Spark brought the new Nokia 7.1 Android smartphone to the local market, as part of their exclusive partnership with HMD Global, the company behind the Nokia brand in the smartphone segment.
Instead of tackling the high end tier, the Nokia 7.1 comes as a mid-tier smartphone with great design and good feature set. Its glass front and back, with a 6000 series aluminium frame makes it a good looking phone that is comfortable to hold and a pleasure to use.
Sporting a full HD 2280 by 1080 pixels 5.84 inch PureDisplay screen, with the edge-to-edge design that allows for a good experience without requiring a larger screen. And the screen is gorgeous - PureDisplay supports native HDR content and can upscale SDR to HDR giving you a much better visual experience.
The Nokia 7.1 is not a powerhouse - it uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636. The review model (available through local retail) was not big on storage either with 3 GB RAM and 32 GB storage available, although expandable to 400GB via a microSD card.
This means you won't get the same performance levels as seen on higher-end (and higher-priced) models from competitors such as Huawei, OPPO and Samsung - but you still get something that is close to last year's high-end models for a much lower price. Antutu Benchmark reports a performance index of 116500 - better than 30% of other reported devices.
Evidence of this is that for the mid-tier price you get some great features like NFC (great for contactless payments), 5 GHz WiFi support, Bluetooth 5 and fingerprint reader (in the back of the unit). It also supports LTE Cat 6 with up to 300 Mbps downloads and 50 Mbps uploads over the mobile data network.
The Nokia 7.1 continues its partnership with ZEISS Optics - which has been going one since the Nokia N90 and the Microsoft Nokia days. The Nokia 7.1 comes with dual rear camera (12MP f1.8 / 5MP f2.4) giving you great photos in both automatic or manual modes. The photos are crisp and bokeh effects are easy to achieve thanks to the depth-sensing built-into the cameras. You will also find a 8MP f2.0 front facing camera for selfies and video-calls.
But more importantly, the Nokia 7.1 comes with Android 8.1 but it's an Android One device. This means you get a pure Android experience, no frills attached. Android One provides users with a hardware and software standard that is consistent and constantly updated.
Battery life is what you would expect - a full day with good use, a couple of days with moderate usage. You probably shouldn't expect more than this, as the battery is a 3060 mAh type, so not the biggest one available but probably the right size for this phone segment. The charger uses a USB-C connector, which is always welcome.
In essence, the Nokia 7.1 is an evolution over the Nokia Android series that has been getting so much attention thanks to its Android One platform - and this time the PureDisplay is the star.