Nokia 9 PureView first impressions: a bit of a letdown


Within a minute of getting my hands on the new Nokia 9 PureView I was being given excuses as to why the phone wasn’t the device for me unless I was “really” into photography. Wait, aren’t the people telling me this, the same people who are trying to sell me the device?

I’d like to say they were wrong but sure enough, the more I got into it, the longer I found myself frustrated waiting for the images to process, and the enormous amount of lag between switching camera modes.

Something I did like was the adoption of stock android. I’m a fan after all and I think the more uniform manufacturers can become in providing a one-stop shop recognizable OS the better in my opinion.

The demo area was cozy, to say the least with only three devices on a tightly packed stand. Never the less I persisted and gave it 20 minutes of my time. Twenty minutes dare I say that I’ll never get back.

I was losing interest rapidly as I waited and waited for images to process. After force closing the camera app a couple of times, I moved on to the general usability. The phone itself was snappy (I’m using that word a lot this year) but as I’ve said before there is very little that differentiates the general speed and feel of the so-called high-end smartphone market.

I suddenly forgot that I hadn’t taken a selfie. To my surprise, there was no lag or processing time, probably because a selfie is a very basic task, using just the one camera.

I feel like I’m being overly harsh to Nokia though, the five camera array on the rear really is something to behold. It reminds me a little of the Light L16 camera from a couple of years back, only prettier. HMD actually partnered with Light on the camera module and image post-processing, so the similarities in design shouldn’t be surprising. 

I was fully intending on getting a good handful of images to demonstrate the great details you can expect from the Nokia 9 PureView, but the camera app force closed a few times and it just didn’t work out. I’ll definitely pop in again and scoop some more before I head home from MWC.

Those bags under my eyes genuinely developed during my experience with this phone, if I had hair I’d be pulling it out in frustration. Maybe the phone was having a bad day, maybe I wasn’t a good user? I raised a few initial concerns to the Nokia reps only to be told: “This is basically an R&D project for us, right?” That, I can absolutely respect, but don’t try to release a birth a device into the world that will likely be DOA if the image processing experience isn’t cutting the mustard.

As my 20 minutes (maybe more like 40) with the phone was coming to an end, one final jib came my way “You’ve been sleeping on that unit for ages over there” to which I replied “That’s because I’m still waiting for the images to finish processing”

“You’re breaking my heart,” she said as we parted ways with a chuckle.

Darren Millar
30 something, ex-nightclub DJ. Currently loving technology. Smart home builder, Small Japanese car fan. Never owned an iPhone. Cat person.

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