Nokia 8.1 review

No longer the flagship for Nokia

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The Nokia 8.1 is an odd phone. It’s strange that HMD Global has chosen to make this handset so mid-range considering its name, which a year and a half ago would have suggested a flagship device for the company.

This is a solid mid-range device that will offer a suitable experience for the money that you’re paying, but it makes us ask questions about what the future of HMD’s flagship phones will be.

You may want to wait to see whether HMD Global is set to announce a new phone in the coming months, but if you like the sound of this mid-ranger there’s little other reason not to snap it up as soon as possible.

Who’s this for? 

This is for anyone who wants a simple experience on an Android phone that’s also a mid-range and affordable device.

Compared to some of the competition around this price, you’ll notice how this has some of the easiest to use software onboard as well as an attractive design. It doesn’t feel particularly premium, but it’s good enough in the hand.

Should you buy it? 

You should buy this if you’re looking for a handset that you can save money on without losing too many of the top-end features you can currently get.

We weren’t blown away by any element of the Nokia 8.1. Instead it’s just good at most things and that’s good enough for a phone that doesn’t cost the world.

The competition

Don't love the Nokia 8.1? Below we've put together a variety of other devices you may want to consider.

Honor 10

The Honor 10 isn’t the best phone the brand has ever made, but it’s remarkably similar to the Nokia 8.1 yet now a bit cheaper than Nokia’s handset. With a Full HD+ notch-toting display and some powerful stuff under the hood you may want to consider the Honor 10 instead of the Nokia. 

OnePlus 6T 

Willing to spend a bit more? You may want to go for the OnePlus 6T, which features high-end tech for a touch more in price. It has an in-display fingerprint scanner, a top-end chipset under the hood and a premium-feel design.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) 

Samsung’s Galaxy A7 isn’t as powerful as the Nokia 8.1, but it’s much cheaper and may be more suitable for you. There isn’t a notch, so it has a more traditional display, plus lots of storage at a starting point of 64GB. 

James Peckham

James is Managing Editor for Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.