Nokia has finally announced its long-awaited Nokia 9 PureView flagship smartphone. The new device sits at the top of Nokia's range offering a penta-lens camera on the rear. 

Nokia's 9 PureView runs Android One for a vanilla Android experience, but how does it compare to Google's mighty Pixel 3 XL and its singular, but excellent, rear camera? Here are the specs of the two devices compared. 

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What's the difference in price?

  • Nokia 9: $699
  • Pixel 3 XL: From £869

The Nokia 9 will cost $699 and it will be available before the end of March. It comes in one colour option: Midnight Blue.

The Google Pixel 3 XL starts at £869, jumping up to £969 for the 128GB model, making it quite a bit more expensive than the Nokia. It comes in three colour options - black, white and pink - and it is available now.

Design

  • Nokia 9: 155 x 75 x 8mm, 172g
  • Pixel 3 XL: 158 x 76.7 x 7.9mm, 184g

The Nokia 9 PureView has a distinctive design - mainly thanks to the circular penta-lens camera array on the rear. There's a 6000 series aluminium frame sandwiched in between a glass rear and a glass front, and the Nokia 9 is IP67 water and dust resistant.

On the front, the Nokia 9 PureView has no buttons, with an optical in-display fingerprint sensor - different to Samsung's Galaxy S10 ultrasonic sensor. There are slim bezels above and below the screen, but no notch.

The Google Pixel 3 XL also has a more unique design than some other flagship smartphones in that it offers a combination of finishes on its rear. The top third of the glass rear of the device is glossy, while the bottom is matte. 

The single rear camera lens is housed in the glossy section, while a circular fingerprint sensor sits within the lower matte section. On the front, the Pixel 3 XL features a notched display so there is no bezel at the top, but there is at the bottom.

Display

  • Nokia 9: 5.99-inch, Quad HD+, OLED, 18:9
  • Pixel 3 XL: 6.3-inch, Quad HD+, OLED, 18.5:9

The Nokia 9 PureView comes with a 5.99-inch display, which makes it a little smaller than the Google Pixel 3 XL's 6.3-inch display. 

Both are OLED panels meaning they both deliver plenty of punch in terms of colours, as well as deep blacks, and they both have a Quad HD+ resolution. As the resolution is the same, the Nokia will offer a slightly higher pixel density.

The Google Pixel 3 XL has slightly more screen within its footprint thanks to the notch, offering a taller aspect ratio. Both the Nokia 9 and Pixel 3 XL support mobile HDR though.

Cameras

  • Nokia 9: Penta rear camera, dual front camera
  • Pixel 3 XL: Single rear camera, dual front camera

The Nokia 9 PureView has a penta-camera on its rear, setting it apart from all other smartphones, for now at least. The five cameras are all 12-megapixel 1.25µm sensors with an aperture of f/1.8 and there are three monochrome and two RGB sensors, as well as a Time of Flight sensor.

The purpose of the five sensors is to deliver better detailed images, with a final 12-megapixel image produced, made from at least 60-megapixels of information. The Nokia 9 will offer bokeh images with 1200 layers of depth compared to most phones offer 10 layers. 

There is no optical image stabilisation on board the Nokia 9 PureView, though there are Zeiss optics and the Nokia 9 also has artificial intelligence features too. On the front, the Nokia 9 PureView has a 20-megapixel sensor and a 5-megapixel sensor.

The Google Pixel 3 XL meanwhile, has a 12.2 dual-pixel 1.4µm single sensor on its rear, offering autofocus and dual pixel phase detection. It also has optical and electronic image stabilisation and an aperture of f/1.8. 

On the front, the Pixel 3 XL has a dual 8-megapixel wide-angle and telephoto camera, offering super wide selfies. The wide-angle lens has an aperture of f/2.2, while the telephoto lens has an aperture of f/1.8.

The Pixel 3 XL may only have one rear camera but it is an excellent one, delivering brilliant results. There's also Google's Night Sight on board for great low light shots.

Hardware

  • Nokia 9: Qualcomm SD845, 6GB RAM, 128GB
  • Pixel 3 XL: Qualcomm SD845, 4GB RAM, 64/128, no microSD

The Nokia 9 runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset. which is the same as the Google Pixel 3 XL. The Nokia has slightly more RAM though at 6GB compared to 4GB. Neither offer microSD.

In terms of battery capacity, the Nokia 9 PureView has a 3320mAh capacity, while the Google Pixel 3 XL has a 3430mAh capacity - putting them pretty much on par. Both devices have USB Type-C and both support Qi wireless charging and fast charging.

The Pixel 3 XL has dual front-firing speakers with noise suppression, while the Nokia 9 has a single speaker with Amp. There is no 3.5mm headphone jack on either the Google or Nokia devices.

Software

  • Nokia 9: Android One
  • Pixel 3 XL: Android Pie

The Nokia 9 runs on Android One which means it offers a vanilla Android experience with no bloatware. The camera app has been altered from stock Android to accommodate that five-lens camera, but other than that, it's a pure Android experience.

The Google Pixel 3 XL runs on Android Pie, and also delivers a stock Android experience, as you would expect. It means the experience will be similar between the Google and Nokia devices, with both getting quick updates to the latest Android builds.

Conclusion

The Nokia 9 and Google Pixel 3 XL have a lot in common in many aspects. They both run on the same hardware, they both offer unique designs compared and they both have a similar software experience. 

The Pixel 3 XL has a larger display, a slighty larger battery capacity and an proven rear camera that delivers excellent results. 

The Nokia 9 meanwhile, has a little more RAM, a slightly sharper display, in-display fingerprint sensor and a promising (though not yet proven) rear camera. It is also quite a bit cheaper than the Pixel 3 XL.

We'll be updating this feature when we have reviewed the Nokia 9 in full to see whether it compares to the great Pixel 3 XL in the real world.

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