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Tech
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4-min read

Nokia 7.1 Review: Aesthetics go a Long Way

The Nokia 7.1 is yet again a valiant effort by HMD Global to solidify their portfolio of gorgeous looking smartphones which are also practical.

Kunal Khullar | News18.com

Updated:February 3, 2019, 10:33 PM IST
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Nokia 7.1 Review: Aesthetics go a Long Way
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Ever since HMD Global brought back the Nokia brand, it has been on a mission to create a portfolio of gorgeous looking smartphones which are also practical. Their products have refined over time and it seems that the company is heading in the right direction. Their latest offering is the Nokia 7.1, which is an update to the Nokia 7 and sits between the recently announced 8.1 and 6.1 Plus.

What’s good?

The Nokia 7.1 adheres to the new design language that we saw on recent phones from HMD Global. It’s a very well crafted handset with an aluminum frame in the middle and glass on the front and back. Apart from being a compact, it feels almost like a flagship device and surprisingly great for something under Rs 20,000.

Of course, a glass-clad phone means a lot of fingerprints, smudges and it is prone to scratches. Also, you need to be quite careful as it can easily slip out of your pocket unless you have a protective case on it.

You get a standard USB Type-C, a headphone jack and the speaker at the bottom with the power button and volume rocker buttons on the right, which feel sturdy and tactile. There’s also a fingerprint scanner at the back that works well. Overall the 7.1 is a very solid phone and something that everyone expects with a brand name like Nokia.

The handset also comes with a brilliant display. The 5.84-inch LCD with a 2220x1080 resolution is HDR (High Dynamic Range) enabled, making it one of the best in its class. Colours look punchy along with great contrast, making you feel as if you are viewing content on an AMOLED display. It can even turn SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) videos to HDR in real-time which improves details and colors.

You do get a notch up top, but there are no fancy hidden face unlock sensors, instead, there is a standard front-facing camera, an earpiece, and the usual light sensors. There is also a chin at the bottom, but honestly, it didn’t bother me that much.

Just like most Nokia device, the 7.1 is also an Android One device. This means that it comes with the latest Android operating system, right out of the box. The phone should also get all future updates including security patches on time for the next two years. You can expect all the smoothness and features that you would expect on a stock Android Pie phone including Google Assistant, Google Lens, and a variety of other Google apps.

The handset comes with a nimble 3,060mAh battery which doesn’t sound much but you can manage to get about a day’s worth of battery life. The battery also gets aid from Google’s Adaptive Battery feature on Android 9.0 Pie, which over time learns your usage patterns to provide optimum juice.

What’s not so good?

The handset is running on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 636 processor paired with 4GB of RAM. This makes it great for daily emails, checking social media and so on. Beyond that, the processor kind of gives up. Gaming is just about average and you are going to face frame drops especially on games like PUBG Mobile. System animations look smooth, but they just take their own time and the phone just doesn’t feel super snappy. If the phone was priced cheaper, I would have probably ignored it, but at Rs 19,999, you can get the prowess of Snapdragon 845 on Xiaomi’s Poco F1.

Another issue with the Nokia 7.1 is that it almost identical to the 6.1 Plus. It has the same hardware and even looks the same. In fact, the latter has slimmer chin even though the screen dimension is similar and is priced cheaper. The only point of distinction is that HDR-enabled display on the 7.1.

The camera is also something that needs improvement. The phone sports a 12-megapixel sensor paired with a 5-megapixel depth sensor. It’s good enough for sharing a photo of that great meal you had at an expensive restaurant, but in the end, it’s a mid-range smartphone so don’t expect flagship quality. It can shoot some good pictures in daylight but low light images lack details and are quite soft. Even the front 8-megapixel camera is just about average.

Verdict

Is the Nokia 7.1 worth? Well if you prefer looks over performance, then this is the phone you need. Yes, it is very similar to the 6.1 Plus, but that great display makes the experience worthwhile. It also comes with the latest version of Android with the guarantee of speedy updates, and there is no fancy user interface layer to hamper your software experience.

It isn’t a powerhouse, to be honest, and there are a bunch of options on the market that are definitely going to get better numbers on benchmark tests, but with the 7.1, HMD Global is yet again focusing on experience rather than specifications, Pair that with the reliable Nokia brand name and you have an interesting recipe on the table

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