Nokia 9 PureView: Long-awaited smartphone has five cameras

The Nokia 9 PureView’s cameras all have a 12-megapixel Sony sensor and an f/1.8 aperture, with Zeiss optics.
The Nokia 9 PureView’s cameras all have a 12-megapixel Sony sensor and an f/1.8 aperture, with Zeiss optics.

The long-rumoured Nokia 9 PureView finally made its debut at the Mobile World Congress this week.

And it did not disappoint, with a unique five-camera system arranged in a circular layout that reminds me of the eyes of an insect or the holes in a lotus seed pod.

Three of the five cameras have monochrome sensors while the other two have RGB colour sensors.

While other smartphone makers have added telephoto and ultra-wide cameras to complement the main camera, the Nokia 9's five cameras all have a 12-megapixel Sony sensorand an f/1.8 aperture. They use Zeiss optics.

HMD Global, which designs and builds Nokia smartphones, says the monochrome sensor captures more details, given that it captures 2.5 times more light compared with the colour sensor. The data from all the cameras, said to range from 60 megapixels to 240 megapixels when taking panoramas is used to create a single 12-megapixel image with lots of details.

This five-camera system also captures a lot of depth information - 1,200 layers - that can be used to change the focus of a photo after it is taken. The monochrome sensors on this phone will also lead to better dynamic range for photos shot in black and white.

Design-wise, I found the Nokia 9 to be slightly dated compared to other recent Nokia smartphones. For one thing, it does not have a display notch for its 5.99-inch Oled screen while the top and bottom bezels are not the slimmest.


Furthermore, it is powered by last year's flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, not the new 855 model that is found in almost every new smartphone released this year. HMD Global did say it worked with Qualcomm to enable the processor's image signal processor to support five cameras. Perhaps the long incubation period for this device is the reason for its lack of trendiness.

It does have other flagship features, such as wireless charging as well as water and dust resistance (IP67 rated). It also has an optical in-display fingerprint sensor.

The Nokia 9 PureView is expected to be available globally next month and is priced at US$699 (S$943).

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2019, with the headline 'Long-awaited Nokia smartphone has five cameras'. Print Edition | Subscribe