Nokia 8.1 – It is now a few years since HMD Global acquired Nokia Mobile to bring it back to its former glory, thanks to more or less successful attempts, finally we are faced with a small concentration of beautiful things, a smartphone that without wanting overdoing it, manages to be concrete and good on everything.
In the review of Nokia 8.1 we talk about all its features, pros and small defects, but above all we tell you why it is one of the best smartphones on the market in the mid-range.
Hardware & Connectivity
Nokia 8.1 is a mid-range well-equipped, under the body moves a Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor, combined with 4 GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 64 GB of internal memory eMMC5.1 (unpleasant discovery this, a UFS would have been desirable).
The performance is convincing, also because of the relative simplicity of Android One (a basic version of Android), you move well between apps and menus, but you feel the eMMC memory ballast when you open heavy app, or when the RAM it begins to be saturated.
Overall, however, Nokia 8.1 is a responsive smartphone, and the self-maintenance features introduced with Android Pie, create the ideal conditions for maintaining performance over time.
Gaming is not ideal terrain, but if necessary the hardware platform can roar and move up to 2.2 GHz of clock frequency, ensuring a constant and pleasant frame rate.
Good equipment on the front of the connectivity, but not very good because of the data exchange in LTE that stops in category 6, despite the chipset is compatible with double speeds.
However, there is no lack of support for 4G +, which is activated as soon as the network allows it.
The sensors are equipped with an accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, brightness and proximity sensor.
There is not the notification LED (replaced by the ambient display that cannot be deactivated), while on the back there is space for a very fast biometric fingerprint scanner.
Ergonomics, Design & Materials
Nokia 8.1 is a smartphone balanced design, will not have those bright colors or mirrored to which we are accustomed for some time, but is distinguished by a simple elegance and a slightly retro look, the corners are very rounded and go very well with the sinuosity of Android in pure version from which it is animated.
On the whole edge there is a chromed aluminum belt, similar to the one already seen on Nokia 7 Plus, other chromed details are located behind the optical unit and the fingerprint reader.
The back cover is made of glass, while the whole surface is covered by the protective Gorilla Glass and the notch is well hidden with the display turned off, while at the bottom you can see the NOKIA logo when it is hit by the light.
The perceived quality is high, merit of refined materials and impeccable assembly, pity only for the absence of IP certification against water and dust.
The dimensions are not excessive (154.8 x 75.8 x 8 mm) and the weight of 180 grams is a good middle ground between portability and sense of solidity transmitted.
Display, Audio & Multimedia
The display is an IPS FullHD Plus LCD in 19:9, with a diagonal of 6.18 inches and a fairly large central notch.
The quality of the panel is immediately perceptible, especially thanks to a high brightness, resulting in excellent readability outdoors, and an impeccable color calibration, especially by setting the “cinema” mode.
A display of excellent quality, we could say reference for products under 500 dollars, well also the management of blacks and readability at high viewing angles.
The notch is hidden in the display on, making the “status bar” completely black, however, incomprehensibly, it is not possible to fully exploit the surface of the screen and unfortunately we fear that Nokia has deliberately chosen to present the product with black bar at the top and corners rounded simulated.
To support our hypothesis, the fact that in a previous software version it was possible to go to “show the notch”, an option that was eliminated with the last update.
On the one hand, the aesthetic gains, because obscuring the status bar, you get a perfectly symmetrical smartphone with the “chin”, i.e. the lower frame, on the other hand the lower angles will have a much greater curvature radius than the simulated ones in the upper part, which is a little disturbing.
The multimedia sector is one of the best things about Nokia 8.1, we already said on the display, here we add a very powerful and full-bodied mono speaker and the presence of the 3.5 mm jack to complete the work.
Great picture of the Nokia 8.1 photo, back there is a sensor Sony IMX 363, combined with a standard focal length lens, optical stabilization and aperture F / 1.8, the second module has 13 MP but only serves to store data on the depth of field to be used for photos with simulated bokeh effect.
At the front there is a single camera with a good 20 MP with fixed focus optics F / 2.0 and pixels of 0.9 micrometers.
The images we get are definitely of quality, well defined and with a good accuracy of the white balance. A wanting to find the hair in the egg, there is a slight dominant magenta when the sun is shining.
At night the results are convincing, the sensor is of proven quality and the perfect balance between resolution and pixel size emerges clearly when the light is scarce.
Here, Nokia 8.1, proves to be one of the best smartphones on the mid-range.
Benino the videos, you cannot choose the frame rate (one of the strange choices of Nokia) but you get up to 4K, always with decent picture quality and a sound so, a little ‘flat.
On selfie positive judgment, they are very detailed and reproduce well the tones of the complexion, to be noted that with active bokeh effect, it creates an effect of sharpness exaggerated.
Battery & Autonomy
The battery available for Nokia 8.1 is 3500 mAh, allows you to arrive in the evening with a minimum of attention to consumption, with about 4 hours of active display.
The expectations were higher and the potential for a better performance would be, pity that Nokia must keep active the ambient display (the screen stays on a black screen with a clock and notifications, even when it is in standby), a function that misfits with the LCD technology of the panel, forcing to keep all the backlighting active to show only a small text in the middle.
We hope that the company will go back and allow the user to disable the function to save even 20% charge in a day.
On board of Nokia 8.1 there is Android One already updated to Pie, or a pure version of Robottino Verde, edited directly by Google and updated promptly for a minimum period of 2 years, the advantages of this solution adopted by Nokia are many.
First of all it is clear the immediacy and stability of a software version without substantial changes by the brand, designed by Google to be understandable and practical in everyday use, the other advantage is the simplicity with which Nokia can intervene to adapt the new updates to the hardware, resulting from constant updates, rapid and not tied to the laborious implementation of proprietary features, finally, but not least, are the overall performance of the product to earn, not being complex software complex and expensive.
Nokia has then added some small features, however, valuable and useful details in the use of every day: custom calibration of the display, gesture, multi-account management.
At the same time have also been included mandatory options, poorly understood and counterproductive for some points of view, it is not possible to use full-screen content, the notch will always be hidden by a black bar, we cannot disable the ambient display and check its operation.
It is a product that we liked and could meet the needs of a large part of users, works well and has no particular gaps or flaws worthy of note.
Certainly it does not even have strengths that raise it compared to the competition, but at the right price it could be a reliable, durable and always pleasant companion from which to be conquered.
The right price? In our opinion no more than $485, better if underneath to be able to say that you have made a deal.
We only hope that Nokia goes to intervene on those absurd changes that we have highlighted in the paragraph on the software.