The Nokia 8.3 5G was announced in March 2020 and was released much later, about 6 months to be exact. Many things changed during this period, from the current pandemic issue affecting worldwide to One Plus Nord series release which offered similar hardware at a much affordable price. The second Pureview branded device from HMD Global, the first device from them to be equipped with 5G technology courtesy of the SD 765 G processor and probably the first collaboration in recent times with James Bond movie franchise means there is a lot riding on this device.
Unfortunately, it was a little too late to the party with limited released worldwide and key markets such as India and other Asian countries missed this device. But, a part from the price and availability, the Nokia 8.3 5G actually delivers what it promises. And I can’t think of any better phone from Nokia to go along the tagline NO TIME TO DIE. The battery life on this device is phenomenal. More on these later. The Nokia X20 5G was announced and made available roughly a year from the Nokia 8.3 5G and from the looks and specs, it is meant to be a “cheaper” version of the Nokia 8.3 5G. With a price difference of less than USD150 between them in certain markets, which is the better device?
Both the devices are not officially available in this part of the world for unknown reasons. On paper, the specs of Nokia 8.3 5G is robust. A capable processor which gives optimum performance, a large battery that charges up fairly quick and last long, and powerful camera and software suite that will definitely be handy to anyone in any scenario. In my daily use of the Nokia X20 5G, daily tasks are smooth but the software is not polished. The occasional hiccups during app transition, the slight delay opening the 64MP image, the jerky videos from Instagram reels and the battery drain all points up to either the software isn’t optimized or too much is expected from the processor.
But its more likely to be the former than the latter. In terms of display, the Nokia 8.3 5G comes with Puredisplay technology which is amazing, giving OLED like quality image. In contrast, the Nokia X20 5G isn’t bad but its not great either. Audio output on both devices are good, loud and clear with no distortion at maximum loudness. In terms of build quality, the shiny reflective Nokia 8.3 5G is certainly something that looks and feels premium in contrast to the plasticky body of Nokia X20 5G.
This is the subject of interest here as on paper, the Nokia X20 5G should provide a similar camera experience to Nokia 8.3 5G at a lower price point.
The Main camera of both the devices are 64MP , and used Zeiss branded optics. But the similarity ends here as the algorithm used is different. The main camera performs really good on both this devices in daylight ,but the output on the Nokia X20 5G is slightly muted.
Scene 1- Daytime:
Cropped from Nokia 8.3 5G vs Nokia X20 5G vs Nokia 9 Pureview:
The images from Nokia 9 Pureview is shown here as a reference for daytime imaging quality for both the devices. In scene 1 all 3 devices performed quite well despite some color variation among them. In terms of details, the Nokia 8.3 5G takes the lead here and a close second is Nokia 9 Pureview. Although the Nokia 9 Pureview manages to capture more details and definition from the building, in the centre, the general output usually lacks details in the periphery of images, which is where the Nokia 8.3 5G shines with its large sensor. In terms of color accuracy, the Nokia 9 Pureview takes the lead, followed by Nokia X20 5G and the Nokia 8.3 5G.
This is certainly subjective as Nokia 9 Pureview always have a higher contrast, the Nokia 8.3 5G having a brighter output and the Nokia X20 5G captures something in between, thus leading to better output in this instance. One of the things that surprised me is how much of color shift that occurs between the 64MP image and the 16MP image between this device, whereby on the Nokia 8.3 5G, the 16MP output is often brighter than the 64MP ones and in the Nokia X20 5G there isn’t much of a difference as shown below.
In the second scene to test HDR, it is clearly seen how the Nokia 9 Pureview captures more details and again, followed by Nokia 8.3 5G and Nokia X20 5G. In terms of accuracy, neither one manages to capture the scene quite accurately, the clouds are certainly better on the Nokia 9 Pureview and the flowers are certainly better on the Nokia 8.3 5G. So, which have a better color accuracy? Well, that goes to Nokia X20 5G which borrows elements from both the device and producing a more realistic color overall.
As stated earlier, there is a significant color shift between the 64MP and the 16 MP output on Nokia 8.3 5G. The 64MP output certainly have better color in my opinion. It is amazing to see that there isn’t much color shift on the Nokia X20 5G and the 64MP output simply just gives better details with similar color profile.
Nokia X20 5G RAW original:
Nokia X20 5G RAW Snapseed edit:
Nokia 8.3 5G Snapseed Edit vs Nokia X20 5G Snapseed Edit vs Nokia 9 Pureview Snapseed Edit:
Cropped Nokia 8.3 5G RAW Snapseed Edit vs Nokia X20 5G RAW Snapseed Edit vs Nokia 9 Pureview RAW Snapseed Edit:
The first 2 rows of images are DNG images converted to jpg using desktop converter which doesn’t do justice to what the Nokia 9 Pureview can achieve. For those unfamiliar, when it comes to RAW capture, its probably safe to say that no other mobile device comes close to what the Nokia 9 Pureview can capture. Now , how id does this is what makes the device unique and also is the Achilles heel of the device. To simplify this, take RAW capture as a raw egg if you may, and all the seasoning added in it what makes it tasty. But, the quality of the original raw egg matters as there is only so much the seasoning can do.
