Back in the 2000s, when smartphones were not a thing, one brand dominated the mobile phone space, especially in India. Nokia’s Sirocco 8800 broke the clutter with its premium build – clad in stainless steel, and its stiff price tag.

A lot has happened since then. Nokia the brand virtually disappeared. First, by the shift of the market to the smartphone that the brand’s Symbian OS wasn’t prepared to handle, and then its sale to Microsoft that saw the famous Finnish marquee name evaporate. But the Nokia brand we once loved is back, resurrected by HMD Global, that owns its exclusive marketing rights in the smartphone space.

Launches have been coming thick and fast. The 3310 came  in 2017, replete with the Snake game that still takes Nokia die-hards down memory lane. In the first quarter of 2018, the company unveiled a trio of devices, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, based on the Android One platform. The Nokia 8 Sirocco is the star of this trio. It looks every bit the flagship – slinky, elegant with a design language, and with oodles of Scandinavian chic. Despite a 5.5-inch screen, it feels remarkably light, its compactness making one-hand navigation very easy. But one ought to be careful of the grip because of the glass back. The stainless steel frame is a throwback to the original Nokia 8800 Sirocco. The minimalistic design though makes it slightly difficult to use the power and volume buttons located on the stainless steel spine.

There’s another element that will invoke nostalgia, especially among those who bought pricier Nokia devices at the turn of the decade. The phone’s dual cam comes with Carl Zeiss optics, a byword for a good camera back then. The 12MP+12MP camera shoots sharp images in ambient light, but isn’t quite the lowlight champion. I loved the clean camera UI though, especially on pro-mode. The elegant and minimal user interface isn’t restricted to the camera alone. The Android One connection ensures that the Sirocco is free of any baggage from clunky bloatware that clutters a pure-play Android experience. Of course, the supply of frequent and latest Android updates is another benefit.

When it comes to hardware specs, Nokia’s decision to kit the Sirocco with last year’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor might not win the approval of gadget geeks, but it more than gets the job done. Especially if you add 6GB of RAM and 128GB of on-board memory. It’s the same case with the screen’s 16:9 aspect ratio that might seem out of tune with the 18:9 ratio that is the new gold standard for flagships. But I loved the depth of colours and the immersive experience on the pOLED display (1440 x 2560 pixels/534 PPI). However Nokia has chosen to ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack, a new trend that not everyone approves. The 3260 mAh battery though is a winner. It manages a whole day in the office without fuss.

The Nokia 8 Sirocco however doesn’t just depend on the nostalgia factor. It’s a solid smartphone, the strongest indication that the Nokia brand is not just back, but has the ammo for Android flagship battles in 2018 and beyond.

Nokia 8 Sirocco costs Rs 49,999/- and went on sale from April 30, 2018

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