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Nokia 5.1, 3.1 and 2.1 hands-on review

Introduction

It’s been less than two years since HMD Global was founded. Yet the Finland-based company already has an almost fairytale-like success story unfolding around it. Even though the company still refers to itself as a “start-up”, it made it out of a funding round earlier this month, with a $100 million in fresh investments and an impressive valuation of a cool billion dollars.

Spirits are definitely high and ambitions – even higher. After raising the legendary Nokia brand up from the ashes, HMD understandably has every intention to keep the brand expansion going full speed. With devices already selling in 80 countries and used in more than twice that, there seems to be little need for course adjustment either.

Nokia 5.1, 3.1 and 2.1 hands-on review

Judging by the latest trio of smartphones, unveiled in Moscow, HMD is sticking with what works. Like the somewhat questionable naming convention suggests, the Nokia 5.1, 3.1 and 2.1 build on top of their respective predecessors.

Nokia 5.1 specs:
Body: Front glass (2.5D curved Corning Gorilla Glass), 6000 series aluminum unibody, 151.1 x 70.73 x 8.27mm
Screen: 5.5-inch, 18:9, 1080×2160 pixel resolution, IPS LCD, 443 ppi
Chipset: MediaTek Helio P18, Octa-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53
Memory: 2/3GB LPDDR3 RAM, 16/32GB, microSD slot (up to 128GB)
Primary Camera: 16MP, f/2.0, PDAF, dual LED flash, 1080p30 video
Front Camera: 8MP, f/2.0, Fixed-focus, wide-angle (84.6 degree)
Software: Android 8 Oreo; Android One pure ROM.
Battery: 2,970mAh
Connectivity: Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by), LTE Cat.4, 802.11b/g/n, Dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC (Market dependant), GPS/GLONASS, USB 2.0 (MicroUSB), 3.5mm headphone jack, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, G-sensor, gyro
Colors: Copper, Blue, Black
Misc: Fingerprint reader , single loudspeaker

A trendy new extra-tall aspect ratio and the odd control layout change to go with it, seem to be the most notable changes to the 2018 lineup. At its core, the trio is still true to the core HMD principles fans have come to love.

Nokia 3.1 specs:
Body: Front glass (2.5D curved Corning Gorilla Glass), aluminum frame, polycarbonate back, 146.25 x 68.65 x 8.7mm, 138.3 grams
Screen: 5.2-inch, 18:9, 720 x 1440 pixel resolution, IPS LCD
Chipset: Mediatek MT6750, Octa-core (4×1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & 4×1.0 GHz Cortex-A53), Mali-T860MP2
Memory: 2/3GB LPDDR3 RAM, 16/32GB, microSD slot (up to 128GB)
Primary Camera: 13MP, f/2.0, autofocus, single LED flash, 1080p30 video
Front Camera: 8MP, f/2.0, wide-angle (84.6 degree), Fixed-focus
Software: Android 8 Oreo; Android One pure ROM.
Battery: 2,990mAh
Connectivity: Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by), LTE Cat.4, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC (APAC & EMEA SKU only), GPS/GLONASS, USB 2.0 (MicroUSB), 3.5mm headphone jack, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, G-sensor, gyro
Colors: Blue/Copper, Black/Chrome, White/Iron
Misc: Single loudspeaker

Nokia smartphones, even entry level ones, still prioritize great build quality and a premium bill of materials first, with internals coming in at a close second. It’s a formula that has already proven successful, especially among average users.

Nokia 2.1 specs:
Body: Front glass (2D Cover Glass), polycarbonate body, 153.6 x 77.6 x 9.67mm, 174 grams
Screen: 5.5-inch, 16:9, 720×1280 pixel resolution, IPS LCD, 267 ppi
Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8917 Snapdragon 425, Quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A53, Adreno 308
Memory: 1GB LPDDR3 RAM, 8GB (6.4GB free), microSD slot (up to 128GB)
Primary Camera: 8MP, single LED flash, 1080p30 video
Front Camera: 5MP, Fixed-focus
Software: Android 8.1 Oreo; Android Go edition pure ROM.
Battery: 4,000mAh
Connectivity: Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by), LTE Cat.4, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS/GLONASS/Beidou, USB 2.0 (MicroUSB), 3.5mm headphone jack, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, accelerometer
Colors: Blue and Copper, Blue with Silver, Gray with Silver
Misc: Stereo, front-facing loudspeakers

The second major staple in the Nokia formula – a pure and snappy Android experience is also intact. A quality shell, wrapped around the promise of a current software experience, speedy updates and optimized and secure software. All thanks to Google’s great Android One and, in the case of the Nokia 2.1, Android Go programs.

The Nokia formula really seems to tick a lot of boxes for many Android users. A fact, which is evident from all the love the reborn brand is receiving. We got a chance to play around with the latest trio of budget offerings and can’t wait to share our initial impressions with you.

So join us on the following pages, as we try to explain what has changed, what is still great about the new Nokia phones and when and where you can get them.