Traditionally, in all other Pureview device with a single sensor including the ones on Nokia 8.3 5G, the RAW image is directly from a single sensor, untouched and pure. But , the RAW images from Nokia 9 Pureview may not be a virgin as you want it to be as it combines images from 5 sensor to come up with a RAW image with much better detail and noise control. But what we get out of this is simply amazing. In order to negate the converter’s inability to process the Nokia 9 Pureview image adequately, I have included how the images would look like from Snapseed edit with the same amount of seasoning added.
The output from Nokia X20 5G RAW took me by surprise as it looks the best in naked eye. But upon detailed inspection, you can appreciate how noise free is the image from Nokia 9 Pureview an how noisy it is from Nokia 8.3 5G. Sitting in between both these devices, the Nokia X20 5G performs admirably. The output of Nokia 8,3 5G though sharper has a lot of noise going on with higher contrast which sort of make the image dull looking.
The ultrawide camera on the Nokia 8.3 5G is a game changer for Nokia. For once, we do have a capable ultrawide angle camera. The 12MP super-sized pixels enable plenty of details and light to go in so images look crisp and clear. There is no comparison here with the 5MP ultrawide sensor on the Nokia X20 5G. However, the Nokia X20 5G ultrawide sensor performance is totally acceptable for its 5MP output.
Not that great, but it gets the job done when in need. The ultrawide sensor on the Nokia 8.3 5G somehow has better color and HDR profile compared to its main camera though details aren’t anywhere closer to the main sensor and it really reminds me of the output from the Lumia Pureview devices, where images have pleasant colors and no aggressive over sharpening.
Night Mode Primary Sensor:
Scene 1 night mode:
Cropped Nokia 8.3 5G vs Nokia X20 5G vs Nokia 9 Pureview:
Scene 2 night mode:
Cropped Nokia 8.3 5G vs Nokia X20 5G vs Nokia 9 Pureview:
The Nokia 9 Pureview lacks Night Mode and it won’t be getting one. Of course, a better result can be expected using Pro mode but unfortunately that is still not enough to take on the multi-image stacking by the night mode algorithm. But in the presence of enough light at night, the Nokia 9 does take respectable image, but at the light gets less, it struggles more in scene 1, if we focus on the clarity of the light from lamp post, we can appreciate how the Nokia 8.3 5G performs better and this detail is completely blown out on the Nokia 9 Pureview. Similar to my previous impression, even with the recent camera update on Nokia X20 5G, while the image is brighter, it still lacks details compared to Nokia 8.3 5G and is more noisy.
Night Mode Wide angle:
Cropped Nokia 8.3 5G vs Nokia X20 5G:
The Nokia X20 5G ultrawide sensor doesn’t support night mode which is a bummer. It would have certainly improved the output. With the lack of night mode for the ultrawide sensor, Nokia 8.3 5G with its ultra large pixels for the wide angle camera manages to produce great image with accurate color and more preserved details.
Macro mode comparison:
Despite having 2MP macro camera each, the algorithm for Nokia 8.3 5G yields much better color and details compared to the ones on Nokia X20 5G.While it is better than the macro camera on Nokia 5.4, it is simply no where near to what the software on the Nokia 8.3 5G manage to produce.
If you are interested in comparing yourself you can check the full-size samples captured by the three cameras by clicking here.
Video recording comparison:
You can have a look at how the video capture is on the Nokia 8.3 5G and Nokia X20 5G here.
The Nokia X20 5G is not capable of recording at 4K, and tops at 1080P 60FPS which is adequate for many. In the video above both devices are able to capture good video although the ones on Nokia 8.3 5G has better audio capture and stabilization.
In fact, one of the strong points of Nokia 8.3 5G is its various video recording capability. It supports 4K recording in both standard and cinema mode, there is action mode for even better stabilization, option to capture video using macro camera which is not present on Nokia X20 5G, options to record video in HDR which is again lacking on the Nokia X20 5G . The cinema recording mode is also available for its wide-angle camera and by virtue of large pixels, the wide angle camera is able to capture bright videos even at night.
Here is the link to the various video recording mode on Nokia 8.3 5G
The Nokia X20 5G is a capable device as shown above, but what it needs is a software optimization to improve general stability, improve the battery life and better use of its enormous pixels especially for night shot.
However, with the devices priced almost in the same price category at the moment, the Nokia X20 5G certainly has a lot on its back to prove it’s a worthy purchase as the Nokia 8.3 5G does offer more.
There will be more comparison coming between the Nokia 8.3 5G and Nokia X20 5G camera performance once the movement control order eases at my area so do follow me on twitter as I share my images there on the go https://twitter.com/theoriginal086. Do drop by my YouTube channel for more comparisons on these devices and more.