The Nokia 8.1 smartphone promises to be a future reference to 400 euros, in line with its predecessor, the Nokia 7 Plus. A few days ago HMD formalized the new Nokia 8.1 at a conference in Dubai. The smartphone is described as the successor of Nokia 7 Plus and not Nokia 7.1. Let's put aside the somewhat messy nomenclature of the original Finnish brand to focus on this interesting filiation.
The Nokia 7 Plus is indeed a smartphone that we liked a lot this year for its value for money very attractive at 399 euros. His photo quality in particular was well worked and provided excellent shots in the right conditions, but had a little more trouble once the brightness weakened. Beyond, it was a well balanced phone with serious advantages for the price at which it was sold. This is the legacy that the Nokia 7 Plus Nokia 8.1 and that brings me to the subject of the day. HMD organized a small event in Paris to present the French press this new mid-range smartphone - alongside the Nokia 5.1 Plus and Nokia 3.1 Plus a little more anecdotal. It was an opportunity to take control of the Nokia 8.1 to make some pictures of the product, but also to share our first impressions.
The Nokia 8.1 has a fairly robust design with its aluminum chassis. Note however that his back benefits from a glass coating. In hand, the comfort is at the rendezvous thanks to the rounded angles with care to marry at best the curve of the palm. There is not much to complain about this point. The aesthetics is extreme but pleasant sobriety.
I will not go so far as to say that the Nokia 8.1 is compact - some will certainly find it still too imposing - but for a diagonal of 6.18 inches at 18.7: 9 ratio, I found the height from the device quite reasonable. In return, it seemed a bit wide (154.8 x 75.7 x 7.9 mm).
Let's continue the owner's tour. On the front of the device, we can see a notch when we lean a little on it. But this notch is a little camouflaged by the black bar at the very top of the display area. Looking in the settings of the Nokia 8.1, I have not found any option to customize this detail. It was impossible to make the status bar transparent (and thus to bring out the notch).
In this regard, an HMD manager confirmed that this option would not be available at the Nokia 8.1 release. Returning the terminal, we discover a double camera hit by the initials ZEISS. The module is protruding, almost too much, but the smartphone is not too wobbly when laid flat. You have to press hard enough on one of the angles to really rock it.
Aside from that, the fingerprint reader at the back falls well under the index. For the connection, we are entitled to USB-C down and a jack on the upper edge.
The Nokia 8.1 takes pictures with a dual sensor of 12 + 13 megapixels. For the occasion, HMD had prepared a room immersed in a dim light so we could get an idea of the Nokia 8.1's photo performance. Far from being able to give you a complete report, I could still appreciate the neat work on the colors as well as a level of details a priori convincing. For selfies, the front sensor has a definition of 20 megapixels.
Attention, it does not happen at the level of ultra high-end smartphones, but for the price at which it will be sold in Europe, it bodes very beautiful things. Add to that the presence of a Snapdragon 710 from Qualcomm. This SoC aims to approach the performance of the most premium SoC, without much impact the final selling price. An attractive balance on paper that we can not wait to test. Here, the chip is coupled with 4GB RAM LPPDDR4x which are also promising.
The Nokia 8.1 takes advantage of Android 9.0 Pie under the label Android One. It relies on 64 GB of expandable storage via microSD and ships a battery of 3500 mAh delivered with a load block of 18W for fast charging.
Finally, the smartphone can ship either two nano SIM or a nano SIM and a microSD. In addition, the device is compatible with all French 4G frequency bands. After this first and brief use then analyzing the product data sheet, the Nokia 8.1 looks like a smartphone very well balanced for a fair price and reasonable. At first glance, it fits in the right line of the Nokia 7 Plus and it looks very exciting.
Price and availability
The Nokia 8.1 comes out in Europe on January 21, 2019 at a suggested rate of 399 euros. It will be available in navy blue and steel, then in an Aubergine color planned later.