Nokia was once the biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world but lost its appeal when it overlooked Android and started making Windows-powered smartphones. Microsoft bought the company in 2013, deciding to kill the Nokia brand a little over a year later. Thankfully, the story didn’t end there.
HMD Global gained the rights to make and sell smartphones under the Nokia name at the end of 2016, effectively bringing the iconic brand back to life. It released a few interesting smartphones in 2017 followed by even more models in 2018.
2019 is just beginning, so what are the best Nokia phones on the market? We’ve laid out the top high-end, mid-range, and budget models below.
Best high-end phone: Nokia 9 PureView
Without a doubt, the 9 PureView is the best Nokia phone ever made. It comes with five cameras at the back, sports a gorgeous design, and is part of the Android One family. It packs last year’s Snapdragon 845 chipset under the hood along with 6GB of RAM and is IP67 rated for protection against water and dust.
Nokia 9 PureView offers a clean and bloat-free Android experience.
Let’s talk about the cameras for a second, which were developed in partnership with Zeiss and Light. Two of the sensors capture full-color photos, while the other three are monochrome sensors that aid with depth, contrast, and exposure. Combined, they can capture spectacular images, although not every time — learn more here.
The Nokia 9 is made of glass and metal, supports wireless charging, and comes with an in-display fingerprint scanner. Unfortunately, there’s no headphone jack on board. It’s already available in the U.S. for $700.
- 5.99-inch P-OLED display with 2,880 x 1,440 resolution, 538ppi
- Snapdragon 845 chipset
- 6GB of RAM
- 128GB of storage, non-expandable
- Five 12MP cameras, 20MP front camera
- Non-removable 3,320mAh battery
- Android 9.0 Pie
- 155 x 75 x 8mm, 172g
- Nokia 9 PureView review: HMD Global’s best effort falls frustratingly short
- Nokia 9 PureView: Where to buy, when, and for how much
- What you need to know about Light, the company behind Nokia 9 PureView cameras
Best mid-range phone: Nokia 8.1
You might be confused with the branding of this phone. The Nokia 8.1 is not in the same league as the Nokia 8 or the Nokia 8 Sirocco. This is a mid-range handset, though it is admittedly the best such phone HMD Global has launched in this price range.
The Nokia 8.1 comes with a stock version of Android 9.0 Pie out of the box.
The Nokia 8.1 has a 6.18-inch display with an 18.7:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of 2,246 x 1,080. Inside, it has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage. It has two rear cameras, a 12MP sensor with f/1.8 aperture and a 1.4 micron pixel size, and a 13MP depth sensor with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). There’s also a 20MP front-facing selfie camera and a 3,500mAh battery. The Nokia 8.1 is one of a growing number of Android One smartphones, shipping with a stock version of Android 9.0 Pie out of the box.
The Nokia 8.1 is available in a few regions including Europe and India, where it costs a little more than 400 euros (~$455) and 27,000 rupees. There’s no word on when or if it will make its way to the U.S.
- 6.18-inch IPS LCD display with 2,160 x 1,080 resolution, 420ppi
- Snapdragon 710 chipset
- 4GB of RAM
- 64GB of storage, microSD expansion up to 400GB
- 12 and 13MP rear cameras, 20MP front camera
- Non-removable 3,500mAh battery
- Android 9.0 Pie
- 154.8 x 75.76 x 7.97mm
- Nokia 8.1 hands-on: The best yet from HMD Global?
- Nokia 8.1 is official: HMD Global’s new mid-ranger
- Nokia 8.1 specs
Best budget phone: Nokia 2.1
Like the rest of Nokia’s 2017 lineup, the ultra-affordable Nokia 2 has a new 2018 version — the Nokia 2.1. The Nokia 2.1 shares a lot of similarities with its predecessor, but a couple of key improvements make it worth the upgrade and place it number one on the list of the best Nokia phones on a budget.
On the similar side of things, the Nokia 2.1 also comes with 8GB of storage and 1GB of RAM, features a similar 8MP rear camera, and packs an equally beefy 4,000mAh battery that promises excellent battery life. However, the phone now comes with a larger 5.5-inch display, albeit with the same 720p resolution. The biggest upgrade is in the processor department, with the Nokia 2.1 packing the Snapdragon 425, which is a huge improvement over the Snapdragon 212 of the Nokia 2.
The device is part of the Android Go program, making it easier for the entry-level hardware to handle the software package. Google also announced the Android Pie edition of Go and this device will be one of the first to receive the official update to the latest software. The Nokia 2.1 is already available in India and select markets priced at just 7,000 rupees and around 100 euros (~$115).
- 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with 1,280 x 720 resolution, 267ppi
- Snapdragon 425 chipset
- 1GB of RAM
- 8GB of storage, microSD expansion up to 128GB
- 8MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
- Non-removable 4,000 mAh battery
- Android 8.1 Oreo (Go Edition)
- 153.6 x 77.6 x 9.7mm, 174g