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Home / Technology / Review: Nokia 7.1 | Nokiamob

Review: Nokia 7.1 | Nokiamob

Nokia 7.1 is an interesting mid-range device that HMD announced in October 2018 at the London event, organized just for this device. Following the great success of Nokia 7 in China, the rest of the world asked for a similar device, which would be slightly better than Nokia 6, but still affordable. Nokia 7.1 came in response to all the desire for Nokia fans worldwide. In fact, Nokia 7.1 is an enhanced Nokia 6.1 Plus. It can be disturbing to many, but keep in mind that this model has many features that are better and come as a nice surprise. I spent a lot of time with the device, to check if it was good that HMD said, and to see if I would get used to an infamous notch.

  • Big construction
  • Big speaker
  • Notch
  • Con

  • Con
  • Con
  • ] Slip and fingerprint magnet
  • Snapdragon 636 poor choice for price range
  • Camera does not work well
  • Average battery life
  • Fast charging not so fast
  • Notch
  • Hardware specifications

    • ] Dimensions: 149.7 x 71.18 x 7.99 mm
    • Mass: 160 g
    • Body: Aluminum frame, glass back and front
    • View: PureDisplay Full HD + 5.84 & 1939; 19: 9 ratio, Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3
    • Processor: Qualcomm® Snapdragon ™ 636
    • Memory: 32/64 + 3/4 GB LPPDDR4x
    • Camera: Primary – 12 MP 2PD / AF / f1.8 / 1.28 UM, others – 5 MP, BW / FF / F2. 4 / 1.12um, Front – 8 MP FF / f2.0
    • Connection: 3.5 mm headphone connector, LTE Cat. 6, 300Mbps DL / 50Mbps UL, WiFi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac
    • Bluetooth® 5.0, GPS / AGPS + GLONASS, NFC, USB Type-C (USB 2.0)
    • Sensors: Ambient Light Sensor, Sensor for proximity, Accelerometer (G-sensor), E-compass, Gyroscope, Fingerprint sensor (back)
    • Battery: 3060 mAh, 18W charger
    • OS: Android 9 Pie
    • Colors: Gloss Midnight Blue, Gloss Steel
    • Price: € 299

    In the box

    Nokia 7.1 comes in a classic white box with the image of hands framed by the device. Interestingly, the Nokia 5.1 Plus box looks quite similar (also the device?), Except for the notch on 7.1, is clearly visible on the front and back of the box. Inside you will find Nokia 7.1 covered with a plastic film, and next to the device is a box containing 18W charger, 1m long USB C / USB cable and simple and simple Nokia WH-108 headphones. The SIM door key is below the device and it has a longer pin since the ejector mechanism is slightly different. You cannot use an old key that comes with some previous Nokia phones to open it. Manuals are translated in many languages ​​(depending on the region) and are placed under the cradle where 7.1 is seated.


    I have to say that I like the design of Nokia 7.1. HMD changed the design of its phones in 2018 and began using glass a lot on its medium size range. This is a slightly risky movement, since the glass can easily be crushed and is a fingerprint magnet. Unfortunately, I did some drop tests from meter height, and fortunately the glass did not break, which was a relief.

    The design is both classic Scandinavian, with a touch of the Fabula story that Nokia started with his Lumia series. You won't find many things that interrupt the lines of a device, just a few incisions in the glass of the earmold, the fingerprint reader, and one protrusion where the dual camera is located. The front and back are pretty much the same with aluminum bodies protruding in between. The front of the unit hides a 5.8-inch screen that is mixed nicely, as the polarization filter makes it almost as black as relatively thin fittings. At the top of the screen is a notch where the 8 MP wide angle front camera, earpiece, and proximity and surrounding light sensors are located. Notch is not wide, which is good since that part of the screen can be converted into a virtual frame where most of your messages are displayed. There was no place for the Nokia logo, so it is now located centrally on the underside of the front surface or at the chin. The Gorilla glass 3, which protects the front of the phone, is only slightly curved into the precisely cut aluminum frame. On the right side is the volume control buttons and a power / lock button that is fixed and with a nicely defined click. By double-clicking on the power button, start the camera application by default, and by clicking volume down, you take pictures that are a great substitute for dedicated camera button. Nokia phones used to have. The left side of the aluminum frame contains only the SIM / MicroSD card doors that open with a given key that has a slightly elongated pin. You cannot open the SIM tray with an old key, since the mechanism is located differently, but you can use the new key to open SIM doors for older (or other) Nokia smartphones.

