Nokia 8.1 goes global with reasonable price tag, large screen, and stellar battery life

Nokia 8.1 goes global with reasonable price tag, large screen, and stellar battery life
HMD Global’s Nokia smartphone branding strategy and release schedule are starting to get a little erratic and confusing, especially given the different markets targeted by (slightly) different models.

Case in point, the newly unveiled Nokia 8.1 that’s basically a rebadged X7 for “international” markets, bearing little resemblance to either the original Nokia 8 or the 8 Sirocco released in early 2018. 

This is also unlikely to follow in the footsteps of the 7.1 stateside, carrying a recommended price point of €399 in Europe, where it’s reportedly slated to go on sale on January 14.

Complicated family roots and convoluted branding aside, the Nokia 8.1 looks like an extremely respectable upper mid-range device on paper, crossing every essential item off the to-do list of an Android phone in the aforementioned price bracket.

A reasonably powerful Snapdragon 710 processor is found under the hood, along with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage, while the “notchy” 5.84-inch “PureDisplay” of the Nokia 7.1 grows to a 6.18-incher on the 8.1. The 2280 x 1080 screen resolution stays the same, but the Nokia 8.1 sports a wider cutout and narrower chin than its slightly lower-end cousin. HDR10 support is also added in the mix.

The battery capacity is beefed up to a healthy 3500 mAh, which Nokia expects to be enough to deliver 2-day autonomy, aided by the power-saving features of Android 9 Pie. The Nokia 8.1 will unsurprisingly run a close-to-stock version of Google’s latest OS build courtesy of the Android One program, while also using various AI techniques to improve the skills of its dual rear-facing cameras and impressive single 20MP selfie shooter.

The dual imaging sensors on the back are Zeiss-enhanced as well, with the main 12MP lens offering optical image stabilization, while the secondary 13MP cam is understandably humbler. 

A “dual-tone anodized metal frame”, microSD support, 3.5 mm headphone jack, and 18 W fast charging wrap up an arguably robust list of features that we’d love to see sold in the US at $400 or so. Maybe someday...

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