Nokia 8.1 First Impressions: A beautiful looking phone with taste of Android 9 Pie

HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones has announced the launch of Nokia 8.1, its latest addition to its value flagship range.


HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones has announced the launch of Nokia 8.1, its latest addition to its value flagship range. The new smartphone will be available on sale from 21st December 2018 across top mobile retail outlets in India, and on at Rs. 26,999 for the 4GB/64GB variant.

Nokia 8.1 First Impressions


So, we got a chance to spend some time with the new handset and here's what we have to say in our first impressions of Nokia 8.1.

Design and Display

Nokia 8.1 First Impressions

The Nokia 8.1 comes with a good build and has rounded corners, it is quite compact and ideal for one hand usage. It has a glass back along with glittery effect, which is now a catching trend in the industry.

On the right side of the smartphone, you will find the volume rockers and power button, while the dual-SIM slot is placed on the left side.

There is a 3.5 mm audio jack at the top, while the USB Type-C port is housed at the bottom. It also has Zeiss branding at the back and fingerprint sensor.

Overall the smartphone looks quite premium and feels good in the hand, however back panel is prone to fingerprint smudges, which is something unavoidable with glass back panels.

As for the display, the Nokia 8.1 features 6.18-inch Full HD+ edge-to-edge display with a 1080p resolution along with 18.7:9 aspect ratio. It also supports HDR 10 which is known for delivering higher contrast, and great clarity.


Overall, the screen is touch responsive and offers decent brightness levels.

We didn't get a chance to test the display under direct sunlight, therefore, it will be hard to comment on the sunlight visibility of the display for now. But we will be testing the display in our full review of the device.

Hardware and Software

Nokia 8.1 First Impressions

The smartphone is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage which can be further expanded by up to 400GB through a microSD card.

However it will face tough competition with a smartphone like the Vivo V11 Pro which offers 6GB RAM | 64GB storage expandable up to 256GB | Dual nano SIM with dual-standby (4G+4G) at Rs 25,990.

During our short time with the smartphone, we did not face any delay while running a few apps and navigating through the user interface.

On the software front, the Nokia 8.1 comes with the latest Android 9.0 Pie out-of-the-box which in itself is unique because at present only a few brands are providing the latest OS.

Overall, the device performed quite well when used for basic tasks like surfing the internet and running low-end games, and we didn't notice any lag or stutter.


Nokia 8.1 First Impressions

The Nokia 8.1 comes with dual-camera setup, which comes with a combination of a 2MP primary lens with f/1.8 aperture paired to a rather large 1/2.55" sensor with 1.4um pixels and 13-megapixel secondary sensor with f/2.2 aperture and ZEISS optics.

While at the front you'll find a 20-megapixel camera with f/2.0 aperture.

We tested both the cameras for a brief period and found that the shots showed a decent amount of details on the 6.18" Full HD+ screen in good lighting condition.

We will evaluate this handset's complete camera performance in the coming week during our detailed camera review of Nokia 8.1.

Battery and Connectivity

Nokia 8.1 First Impressions

The new smartphone is backed by 3500mAh which the company claims delivers up to 22 hours of talk time, Video playback up to 11 hours and standby up to 24 hours. On the connectivity front, it has WiFi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 5, GPS + GLONASS, USB Type-C and 4G Volte.


Overall, the Nokia 8.1 qualifies as a good-looking smartphone which is loaded with features like Android 9.0 Pie and Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor. But we should not forget that there are so many brands in this segment that this smartphone has to compete with. Keeping that in mind, we can say that the company could have done a little extra to go head-to-head with already dominant Chinese smartphone brands which are slowly becoming the primary choice of the users.

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