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Nokia 8.1: This is what Nokia considers a flagship phone

When the Nokia 8 was introduced last year, it was a promising flagship smartphone on paper. It had a top of the line Snapdragon 835 processor, a dual-camera system with ZEISS optics and it’s priced just slightly above RM2,000. Unfortunately, the experience was ruined by a problematic camera app and it had an average battery life.

Now there’s a new one and it’s called the Nokia 8.1. While it sounds like a continuation from the flagship Nokia 8, the new 8.1 is basically a global version of the Nokia X7 which is more of a premium mid-range device. Although this isn’t a true flagship successor, HMD Global is calling it a “value flagship” smartphone which is the same category as the Nokia 7 Plus.  

The Nokia 8.1 has a 6.18″ Full HD+ 18.7:9 display and it comes with a noticeable notch at the top. Premium build quality is still their key focus and the device comes with a two-toned anodised metal frame. 

Under the hood, it runs on a Snapdragon 710 processor with 4GB of LPDDR4x RAM with 64GB of eMMC 5.1 storage. You can expand storage further via microSD card up to 400GB extra. 

For imaging, the Nokia 8.1 still features a dual-camera system with ZEISS optics and it is assisted with optical image stabilisation. It has a 12MP main camera and a secondary shooter 13MP camera for depth of field effects. The cameras support 4K video recording and it also captures stereo audio with Nokia OZO surround sound recording. 

For selfies, the Nokia 8.1 comes with a 20MP front camera that can combine 4 nearby pixels to create a super-pixel in low light situations. There’s also a dual-sight mode a.k.a. bothie, which allows you to record a video using both front and rear cameras at the same time. 

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Powering the device is a 3,500mAh battery which Nokia says can last up to 2 days of use in a single charge. The device charges via USB-C and it comes with an 18W fast charger. The good news is that it runs on the latest Android 9 Pie. Since this is an Android One device, you’re guaranteed to receive three years of monthly security updates, plus two major software upgrades. 

In Europe, the Nokia 8.1 is priced at 399 Euros which is about RM1,884 if converted directly. As a comparison, the Chinese based Nokia X7 is priced at 1,699 CNY (about RM1,026). The device come in 3 colour options – Blue/Silver, Steel/Copper and Iron/Steel.

Alexander Wong