The year 2018 was all about the notch for smartphone makers all around the world, and the trend continues throughout up until the last month of the year! And while most of these notch designs end up looking similar to one another, there are quite a few unique ones as well - in terms of their size, width and in some cases, placement. Though I’m not a huge fan of notches blending into the display and sometimes resembling spooky faces (such as on the Pixel 3 XL), I must admit, Nokia 8.1 has one of the good-looking and sophisticated notch designs I have seen in a long time. I have spent an ample amount of time checking out the Nokia 8.1 before HMD Global finally launched it in India, and based on my initial experience, here’s what I think about Nokia 8.1:
Once you take the Nokia 8.1 out of the box and boot it up for the first time, its notch design becomes more apparent. Although it may take you a while to get used to it, and once you do you will stop noticing it as much on your screen. The phone feels a bit heavy due to the fact that it’s made up of a glass back. It weighs in at 180g and measures 7.9mm in thickness. Although it looks premium, its thickness could very well be a dealbreaker if you are expecting its form factor to be slimmer. Again, the glass back does add to the phone's overall look. But what does end up spoiling the phone’s look is its receptivity to fingerprints and smudges. Anybody who has used a glass back phone knows the biggest peril of using one! Up front is 6.18-inch 1080p IPS screen with 81 per cent screen-to-body-ratio. The display feels smooth to interact with. But it lacks a Corning Gorilla Glass protection. The Sunlight legibility was just about fine. The screen becomes barely readable upon holding it under direct sunlight. But given the quality of the display, the experience is much better than other phones with IPS screen out there.
One of the best things about Nokia phones is its stock Android software, and the Android One saga continues with Nokia 8.1. As we have noted in many of our stories in the past, Google’s Project Treble has made it a lot easier and quicker to roll out Android Pie update starting with devices falling under the Android One initiative. As a result, Nokia 8.1 runs Android 9 Pie and November 2018 security patch out of the box, in addition to features like gesture controls, software tweaks, new material design and more. What’s more, Nokia 8.1 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 chipset, up to 6 gigs of RAM and 128GB gigs of expandable storage. Nokia 8.1 threw no tantrums as far as the overall performance is concerned. The multitasking went smooth, so did pretty much everything. The phone didn’t heat up. Though I faced no interruptions, it should be worth pointing out that my experience with Nokia 8.1 is limited to its base variant with 4GB RAM and 64GB of internal storage.
The camera appears to be one of the strong points about Nokia 8.1, except for some minor issues here and there. It has an excellent portrait camera for bokeh effect that retains as many details as possible. For the shutterbugs, there’s a 12MP rear camera with ZEISS optics, OIS and EIS, which is accompanied by a 2MP dedicated depth sensor for portrait shots. Furthermore, it houses a 20MP selfie camera. Focusing is quick and fairly accurate. Colour reproduction could have been better since Nokia 8.1 accentuates colours to a great extent, probably due to inaccurate white balancing. But many of the shots taken from different angles resulted in different colour reproduction. Pictures taken indoors were surprisingly good. Nokia 8.1 packs a 3,500mAh battery under the hood with 18W fast charging support. The phone could easily last me a day with a moderate usage. It often took close to 1 hour 30 minutes to charge up to 100 per cent.
I'll leave you some Nokia 8.1 Camera Samples to check out