First impressions of the Nokia 7.1

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Earlier this month HMD Global (which owns the license to manufacturer Nokia Mobile branded phones) revealed their latest offering for the local market – the Nokia 7.1.

We were invited to HMD Global’s Johannesburg HQ to check out the new device and get a feel for what’s on offer.

After unboxing and a couple of hours examining the Nokia 7.1, here’s out first impression of the device.

Premium feel

The first thing that strikes you about the Nokia 7.1 is its premium design. It’s swathed in aluminium and glass like many of the flagship phones on the market these days, and certainly feels solidly constructed.

That vast amount of glass comes at a price, however, with a few extra bucks on a back cover necessary in our opinion in case you drop the phone. Unfortunately no cover comes in the box, but HMD Global says some local carriers and retailers will have covers available for purchase.

Moving on, the Nokia 7.1 is well sized. At 71.2 mm wide it sits comfortably in hand, with the aluminium frame serving as a nice natural cradle while using the phone. This also means less fingerprints can hit the glass back cover, which is a magnet for smudges.

Top notch? 

Along with the premium design, the Nokia 7.1 also features a longer display. It’s not quite full view, with a bezel at the bottom of the screen, but it is more screen real estate than one would have gotten out of the Nokia 7.

There’s also the usual screen notch, which is relatively small compared to some of the ones we’ve seen lately.

It does have one superficial drawback, however, with the top portion of the screen looking a bit more dull than the rest. It’s unclear if this was a design choice or simply a symptom of the notch screen.

As such it’s the only real blemish on an otherwise handsome handset.

Crisp camera

We have not gotten the chance to benchmark the Nokia 7.1 just yet, and will leave that for the full review we do after a couple of weeks.

For now let us rather talk about the camera functionality of the device.

To that end HMD Global has opted for a dual lens camera setup, with a 12MP and 5MP option pulling duty on the rear. The former takes care of most of the shooting, with the latter used for the Live Bokeh mode that HMD Global has added to the Nokia 7.1.

There’s also a Pro mode that allows you to change the ISO, white balance and other camera settings.

It therefore seems the Nokia 7.1 has a few more tricks than most mid-range devices.

Having tested it out ourselves, it performs very well in outdoor conditions and has yielded highly detailed images so far.

Worth it?

On paper the Nokia 7.1 is one of a slew of new mid-range phones that offer great value for money. In hand it seems to offer a little bit more, with its premium design and solid camera in particular standing out. Add to that a pure version of Android, which we’re always keen on, and it looks to be a very worthwhile offering.

We’ll have to review it full to give a proper verdict, but the first impressing is highly promising indeed.

If you’re interested in buying the Nokia 7.1 it is selling for a recommended R5 999, with it going for R379 on contract depending on the network.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Editor of Hypertext. Covers smartphones, IoT, 5G, cloud computing and a few things in between. Also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games when not taking the hatchet to stories.