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By 20 April 2018 | Categories: news

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HMD Global have thrown down the gauntlet, debuting three new Nokia devices in Fourways this week, along with a game plan to compete in the local market. And judging by what I saw, there is a very good chance that they will be in the running the next time you are looking to upgrade.

The company also revealed when they would be available in the country, and some pricing information for each.

Nokia 7 Plus

The one catching my eye was the flagship, the delectable Nokia 7 Plus. While the company billed the Nokia 7 Plus as “a flagship phone for everyone” it is particularly geared towards content creators. To that end, the device boasts a camera with ZEISS optics on a 12MP wide-angle primary lens for excellent performance in both low-light and extra bright conditions.

As well, there is a secondary 13 MP camera that delivers 2x optical zoom, without any moving parts. The device further sports the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 Mobile Platform, and two-day battery life, from a 3800 mAh battery, even when you are broadcasting your bothie videos live on Facebook or YouTube.

A 6” 18:9 Full HD+ display is also here, but the device is anything but unwieldy. In fact, one of the nicest parts of my all too brief time spent with the device is how it feels in the hand – pure quality, thanks to six layers of ceramic paint and an anodised aluminium body. I would compare it to holding a an iPad in terms of build quality, only ever better.

The device, which is available in Black/Copper from today, will cost R329/month x 24 months on Post-Paid Operator deals. An off contract price has yet to be confirmed.

Also showcased was the the New Nokia 6.

This one brings more powerful performance in a compact, durable body. As well as apparently being more than 60% faster than its predecessor, it also offers enhanced Dual-Sight, ZEISS optics, USB-C fast-charging, a more compact screen-to-body ratio, Nokia spatial audio and Android Oreo.

The New Nokia 6 also combines a unibody, made from a solid block of 6000 series aluminium, with an 11-hour two-tone anodising and polishing process. As well, the device sports a sculpted 2.5D display with damage-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass, while it is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 Mobile Platform.

It is available in Black/Copper from next Monday (the 23rd April), from MTN, although operator pricing still needs to be confirmed.

Nokia 8 Sirocco

The final smartphone that was highlighted was the Nokia 8 Sirocco, billed as the powerhouse of the lineup.

And with good reason - it boasts a curved edge-to-edge pOLED 2K 5.5-inch display on its   stainless-steel frame (apparently 2.5 times stronger than aluminium) and 3D Corning Gorilla Glass 5. So, clearly it is meant to handle life’s missteps in its stride.

As well, it packs Dual-Sight, ZEISS optics on its wide angle primary camera and on its secondary 13 megapixel sensor with 2x optical zoom.

The most surprising part though is the local price - coming in at R499/month x 24 months on Post-Paid Operator deals, it is a pretty good deal, when you consider the R700-R800 monthly cost of some other high end devices. It will be available from 7 May.

What’s your gameplan?

So how does the company plan to lure users to their devices? Shaun Durandt, the general manager for HMD Global in South Africa, doesn’t mince his words. “We have no delusions that the market is saturated and there are brand loyalty issues, where some users stick with a particular manufacturer.

However, we are leveraging being able to offer devices to the middle tier of the market and then cater to both the high end and the lower end, offering each pure secure and always up to date Android,” he noted. “We plan to differentiate ourselves by  the craftsmanship on each of the devices, which Nokia phones have a long legacy of. We don’t - and won’t - compromise on  the build quality,” he continued.

Additionally, it appears the devices - for the features they offer - are coming in at very competitive price points.

Shaun Durandt, GM HMD Global, South Africa

Businesses welcome

Patrick Rose, the business manager for HMD Global in South Africa, pointed out that furthermore, from a business user perspective, security is key. With this in mind, users of the new devices can be assured they will always have the latest security updates as they become available, a deciding factor for many enterprises.

“Research has shown that 70% of businesses in South Africa are using Android devices. Businesses though, may be left wondering which device is best. Thus, we are part of Google’s Android Enterprise Recommended program. To qualify for that, manufacturers have to meet certain hardware specifications and security parameters,” he enthused.  

Whether business user or general user, South African mobile lovers will have yet more to choose from as of this month. Based on what I saw from HMD Global, for bigger brands, I would wager that the competition is only going to get fiercer from this month on.

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