Nokia 8 was HMD Global’s first high-end smartphone that money could buy, but like any other, it’s successor, the Nokia 8.1, is available for purchase, at least not in the U.S. Similar to many other HMD-backed Nokia phones, the Nokia 8.1 first took the usual route to the world through China, where it has the name Nokia X7.
Initially, it was widely thought this would end up outside China as the Nokia 7.1 Plus, but it didn’t. To make you understand why this was so, the Nokia X5 that launched in China went on to be unveiled to the globe as the Nokia 5.1 Plus, same as the Nokia X6 that is known globally as Nokia 6.1 Plus. With the Nokia X7, many, including here at TAS, believed this would be the Nokia 7.1 Plus, a superior variant of the Nokia 7.1 that came out in early October 2018, yet here we are.
Related: The best Nokia phones
Nokia 8.1 specs
- 6.18-inch 18.7:9 FHD+ LCD display
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor
- 4GB or 6GB RAM
- 64GB or 128GB expandable storage, up to 400GB
- Dual 12MP + 13MP main camera
- 20MP front camera
- 3500mAh battery
- Android 8.1 Oreo
- Extras: Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C, 3.5mm audio jack, Rear-mounted FPS, Fast charging (18W), NFC, etc.
Looking at the specs sheet above, there’s no doubt that the Nokia 8.1 is a somehow downgraded version compared to the Nokia 8 and Nokia 8 Sirocco, but there are also some upgrades here and there.
The screen has grown bigger and better and includes things like 500 nits brightness, 18.7:9 aspect ratio, 96% NTSC color gamut coverage, DCI-P3 support as well as PureDisplay technology, which enables real-time SDR to HDR video conversion; there is more RAM, up to 6GB and storage goes all the way up to 128GB; the battery is slightly bigger and even better, you still get the good combination of USB-C and 3.5mm audio jack.
Given that the Carl Zeiss-backed dual-lens camera on the back is largely the same as the Nokia 7 Plus, you can still expect a solid performance from a device in the Nokia 8.1’s price range. The selfie shooter has more megapixels but since they all had to fit in relatively small sensor size, you end up with a smaller pixel size of 0.9μm, something that could slightly affect the phone’s performance in low light condition.
It gets even better as the Nokia 8.1 comes preinstalled with Android 9 Pie, meaning you are guaranteed OS updates beyond Android Q.
Nokia 8.1 price and availability
As noted before, HMD Global unveils most of its smartphones in China first before giving the rest of the globe a taste of the same. The Nokia 8.1 is already available in China in three configurations, but those in other parts will be lucky to get two, otherwise, there is only one option.
Unfortunately, the Nokia 8.1 isn’t sold in the U.S., but it’s available in the UK, Europe, India and other markets across the globe.
In China, you can get the Nokia 8.1 through JD.com. In India and the UK, hit the links in the table above and you’ll be redirected to the official purchase links in the respective markets.