Over the weeks and months leading up to MWC, we’ve seen more than a few leaks about the new Nokia 9, and after its official announcement at HMD Global’s pre-MWC press conference today, we’re pleased to say they got it mostly right. What that means is that HMD Global is bringing a true competitor into the flagship smartphone camera market, and we couldn’t be more excited. Say hello to the Nokia 9.
Five times the fun for photography
Without a doubt, the headline feature of the new Nokia 9 is the 5-sensor rear camera array, and according to HMD Global, it will be the most advanced computational photography system in any smartphone today. Unlike other multi-camera phones, Nokia’s 5 cameras all use the same f/1.8 lenses with 12MP sensors behind them. That’s right — no wide angle, no telephoto, no differing apertures waiting to be combined.
What HMD Global has done is built a system where the 5 cameras simultaneously capture the same images — 2 of the sensors in full-colour RGB, and 3 in monochrome. Using 3 monochromes sensors, HMD is able to capture 2.9 times more light and the combine that with the colour images for more detail and better low-light performance.
Using computational photography, the 5 images are stitched together, creating one single image with all of the combined data from the 5 cameras. If that sounds like it will take a lot of computational power, well it kind of does — HMD has packaged a Snapdragon 845 including the hexagon DSP (Digital Signal Processing) to handle the heavy lifting.
There’s no OIS included, but between the 5 sensors and the computational photography, it’s unlikely that the Nokia 9 will need it. HMD also made special note that the Nokia 9 will not feature the all-too-familiar camera bump – preferring instead to create a seamless unibody housing, which I think I prefer.
Not only can the 5 images be stitched together but each of the 5 sensors can be independently controlled, with each sensor being set to a different expose time. The imaging system can also capture a full depth map thanks to the 5 sensors. Overall we’re expecting the Nokia 9 to produce some truly amazing photos in basically all lighting situations.
There’s other specs, too
There’s more to the Nokia 9 than just the camera, of course.
Rounding out the specs you’ll find 6GB of RAM, 128GB onboard storage, a 6-inch QHD (2K, or 2560 x 1440) OLED notch-less display and in-display fingerprint sensor. It’s all powered by a 3,320 mAh battery with a USB-C charging in an IP67 rated body. There’s no 3.5mm headphone jack, though.
The Nokia 9 will ship from March 2019 for $699. We don’t have local pricing or availability yet, but we’ll let you know as soon as we see it.