    At the top you will find two antenna strips. The left is perforated with one of three microphones, and the left is perforated with 3.5 mm headphone jack. At the bottom is the same arrangement of antennas with a microphone hole to the left and two openings of the single speaker to the right for centrally located USB Type C connector. At the back you will find an elevated camera module with 5 MP depth sensor camera, Zeiss logo, 12 MP main camera and dual LED flash. One thing I did not like about the camera module is that both cameras were not centered, but were a little to the right. The camera module is characterized by a metal ring surrounding the Gorilla Glass 3, which is intended to protect the cameras from scratches. The glass on the back is not Gorilla 3, and after two weeks the edges will be full of micro-scratches that are not so easy to see. Underneath the camera module is the fingerprint reader that works fine, but it can get faster. The Silverish Nokia logo is located in the middle of the device and looks nice under the glass. The Android One logo at the bottom is the same color as the Nokia logo, while the text below is slightly lighter and tells you the origin of the device, HMD's HQ address and FCC number. Nokia 7.1 is the first model that came with a new address at HMD's headquarters.

    Ergonomics, build quality

    Nokia 7.1 has a pretty nice touch in the hand. It is solid as a Nokia 6.1, but again mild and warm as Nokia 5.1 Plus. It is slightly curved, adds softness when you hold it, and the aluminum frame provides the firmness of cold metal. Although the phone is covered with glass, it is quite resistant to the fall of hard surfaces. Unfortunately, I did a few drops of tests when I wanted to leave the phone on some kind of fabric and the phone would go quickly on the floor. As mentioned, perhaps the biggest flaw in the design is that the phone is smooth as hell. It is quite difficult to maneuver with it, but you get used to it after a week. I would like to see the silicone protection bag in the shopping cart since I guarantee you release the phone at least twice before turning to it and because the backlight will scratch easily.

    I damaged the aluminum frame in two places, but there are no pants and scratches are small. Most importantly, the screen did not occur due to a cleverly placed plastic ring that surrounds the front and back glass and acts as a buffer zone between glass and aluminum frame. I prefer HMD to find any other material that covers the back since this unit is a super-magnet for fingerprints and you will clean it every time you get it in your hand. I managed to control the device by just using my thumb. It also means you have to stretch it from time to time, but scrolling through scans of scanned fingerprints is useful.


    The display of Nokia 7.1 is one of its sales points. HMD used something similar to an old display technology previously seen on Nokia Lumia smartphones, actually on the Lumia 1520, which was called the Assertive Display. HMD now marked it as PureDisplay. This technology allows the 7.1 screen to be dynamically customized to ambient light conditions, displaying HDR images and videos by making real-time SDRs to HDR conversion to sharpen and enhance the images and videos. The LCD screen has FullHD + resolution or 1080 × 2280 pixels giving the density of about 432 PPI. It is 5.84 "large in diagonal and it takes almost 80% of the front surface. The screen is polarized by a special filter that is responsible for the high visibility under the bright light. I had no trouble reading the screen under bright sunlight, And it may be weak enough when surfing before going to sleep. The good thing is that you can use the night light feature to lower the blue light as the LCD emits and help you fall asleep before. Also, the screen was hypersensitive since I could control it with wool (fabric) gloves on the hands

    The display has a thin, centrally located notch at the upper end, which is a good solution since all alerts and status symbols are located in the virtual package, thus making the usable surface on the screen bigger, especially if you choose to hide notches. This option is not easily found. It is hidden in the developer options that you probably want to know how to activate. I really got used to a notch and I didn't bother t of it when it was hidden. The only thing I found is the dark shade that can be seen on the edges when the background is white and backlight at maximum setting.

    The HDR10 feature sharper and vibrates the entire screen content, but the transition from SDR to HDR can often be seen as a hue, and HMD programmers should perfect the technology more.


