HMD Global announced the Nokia 7.1 earlier this month, and quickly opened up pre-orders for the device. Now the device is available for purchase, with a retail price of $349. The Nokia 7.1 is positioned as a true mid-range smartphone from HMD Global, and it's the highest-end smartphone that it has launched in the US since it revived the Nokia brand a little over a year ago. It's a very exciting smartphone for HMD Global, because instead of jumping into the world of $500+ smartphones with Quad HD displays, and massive batteries, it is going with something a bit cheaper, and a market that seems to have been watered down in 2018.
The Nokia 7.1 sports a 5.85-inch Full HD+ display with a resolution of 2280x1080, and that means that it is indeed a 19:9 aspect ratio and there is also a notch here. The notch is pretty small (especially if you compare it to the Pixel 3). This screen may seem mid-range on paper, but it's a really good looking LCD panel and it even supports HDR. That is something you don't typically see on a Full HD+ display, that is typically reserved for a Quad HD or Quad HD+ resolution display. Not to mention, it's also reserved for pricier smartphones. Under-the-hood, you'll find the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 chipset with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage (there is a 3GB/32GB model, but it is not coming to the US). HMD Global has also kept the micro SD card slot, allowing you to store plenty of pictures, music and much more on this smartphone. There is also a 3060mAh capacity battery included which should keep it going all day long. On the camera front, there is a 12-megapixel and a 5-megapixel sensor on the back. The 12-megapixel sensor is the main camera, and it has an aperture of f/1.8 with the secondary lens sporting a f/2.4 aperture. It also has dual-pixel phase-detection autofocus. On the front, there is a 8-megapixel sensor with a f/2.0 aperture for taking those selfies. Finally, the Nokia 7.1 comes in two colors: Gloss Steel and Gloss Midnight Blue.
Background: HMD Global is the company behind this reincarnation of Nokia. HMD Global is a manufacturing company based in Finland, that bought Nokia back from Microsoft after it was sold to Microsoft back in 2014. So it is the same "Nokia" in brand, but not the same company at all. For one, this new Nokia is only making Android smartphones, and not limited to just Windows Phone, like it was in the old days. Essentially, HMD Global has the rights to the Nokia name and is using it to bring the name back to life and become one of the biggest smartphone makers once again. HMD Global only released its first Nokia-branded smartphone at Mobile World Congress in 2017, meaning it is less than two years old, and has already released a number of phones, and picked up a pretty decent chunk of market share. Now it hasn't cracked the top five yet - though in a little over 18 months, that would be pretty incredible. But it has picked up a big chunk in India and Europe. Now it is looking to move further into the US with its smartphones.
With the Nokia 7.1, HMD Global is continuing to bring its portfolio over to the US. Currently, only a couple of HMD Global's many Nokia smartphones are available in the US, though that is going to change in the near future. HMD Global has said that they are moving to the US slowly, as this is already a very saturated market, and it doesn't want to fail as soon as it launches here. So instead of just bringing eight smartphones to the US all at once, it's taking baby steps. Which makes sense for a company like HMD Global, sure the Nokia name is still a pretty big name - even in 2018 - but it's not as big as Samsung, Apple, LG, Motorola and a few others. So taking small steps is necessary and smart. The Nokia 7.1 is the first step for HMD Global to start bringing its high-end devices to the US market though.
Impact: The Nokia 7.1 is likely one of the best looking sub-$350 smartphones on the market right now. If this were a year ago, we could say it was one of the only glass-backed smartphones in that price range. But that is no longer true, seeing as Honor, Motorola and a few others have launched their own mid-range devices with glass backs. Like the new Honor 8X and Moto G6-series. But the Nokia 7.1 looks and feels like a much more high-end device than it actually is. Nokia was aiming to make it look and feel like a piece of jewelry, and it definitely does do that, which is nice to see. Especially at this low-price. It's also an Android One smartphone, which means it is going to get updates pretty quickly, thanks to it using stock Android, and not needing a whole lot of changes to push out the update to Android P. Speaking of which, the Nokia 7.1 did launch with Android 8.1 Oreo, but it is getting Android 9 Pie in November, which is pretty darn quick.
Unfortunately, the Nokia 7.1 is not compatible with Verizon and Sprint. It is still a GSM only device, so it will work on AT&T, T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile, Straight Talk, Simple Mobile and many other carriers that work on AT&T and T-Mobile's networks. Making it a great choice if you are on those carriers, but if you are on Verizon or Sprint, it may not be as good of a choice, unfortunately. The Nokia 7.1 will set you back $349, but remember this model does have 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, most smartphones in this price range are coming with just 32GB of storage and either 3GB or 4GB of RAM. The RAM might be something to be worried about, but remember, the Nokia 7.1 is running stock Android, which is pretty light. On top of that, the camera is not heavily optimized like on the Pixel 3, so there should be no issues with RAM on this phone. You can pick up the Nokia 7.1 using the links below.