Why Nokia decided to name its new phone after a powerful wind that blows halfway across the planet one can’t say, but Sirocco does have a nice ring to it. Most people who have seen this phone really like the design and looks. Strictly spreading it isn’t dramatically different from many that have come before it not does it go into wholly uncharted territory, but the package is a rather elegant looking one.

As we do in so many cases, we start with the back, which is black (in our case) and glossy and shiny. There’s a lot going on on that back. First, there’s a large camera lens which protrudes alarmingly, making it impossible to lay the phone down flat. But well, if you want Karl Zeiss optics, you’ll have to put up with it. Right under the camera, very flush with the back, is the fingerprint sensor. It’s very subtle and you can miss it. But once your muscle memory makes a note of it, it’s very easily within reach.

Right in the centre is the Nokia logo, looking very nice and evoking nostalgia as always. Then, on the button there’s a bunch of stuff written including Android One, because this is a clean Android device. And then there’s some compulsory details rounding it all off.

Sharp curve ahead

Very distinctive also is the way back glass curves in at the edges. In fact, it does so on the front as well till both the back and front meet to join with a stainless steel frame. The edges are so tapered that they give this device the feeling of being even thinner than it is. It’s a 5.5-inch phone and should be easy to hold because it’s easy to grip — but the sides are really rather sharp. After a few minutes, you begin to feel that becoming a little uncomfortable. The smartphone is also quite slippery because of this and because it’s so glassy.

Those extra thin edges are free of any additional buttons and just have the usual. The only other thing is a SIM tray with a single slot. Indians have begun to take dual-SIM phones for granted, but they’ll have to do without on this one. They will also have to do without a headphone jack. But there are earphones provided and an adaptor cable in case you want to use your own.

The 2K display is very nice except for a very slight shift in colour when you tilt the screen. Nothing that interferes with anything though. The colours, brightness and sharpness are all good. The Sirocco isn’t following the 18:9 ratio other phone makers are using so there’s a little bit more bezel around the phone on the top and bottom than usual. That may disappoint some, but it also means you have no notch upsetting your sense of symmetry all the time. I didn’t at any time when using this phone feel that the bezels were too much, even though I’m accustomed to a lot of screen, using as many phones as I usually have to.

Squeaky clean

One of the best things about Nokia phones with the company’s second avatar is the software experience. Instead of stuffing the interface with dozens of features and customisations and bells and whistles, the phone is based on Android One and quite Google Pixel-like in the way it looks and feels. There’s no overload of unsolicited apps and nothing to get in the way of smoothness. Everything works pretty fast. the fingerprint sensor is instantaneous for example. Several devices do however beat the Sirocco in the speed department, one of them being the OnePlus 5T. It works with the Snapdragon 835, an outgoing processor for flagships now. There’s 6GB of RAM, 128GB storage, no memory card slot, and just a single SIM card tray. Specs on this phone also include a 3,260mAh battery which doesn’t give up on you until you’ve reached the end of the day — unless you do a whole lot of video shooting and so on. The phone is also water resistant.

A pro with photos

But Nokia’s pride and joy on this phone is the camera, complete with Zeiss optics. The primary camera set up includes a 12-megapixel with an f/1.7 aperture and a 13-megapixel telephoto camera. Photos outdoors are really rather nice - bright and pleasant though a little strongly coloured. Indoors, given some adequate light, you’ll also get generally good photos. The camera app is very simple and straight forward and a Pro mode offers a bunch of settings right on screen as you shoot. A semi circular swipe will bring up some settings on-screen for quick access in a way that you don’t see in other camera apps. As with several previous Nokia phones, there’s their signature mode for a dual picture or video which is really a wonderful feature. You can have a split screen with yourself in one frame and your surroundings in the other, for instance. Or you can do a picture-in-picture for both photos and videos and you can talk and explain what you’re shooting. You can also stream this online, of course. The front camera may be just 5megapixels, but it does a very good job and doesn’t over-soften or otherwise add artificiality. Overall it’s an enjoyable camera and one of the reasons to consider this phone.

All said and done though, the Sirocco is too expensive for its own good. It’s on the edge of flagship territory with its pricing but is missing some of the things users want.

Price: ₹49,999

Pros: Elegant and premium looks, really good camera, clean Android experience with prompt updates, water and dust resistant, smooth performance

Cons: No headphone jack, single SIM, previous gen processor, sharp edges, very flush fingerprint sensor, protruding camera lens, too expensive