The Nokia 8.1 is the latest device from HMD Global in India, and shows that the company is as committed to higher-end devices as its more popular mid-range series. Priced at Rs 26,999, the Nokia 8.1 is a re-branded version of the Nokia X7 that was launched in China, and the spiritual successor to the Nokia 8 that was launched last year. It also hopes to take over the sub-Rs 30,000 segment from the Nokia 7 Plus, which is now a few months old.
However, the sub-Rs 30,000 segment is a tough one for Nokia to crack, given the quality of the existing options. HMD Global’s Nokia 8.1 will be taking on the Xiaomi Poco F1 and Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) in this segment, with these two devices proving to be strong contenders. How do these three phones compare? Let’s find out.
Design and Display
The Nokia 8.1 and Xiaomi Poco F1 come with equally-sized screens, with both devices sporting 6.18-inch full-HD+ IPS LCD screens with tall aspect ratios, and notches at the top. The Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) sports a smaller 6-inch full-HD+ 18.5:9 aspect ratio AMOLED screen, but there is no notch on the device. As such, the Nokia and Xiaomi devices sport similar high screen-to-body ratios as well, compared to the Samsung device.
In terms of build quality, the Nokia 8.1 is the clear winner thanks to the use of premium materials and stylish looks. You get a metal frame and glass back on the Nokia, while the Xiaomi Poco F1 sports an all-plastic body and the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) comes with glass at the back and front sandwiching a plastic frame. And while the Nokia 8.1 and Xiaomi Poco F1 get rear-mounted fingerprint sensors, the Samsung device has its sensor on the side.
Specifications and Software
The three phones on comparison all sport widely different chipsets, with the Xiaomi Poco F1 coming with what is considered the best of the lot – the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. The Nokia 8.1 comes with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 SoC, which is positioned between the 800-series and the 600-series from the American chipmaker. The Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) is powered by the Exynos 7885 Octa chipset, a mid-range option from Samsung fabricated on the 14nm process.
The Xiaomi Poco F1 also sports the best RAM and storage combination of the three phones, with up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage on offer. The entry level variant starts with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, which is better than the 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage on offer on the Nokia 8.1. The Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) comes with up to 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage on the base variant. On paper, the Nokia 8.1 lags in this department.
In terms of software, the Nokia 8.1 and Xiaomi Poco F1 both run Android 9 Pie (the latter through an update which is rolling out now), with the Nokia device running on stock Android based on the Android One program and the Xiaomi device running MIUI 10. The Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) still runs Android Oreo with the Samsung Experience UI on top, putting the other two ahead in this competition. Furthermore, the stock Android software means that the Nokia 8.1 can offer decent performance even with less RAM, but heavy tasks may cause RAM management concerns on the phone.
HMD Global has received praise for many things on its Nokia line-up but camera performance is usually not something the company is known for. With the Nokia 8.1, the company has improved camera quality, thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 under the hood. The phone sports a dual-camera setup, featuring a 12-megapixel primary sensor and 13-megapixel secondary sensor for depth and zoom effects, combined with a 20-megapixel front camera.
The Xiaomi Poco F1 sports a 12-megapixel primary rear camera, 5-megapixel secondary sensor and 20-megapixel front camera (which is enabled with IR-powered face unlock), while the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) has what is, at least on paper, the most impressive camera setup of the three. The phone sports a triple-camera setup with a 24-megapixel primary sensor, 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor and 5-megapixel depth sensor, combined with a 24-megapixel front camera.
WATCH: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 First Look
Price and Availability
The three phones here are roughly priced around the same, but this does depend on variants. If entry pricing is considered, the Nokia 8.1 is the most expensive of the three phones, with a starting price of Rs 26,999. The Xiaomi Poco F1 is the most affordable at Rs 19,999 onwards, while the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) sits in-between at Rs 23,990 for the 4GB RAM / 64GB storage option. The Poco F1 variant with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage retails at Rs 27,999, with significantly better specifications than the other two phones here.
While the Xiaomi Poco F1 is primarily available online for now, the Nokia 8.1 and Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) have the advantage of wider offline availability, thereby making purchasing these phones easier for a large set of buyers. Both of these phones are available online as well, through key e-retailers.
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|Features||Nokia 8.1||Xiaomi Poco F1||Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018)|
|Display||6.18-inch full-HD+ IPS LCD||6.18-inch full-HD+ IPS LCD||6-inch full-HD+ AMOLED|
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 710||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845||Exynos 7885|
|RAM||4GB||6GB / 8GB||4GB / 6GB|
|Storage||64GB||64GB / 128GB / 256GB||64GB / 128GB|
|Rear Camera||12-megapixel + 13-megapixel||12-megapixel +
8-megapixel + 5-megapixel
|Connectivity||4G LTE, Dual-SIM, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth||4G LTE, Dual-SIM, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth||4G LTE, Dual-SIM, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth|
|OS||Android 9 Pie / Android One||Android Oreo (update to Pie) / MIUI||Android Oreo / Samsung Experience UI|
|Price||Rs 26,999||Rs 19,999 onwards||Rs 23,990 onwards|