comscore Nokia 7.1 Review: Making the display count
Review

Nokia 7.1 Review: Making the display count

Does HMD Global's new mid-ranger have what it takes to zip ahead of the competition? We find out.

Nokia 7.1-7

Image Credit: Bodhisatwa Ray


Nokia 7.1 4 5
BGR Rating :
4/5

Highlights

  • The Nokia 7.1 is priced at Rs 19,999.

  • The mid-range smartphone comes with a premium design and an HDR10-compliant display.

  • An Android One-certified device, the 7.1 runs Android 9 Pie out of the box.

Earlier this month, HMD Global announced that it had sold 70 million mobile phones over the last two years. That’s quite an achievement for the young Finnish company, which was founded back in December 2016 with the aim of bringing to its former glory, perhaps the most iconic and loved brand in the world of mobile technology – Nokia. Also Read - Nokia G50 5G affordable phone goes official globally: Will it launch in India?

Also Read - Nokia C30 budget phone launched with price under Rs 10,000: Check specs, price

However, brand recognition can only get you so far in today’s fiercely-contested mobile space. In order to carve a name for yourself in the smartphone market, you need to consistently deliver excellent products, and slowly work your way to the top. HMD Global knows this, and it’s why the company has been constantly expanding (and enhancing) its smartphone line-up, which was established with the unveiling of the Nokia 6 in 2017. Also Read - Nokia XR20 rugged 5G phone launched: Check specs, price, India launch details

One of the more-recent additions to HMD Global’s burgeoning product portfolio is the Nokia 7.1, which launched in India just last month. Even though the 7.1 is a mid-range smartphone, it comes with one distinguishing feature – an HDR10 display. The hardware specs are also decent, and of course, there’s stock Android as well. Put all that together, and you’re looking at a well-rounded smartphone. But, is it really worth the Rs 19,999 asking price? Read my comprehensive review of Nokia 7.1, and find out.

Design & Build Quality

If you think all mid-range smartphones look bland, the Nokia 7.1 is here to prove you wrong. Having a gorgeous ‘glass sandwich’ construction, this thing looks far more premium than its price tag would have you believe. The frame (color-matched with the rear panel) is made of 6000-series aluminum, and features chamfered edges that further accentuate the smartphone’s design. It features the power button and volume rocker (both of which have ample tactile feedback) on the right rail, and the hybrid dual-SIM/microSD card tray on the left. The 3.5mm audio port is at the top, while the bottom is home to a USB Type-C port and a mono speaker.

Up front, the Nokia 7.1 features a notched display (discussed in the next section) with minimal side bezels, and a sizable chin with a Nokia logo in the center. At the back, you’ll find a slightly-protruding pill-shaped camera module, complete with two vertically stacked lenses, a two-tone dual-LED flash, and ZEISS branding. Just below that is a circular fingerprint sensor and a horizontally stamped Nokia logo. An Android One logo and some regulatory information can be found on the lower half of the rear panel.

The build quality of the Nokia 7.1 is equally exceptional, and the phone feels great in the hand. However, an all glass design means that the 7.1 is also quite fragile. Also, unlike the front, the rear panel isn’t secured by Gorilla Glass 3 and is extremely prone to scratches and smudges, as I found out during my review run. If you get this one, a protective case is highly advised.

Display

If there’s one feature that differentiates Nokia 7.1 from all the other mid-range smartphones in the market, it’s the display. Featuring Nokia’s ‘PureDisplay’ technology, the 5.84-inch full-HD+ screen is HDR10-compliant, which means that it allows you to enjoy HDR content (mostly videos and streaming movies) in all its glory. And having tested it out first-hand, I can firmly say that the 7.1’s display easily outclasses those of rival mid-range smartphones.

Watching HDR content on Nokia 7.1 is a joy, with the smartphone’s Full-HD+ panel showing vivid colors and rich contrast levels. There’s a marked difference when comparing the panel with a ‘regular’ display. The Nokia 7.1 can also ‘convert’ SDR content to HDR in real time, making for a relatively consistent visual experience. The display has good viewing angles, and sunlight legibility isn’t an issue either.

Performance and Software

The Nokia 7.1 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 SoC, paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. While the chipset may seem a little under-powered, it’s more than capable of handling day to day tasks. Whether it’s split-screen multitasking, video streaming, or even extended sessions of PUBG Mobile, everything works sans issues.

Obviously, one of the primary reasons for the 7.1’s zippy performance is the software aboard. Like all of HMD Global’s other smartphones, this one also runs stock Android, which means that there are no unnecessary UI overlays or useless bloat to tax the hardware. The only ‘extra’ pre-installed app is Nokia’s own support app, and it’s actually quite useful. An Android One-certified smartphone, the Nokia 7.1 comes with the latest Android Pie out of the box, and will be the among the first devices to get future updates (both security and OS) from Google.

