The Nokia 7 Plus turned out to be one of the best mid-range phones of 2018, and HMD Global is now launching its successor. The Nokia 8.1 brings a few key upgrades while retaining a similar price point.
The key change on the hardware front is the chipset: the Nokia 8.1 is powered by the Snapdragon 710 platform, which has eight Kryo 360 cores clocked up to 2.2GHz. The Adreno 616 GPU should provide a decent boost when playing visually-demanding titles like PUBG, and HMD is touting a 35% uptick in graphics performance and 20% increase in the overall performance from the Snapdragon 660 in the Nokia 7 Plus.
The Nokia 8.1 is the second phone from HMD — after the Nokia 7.1 — to sport PureDisplay tech, with the 6.18-inch FHD+ display certified for HDR10 content. The phone also comes with 4GB of LPDDR4X RAM, 64GB of internal storage, 3500mAh battery with 18W fast charging, a MicroSD card slot that can accommodate cards up to 400GB, Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.0, FM radio, VoWiFi, VoLTE, and a 3.5mm jack.
Coming to the camera side of things, the Nokia 8.1 retains the 12MP f/1.8 sensor (IMX 363) with Zeiss optics and a 13MP shooter that delivers "studio-level" portrait shots. The primary sensor has 1.4 micron pixels, and this time around it offers OIS. Up front there's a 20MP camera with four-to-one pixel binning that lets you take detailed shots in low-light conditions. HMD is also retaining its Bothie feature, which lets you take photos from both the rear and front cameras simultaneously.
Like the Nokia 7 Plus, the Nokia 8.1 has a two-tone finish with chrome inserts around the frame and the camera housing. This is classic Nokia design at its best, and the phone looks downright gorgeous. It isn't as flashy as the Mate 20 Pro or the Honor 10, but it is elegant and refined in its own way.
The phone is machined out of series 6000 aluminum, and should be just as durable as the Nokia 7 Plus. Sadly, it doesn't offer any protection from the elements, and as such you're better off not using the Nokia 8.1 near a water body.
While several HMD phones have picked up the Pie update, the Nokia 8.1 is the first to run the latest version of Android out of the box. As the phone runs Android One, you get the usual slate of features that come with Pie, including Adaptive Battery, App Actions, Digital Wellbeing, and much more.
The Nokia 8.1 will retail for €399 ($450), and the device will make its way to India and other global markets in the coming weeks. It'll be available in three color options — Iron/Steel, Blue/Silver, and Steel/Copper. As has been the case for HMD phones in the past, we'll just have to wait and see if the Nokia 8.1 makes its way to the U.S.