Nokia Launches First Android Go Phone With Nokia 1, Brings Back the 8110
Nokia has once again dipped into its back catalog for inspiration while keeping an eye on the future at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It announced the Nokia 6, Nokia 7 Plus, and Nokia 8 Sirocco, a trio of premium-looking Android phones; the Nokia 1, the first ever Android Go device; and, building on the nostalgia power of last year’s 3310 reboot, a refreshed version of the 8110, perhaps better remembered as the slider phone Keanu Reeves used in The Matrix. We got a chance to check the phones out at a preview event ahead of the show.
Nokia 8110 4G
As the name suggests, the cheap and cheerful 8110 4G is a 4G feature phone – Nokia’s first. It boasts a very stable standby time of 20 days, as well as talk time of up to eight hours when calling on VoLTE.
In addition to clearer voice calls thanks to LTE support, you’ll also be able to turn your 8110 4G into a portable Wi-Fi hotspot, though there’s currently no word on the type of radios being used, so we can’t offer an estimate on the sort of speeds you can expect.
Aside from these features, Juho Sarvikas, chief product officer for HMD Global, the company that licenses the Nokia brand name, told PCMag that a “rich variety of applications” can be expected for the Series 30+ OS ecosystem.
Facebook is the only app Sarvikas confirmed will be ready for use at launch, which is not much of a surprise, given that you could access the social network on last year’s 3310. But this year more than just Facebook and Snake are promised.
We hope that Here Maps (or something like it) makes an appearance, as the 3310 was sorely lacking in the navigation department. On such a small screen though, getting around town could be tricky.
We’re glad that the 8810 4G has more than just nostalgia going for it, meaning it might actually sell in a few more markets. On that note, there’s no word on availability just yet. A Europe-wide release is expected in May for about $100, but whether it reaches the United States is another thing. Considering the enduring appeal of the first Matrix film, we expect that Nokia might want to deploy its sales agents on both sides of the Atlantic.
The approximately $85 Nokia 1 is the first Android Go phone. “We’ve led the development of the Google Android Oreo Go Edition, which is a purpose-built solution for this segment,” said Sarvikas. “What Google has done there is to optimize, whether it’s the application or the operating system to run on what’s accessible…If I’m looking at what we’ve been able to get out of the 1GB of RAM and the [MediaTek] 6737 [processor] here, it’s actually a really fluid user experience.”
The Nokia 1 is intended to give people shopping on a budget a genuinely solid smartphone experience, and serve as a kind of stepping stone from the feature phone market. The phone itself feels reassuringly solid in the hand, and performance is zippy enough—tapping on the YouTube icon quickly launches the app.
As you’d expect, the viewing angles of the IPS screen are just decent. It might not be the most amazing display in the world, and we’re skeptical about how it’ll perform outside on a sunny day, but what we’ve seen so far looks good.
Sarvikas added that the Nokia 1, like all of its Android phones, will benefit from monthly updates, befitting from the company’s “Pure, Secure, and Up To Date” promise. While Nokia is already working very closely with Google on that front, Sarvikas remarked that there’s room for improvement and is seeking an even tighter relationship with chip makers Qualcomm and MediaTek. This also ensures that the Nokia 1 will be able to work with “the next two big updates,” or Android 9 and 10.
New Nokia 6
HMD Global has a fleet of more traditional Android phones as well. Its follow-up to last year’s Nokia 6 is called, with absolutely no marks for originality, the New Nokia 6. As you might expect, it’s more of the same, albeit with some improvements. Once again, the phone’s body will be machine-milled from a single block of aluminum. And its screen, which measures 5.5 inches, is coated by a pillowed 2.5D layer of Corning Gorilla Glass.
The most noticeable change is cosmetic. An anodizing process sees the New Nokia 6 accented with a secondary color layer. While the last time around you got just silver, blue, and black options, this time there’s the choice of white with iron accents, blue with gold accents, and black with copper accents.
