Nokia 7.1 review

GSMArena team, 24 October 2018.

Pure Android Oreo

The Nokia 7.1 is part of the Android One program - meaning it gets pure Android as seen on the Pixels but on the cheap. The unit we got for review, while running on Android 8.1, already received the latest security patch. Android Pie should around in the upcoming weeks, though.

Nokia 7.1 review

Android as Google intended shows up when you wake up the phone - clock, notification cards, two shortcuts on the bottom. Ambient display will show you a clock and notifications when you pick up the phone even without waking it up but be sure to enable this feature first.

Fingerprint enrollment uses the standard Oreo interface. Unlocking works as advertised and is quick and reliable.

Past that is the standard Android 8 homescreen with a pull-up app drawer.

Lockscreen - Nokia 7.1 review Homescreen - Nokia 7.1 review Widgets - Nokia 7.1 review App drawer - Nokia 7.1 review
Lockscreen • Homescreen • Widgets • App drawer

The quick toggles and notifications shade changes color depending on the wallpaper - white for lighter ones, black for darker ones. The task switcher is the usual rolodex, and wouldn't it be great if Google put the 'clear all' button on the bottom instead of up top? Anyway, multi-window is supported natively since Nougat.

Quick toggles - Nokia 7.1 review Notifications - Nokia 7.1 review Task switcher - Nokia 7.1 review Multi-window - Nokia 7.1 review
Quick toggles • Notifications • Task switcher • Multi-window

As for multimedia, it's all in the hands of Google's default apps. Photos is in charge of gallery-related tasks and video playback, while Google Play Music is the audio player. There's a file manager with batch actions and Google Drive sync, and Google's Calendar is Nokia's calendar of choice.

FM radio isn't available, though.

Google Photos - Nokia 7.1 review Google Play Music - Nokia 7.1 review Equalizer - Nokia 7.1 review File manager - Nokia 7.1 review
Google Photos • Google Play Music • Equalizer • File manager

Performance and benchmarks

The Nokia 7.1 runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 chipset coupled with 3GB or 4GB of RAM. Our review unit has 3 gigs of RAM and 32GB storage.

The processor in charge of the Snapdragon 636 is an octa-core Kryo 260 CPU clocked at 1.8GHz, while there is an Adreno 509 to handle graphics.

Nokia 7.1 review

Starting with some pure CPU tests, a.k.a. GeekBench, we see the Snapdragon 636 has plenty of potential. It can pretty-much chew through any every-day task you throw at it. The Snapdragon 660-powered Nokia 8 Plus and Realme 2 Pro run on the same Kryo 260 cores, but with a higher clock frequency and thus post better scores.

GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Nokia 7 plus
    5893
  • Realme 1
    5741
  • Huawei Mate 20 Lite
    5574
  • Realme 2 Pro
    5531
  • Nokia 7.1
    4975
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro
    4933
  • Xiaomi Mi A2
    4625
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    4418
  • Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite (Redmi 6 Pro)
    4388
  • Xiaomi Mi A1
    4292
  • Samsung Galaxy A6+ (2018)
    3905
  • Samsung Galaxy A6 (2018)
    3718

A single Kryo 260 is one very capable thingy and anyone should be happy with its performance, especially when handling vanilla Android.

GeekBench 4.1 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Nokia 7 plus
    1634
  • Xiaomi Mi A2
    1617
  • Huawei Mate 20 Lite
    1595
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    1532
  • Realme 1
    1511
  • Realme 2 Pro
    1462
  • Nokia 7.1
    1344
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro
    1342
  • Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite (Redmi 6 Pro)
    881
  • Xiaomi Mi A1
    877
  • Samsung Galaxy A6+ (2018)
    755
  • Samsung Galaxy A6 (2018)
    733

The Adreno 509 GPU as part of the Snapdragon 636 is intended to work smoothly under 1080p screens. And the benchmark scores below show it as one very balanced GPU - not the best one, but one that will serve well for the task at hand.

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Nokia 5.1 Plus
    20
  • Nokia 7 plus
    14
  • Xiaomi Mi A2
    14
  • Huawei Mate 20 Lite
    13
  • Realme 2 Pro
    12
  • Realme 1
    12
  • Nokia 7.1
    9.7
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro
    9.7
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    8.7
  • Samsung Galaxy A6 (2018)
    6.7
  • Xiaomi Mi A1
    6.3
  • Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite (Redmi 6 Pro)
    6.1
  • Samsung Galaxy A6+ (2018)
    5.6

GFX 3.1 Car scene (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Nokia 7 plus
    8.6
  • Xiaomi Mi A2
    8.6
  • Realme 1
    7.5
  • Nokia 5.1 Plus
    7.4
  • Realme 2 Pro
    7.2
  • Huawei Mate 20 Lite
    6.7
  • Nokia 7.1
    5.9
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro
    5.9
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    5.2
  • Samsung Galaxy A6 (2018)
    3.9
  • Xiaomi Mi A1
    3.5
  • Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite (Redmi 6 Pro)
    3.4
  • Samsung Galaxy A6+ (2018)
    3.1

AnTuTu has always been the one place for all-round performance comparison. The Nokia 7.1 isn't a top-scoring device, but it sure stacks rather well next to the competition. No one can beat Realme's bang for the buck, but the Nokia 7.1 is still delivering enough for its class.

AnTuTu 7

Higher is better

  • Nokia 7 plus
    140820
  • Realme 1
    138524
  • Huawei Mate 20 Lite
    136583
  • Realme 2 Pro
    132958
  • Xiaomi Mi A2
    130927
  • Nokia 5.1 Plus
    119428
  • Nokia 7.1
    117175
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro
    115605
  • Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite (Redmi 6 Pro)
    77964
  • Samsung Galaxy A6+ (2018)
    69899
  • Samsung Galaxy A6 (2018)
    63632

The Snapdragon 636 performs excellent for the class. Its processor has more than enough oomph, while the balanced Adreno 509 does fine under a 1080p+ display. Other benefits are the 14nm manufacturing process, which makes the silicon quite power-efficient and it keeps it cool under peak load.

Reader comments

  • vijayc

don't buy facing charing socket issue. Need to change every 5-6 month, I have changed 4-5 times in 2 year periods. ] suggest some other options with same display

  • Gitanshu

Disgusting piece , disgusting phone . Nokia is trash. Useless nokia . Regretting for buying this nokia phone 7.1. Charging issue occurs every 2 months. Dnt buy phones of nokia.

  • Dormy4

Had this phone for 2 years, great phone, no problems other than selecting flash when needed. Buy it, it's good at what it's for.