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The Nokia 7.1 is the the best argument yet that good phones don’t need to cost $1,000

"The king of the midrange"

HMD, the current owner of the “Nokia” brand, announced the Nokia 7.1, a $350 phone that could pass for one twice its price. Unlike most of the phones under the Nokia brand, the 7.1 is destined for the U.S. and U.K. markets. HMD hopes the 7.1 will be seen as a strong option for anyone looking for a phone without taking out a loan. However, it doesn’t take much to see which corners were cut to reach that price.

The first cut corner is the processor. The 7.1 has a Snapdragon 636. That’s plenty powerful enough to provide a smooth Android experience, but we’ll have to wait and see how it holds up after multiple years of use and software updates.

A large emphasis is being put on the camera. That’s largely thanks to the ZEISS branding on the dual camera setup on back. A new phone wouldn’t be complete without a new gimmick. The 7.1’s gimmick is the “Bothie”, a camera option that allows you to take a photo or video from both the rear and front camera at the same time. While this is much more practical than LG’s zoom animation feature on the V40, it still doesn’t seem like something you’ll use after the first week.

The 7.1 is an Android One phone. This means that it runs pure android with no skins and no pre-installed apps. It also means that it should be one the short list for new updates. In fact, HMD promises that the 7.1 will be updated with the newest software for the next 2 years. Ironically, it’s shipping with Android Oreo. An upgrade to Pie will be available in November.

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Where Nokia is not cutting corners is in the design and ports. The handset is a sandwich of aluminum and glass, just like the most expensive phones on the market. The edges are chamfered to give the phone an even more premium look. On the bottom is a USB-C port for charging and a 3.5mm headphone jack. You don’t have to worry about needing an extra cable or not being able to plug in your wired headphones. You won’t need that headphone jack if you also buy the new “True Wireless Earbuds” that were announced alongside the 7.1.

The Nokia 7.1 is a surprisingly solid phone for the price and proves you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a good phone experience. As mentioned earlier, the 7.1 will be available in the U.S. and U.K. starting October 28th and 17th respectively. You’ll be able to pick it up in either “Gloss Midnight Blue” or “Gloss Steel”. In the U.S., you will be limited to a 64GB model for $350. In the U.K., however, there will be a 32GB option for €350.

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