    Nokia's philosophy was always about connecting people, and luckily HMD continued. Nokia 7.1 is a great device to get you connected, not just to the Internet or BT device, but to real people over the GSM standard. Yes, 7.1 can ring and the quality is good. The earphone creates good sound, and the speaker is also great not only for conversation but also for listening to music. It is one of the best speakers in the latest Nokia series, and if you fine-tune it, you can also get nice bass tones, not just mid and high. BT worked well, connected the device with various other devices, car radios without problems. I just had trouble connecting to NFC to BT speaker, but there was perhaps a hardware problem with a device I got for the test. Hard reset didn't help.

    I rely on WiFi networks a lot, and the WiFi radio worked well, with no hiccups connected. When talking about radios, GPS also worked well, and 7.1 was pretty quick in getting the position lock, even offline (only the GPS radio was active). The unit is equipped with a variety of sensors such as light and proximity sensors or accelerometers and magnetometers that you can also use as a true digital compass.

    Although Nokia devices, which are part of the Android One Club, have unlimited height-quality storage to preserve the entire resolution of your photos, you must connect your device to your computer or other external storage device via the USB OTG connection. You can easily connect Nokia 7.1 to Windows PC without driver installation and the transfer speed is fast. One thing that bothered me was the need to confirm the connection when you connected the device to the PC. That means you have to unlock your device, click on the message and just start transferring your photos or videos.


    Nokia tried to stay on the smartphone market using Microsoft's Windows Phone OS, and it didn't seem quite good. HMD used Nokia's Plan B and went with Android, but not any kind of Android. HMD used Google's clean Android OS and created only two additional apps, Camera and Support app. Nokia 7.1 is part of the Android One Club, which means that this device receives two major Android updates and three years of security updates. This is quite interesting for all those people who don't want to complicate life with extra OEM options, and just trust what Google has prepared for them. If you decide to buy Nokia 7.1, you get Android Pie, probably right out of the box. The operating system comes with all the necessary apps, and everything else you need is in the Google Play store or APK mirror.

    This device does not have a screenshot, but it has Ambient display that awakens the screen when new alerts are available. You can also check the time when you lift the phone up or have the clock constantly on while charging the phone.

    Another thing I like about this operating system and Nokia 7.1 is that you can unlock it in three different ways, buy double-tap on the screen, press the unlock button or scan fingerprints on the back of the device. Another nice touch is the ability to scroll among alerts using the fingerprint reader. That way, you can really use the device with just one hand.


    Nokia 7 (2018) was a great device since it was initially improved Nokia 6 (2017) with Zeiss lenses. When HMD announced 7.1 for the global market, I expected to see a smaller Nokia 7 Plus. Perhaps HMD planned to do so, but Nokia 7.1 came with weaker Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 which is not as fast as the Snapdragon 660 set in Nokia 7 Plus. The Snapdragon 636 has 8 cores, four of which are the time of 1.80 GHz, and another 4 which is the time of 1.61 GHz. Processor selection is my second major complaint on the device that now costs more than the Nokia 7 Plus. Either way, it's not that slow, and it's probably faster than the old Nokia 6 (2017) and inline with Nokia 7. This Nokia 7.1 has 3GB of DDR4 RAM that's enough for good quality multitasking and there is no problem with it . I found it a little slow when I opened games like Subway Surfers or my favorite Angry Birds. After 15 minutes of playing games, the device will get a little hot but nothing compared to Nokia 6 (2017) that would be hot as freshly baked pies. Nevertheless, Adreno 509 is doing well, and there won't be a problem playing harder games, except that the battery is drained faster and the device temperature will rise above 38 ° C. Compared to Nokia 7 Plus, Nokia 7.1 is generally slower in to open apps, but you will be able to use that device normally without layers or any big hiccups.


    The camera is another selling point for Nokia 7.1. HMD used Samsung's sensor s5k4h8 (again), but this is an improved version from the old 7. The sensor has 12.2 MP and has a fairly wide aperture of f / 1.8. This aperture combined with 1.28 μm pixels should provide a decent low light / night recording. To make them even better, HMD developed aggressive algorithms that make night scenes even better than the previous model. The camera for Nokia 7.1 is the ZEISS brand, which means that its lenses are of good quality. The hardware completes the latest camera app that offers Pro mode for more experienced phonographs, Live Bokeh options that work pretty nicely (I dare say even better than iPhone XS), the Panorama option and the Square option that helps Instagramers capture objects in their beloved 1: 1 shooting conditions. You can also shoot regular video (no pro controls here by yourself), slow-motion video and games with Time-Lapse photography. Nokia 7.1 also comes with Nokia's OZO audio audio software that guarantees clear and omni directional audio recording. The latest 7.1 camera camera comes with an enhanced Bothie mode that you can use in both shooting and video mode to reframe both cameras for better centering.


