After spending years on life support, the revived Nokia brand is making some big moves in the mid-range Android phone market. The company unveiled its newest design, the 7.1, today.
The Nokia 7.1 will cost just $350 when it goes on sale on October 28th. That price gets you a 5.8-inch, extra-long 1080p LCD screen with a familiar-looking camera notch, a zippy-if-not-blazing Snapdragon 636 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a roomy 64GB of storage space, plus whatever you can fit in the MicroSD card slot. (A cheaper 3GB/32GB version will be available in some markets.) Other goodies include a back-mounted fingerprint reader, a USB-C charging port, and a headphone jack—something that’s fast disappearing from phone designs, but will be appreciated by many.
The cameras are also respectable, with a 12-megapixel primary shooter on the back, plus a secondary 5MP sensor for depth of field effects. They’re paired with an 8MP front-facing camera. The phone looks pretty slick, too, with a full glass body over an aluminum frame. The battery could be bigger (it’s “only” 3060mAh), but I assume some sacrifices had to be made to shove it into a slim 8mm body.
The 7.1’s hardware is appealing, but what might really catch the eye of Android enthusiasts is the software. The phone runs the Android “One” variant of 8.1 Oreo right out of the gate, with minimal additions that make it about as close to “stock” as you can get without a Pixel label. And Nokia is continuing its dedication to timely updates: according to the initial press information, the company is planning on releasing an update to Android 9.0 “Pie” in November, just a few weeks after launch. Nokia says it will update to major Android versions for two years and supply security updates for three.
Nokia’s going for a flagship look here, but there are a couple of corners cut to get the price down. Despite the glass body there’s no wireless charging, and the HDR on the screen probably won’t match the same feature on brighter, more vivid OLED panels. There’s also just one external speaker. But as an unlocked device that’s less than half the cost of the headline grabbing-phones from Apple, Google, and Samsung, it’s definitely worth consideration. The Nokia 7.1 will be available in the US directly from the manufacturer website, with retail sales in other markets.