“The Nokia 8.1 brings decent upgrades over the 7 Plus and can be deemed a worthy successor”

There’s no doubt that the Nokia 7 Plus (review) is among the finest phones of this year. So, it’s a hard task for HMD Global to follow it up with an even better device that’s priced similarly. Its attempt is the new Nokia 8.1, which is a more modern smartphone, replete with features like a notch, a better processor, an advanced display and the latest Android software in its vanilla Android One form. On paper, this is now a far more attractive offering than the 7 Plus. If you’d like to get into the exact details of what makes it a better phone, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a detailed comparison between these two Nokia devices.

Design and display

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The obvious change here is that the 8.1’s screen comes with a notch, and quite a large one at that. As much as it’s a hindrance towards a true full-screen experience, it also allows the display to go edge to edge on three sides. We say three, because a chin does exist at the bottom, which Nokia has decided to brand with its logo. As opposed to that, the screen on the 7 Plus is notch-less, and has extremely thin bezels on two sides. Its top portion and its chin are pretty large comparatively. Glass is the material used on the backs of both these devices, while the camera arrangement and even the fingerprint scanner placement is similar.

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Thankfully, there’s no bad news for headphone jack lovers, as the 8.1 has retained it just like the 7 Plus. USB Type-C connectivity is common between the two as well, and same goes for the Zeiss optics on their cameras. There’s a big update in the display department, as the Nokia 8.1 features a 6.18-inch panel with HDR10 capability and a resolution of 1,080 x 2,280 pixels. The display on the 7 Plus is a regular HDR panel sized at 6-inches, and bears a resolution of 1,080 x 2,160 pixels.

Hardware and software

The grossly underused Snapdragon 710 chipset sits inside the Nokia 8.1. This is a 10nm chipset fitted with a 2.2GHz octa-core processor and an Adreno 616 GPU. It does not compare well with the Snapdragon 660 SoC inside the Nokia 7 Plus, which is built with the 14nm process, and offers a tad weaker 2.2GHz octa-core processor and an Adreno 512 GPU. There’s no difference in the memory options offered by the two phones. You get 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage on both, along with a microSD card slot that sits in the hybrid SIM tray.

Nokia 8 1 Launch

While the Nokia 8.1 runs Android 9 Pie out of the box, the 7 Plus was recently upgraded to the same software. That means both the devices run on the software. They are part of the Android One platform that guarantees them quick software updates, regular security patches and freedom from bloatware. The camera app is of course proprietary, and has way more variety than Google’s own app. There’s support for manual photography and a Dual-Sight feature that lets you use both the front and rear cameras of the phone in tandem. These two phones even natively support Google Lens and Motion Photos.

Camera and battery

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Nokia hasn’t changed the camera setup on the 8.1 from what it was on the 7 Plus. You still get a 12MP f/1.8 primary camera and a 13MP f/2.6 secondary one. These allow you to not just access the portrait mode, but also use optical zoom for getting closer to your subjects. The front camera is where Nokia has issued an update. The Nokia 7 Plus’ 16MP snapper has been swapped for a 20MP unit that sits within the 8.1’s notch. As for the battery, there’s a slight downgrade here. While the 7 Plus boasted of a 3,800mAh power cell, the 8.1 has adopted a slightly smaller 3,500mAh unit. However, both the phones offer fast charging support.

Closing thoughts 

The Nokia 8.1 can be seen as a spiritual successor. It’s a phone built with the same approach of tendering advanced specs at a mid-range price. And in that context, it’s certainly a worthy upgrade to the 7 Plus. This phone has an improved new display, a far more advanced CPU and the same great camera setup that we loved on the previous device. The best part is that the latest phone has been priced the same as its predecessor — Rs 26,999.