and reality yawn on Nokia 9 far apart, n-tv.de found in the everyday test.

Nice design, great display

Nokia 9 Pureview Test-2.jpg

The screen can be fairly clear for an OLED screen.

(Photo: kwe)

But the first impression of the new HMD flagship is positive for the time being, because the Nokia 9 is a very attractive smartphone. The dark blue frame with smooth edges at the transitions to the same front and rear glass looks great. It is also impressive that the manufacturer has succeeded in accommodating all cameras in an 8 millimeter thin housing under the cover glass. And despite all the beauty, the device is IP67 dust and waterproof.

The screen of about 6 inches has not as narrow a frame as other current top smartphones, but the OLED display is a great example. It is very sharp with a pixel density of around 540 ppi, can shine brightly, delivers sharp contrasts and beautiful, natural colors.

Strong, but not very persistent


In good light, the camera can shine with bold colors and contrasts, as well as with many details.

(Photo: kwe)

The Nokia 9 is also not disappointing in terms of performance, although "only" a Snapdragon 845 with 6 gigabytes (GB) of RAM is on board because of the long delay and not the latest top chip from Qualcomm. The device works smoothly in any situation and reacts jerky to input. This is partly due to the pure Android 9, which works perfectly under load from the interface of a manufacturer. The internal memory is generously sized with 128 GB.

Not so intoxicating, however, is the battery life. The 3320 milliampère battery usually brings the device usually during the day, after long photo safaris, but it can be scarce. Not so bad: if the Nokia 9 gets out of breath, it can be charged quickly with the powerful power supply. Moreover, the device can also be supplied inductively.

Non-sensitive fingerprint sensor

IMG_20190403_113643 ~ 2.jpg

The artificial bokeh effect also convinces under the right conditions.

(Photo: kwe)

The initial enthusiasm is disappointing when you set the optical fingerprint sensor on which the Nokia 9 stands. Because it is extremely insensitive and you are still encouraged to press harder if you are concerned about the display. You often do not arrive at the destination. It's so annoying and you just want a stink-normal sensor on the back that works fairly easily.

The camera is not really a disappointment, but cannot meet the high expectations. In good light conditions it is able to deliver excellent results with great colors and contrasts, as well as many details. But that doesn't always work and when it gets dark, the magnificence of the Penta camera falls away in mediocrity. This is a terrible pity, because in some situations you can see the potential of the five-eye.


This is what a JPG looks like in lighting conditions that are still reasonably good.

(Photo: kwe)

The functional principle is actually convincing: two colors and three black-and-white cameras capture images with twelve megapixels and aperture f / 1.8 at the same time, which are then combined to form a single photo. In theory you should not only get very detailed recordings. The light-sensitive black-and-white sensors promise good photos, even after sunset and HDR, the Penta camera with a wide dynamic range should take to a new level.

Too weak for the monster camera

The fact that the results seldom meet the high expectations can be due to the enormous computing power that is required to compile the individual images. Although the Snapdragon 845 has a coprocessor to support the high demands, it is clearly overwhelmed. It takes about ten seconds to see the finished photo, and much longer with continuous shooting. But you don't have to wait after every shot, but you can continue to take pictures.

Flame RAW.jpg

Much better photos can be developed of the RAW files.

(Photo: kwe)

It would also be hard to believe that the preview of a single camera does not even indicate what the result will be if you can be sure that good pictures will eventually be taken. Unfortunately this is not always the case. Why the Penta camera causes problems despite the two black and white sensors, especially in decreasing light, is puzzling. Why she doesn't like movements is obvious: no camera is optically stabilized.

Successful bokeh effect

On the other hand, the artificial bokeh works very well, with the additional use of a TOF sensor, which can accurately determine distances to objects with a light beam. Focus and blur can also be defined afterwards, and as long as you don't drag the slider too far to the right, the results usually look natural. The Bokeh effect is no more successful than with other top smartphones, fine transitions are even better from competitors such as the iPhone XS or the Huawei P30 Pro.


Try not to zoom with the Nokia 9.

(Photo: kwe)

Perhaps the weakness of the Nokia 9 is only a weakness of the software. The best results are obtained if you develop the RAW images and do not accept the JPG & # 39; s. Then you can clearly get more out of the many image information and you can see that the five-eye is strong, especially in details. The modest Pro mode, where you can only set the white balance, shutter speed and ISO, is only partially useful.

Videos & # 39; s of the Nokia 9 look reasonable and are electronically pretty good. However, only a single camera is used here as with any average smartphone.

Maybe next time

Too bad, you really want the Nokia 9 Pureview. The camera concept is extraordinary and fascinating and the device has been successful except for the annoying fingerprint sensor. However, it does not deliver the excellent results promised by the Five-Eye. Other smartphones with super wide-angle and telephoto lenses and optical stabilizers can convince more in the field of photography.

Perhaps there is still a software update that sets the camera turbo on the Nokia 9 on fire. The RAW files give an idea of ​​what is possible. Everyone involved in the experiment does not have to dig deep into the pockets. You can get it online for around 630 Euros and the price will probably fall even faster. Maybe you should wait and see if there will be a strong successor soon, who can tame the monster camera.



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