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Nokia 8.1 is official: HMD Global's new mid-ranger

Nokia 8.1 sits pretty between the mid-range smartphones and the 'flagship killers'.

Published onDecember 5, 2018

Nokia 8.1

HMD Global has just unveiled the Nokia 8.1 in Dubai.

The new Nokia 8.1 is not a step up from the Nokia 8 or Nokia 8 Sirocco in terms of specifications and also isn’t in the same segment as those flagship smartphones. The nomenclature can confuse you, but essentially, the Nokia 8.1 is the successor to the Nokia 7 plus – a segment the company likes to call as ‘affordable premium’.

The Nokia 8.1 is strictly a mid-range smartphone, and a well-rounded one at that.

The new design language

Nokia 8.1

The Nokia 8.1 sports a similar design that we’ve seen this year with other Nokia phones like the Nokia 5.1 Plus or the Nokia 6.1 Plus. But with additional flair.

There’s the clean and elegant two-tone Nokia design with an extruded 6000-series aluminum frame and diamond cut edges around a sculpted glass body. The Nokia 8.1 retains the gorgeous chrome trims that we saw on the Nokia 7 plus, and comes with a fingerprint scanner on the back.

Nokia 8.1 sports a 6.18-inch Full HD+ HDR10 edge-to-edge display with an 18.7:9 aspect ratio and 420ppi.

Mid-range specifications sheet

Nokia 8.1

The Nokia 8.1 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Qualcomm’s first entry in its recently announced 700 mobile platform series.

Snapdragon 710 fits comfortably between the mid-range 600 and high-end 800 series and aims to make premium smartphone features more accessible via mid-range devices, like the 8.1.

There’s 4GB of RAM with 64GB of expandable storage. It packs a 3500mAh battery, which HMD Global claims can get you two days of battery life.

Nokia 8.1 comes with Qualcomm aptX audio support for higher quality sound wirelessly.

Nokia 8.1
6.18-inch (15.70cm) PureDisplay
Full HD+ (2246 x 1080)
18.7:9 aspect ratio
Corning Gorilla Glass
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710
8 x Kryo 360 CPU
10nm manufacturing process
Adreno 616
64GB e-MMC 5.1
Expandable up to 400GB
Front camera: 20MP

Rear camera:
12MP f/1.8 aperture primary sensor
13MP depth sensor
Dual Hi-Cri flash
18W fast charging
3.5 mm headphone jack
Single speaker with smart amplifier
Nokia OZO surround sound capture
LTE Cat. 6, 2CA, L+L, VoLTE, VoWiFi
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 5.0
IP Rating
mbient light sensor, Proximity sensor, Accelerometer (G-sensor), E-compass, Gyroscope, Fingerprint sensor (rear), NFC
Android 9 Pie
Android One
154.8 x 75.76 x 7.97 mm
180 g
Blue/Silver, Steel/Copper, Iron/Steel

ZEISS Optics and AI imaging

Nokia 8.1

The Nokia 8.1 sports a 12MP primary sensor with f/1.8 aperture and 1.4 micron pixel size combined with a 13MP depth sensor with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS).

There’s, of course, some AI smarts like automatic scene detection, and Nokia’s Pro Camera goodness as well as Dual-Sight mode that allows you to simaltaneulsy shoot and stream from both the cameras.

You can capture 4K video at 30fps. Apart from hardware stabilization, there’s also EIS that would help in those videos.

On the front, there’s a 20MP adaptive selfie camera.

Latest Android

Like other phones in HMD Global’s recent portfolio, the Nokia 8.1 is an Android One smartphone. Out of the box, it ships with Android 9 Oreo, and offers a clean, stock Android experience.

Android One certification means the smartphone will receive two years of guaranteed Android “letter” upgrades and three years of monthly security updates.

Nokia 8.1 is also part of the Android Enterprise Recommended programme.

Pricing and Availability

Nokia 8.1

The Nokia 8.1 sits pretty between the mid-range smartphone segment and the ‘flagship killers’. It’s a well-rounded smartphone that tries to punch above the specifications sheet.

The Nokia 8.1 comes in three color variants – Blue/Silver, Steel/Copper, and a new Iron/Steel combination – and will globally retail at 399 Euros ($450). While the device will go on sale in the Middle East for 1499 UAE Dirhams starting next week, the launch event in India is scheduled for December 10.

What do you think of the new Nokia 8.1 and the resurgent Nokia? Let us know in the comments!

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