HMD Global unveiled the 2018 refresh to the Nokia 6 earlier this year, and the company is now doing the same for the rest of its budget lineup. The Nokia 2.1, Nokia 3.1, and the Nokia 5.1 slot in at the same price points as their predecessors, offering key updates that make them competitive in the latter half of 2018.
The key change for 2018 is that the Nokia 3.1 and Nokia 5.1 are making the switch to an 18:9 form factor, much like the mid-range Nokia 7 Plus. The Nokia 3.1 continues to be powered by a MediaTek chipset — like the Nokia 3 — but this time around HMD is using a MediaTek SoC in the Nokia 5.1 as well, touting significant gains in performance.
What hasn't changed is HMD's commitment to timely updates. The Nokia 3.1 and 5.1 are based on Android One, and will receive two platform updates as well as three years' worth of security patches.
The Nokia 2.1, meanwhile, is becoming a part of the Android Go initiative. The phone comes with lightweight versions of popular Google services, including Search, Gmail, Assistant, Maps, and YouTube, and will also receive fast updates. Here's everything you need to know about HMD's latest phones.
Nokia 2.1, Nokia 3.1, and Nokia 5.1: Specs
|Category||Nokia 2.1||Nokia 3.1||Nokia 5.1|
|Operating system||Android 8.1 Oreo (Go Edition)||Android 8.1 Oreo||Android 8.1 Oreo|
|Display||5.5-inch 16:9 720p (1280x720)
|5.2-inch 18:9 HD+ (1440x720)
|5.5-inch 18:9 FHD+ (2160x1080)
|Chipset||Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 425
4x1.40GHz Cortex A53
|Octa-core MediaTek MT6750
8x1.50GHz Cortex A3
|Octa-core MediaTek Helio P18
Up to 2.0GHz
|GPU||Adreno 308||Mali-T860 MP2||Mali T720 MP3|
|Charging||MicroUSB 2.0||MicroUSB 2.0||MicroUSB 2.0|
|Security||Passcode||Fingerprint sensor||Fingerprint sensor|
OTG, 3.5mm jack
Bluetooth 4.2, NFC
OTG, 3.5mm jack
|Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC
FM radio, 3.5mm jack
|Dimensions||153.6 x 77.6 x 9.67mm
|146.25 x 68.65 x 8.7mm
|151.1 x 70.73 x 8.27mm|
|Colors||Blue/Copper, Blue/Silver, Grey/Silver||Blue/Copper, Black/Chrome, White/Iron||Copper, Tempered Blue, Black|
Nokia 5.1: Same great design, now 40% faster
Like last year's Nokia 5, the chassis of the Nokia 5.1 is milled out of series 6000 aluminum, and the phone is one of the most durable in this category. The phone sports rounded edges and a "satin" finish at the back, and the fingerprint sensor has been moved to the back of the device. The unibody design eliminates the need for antenna lines, resulting in a cleaner look.
The switch to an 18:9 form factor has allowed HMD to fit a larger 5.5-inch display — up 0.3 inches from the Nokia 5 — in a body 2mm narrower than last year's model. The Nokia 5.1 also comes with a FHD+ panel with a pixel density of 443PPI, significantly higher than the 5.2-inch 720p panel used in last year's model. There's also 2.5D curved glass along the sides, and Gorilla Glass protection.
Under the hood, the key change is that the Nokia 5.1 is now powered by a MediaTek Helio P18 chipset, with HMD saying the octa-core SoC delivers 40% more performance over last year's Snapdragon 430.
We haven't really seen the Helio P18 on any mainstream devices yet (MediaTek's website doesn't even list it), but it comes with eight CPU cores clocked up to 2.0GHz and a Mali T720 GPU. Elsewhere, the Nokia 5.1 features 2GB of RAM with 16GB of storage, or 3GB of RAM along with 32GB of storage, microSD slot, 8MP front shooter, FM radio, NFC (in select markets), Bluetooth 4.2, and a 2970mAh battery (30mAh less than last year).
The rear camera has been upgraded, and is now a 16MP unit that has PDAF and dual-tone flash. The Nokia 5.1 will be going on sale from July, with the 2GB version available for €189 and the 3GB variant retailing for €219. You'll be able to choose from three color options: Copper, Tempered Blue, and Black, with the last variant launching a few weeks later.
Nokia 3.1: 18:9 display and double the number of cores
HMD said that the Nokia 3 was its most successful model on Android, and the company is rolling out key upgrades for 2018. The Nokia 3.1 is picking up a 5.2-inch HD+ (1440x720) display and is powered by the 1.5GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6750 chipset. HMD is touting a 50% boost in performance from the quad-core MediaTek MT6737.
The design sees an aluminum mid-frame with chamfered edges and a polycarbonate back, much like last year's model.
Other specs include 2GB/3GB of RAM, 16GB/32GB of internal storage, microSD slot, 13MP camera, 8MP front camera, Bluetooth 4.2, and a 2990mAh battery.
The phone will be sold in three color options — Blue/Copper, Black/Chrome, and White/Iron — and you'll be able to pick it up starting June. The base 2GB variant will retail for €139, and the 3GB option will set you back €169.
Nokia 2.1: Huge battery paired with Android Go
With the Nokia 2.1, HMD is making the switch to the Snapdragon 425, which offers four Cortex A53 cores clocked up to 1.4GHz. Like the rest of the new launches, the Nokia 2.1 delivers vastly superior performance when compared to the 2017 model — up to 50% faster, according to HMD.
The phone itself is larger, thanks to a 16:9 5.5-inch 720p display, but the polycarbonate design is largely identical to last year's model. One of the main differentiating features of the Nokia 2.1 is the 4000mAh battery, which should easily deliver two days' worth of usage from a full charge.
You get 1GB of RAM along with 8GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot, 8MP camera, 5MP front shooter, and Bluetooth 4.2. Oh, and there are stereo speakers up front.
Last year's Nokia 2 came with a full-fledged version of Android out of the box, and while HMD rolled out Android Go's memory management tweaks to the device in a subsequent update, the device was laggy even during everyday tasks. A lot of that had to do with the hardware, and HMD is making the right move by switching to Android Go.
As we've seen on the Nokia 1, Android Go runs great on low-powered hardware, so the Nokia 2 should have no issues handling day-to-day tasks. The phone will go on sale starting July for $115, just $15 more than the Nokia 1.
More to come
We'll have much more to share on HMD's latest devices in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, let us know what you think of the Nokia 2.1, 3.1, and the 5.1 in the comments below.