We are just a couple of months away from 2019 and the major smartphone makers are done with popular launches of the year. But HMD seems to want to make its presence felt until the end. It has just the Nokia 7.1 smartphone, which unlike what many expected arrives as a standalone handset without being accompanied by a ‘Plus’ variant. There might be some confusion in the naming scheme of the handset as the Nokia 7 launched in China only last year and the first global model in the ‘7’ series was the 7 Plus that came earlier this year. There was no global model of the 7 but then HMD has
decided to launch the Nokia 7.1 globally.

Gadgets Now got some to use the smartphone one day before the global launch and here’s what we think about the newly-launched smartphone.

In terms of design, HMD seems to have moved on from what the Nokia 7 Plus flaunted. The handset now seems goes in sync with the Nokia 5.1 and Nokia 6.1 smartphones, sporting a metal (6000 Series Aluminum) and glass build. It looks good and has a robust feel to it but for some it could prove to be slippery. Also, since the back is all glass, it is a fingerprint and smudge magnet. What looks appealing though are the diamond cut metal edges that have a contrast look as compared to the body colour.

- Master - nokia 7.1: Nokia 7.1 launched: First impressions

Unfortunately, there’s a mono speaker below alongside the USB Type-C port. Also, like it or not, there’s a notch display. You will still get an option to hide the notch for third-party apps.

Talking about the notch, the display has received a special attention in the Nokia 7.1. Being one of the highlighted features, the 5.8-inch IPS display with FHD+ resolution and 19:9 aspect ratio can now convert SDR content to HDR in time, something you don’t hear in every other mid-range smartphone. Although HMD claims that the viewing experience with the Nokia 7.1 will be a good one but we are yet to fully test it.

Impressively, the smartphone also brings HDR10 supporting canvas in a much lower price tag, something that will only add to the viewing experience.

We expect the smartphone to perform without any complaints as it is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor, which is a decent SoC in terms of rendering content and processing heavy work. The 3GB or 4GB RAM should make the smartphone a reasonably good performer. As for the storage, while the 64GB model is good enough for most of the apps and downloading content, the 32GB model might not have as much space. In both cases, you get microSD card support up to 400GB.

- Master - nokia 7.1: Nokia 7.1 launched: First impressions

The ZEISS optics-powered rear 12MP camera with f/1.8 aperture and 5MP monochrome camera with f/2.4 aperture comes as an added advantage over other mid-rangers. It is too early to give a verdict for now, but spec-wise they do look like a good combination. What we are looking forward to though is the inclusion of the Pro Camera mode that has been one of the popular camera features in Nokia handsets off late. The front-facing 8MP camera is said to be AI-enabled and will help users in creating animated emojis. This is not something new but will surely help Nokia reach on the same level as some other competing handsets.

We are yet to see how the 3060mAh battery performs in real life. If its anywhere like what the Nokia 6.1 Plus has, it would still be on the positive side of things. If it’s better, all praises. You also get Fast charging tech, about which we will talk about at length in the review. HMD claims this native tech can charge the smartphone up to 50% in 30 minutes, which is not bad for the given device in the particular price bracket (between EUR 299 to EUR 349).

So the Nokia 7.1 does seem like it could impress the crowd with some of the features that they don’t get to experience in a mid-range handset often. While the basic set of specs are good enough, what comes as a decorative sugar coating on the cake are features like HDR10 supporting ‘PureDisplay’, Nokia Ozo and the Pro camera mode. So will this smartphone be a steal for the given cost or not, only time will tell. But for now, the piece of machinery doesn’t fail to impress.

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