The year 2017 marked the return of the iconic Nokia brand, in the able hands of new owner HMD Global. Nokia used nostalgia in the form of the reimagined Nokia 3310 to stir our attention, then released a slew of cheap and cheerful Android devices to reinject itself into the race. But none was more important than the flagship Nokia 8.
The Nokia 8 represented the Finnish brand’s true comeback. It rocked the brand’s signature design and premium build, top notch hardware, strong optics and the promise of pure stock Android.
Yes, it had some misgivings and lacked certain features in a modern day flagship device, but it was still an attractive buy. It was also one of the most affordable flagship smartphones at that time.
Nokia went on to later release the Nokia 8 Scirocco, a delicious-looking special edition of the Nokia 8.
Two years on, a lot has happened. We saw the cute Nokia 1. The reimagined Nokia 8110 Reloaded. The Nokia 6.1 Plus, Nokia 5.1 Plus. Then, there was the Nokia 7 Plus that impressed critics and won the hearts of design judges, too. There’s of course been some hits and misses along the way, but only because of the strength of the competition. Phones simply got better.
Fast forward to 2019, Nokia’s ready to kick start the new year with a bang.
And the bang comes in the form of the Nokia 8.1, though not the actual successor to the brand’s 2017 flagship. This time around though, “flagship” may be sort of a misnomer, because specification-wise, the Nokia 8.1 is really more upper mid-range than a what’s expected. That flagship you want, ladies and gentlemen, will arrive soon enough – as the Nokia 9.
So, what does the Nokia 8.1 bring to the plate? Plenty from the looks of it.
First up, it comes with a 6.18-inch FHD+ edge-to-edge display housed in a body made of 6000-series aluminium sandwiched by curved glass.
Nokia’s PureDisplay screen technology brings HDR 10 for superior contrast, clarity and vibrant, accurate colours. The screen itself offers 500 nits of peak brightness, 96 percent colour gamut and 1500:1 contrast ratio.
Under the hood, the phone is powered by Qualcomm’s latest mid-range king – the Snapdragon 710 Mobile Platform that comes with an AI Engine and AR Core support. Nokia says this new chip is 35 percent faster in graphics and offers 20 percent better compute performance compared to the previous generation Snapdragon 660.
The device packs 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage. There’s microSD support via a hybrid card tray, with memory expandable to an additional 400GB.
In the camera department, Nokia 8.1 rocks a 12MP main camera with ZEISS Optics, 1.4 micron pixels, a 1/2.55-inch sensor, OIS, EIS and a dual-LED flash. It is complemented by a 13MP fixed focus depth sensing secondary camera.
On the front, it gets a massive 20MP fixed focus selfie shooter.
A couple of its key camera features include the much-touted Pro Camera UI and #Bothie mode.
In the battery department, the Nokia 8.1 packs a large 3,500mAh battery that supports fast-charging via 18W charger.
Audio-wise, the device comes with a single speaker, smart amp, two mics and supports OZO surround capture.
The Nokia 8.1 runs Android 9 Pie out-of-the-box, and as part of the Android One programme, it is guaranteed to receive three years of monthly security patches and two major OS updates.
Pricing and availability
The Nokia 8.1 is available in Blue/Silver, starting from 18 January 2019. It will retail at MYR1,699.
What do you think?