HMD Global’s newest phone in the Kenyan market is the Nokia 8.1. No, it does not succeed the Nokia 8 from 2017 that was the manufacturer’s flagship device at that time. The 8.1 is more of 7 Plus’s successor that was one of 2018’s finest releases from the Finnish company.
So what does it bring to the table? Well, it’s the first Nokia to rock Qualcomm’s 700 series of chipsets that punch above the mid-range segment but below the flagship-grade SoCs. The display is also HDR capable as the Nokia 7.1 we reviewed a couple of days ago. The dual rear cameras have a Zeiss branding as it has been the tradition with a couple of cam-centred Nokia handhelds.
The 6.18-inch screen is unsurprisingly notched, and this shouldn’t be a bother as the cutouts have become a norm, even making their way to budget devices.
Similar to a substantial number of Nokia phones that have since benefited from HMD’s impressive update record, the 8.1, which was released in late 2018, ships with Android 9 Pie under the Android One umbrella. This implies the device will continue receiving major and security updates for the next two or more years, a development that you can’t relate to other devices.
The 8.1 is available at Nokia’s authorised dealers and Safaricom shop for Kes 45,000. The model at Safaricom is a single SIM option, so you may need to pick it from elsewhere if that bothers you.
At the same time, the 8.1 is effectively Nokia’s most powerful device in Kenya as the Snapdragon 845-powered Nokia 9, which is already on sale in other parts of the world is yet to make a local appearance. However, there’s a possibility it may sell in Kenya but in limited numbers, and a lot of photography enthusiasts may actually want to play with it. In the past, Nokia availed the 1020 in Kenya (Safaricom shop) and made its way to a lot of pockets thanks to its camera prowess.
Here’s the rest of what it packs.
We will report on what the 8.1 has in store once we have a review at hand.