Nokia's new 8 Sirocco may be stealing the show, but it's the lineup of less expensive phones that will be selling in big numbers. Anchoring the core mid-range spot in its lineup is the new Nokia 7 Plus, a €399 phone that doesn't have the flair of higher-end phones but represents what Nokia is really good at right now.
And after spending some time with it here at MWC 2018, it really feels like it's aimed at being a Google Pixel 2 XL for the frugal among us.
This is efficient, clean design with just a touch of style — Nokia, in a nutshell. The solid metal frame makes the phone sturdy, and the ceramic-like multi-coat paint job has just a subtle bit of texture to give you ample grip. Nokia says the thick paint let it have larger antennas because it could completely cover them with the textured finish in the end. The metal is polished up nicely with a great contrasting gold color, popping off of the white or black back.
The texture is not unlike the Pixel 2 XL's, and that's a good thing. Similarly, the Nokia 7 Plus isn't attempting to be super-thin or sleek, it's just realistically sized and designed. It has a 6-inch 18:9 display with nicely curved glass over top and rounded corners on the display panel. The overall dimensions and weight are nearly the same as the Pixel 2 XL. The rear fingerprint sensor is easy to reach, right below the dual camera setup — which I unfortunately didn't have enough time to test thoroughly, but you hope with a 12MP f/1.75 combo and Zeiss optics it'd at least hit the mark for the price point.
The phone looks great in both colors, though you'll need to have a bit of a sense of style to really acclimate to that shiny metal. But aside from that, it feels really good as well. Large, weighty, solid. Function over form in many places.
The Nokia 7 Plus has a super-clean Android One take on Oreo, which should be plenty fast on this Snapdragon 660 processor and 4GB of RAM. The display is just 1080p as well, and with a big 3800mAh battery I wouldn't be surprised if the battery life was fantastic.
Looking at everything the Nokia 7 Plus offers, it all makes you wonder how much it really targeted the Pixel 2 XL's experience, if at all. Between the design similarities, overall shape and size, and software experience, this feels like a budget version of Google's flagship — and based on who I've seen get excited about Nokia's recent phones, that's a great strategy.