Nokia 7.1 – One with seven, one with Android
Since Nokia has appeared on the scene, the smartphone maker is flooded with new models that run on Android One. It is difficult to distinguish them from each other, so also this Nokia 7.1, which has trouble to stand out in the Nokia mass.
Nokia released the Nokia 7 Plus in 2018, which not only received a good review from us but was even voted Best Product of the Year at BestProduct. The smartphone has a distinctive appearance, favourable price and Android One: an Android version that is kept up-to-date by Google itself, instead of the manufacturer. The Nokia 7.1 appears less than six months later. A successor cannot really be called. The appearance with its notch is generic and the specifications are also unremarkable. The device costs around 350 euros: a price range in which many excellent smartphones (including the Nokia 7 Plus) are available. How does the Nokia 7.1 stand out above the crowd?
I recently mentioned the appearance, which looks pretty generic due to the screen notch on the front and the same design as all those other Nokia devices that are currently flooding the market. This does not detract from the fact that the Nokia 7.1 feels very luxurious, the metal rim and glass back ensure that the smartphone is really solid, despite the fact that it is not waterproof. The device is also remarkably modest in size, making it comfortable in the hand and resistant to most pockets and handbags. You never have the feeling of having a budget device, but the Nokia 7.1 is unobtrusive in its appearance. A strange combination, but it works.
Of course, the price with 350 euros is modest. But the specifications are also: a Snapdragon 636 processor with 4GB RAM and 32GB of storage (of which you still have 20 net available) does not really survive. In theory, it should be enough to let Android run smoothly. Especially because the Nokia 7.1 runs on Android One, which means that you are not bothered with an Android skin or pre-installed apps. Yet everything does not run smoothly. Switch between apps, start apps and load screens … It just does not run as smoothly as it should. That is annoying, especially because you also want to use the necessary apps and future Android updates will probably not make the smartphone much faster. Benchmarks underline moderate speed results, even for this price range. I did not experience these problems with the Nokia 7 Plus orMoto G6 Plus: budget smartphones that you pay less for.
The same can be said about the battery life. It is also rather inconspicuous, one day you keep full. But that depends on how intensively you use the Nokia 7.1.
Android simply does not run as smoothly as it should
An LCD display panel of 5.8 inches (14.7 cm) in diameter and an aspect ratio of 19 by 9. There are thin screen edges and a notch to make the device incredibly handy. Unfortunately, there is no notification slot in the notch. The Nokia 7 Plus last year had the problem that the maximum screen brightness was not very high. That is less of a problem with this Nokia 7.1, but the maximum brightness is still not very high. The full-HD screen has a nice colour reproduction, only its white surfaces are very grey.
At the rear is a double camera. That has also become a bit the standard with budget smartphones. However, a good single lens is better than two moderate lenses. The Nokia 7.1 would have been better off with one good lens because functionally it adds little. You can take photos with the depth-of-field effect, and that’s it. Many other smartphones place two lenses with different focal lengths, so you can zoom in without loss of quality. That is not the case with the Nokia 7.1, so you simply miss advanced possibilities.
The cameras shoot nice pictures. But do not expect too much of it. In difficult light conditions, details are soon lost and noise occurs. That is to be expected for a smartphone in this price range. As far as that is concerned, the camera performs as you would expect in the price range: great pictures to share on social media and WhatsApp … But for your printed photo album you better take a camera with you.
In the case of difficult lighting conditions (such as backlighting), details are lost.
Conclusion: Buy Nokia 7.1?
The Nokia 7.1 is a modest smartphone, in terms of price and with its appearance. Very nice is that the smartphone runs on Android One, that makes the device safer and you have more system capacity available for what you find important. That is necessary because the performance is a bit disappointing. Furthermore, the Nokia 7.1 never really excels in: the screen, the dualcam, the battery life … it is all a bit unobtrusive. The problem with the Nokia 7.1 is that you can get better for less money, think of the Moto G6 Plus. The Nokia 7.1 is therefore really a smartphone that you choose when you are looking for a handy smartphone.