Hands-on at both ends with the Nokia 8110 4G and the 8 Sirroco

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BARCELONA: SINCE THE Nokia phone brand was revived by HMD Global last year, the company has wasted no time in trying to come up with a handset for everyone.

To that end, at MWC this year, there are five (yes – 5) shiny new Nokia handsets for every budget, ranging from the Nokia 1, the company’s first Android Go offering, through to the Nokia 8 Sirocco, of which more in a moment. Incidentally, if you’ve been a Nokia user for long enough, it’s worth mentioning that the Nokia 1 has Express-On covers. Remember them?

But the biggest fuss has been about the second release in Nokia’s hipster-retro-cool oh-grow-up retro reboot collection. After the rebooted 3310, this time it’s the 8110 that’s up for revival.

You may know it better as “the banana phone” or “the phone from The Matrix films” but Keanu Reeves would have needed more than smell-the-fart acting to disguise his delight at the phone that, once again has given Nokia almost as many headlines as many of its rivals, for a piece of hipster retro kitsch.

First and most importantly, it has 4G (the 3310 reboot has only managed 3G so far, in the UK at least). But before you get excited, this is a feature phone – not a smartphone. But it does deliver VoLTE on compatible networks and a range of apps that, whilst far from exhaustive, could easily lure you away to a simpler life – Google Assistant, Twitter and Facebook are all catered for, and email sync works as it should for Outlook and Gmail. 

And most important of all, more so than the lovely slidy mechanism or the Shoreditch points, is that there’s an updated version of Snake. And if that isn’t worth 79 Euros (70 quid) then we don’t know what is. The 8110 Reloaded (geddit, like the crappy second Matrix film) lands in April.

The Nokia 8 Sirocco is at the complete other end of the spectrum as the company’s new flagship device. Rocking Android 8.0 – no longer the stripped-down Android, but instead the benchmark for “pure” Android Oreo devices – or as near as dammit AOSP. It feels nice in the hand, with slightly more pronounced curves on its Gorilla Glass 5 frame, and a slightly smaller 5.5in form factor with a pOLED display that will certainly please anyone who feels that phones have “just got too big”.

The glass is bolstered by a stainless steel frame and certainly feels very rugged as a result.

Nokia has made a statement of intent with the Zeiss camera lenses on a dual camera, rocking up at 13MP. It even manages a 2x optical zoom something we’ve been yet to see otherwise on many camera phones.

Pricing comes in at around 749 Euros (£662) and availability will be late May.

There’s little doubt that Nokia has tapped a rich vein of new fans with this range. The Nokia stand has been packed for the entire time we’ve been here, and although most of the attention has been focused on the “banana phone”, the Sirocco has had its share of interest too. The Nokia 1 has its own unique charms, but releasing this many phones in one go feels a little confusing, and we’re not entirely sure what purpose the rather non-descript remainder of the range has.

Nevertheless, for completeness, there’s the Nokia 7 Plus and the Nokia 6. And that tells you as much as you need to know. µ  

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