We tried the limited-edition Nokia 9 PureView, the $700 smartphone with 5 cameras


Following is a transcript of the video.

Shona Ghosh: This is the Nokia 9 PureView. It’s conceptual. They’re describing it as an exclusive, limited edition device. The reason being, it has five cameras on the back, and you can see that there’s, it’s arranged in a really unique array. It’s kind of a pentagonal arrangement here, so these are the five lenses, as you may be able to see.

It’s a really interesting phone. 2019 is the year of having three cameras on your flagship device, but clearly Nokia has gone one up on everyone else.

It’s very clearly not intended for the mass market. It’s not gonna be for probably the likes of you and me, but if you’re a super photography enthusiast, you really enjoy, sort of, playing around with the settings on your camera, if you have, you know, a professional-style camera, then maybe something like this is for you.

What’s really interesting to me is how Nokia has managed to squash all these lenses onto the back of its phone and kept the phone completely flat. It wasn’t so long ago that we were seeing phones with multiple lenses which needed a, sort of, camera bump, which made the phone very awkward, kind of ugly, made covers a little bit difficult. But Nokia has really managed to keep this completely flush, as you can see.

Mahesh Makhijani: Two of the sensors are what we call RGB, and then three are monochrome sensors, and the benefit of having multiple cameras is that you just capture a lot more light.

So our typical sensor, an RGB sensor, compared to that, with five cameras, we get 10x the amount of light information because of the number of cameras that you have in here.

Because of the five cameras that we have, we have over 1,200 layers of depth information. I can come up here, which is closer to me. I can blur out the background, as you can see, and I’ll walk through.

You can see each area is highlighted, but as I go closer to the area that I want to, that’s the one that’s highlighted. OK, so I can introduce blur. So I can focus here, you can see that’s all blurred out.

Now I can go back, and you can see this is blurred and that’s all highlighted, and I can zoom in. You can actually see the grill inside there, in terms of the detail that’s preserved, and then I can bring it back and just focus in here, and then you can zoom in.

You can see how well it’s captured all the hair, compared to the rest of the background, so it’s very clear in terms of the depth information that I’m capturing.

The key part being that, all the five cameras are fused into one image and that that’s what processed, so. So you can see the before with a lot of shadows, and then I can change it.

Ghosh: In every other respect, the Nokia 9 PureView is quite similar to other phones. The screen size is perhaps a little smaller. It’s 5.99. That compares to, you know, some monsters we’ve seen at MWC that are, sort of, above the 6-inch mark, but it feels really nice in the hand. It’s kind of, you can use one hand just about to get across the screen.

Another nice feature is something that certainly Apple haven’t managed to do, and that’s the on-screen fingerprint recognition. So you can just press your thumb on there, and it will recognise it’s you and unlock the phone. There’s no need for a button. I can’t emphasise enough that this is a cutting-edge device, Nokia describing it as straight out of a lab. It’s something they would normally have launched as a conceptual device, but they’re putting it on sale, you know, in case photography enthusiasts want to buy it.

In terms of price, it’s not necessarily as expensive as you might think. It comes in at a global average selling price of $US699, so it’s much less expensive than the average iPhone or even the new Galaxy from Samsung, but, you know, at the same time, it’s probably not for your average consumer who’d be buying those other sorts of phones.

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