Mobile Reviews

Nokia 8 vs Essential PH-1: two great flagships with Snapdragon 835 and dual 13MP primary camera


On one corner, we have Nokia 8; while on the other we have a newcomer - Essential PH-1. The battle of old versus new begins now.

Nokia has been on the rise ever since it was taken over by local Finnish company – HMD Global. With Nokia 3 being entry-level, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 being the mid-range offering; here’s to Nokia 8 for the flagship category with the following specs:

  • 5.3-inch Quad HD IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen with 1440 x 2560 pixels or ~554 ppi pixel density
  • IP54 certified - dust and splash resistant
  • Aluminum body
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection
  • Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 835 chipset, Octa-core (4x2.45 GHz Kryo & 4x1.9 GHz Kryo) processor, Adreno 540 graphics and 4GB RAM
  • Dual 13MP primary camera with f/2.0 aperture, laser & phase detection autofocus, Carl Zeiss optics, OIS and dual-LED (dual tone) flash
  • 13MP secondary camera
  • 64GB internal storage + microSD expansion slot up to 256GB
  • Android Nougat 7.1.1
  • Nokia OZO spatial 360° audio
  • Dual-sim and 4G LTE
  • September 2017 release date
  • 599 Euro or ~$705 USD price tag

Nokia 8 should appeal to those who don’t want a big of a screen with it sporting a 5.3-inch Quad HD IPS screen. With an exquisite aluminium body that is so like Nokia, it also comes with a fingerprint sensor and Gorilla Glass 5 protection. But one thing that makes it stand out from the crowd is with the IP54 certification, which makes it dust and splash resistant.

Performance-wise, you can only expect nothing but the best with the available Snapdragon 835 chipset, very fast octa-core Kryo processor, great graphics and 4GB RAM. There’s nothing that would be able to stand in its path, as it will blaze over just about anything and still have some spare left in the tank.

As we all know, Nokia can dish out some of the best camera smartphones with its Carl Zeiss optics. With Nokia 8, there’s the dual 13MP primary camera with all the amazing features such as PDAF and OSI which makes it a real keeper when it comes to taking great-looking photos. A first for mobile phones, the exclusive Dual-Sight mode lets you use both front and back cameras simultaneously for split-screen photos and video. This means you can capture videos of yourself and what you are currently seeing in front of you. Very impressive indeed. Then there’s the 13MP selfie camera to make it complete.

Regarding storage, there should be enough with 64GB of internal storage. Even when you need more space, just pop in a microSD card, and you are all set to a maximum of 256GB of space.

An added advantage for audio lovers, it lets you experience new dimensions of sound with the industry-standard OZO audio technology for 360° recording. With Audio Focus mode, it lets you accentuate the right sounds while reducing ambient sounds or background noise. It opens up a whole new possibility for listening to great sound on a smartphone.

Last but not least, there’s the plain vanilla Android Nougat 7.1.1 that comes with no unnecessary bloatware – only the ones you need. The rest is up to you on what you want to install. This means that it will be the fastest version of the operating system that you can find.

Now let’s meet up with Essential, established by Android’s operating system founder – Andy Rubin, and its newest model simply called PH-1. Will the transition from software to hardware be a smooth one? This is where we got a chance to see PH-1, as the pioneering smartphone from Essential. Here’s to the flagship smartphone:

  • 5.71-inch Quad HD LTPS IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen with 1312 x 2560 pixels or ~504 ppi pixel density
  • Edgeless screen
  • Titanium and ceramic body
  • Gorilla Glass 5 protection
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 835 chipset, Octa-core (4x2.45 GHz Kryo & 4x1.9 GHz Kryo) processor, Adreno 540 graphics and 4GB RAM
  • Dual 13MP primary camera with f/1.9 aperture, phase detection & laser autofocus and LED flash
  • 8MP secondary camera with f/2.2 aperture
  • 128GB internal storage with no microSD expansion slot
  • Android Nougat 7.1
  • Non-removable Li-Ion 3040 mAh battery with Fast battery charging
  • Snap-on accessories
  • Dual-sim and 4G LTE
  • September 2017 expected release date
  • $699 USD price tag

With its first venture being a flagship one, Essential have high hopes for the PH-1. First up, it has the advantage of a larger 5.71-inch LTPS IPS screen with the same amount of Quad HD resolution. Then there’s also the edgeless screen , on top of the usual Gorilla Glass 5 protection and fingerprint sensor to its name.

Regarding performance, PH-1 sports the same specs; you know that the performance difference is somewhat negligible. There’s nothing that will stop it in its path with this kind of performance.

Camera-wise, it might be sporting a similar dual 13MP primary camera – but it pales in comparison in the number of features and functions that it has. Nice try though. Then we have the 8MP selfie camera to cater for all your selfies.

Huge 128GB of internal storage is found on the PH-1 where it should be more than what you normally expect from a smartphone. That’s the limit though, as there’s no expansion slot. No biggie, as you have cloud storage and USB on-the-go to help you out in your time of need.

PH-1 also comes with the latest Android Nougat 7.1 operating system as well.

There’s also a host of snap-on accessories for the PH-1, as it promises to be a modular smartphone. One of its extension is the 360° camera that is slowly becoming the craze. It lets you show everyone your surroundings with this add-on that can be easily attached to the smartphone.

If there’s one particular drawback about the PH-1, it will be on its 3040 mAh battery. Technically, it might last you for a full day; but just have a power bank nearby should it run out of battery.


Nokia 8 might be just the tonic that the Finnish sleeping giant needs to rise in this smartphone world. Great 5.3-inch Quad HD IPS screen, great protection, great looks, great hardware, great Carl Zeiss dual 13MP primary camera, great audio and the latest vanilla Android Nougat 7.1.1 operating system ensures that you get only the best out of this great flagship.

Nokia 8 is expected to be available very soon in September 2017 for 599 Euro or ~$705 USD price tag. There will be a variety of colours for you to choose from Tempered Blue, Polished Blue, Steel and Polished Copper.

Essential PH-1 have all the ingredients to be a great flagship from the legendary Android software founder. It comes with a great 5.7-inch Quad HD edgeless screen, great looks, great protection, the best hardware, great dual 13MP primary camera, huge 128GB storage and the latest Android Nougat 7.1 OS combines well to give you a great smartphone experience.

Essential PH-1 is also expected to be available in September 2017 for $699 USD price. It is said to be available in Stellar Gray, Ocean Depths, Black Moon and Pure White colours.

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Eza EzamieEza Ezamie
Category: Team WhaTechCompany about: Tech junkie by profession and passionate about anything from the digital world, movies, games and reading. He loves writing and hopes you enjoy his writing as much as he does. Eza, is also known as Don in the virtual world, but don’t him me wrong, he's not a mafia type he's really a nice chap and a devout family guy.
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