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Since assuming control over the Nokia brand, HMD Global has released a string of beautifully crafted handsets running near-stock Android, which offer great feature bang for the money. The Nokia 9 PureView is no exception, since the stunning smartphone packs an eye-catching metal and glass design that feels every bit as premium in hand as the latest flagship from Sony, LG or Samsung. However, unlike those handsets, this flagship Nokia costs just R11 849, which is quite a bit less than Samsung’s Galaxy S10 range or Huawei’s lauded P30 offerings.

You do get last year’s best mobile processor from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform, instead of this year’s latest and greatest, but thanks to this mobile CPU being paired with 6 GB of RAM and a near stock Android 9 Pie handling the mobile operating system duties, performance is snappy and slick all round.

Beyond value, another area where the Nokia aims to differentiate itself from the competition is through its photography. It boasts a whopping six cameras, one excellent 20 MP selfie shooter and a unique five camera setup in the rear. That is five 12 MP rear-facing cameras, at f/1.82, two of which are RBG (colour) cameras and three of which are monochrome sensors (black and white).

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How does that work?

Well, when you take a photo, all five lenses captures multiple images that are then combined into a single photo that is outputted in JPG format, although you can change this to RAW images. The latter is great if you have Adobe software or any other image editing software and can maximise the breadth of image data that this phenomenal shooter is able to assemble.

Just like on the old Nokia Lumia 1020, there is a Pro mode that provides the user with a high degree of manual control over the camera settings. Additionally, Nokia 9 PureView owners get access to Adobe’s Lightroom app for Android, which allows them to edit photos to their heart’s content.

The downside of all this depth data being gathered and processed means that unlike with a Samsung Galaxy S10, Huawei P30 Pro or iPhone XS, there is a noticeable lag while the processing is being done. However, we feel that it will be a trade-off worth making for the excellent quality that the Nokia 9 PureView provides you with, as well as the flexibility you get when editing your photos.

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Sample pic #1 take with Nokia 9 PureView

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Sample pic #2 take with Nokia 9 PureView

Zooming into other features

Besides the camera, you get a great PureDisplay 5.99″ QHD+ pOLED which is perfect for review all those phenomenal snaps on and consuming other media like videos. Like the S10, you get an in-screen fingerprint sensor that is not our favourite feature of the smartphone, because it is not the most accurate or snappiest to use.

You also get 128 GB storage which is great but this is not expandable as is the case with most other Android-powered flagships. The Integrated 3320 mAh provides adequate battery life and will get you through a full working day, unless you were making heavy use of the camera in which case you can use the USB-C charging cable or Qi Wireless charging to top it up. IP67 water and dust resistant is also offered.

All in all, if you need a good looking smartphone offering lots of spec bang for a more affordable price than the competition, the Nokia 9 PureView will not dissappoint. If you already are into photography and use Adobe Photoshop and the like to edit photos, this really is the smartphone for you. But if you leave your snapper in auto mode and don’t care for editing your photos beyond using various filters, then you may want to look at the Samsung Galaxy S10, iPhone XS and the like.