Few days ago -- during my first gym workout this year -- I managed to destroy my smartphone - my Moto G5s Plus. I had no backup phone so I went to look at what's available in the store and can be picked up the next day.
After a few hours of watching reviews and comparing phones on GSMArena, I ordered a Nokia 8 Stainless Steel. It got in my hands the next morning and almost everything was set up one hour later. Few weeks have passed and I think I'm ready to review it, so here we go!
Design it's something I would rate with 7 out of 10. I like the metal body, it feels solid build and nice crafted. It's also thin and the camera bump it's almost unnoticeable. The only thing I don't like are the curved edges - which remind me of the old iPads. Despite those edges it's still a very slippery phone. Since this is highly subjective, everyone can judge for itself. Some of my friends like the design, so take this with a grain of salt.
It doesn't have NFC - which I use regularly to pair my Bluetooth speakers when at home. Since I used it only once or twice a month, it's not a big bummer. Wireless charging and waterproofing are things that I would appreciate, but I never had a phone that had these features so I don't miss them. For this price it's hard to complain.
The missing notification LED was disappointing at first I ended up liking it -- it's less distracting when placed on the desk.
SnapDragon 835. Like all the flagships of last year, this phone also has the best Qualcomm chipset. My previous phone rocked a SnapDragon 625 and I can say for sure that it was enough for almost casual/everyday users. The only difference I see is the installing time for app. This phone is way faster at installing apps. Running apps is more or less the same since I don't use a lot of intensive apps (mainly browsing/reading). Having the 835 might allow me to keep the phone longer before complaining about performance. This can be a decent phone for at least 2 years and two other versions of Android. SnapDragon 625 might become slower after and Android version upgrade.
Camera. Given the limited time spent with the phone I can say much about this. It's a big improvement to the Moto G5s Plus when it comes to focus and crispy images. It's even usable in low light conditions since it has optical image stabilization -- don't expect much, it's just usable. Selfie camera also beats the Moto when it comes to image quality - not that I really care about it. Another good news is that you can use Google Camera Mod apks without any "hacking" required. Camera2 API is available out of the box and the app just works. After playing with the GCMod a little bit I ended up using the standard camera, since I could not see any big differences in photo quality to compensate for the occasional crashes you get.
Battery it's good, but not far from average. I'm using AccuBattery to monitor it and the Health report says it's at 92% of the acclaimed capacity. This was disappointing but apparently is not very accurate. I did a different test using another method AccuBattery recommends and it seems it's ~ 3050mAh (it's sold as 3000mAh) -- not bad at all. I managed to keep the phone up and running for almost 2 day (38 hours or so) with a full charge, staying at home with WiFi on and light usage. I just wish the reporting API to be more accurate (for example when charging to 100% it reports it fully charged while it still tops up the battery for at least 30-45 minutes). From now on I'm gonna try to preserve the capacity as much as possible by only charging it to 80% if I'm not traveling.
Software it's another aspect I like about this phone. It runs almost stock Android and it receives updates quite fast. For example I got the Specter/Meltdown security patch mid January (to my understanding that's only 1-2 weeks after it was release). Sometime the UI hangs, but I don't know it it's my Beta Nova Launcher or the OS that's causing it. It only happens only once a week or even less - I can easily live with it.
ANT+ is something most people probably don't care, but as person who tries to be active this is important to me. ANT+ it's a protocol used by most fitness trackers and I personally use it to track my heart rate while running. The protocol is well documented, comes with some free software you can use and apparently doesn't require a hardware license. Despite all this, for some reasons, it's impossible to find on cheaper phones. I was very tempted to buy a bunch of other phone under $400 but none of them had it. Nokia 8 it's the cheapest decent phone to have it.
Conclusion: If you want a cheap phone on budget and don't want to be spied by OnePlus, this is the phone for you. If you don't care so much about the ANT+ you should also look at the alternatives (Moto and Huawei) - which are cheaper and offer more or less the same thing.
September 2018 (9 months): Motherboard died and had to be replaced (warranty work).
Bluetooth connection is finicky (when used with AirPods). The issues started with an update, and 5 updates later it's still not fixed. Support could not help.
April 2019 (1 year and 3 months): display died. sent back to repair under warranty (2 years) and I got a cash back.
I recommend everyone I know to avoid Nokia phones. Hardware is not reliable and the software support is limited to security updates and rarely fixes any driver issue (like the bluetooth connection issue in my case).