Nokia Eight V 5G UW Assessment: Just too costly

“The Nokia 8 V UW is a solid proposition but is beaten by tough competition for the same price or less.”

  • Great camera

  • Long lasting battery

  • Solid display

  • Retired Software

  • Too expensive

  • No water resistance

  • 60Hz display

Right now, 5G is all the rage. With networks claiming “nationwide” coverage and phone companies putting “5G” in the name of every new phone, it makes sense that you think this is a big deal. One day it will be, but for now, you face a decision: should you get a 5G compatible phone now, although it won’t be really revolutionary for you, or should you wait until 5G really matters?

Nokia thinks you should do the former. The company recently unveiled the Nokia 8.3 5G, its first 5G-enabled version. With the new Nokia 8 V 5G UW, this device goes one step further. (Yes, it’s a mouthful.)

The new device is the first carrier-focused phone from HMD Global, whose name “Ver” stands for Verizon. The rest of the name is pretty standard – aside from the fact that the UW stands for “Ultra-Broadband”. Right, this phone supports Verizon’s 5G mmWave network.

Other than that, however, the phone is no different from the original Nokia 8.3. It even costs the same at $ 699. Here are my thoughts after a few days on the phone. Note: Since the phone is so similar to the standard Nokia 8.3, we won’t be doing a full review. You can read our full review of the Nokia 8.3 here.

The good

The Nokia 8.3 V 5G UW is a relatively large phone with a 6.81-inch display and 1080p resolution. It’s not the highest resolution, but it supports HDR always on, gets nice and bright, and is definitely sharp enough for most uses.

There are relatively thin bezels all around the display, although the chin at the bottom is quite large for a 2020 device.

The rest of the design is modern but doesn’t stand out as much aside from the big old round camera on the back. There’s a fingerprint reader on the side that’s quick and responsive, and there’s a headphone jack on the bottom that’s easy to see. There is a hole punch cutout in the top left of the display.

nokia 8 v 5g Your rating 7

nokia 8 v 5g Your rating 1

The phone comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor as well as 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. It’s powerful enough for most tasks, and while it’s not quite as nimble as an 8-series processor, the vast majority of users won’t notice a difference.

The power is supplied by a 4,500 mAh battery, with which you can easily work for a whole day. Many people can work for two days. The phone comes with Android 10 and gets Android 11. Unfortunately, updates beyond Android 11 are not displayed, which is a major disadvantage compared to the competition.

The entire software experience is pretty low-key, but the Verizon-ness undo this a bit. Right after setting up your phone, you’ll see four Verizon apps right on the home screen that you need to deal with. You cannot delete them either. So the most you can do is do it in your app drawer.

The camera is a quad lens camera and is great. There are four sensors on the back, including a 64-megapixel main sensor, a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera, a 2-megapixel macro camera, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The photos are vivid and bright, with lots of detail most of the time, especially in low light. I would have loved to see a telephoto lens instead of a macro sensor, and the macro sensor isn’t great, but those are really the only complaints to be made about the camera.

The bad

I’ve really only focused on the good things about this phone so far, but there are some bad things too – and those bad things essentially mean that you should avoid the phone entirely.

Let’s talk about 5G very quickly. There are two types to watch out for: Sub-6, which can travel long distances but doesn’t necessarily get that fast, and mmWave, which is very fast but can’t travel distances or penetrate obstacles. This phone supports both, especially on Verizon. But you really shouldn’t care – Verizon’s mmWave is pretty much irrelevant right now, and while you can get widespread Sub-6 connectivity, it’s not that fast yet and won’t change much in how a phone is used. In my area, Verizon’s Sub-6 5G is available and relatively fast, but not much faster than a good LTE connection.

Then there’s the price – and it’s the real killer. At $ 700, the phone is a little tough to sell. Sure, there are good things and the camera is great, but you could buy a Google Pixel 4a 5G instead, which is significantly $ 200 less than this device and has better software support, a camera that is at least as good as no better , the same processor and more. It doesn’t support mmWave, but that shouldn’t matter – and if you’re really into mmWave, you can get the Verizon variant of the Pixel 4a 5G, which costs $ 600. That’s still $ 100 less than the Nokia 8 V UW.

Our opinion

The Nokia 8 V 5G UW is by no means a bad phone. It’s relatively powerful and has a nice big screen, great camera, and pared-back software experience. But the price is just not right. Nokia and Verizon are charging a premium for 5G, and it’s not worth getting into yet.

The only way this phone makes sense is when (or more likely when) Verizon decides to give it a huge discount as part of the latest vacation or add-a-line promotion. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Nokia 8 V UW was available for around $ 450 in a few months if added to a financing plan, and at that point, it’s dramatically more enticing.

Is there a better alternative?

Yes. If you’re looking to save some cash, you’ll get a better experience with the Google Pixel 4a 5G, which costs $ 200 less for the unlocked model or $ 100 less for the Verizon mmWave model. However, buy the unlocked model – you won’t have to worry about mmWave for a few more years and it will still work flawlessly with Verizon.

If you don’t mind spending $ 700 and are simply looking for the best phone you can get, then go for the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, which has a better processor, great camera, and price. Or you can get the new iPhone 12 Mini, which is more powerful than any Android phone currently on the market and comes in a nice pocket size.

How long it will take?

The Nokia 8 V 5G UW should go through a two-year upgrade cycle, so only one major software update is guaranteed. It’s also not waterproof, so do your best to keep it out of the water.

Should you buy one?

No, you should look into that Galaxy S20 FE, Pixel 4a 5G, or iPhone 12 Mini instead.

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