    The camera creates great images in daylight, but overprocessing is a big problem here. Although the dynamic range is great, the colors are oversaturated and more contrast is added to finishing. Most of the people will like it, but when you transfer the images to a computer, you will often notice digital noise in the pictures. All the images look good, sharp and vibrant on the 7.1-inch HDR display, but on the PC screen you can see all the disadvantages of all the work that algorithms do on the back. Another 5MP camera used to focus does the job nicely, but I noticed that sometimes not focused in automatic mode. To prevent you from focusing on the desired object manually, you want your photos to be crystal clear every time you use the camera. Anyway, there are problems that can be solved with further fine-tuning of the camera program, and since HMD invested a lot in the image department, I think that the camera experience will be better in time.

    Images in closed areas illuminated with artificial light turn out pretty well, although there is some noise in the areas that do not get much light.

    Low light or night shots have been greatly improved compared to Nokia 6.1 or some older models, especially without using the dual LED flash. You can create well-lit pictures, but the process is great, the details are not sharp and look pretty washed out. Compared to Nokia 7 Plus, Nokia 7.1 will make low slides look brighter but with a lot of noise.

    The front camera has an 8MP sensor and wide-angle lenses. Selfies under the bright light are sharp and object edges are well defined, but in dim light, restraints are not as sharp and you need to use the LCD as a source of light.

    ] You can check the comparison of Nokia 7 Plus and 7.1 cameras here. The size of the images is reduced to save the server space. Check the photos in full resolution on our Flickr profile.


    You can shoot a 4K video with Nokia 7.1 and the length of the video is not limited. The default resolution is 1080p and it gives you good videos. When you start shooting, the camera program activates the OZO Audio recording which is not directional here. So microphones detect the sounds around you as much. When using 1080p resolution, you can use EIS or the electronic image stabilization that works well. You can even shoot steady videos while walking, which is fine. The recorded sound is of good quality, even though midtones dominate. I had some problems with the EIS when you filmed small slides, and therefore these videos look like.

    Check the videos below and see for yourself. Use headphones to judge the sound quality.


    Nokia 7.1 has an integrated battery with a capacity of 3060 mAh, which is a standard for medium sized devices. This battery gives you a full day of moderate to high usage of the device. You will end the day with 18% to 22% of the battery. If you take a lot of pictures, play a game for about 20 minutes, browse a lot and listen to music, charge your device in 8 in the evening. During long weekend nights, you need to recharge it to create nice, low slides with your device. The 18W charger comes in the shopping cart, but it does not pick up the device faster, around 40% at approx. 30 minutes, which is 1.33% every minute of charge, and the battery gets hot. The total charging time is not shortened, or linear. It will charge the device up to 2 hours. It can be slow, but in a relatively short time you get enough juice for the rest of your smartphone experiences.

    Final Thoughts

    Nokia 7.1 is a nicely designed phone with good build quality and some tweaks that make it a most sought after midrange smartphone in selected markets. But after spending two weeks with it, I got the impression that Nokia 7.1 is just pushing up the version of Nokia 6.1 Plus, and that Nokia 5.1 Plus shares its appeal. When you see it this way, its global price is not justified. If you add a little more money, you can either buy brand new Nokia 8.1 or go for the outstanding Nokia 7 Plus for the same or less amount of money. All in all, you will get a better performing unit in every aspect.

    There are some features of Nokia 7.1 that may need some improvements that can be easily achieved through software updates. For example, real-time HDR conversion can be smoothed out and camera performance enhanced to get sharper and natural-looking images. In addition, HMD can make Snapdragon 636 work better, which will make 7.1 more competitive in the market.

    Don't get me wrong, Nokia 7.1 is a pretty attractive device and definitely a head. But with Nokia 7 Plus still available globally, it just won't be the first choice for many people.

    This phone can be ideal for people who like nicely designed and solid gadgets with a smaller screen diagonal that will use the camera at sometimes inspiring shooting moments in good light conditions, not as a replacement for their camera.

    Thank you very much to HMD Global for giving us the chance to review this device!

    Nokia 7.1

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