WATCH: Xiaomi Poco F1 Armored Edition First Look

Call quality and overall cellular reception on the Nokia 7.1 was great over the course of my review period, with the smartphone latching on to Jio s VoLTE network without any problems. However, I found the fingerprint sensor to be a hit-or-miss affair. Hopefully, a future software update will fix it.

Camera

As you d expect from a mid-range smartphone in 2018, Nokia 7.1 features a twin-lens rear camera system, comprised of a 12-megapixel (f/1.8) primary sensor and a 5-megapixel (f/2.4) secondary depth sensor. The imaging setup comes with ZEISS-enhanced optics, highlighting a partnership that s more than a decade old and bringing back fond memories of class-leading mobile devices like Nokia N93i.

Coming back to the present, I found Nokia 7.1 to be more than adequate for the everyday photography needs of just about everyone. Images captured in broad daylight have sufficient amount of resolved detail, and HDR mode (whether automatic or manually-enabled) further enhances darker areas of the scenes, without overexposing lighter parts. In low-light conditions, image quality expectedly takes a hit, with photos generally lacking in sharpness and having quite a lot of compression artefacts.

Nonetheless, I d say that Nokia 7.1 is one of the better performers in its price segment, as far as the camera experience is concerned. The 8-megapixel front-facing sensor works fine for selfies and video calls. The camera app is chock-full of features, having everything from Live Bokeh functionality to a full-blown Pro mode. You can even beautify your selfies and add animated masks to them in real time.

Battery

To ensure things keep working, Nokia 7.1 comes with a 3,060mAh battery, which is definitely on the smaller side. During my review run, I found the power pack to be just about enough for the day with average use. Heavy users will most likely end up plugging the 7.1 to the charger every night or a little before. The smartphone supports fast charging, and the included 18W wall adapter can juice up the battery in a little under two hours.

Verdict

Even though it’s a pretty good device overall, Nokia 7.1 already has its work cut out. To make its way to the customers’ hearts (and wallets), HMD Global s new offering must wade through a market overcrowded with value-for-money mid-rangers, majority of which offer similar specs at lower prices. Then there’s the fact that for the same price as the Nokia 7.1, you can get a Poco F1, a smartphone that has become the single yardstick by which all mid-rangers are judged.

But then, there’s a lot more to a smartphone than just raw hardware. It’s how the design, software, specifications and other elements come together to create a device that works just as good as it feels. And that is how the 7.1 excels. The cherry on top is the stunning HDR10-compliant display, which makes the price tag of Rs 19,999 almost seem justified.

So, if that s exactly the kind of smartphone that tickles your fancy, I have no qualms recommending Nokia 7.1 to you. It s compact, well-built, and almost guaranteed to be supported with relevant updates for quite a few years. Conversely, if you couldn’t care less about things like the HDR display, or dislike scratch-prone fragile mobile devices, skip this one and get the Poco F1, as it is (and will most likely continue to be, at least for a few months) an unbeatable value purchase.

Lastly, if you d like to keep other options open as well, you can consider Nokia’s own 6.1 Plus (which is essentially a 7.1, without the HDR pizazz), the Android One-certified Xiaomi Mi A2 and Motorola One Power, or even the new (and much more affordable) Asus’ Zenfone Max Pro M2.

For the latest tech news across the world, latest PC and Mobile games, tips & tricks, top-notch gadget reviews of most exciting releases follow BGR India’s Facebook, Twitter, subscribe our YouTube Channel. Also follow us on  Facebook Messenger for latest updates.
  • Published Date: December 26, 2018 4:16 PM IST


You Might be Interested

Nokia 7.1

12999

Android 9 Pie
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 SoC
Dual- 12MP + 12MP

new arrivals in india

Realme 8i
Realme 8i

13,999

Realme 8s 5G
Realme 8s 5G

17,999

Xiaomi Redmi 10 Prime
Xiaomi Redmi 10 Prime

12,499

Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G

35,999

Samsung Galaxy M32 5G
Samsung Galaxy M32 5G

20,999

Vivo Y33s
Vivo Y33s

17,990

Realme C21Y
Realme C21Y

8,999

Vivo Y21
Vivo Y21

15,490

Realme GT Master Edition
Realme GT Master Edition

25,999

Realme GT 5G
Realme GT 5G

37,999

Itel A48
Itel A48

6,399

Motorola Edge 20
Motorola Edge 20

29,999

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion
Motorola Edge 20 Fusion

21,499

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

84,999

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

1,49,999

Samsung Galaxy A12 (Exynos)
Samsung Galaxy A12 (Exynos)

