In this second part of my review with one of the best android device in the market currently, the Vivo X70 Pro+, I will be comparing it to my all-time favorite , the Nokia 8.1. The Nokia 8.1 to me ,is the best midrange device produced by HMD Global. In my previous reviews, I recommend the Nokia 8.1 as it is among the very few device out there that actually delivers. I have had only 2 issues with the device since I used them about 2 years ago, the faulty charging port that Nokia Care fixed for free and the inconsistent rapid charging. Other than that, the Nokia 8.1 is very reliable in terms of performance and battery life. Do not be fooled by its simple dual camera setup consisting of a primary 12MP f/1.8 with OIS and a secondary 13MP camera for depth. The AI scene detection is generally a good addition for daytime imaging where it enhances the vibrancy of image but at times cast a blue tint and in my previous experience the nightscape didn’t work at all.
Having moved on to Nokia 8.3 5G and the Nokia X20 5G subsequently, I still revisit the Nokia 8.1 from time to time and the experience is still great. If you are familiar with the AI scene detection in Nokia 8.1, nightscape precedes the night mode algorithm which was introduced with the Nokia 7.2. It is able to detect the scene and apply parameters to enhance the image quality. But the nightscape was always broken as the algorithm was never applied to the final image. So , it took me by surprise to see that with the recent updates, the nightscape is finally working and it is able to capture decent night scenes which I will share below.
Costing about 1/8th of the price of the Vivo X70 Pro+, this is what the best Nokia midrange has to offer.
With Vivo X70 Pro+ as reference image, the Nokia 8.1 did a great job capturing well balanced image with good details and good dynamic range. The mild cooler tone can be seem in the Nokia 8.1 while the Vivo captured a warmer and more accurate tone.
The T* coating of Vivo allows it to minimize lens flare and light distortion which gives it a clear shot but the 2018 Nokia 8.1 did a good job capturing the details under bright sunlight.
The vibrant colors of flowers are among the most difficult to capture and in my previous experience only the Nokia 9 Pureview was able to capture a true to life image. The Bougainvillea flower is quite common so its easier to judge for yourself the accuracy of the images above. The Nokia 8.1 did a good job to be honest as its launched in 2018 and the HDR processing isn’t as complex of the modern high-end ones. Despite that, the image produced is great with mple details and good color reproduction. But the Vivo X70 Pro+ is so good that you could almost feel the texture of the flower and the depth of the purple tone of the flower.
At a glance , it looks like the image from the Nokia 8.1 looks better, but on further inspection you can appreciate how the Vivo retains the details of the background while the ones on Nokia 8.1 is slightly blown own. Again, this is due to the HDR algorithm which could be improved using GCAM.
The larger sensor from the Vivo captures more natural bokeh effect with good separation of subject from background. But in general, the output is good on both here.
The Nokia 8.1 uses a secondary depth camera to gather depth information which allows the depth to be adjusted after taking the images. It does not have any fancy portrait modes like those from the more recent Nokia device and even from Vivo.
I prefer the more natural color by the Vivo here with slightly warmer tone which captured the scene more accurately but the 2018 Nokia 8.1 performed admirably as well.
This will be the highlight of my review as the nightscape is finally working on my Nokia 8.1. images are bright, slightly noisy but captures good details. Do note that this 2018 device is among the earliest Nokia device to come with an AI algorithm and having experienced the Nightscape now side by side to the king of night photography, I am proud of HMD’s team effort. The Nightscape allows for decent low light images without the need of third party software.
4K video samples
For more side by side comparison and pixel peeping details, do check out the video below.
In conclusion, the Nokia 8.1 took me by surprise again with a working Nightscape and for a device that cost about USD150 at the moment, it is still worth investing in it with its solid battery life, an above average camera performance, 4K video recording and a competent SD710 processor.