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Nokia 9 PureView: everything you need to know

Exactly what can a phone do with five cameras?
Nokia 9 PureView detail

The Nokia 9 PureView is official.

Nokia took the wrappers off its newest toy today at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, and we got a chance to get up close and personal with it.

It’s quite a phone. And with no fewer than five cameras on the back, it’s quite possibly the most powerful cameraphone ever made.

But what exactly do they all do? Read on to find out just why you need a phone with five cameras.

It takes incredible photos

Nokia 9 Pureview image sample

‘And so it should, with five cameras,’ you might think. But the magic is in how all the snappers work together to be more than the sum of their parts.

Every time you press the camera shutter, the phone simultaneously takes at least one picture (and sometimes as many as four) with each of the five lenses.

Using artificial intelligence, it then picks the best bits from each snap and fuses them all together into one mega snap.

It’s like having an army of photographers at your disposal, each with a slightly different strength.

If you could take the best of all their talents and distill it into a single snap, you’d have the same result.

It’s just that the phone does this in mere milliseconds. It’s so seamless most people probably won’t even realise what’s happening.

“Nokia has always been about leadership in imaging,” a spokesperson told us, and this is the natural evolution of that.

You can shift focus after the event

Nokia 9 PureView bokeh

It’s happened to us all – you snap a photo, only to find that when you look back at it you focussed on the wrong part. With the Nokia 9 PureView, that’s no longer a problem.

It lets you change the focal point of the photo after you’ve taken it. Now other phones have done this before, but never to the same degree.

The 9 PureView has a depth map of 1,200 layers, meaning you can focus anywhere from 7cm in front of the lens all the way back to 40m.

Open your snap in Google Photos, and you can click anywhere on the picture to focus there.

So whether’s it’s an ant in the foreground or a figure in the far distance, you can make it the star of your photo.

The camera works well in bright sun or low light

Nokia 9 PureView details

The five cameras have another benefit too – they give a fantastic dynamic range (this is the difference between the light and dark parts of the picture).

Take a snap, and it’ll have bags of detail both in the dark shadows and the bright sun, as well as all areas in between. Now there’s nowhere to hide…

It takes excellent, moody black and white snaps

Nokia 9 PureView monochrome

The cameras contain two colour sensors: one for RGB (red, green and blue) and one for monochrome (black and white to you and me).

The monochrome one lets in 2.9 times more light, meaning you’ll get incredibly cinematic black and white shots that look straight out of an arthouse film.

There's an editing suite built in

The Nokia 9 PureView is for “people who want to do more than take great pictures for social media,” Nokia told us.

“It’s for people who want to do post-production also.” Hence it has its own editing suite built in.

As well as giving you a standard photo file of every snap you take, it gives you the raw photo data too, before it’s had the dynamic range and other factors altered using Nokia’s algorithms.

That way, if you had a different vision for the photo, you can pull out the raw file and edit it yourself right on the phone using Adobe’s Lightroom software.

Photographers say 50 per cent of the art of photography is in the post-edit. Now’s your chance to shine.

It’s slim. And looks impressive too

Incredibly, all this camera tech is crammed into a phone that’s just 8mm thin. That’s only marginally fatter than an iPhone XS. There’s also no camera bump at all. Quite a feat.

As you can see, it’s mighty pretty too. It’s milled out of a single block of aluminium, making it feel suitably luxurious while also making it incredibly hardwearing.

Its signature diamond cuts add detail, and it’s water- and dust-resistant to boot. So it’s not just a pretty face.

It runs pure Android

Android One battery boost

Android One is the order of the day. That’s the version of Google’s operating system that’s blissfully free of third-party ‘skins’. You get just Android, pure and simple.

The result? It runs like a dream, with no extraneous software bogging it down. Of course, the 6GB of RAM doesn’t hurt either.

Android One is intended to be easy to use and offers battery-boosting features, as well as well as unlimited cloud photo storage on Google Photos and high-grade security.

The screen is something special

Nokia 9 front reflection

That’s a 2K OLED screen, which is incredibly high resolution with one of the most advanced screen technologies around (the iPhone XS and XS Max also have OLED panels).

It shows off the phone’s high dynamic range, so you can see all the detail in those amazing pics you just took.

It also has HDR10, which also helps retain detail in scenes with different lighting conditions.

It’s a good price

Nokia 9 Pureview back five camera lenses closeup hero size

With all this tech – and wireless charging as well – you might think the Nokia 9 PureView would be expensive. Not so.

In fact, it only costs $699 (we’re waiting on a UK price, but wouldn’t be surprised if it was a straight dollar-to-pound conversion). Which is cheaper than Apple’s ‘budget’ iPhone XR. Quite a proposition.

Category: Features
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