13,999

Nokia C20 Plus
Nokia C20 Plus

8,999

Vivo Y53s
Vivo Y53s

19,490

Tecno Pova 2
Tecno Pova 2

10,999

Infinix Smart 5A
Infinix Smart 5A

6,499

Micromax In 2b
Micromax In 2b

8,999

Vivo Y72 5G
Vivo Y72 5G

20,990

Tecno Camon 17
Tecno Camon 17

12,999

Tecno Camon 17 Pro
Tecno Camon 17 Pro

16,999

Realme C11 2021
Realme C11 2021

6,999

Oppo Reno6 Pro 5G
Oppo Reno6 Pro 5G

39,990

Oppo Reno6 5G
Oppo Reno6 5G

29,990

Samsung Galaxy M21 2021
Samsung Galaxy M21 2021

12,499

OnePlus Nord 2
OnePlus Nord 2

27,999

Poco F3 GT
Poco F3 GT

27,999

Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
Samsung Galaxy A22 5G

19,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10T 5G
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10T 5G

13,999

Samsung Galaxy F22
Samsung Galaxy F22

12,499

Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite

21,999

Infinix Note 10 Pro
Infinix Note 10 Pro

16,999

Infinix Note 10
Infinix Note 10

10,999

Vivo Y73
Vivo Y73

20,990

OnePlus Nord CE 5G
OnePlus Nord CE 5G

22,999

iQOO Z3
iQOO Z3

19,990

Realme C25s
Realme C25s

9,999

Poco M3 Pro 5G
Poco M3 Pro 5G

13,999

Realme X7 Max 5G
Realme X7 Max 5G

26,999

Oppo F19
Oppo F19

18,990

Motorola Moto G40 Fusion
Motorola Moto G40 Fusion

13,999

POCO M2 Reloaded
POCO M2 Reloaded

9,499

OPPO A74 5G
OPPO A74 5G

17,990

Oppo A53s 5G
Oppo A53s 5G

14,990

Vivo V21 5G
Vivo V21 5G

29,990

Realme C25
Realme C25

9,499

Realme C21
Realme C21

7,999

Realme C20
Realme C20

6,799

Motorola Moto G60
Motorola Moto G60

17,999

iQOO 7
iQOO 7

31,990

Samsung Galaxy M42 5G
Samsung Galaxy M42 5G

21,999

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

69,999

Xiaomi Mi 11X Pro 5G
Xiaomi Mi 11X Pro 5G

39,999

Xiaomi Mi 11X
Xiaomi Mi 11X

29,999

Realme 8 5G
Realme 8 5G

13,999

Samsung Galaxy F02s
Samsung Galaxy F02s

8,999

Samsung Galaxy F12
Samsung Galaxy F12

10,999

POCO X3 Pro
POCO X3 Pro

18,999

Realme 8 Pro
Realme 8 Pro

17,999

Realme 8
Realme 8

14,999

Vivo X60 Pro Plus
Vivo X60 Pro Plus

69,990

Vivo X60 Pro
Vivo X60 Pro

49,990

Vivo X60
Vivo X60

37,990

OnePlus 9 Pro 5G
OnePlus 9 Pro 5G

64,999

OnePlus 9R 5G
OnePlus 9R 5G

39,999

OnePlus 9 5G
OnePlus 9 5G

49,999

Samsung Galaxy A72
Samsung Galaxy A72

34,999

Samsung Galaxy A52
Samsung Galaxy A52

26,499

Micromax In 1
Micromax In 1

10,499

Asus ROG Phone 5
Asus ROG Phone 5

49,999

Samsung Galaxy M12
Samsung Galaxy M12

10,999

Motorola Moto G30
Motorola Moto G30

10,999

Motorola Moto G10 Power
Motorola Moto G10 Power

9,999

Oppo F19 Pro Plus 5G
Oppo F19 Pro Plus 5G

25,990

Oppo F19 Pro
Oppo F19 Pro

21,490

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max

18,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro

15,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10

11,999

Realme Narzo 30A
Realme Narzo 30A

8,999

Realme Narzo 30 Pro
Realme Narzo 30 Pro

16,999

Infinix Smart 5
Infinix Smart 5

7,199

Samsung Galaxy F62
Samsung Galaxy F62

23,999

Samsung Galaxy A12
Samsung Galaxy A12

12,999

Nokia 5.4
Nokia 5.4

13,999

Nokia 3.4
Nokia 3.4

11,999

Realme X7 Pro 5G
Realme X7 Pro 5G

29,999

Realme X7
Realme X7

19,999

Vivo Y31
Vivo Y31

16,490

Oppo Reno5 Pro 5G
Oppo Reno5 Pro 5G

35,990

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G

1,05,999

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus 5G

81,999

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G

69,999

Vivo Y12s
Vivo Y12s

9,990

Vivo Y51A
Vivo Y51A

17,990

Samsung Galaxy M02s
Samsung Galaxy M02s

8,999

Xiaomi Mi 10i
Xiaomi Mi 10i

21,999

Oppo A15s
Oppo A15s

11,490

Best Sellers