Unveiled in December 2018 and known elsewhere as the Nokia X7, the Nokia 8.1 is now available for purchase in Kenya.
While the name, Nokia 8.1, may easily make one conclude that the device is a successor to the Nokia 8 from 2017 and its refresh, the Nokia 8 Sirocco from last year, the 8.1 is its own man, if we may say.
In fact, it can be more accurately looked at as a successor to the impressive Nokia 7 Plus, which, in another case of confusing product naming by HMD Global, is not exactly the successor to the Plus.
One of the Nokia 7 Plus’ selling points was its impeccable design and the 8.1 keeps that while introducing a cutout (notch) on the 6.18-inch Full HD+ display panel.
The Snapdragon 710 processor that powers the device, according to HMD Global, improves performance over the Snapdragon 660 found on the 7 Plus by as much as 20%. The Adreno 616 GPU, on the other hand, brings with it a boost in graphics processing by over a third more than the previous generation.
As can be expected, the device arrives running Android 9 Pie and is a sure bet to hop on to the Android Q bandwagon faster than other similarly-specced and priced devices.
That is so not only because of how HMD Global handled the 7 Plus – enrolling it in the Android P beta and the device being one of the first in the world, after Google’s Pixels, to get official Android Pie once it exited beta – but also because it’s part of the Android One program.
The device has two standout features: the PureDisplay screen technology that is incorporated in the display and the camera system that includes something we haven’t had from the Nokia brand in a while: bothies (a fancy way of saying dual-selfies).
ZEISS optics and the addition of optical image stabilization (OIS) should play a key role in helping the 8.1 truly live up to Nokia’s highly regarded camera prowess.
According to HMD Global, the 20-megapixel selfie camera, a key component of the device, “snaps stunning shots in dimmer conditions by combining four pixels into one for better light capture.”
The PureDisplay tech, the second time we are seeing it on a Nokia smartphone (the first one was on the Nokia 7.1) makes it possible for the device to get HDR10 certification, just like the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. As earlier noted, “What this means is that the display has a higher contrast and clarity level thus allowing light and dark areas to pop.”
“This is useful for similarly-tailored content that users can access from YouTube, Netflix and such. What’s more, the device will even convert standard definition content to HDR level before beaming it, in real time.”
Overall, specifications of the device are as follows:
- Size (minus the camera bump) and weight: 154.8 x 75.76 x 7.97 mm, 180g
- Display: 6.18-inch PureDisplay Full-HD+ (18.7:9)
- Camera: Main 12 MP (with OIS) + 13 MP; Secondary 20 MP
- Processor: Snapdragon 710
- Memory: 4GB RAM; 64 GB internal storage (expandable up to 400GB)
- Operating System: Android 9, Pie
- Battery: 3,500mAh with fast charging
- Network: 3G, 4G
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type-C, NFC
- Other: Nokia OZO surround sound capture
Additionally, the Nokia 8.1 is part of the Android Enterprise Recommended program. This means that it has been certified as safe to use in organizations, by Google.
The device also incorporates AI smarts, just like the Nokia 7.1. This is more visible in the camera where it kicks in to perfect images with “studio-style” lighting and live bokeh effects.
The Nokia 8.1 is available for Kshs 45,000 in stores across the country in Blue/Silver and Iron/Steel color combinations with dual SIM slots. The single SIM variant is available at Safaricom shops.
Before you ask, yes, the Nokia 8.1 supports Jamii Telecoms’ Faiba 4G.