Peering beneath the surface, the old Qualcomm 430 Snapdragon CPU has been upgraded for a Snapdragon 630. This means support for dual cameras, and USB-C. In terms of raw performance, Nokia says the 630 chipset will give you an 80 percent CPU boost and 60 percent GPU performance improvement over the older Nokia 6 model. Cat 4 LTE radios offer top upload and download speeds of 150Mbps and 50Mbps respectively.
Nokia promises that you’ll get two days of life out of the battery, impressive for a phone with such a big, sharp screen (411 pixels per inch, which compares well with the iPhone X’s 458ppi) that kicks out up to 450 nits.
According to Nokia, the new charging port will also let you charge its flat 3,000mAh battery up to 50 percent after 30 minutes of juice. On paper you’ll get 119 hours of MP3 playtime and 12.5 hours of video playback – though it’s unclear if Nokia means streaming or local media playback here.
On the back, there’s a 16-megapixel dual-lens main camera unit with 1.4 micron pixels, an f/1.7 lens with Zeiss branding, and an usual wide and telephoto lens configuration. The front 8-megapixel camera features an adaptive sensor that detects if you’re in a low-light environment and combines four pixels into one super-pixel, which Nokia says gives the the sensor the effective sensitivity of one with a larger 2.0-micron pixel pitch.
The phone will make use of dual-side video recording, which lets you shoot video with the front and back cameras at the same time, a feature that was exclusive to 2017’s Nokia 8. You can trigger this feature via Google Assistant and stream straight to Facebook or YouTube, if you wish.
The New Nokia 6 will go on sale at some point in early April. There will be two versions, a 3GB RAM/32GB storage one costing around $340 unlocked, and a 4GB RAM/64GB storage model, pricing details for which are not yet known. It will be available in red, as well as the same shade of blue Nokia’s used for many of its classic phones in the past.
Nokia 7 Plus
Nokia’s 7 Plus is, as you’d expect, bigger than the Nokia 6. It ups the ante on specs as well: Instead of a 5.5-inch, 1080p screen, it comes with a bigger 6-inch, 2,220-by-1,080 display with a 18:9 aspect ratio and its cameras capture more detail – a 12-megapixel wide aperture sensor combined with a 13-megapixel telephoto lens on the back and a 16-megapixel camera on the front, both with Zeiss optics.
Running everything is a Snapdragon 660 CPU and 4GB of LP DDR4 RAM. But as with the New Nokia 6, that’s a midrange processor from last year; capable of doing the job, but unlikely to attract the attention of gearheads who want bleeding-edge performance. Equally, while that chip can support LTE speeds of up to 600Mbps (in theory), Nokia’s equipped the 7 Plus with a Cat 6 LTE antenna, which gives you top down and upload speeds of 300Mbps and 50Mbps, or more practically, whatever the top speed your network can give you. At the most you’ll benefit from 2CA upgrades, but nothing more advanced than that.
Storage can be expanded via microSD, officially up to 256GB, but it’s possible you’d be able to push that.
Power-wise, a big 3,800mAh cell keeps everything running, but there’s no word on how quickly you can fill this up. MP3 and video playback time is pegged at 26 and 14.5 hours respectively.
Continuing the premium look and feel of the New Nokia 6, the 7 Plus features six layers of “ceramic feel” paint, which doesn’t feel particularly nicer than the anodized metal coating of the smaller phone, though the dry matte finish is still very pleasant to the touch and easy on the eye.
You can expect the 7 Plus to cost around $490; A release date is pegged for early April, but we don’t yet know much more or which countries will be getting it.
Nokia 8 Sirocco
The Nokia 8 Sirocco is the most powerful and head-turning phone unveiled by HMD Global at Mobile World Congress. Given the brand’s otherwise relentless focus on value, the glitzy Sirocco feels like an anomaly.
As with the 8110 4G, the Nokia 8 Sirocco harkens back to the brand’s lineage. Back in 2006, the old Nokia launched a Sirocco edition of its 8800 phone; this too featured an OLED screen and was fashioned from premium materials including sapphire, titanium, and carbon fiber—there was even a model plated in 18-karat gold.
Described as a “special edition for our fans,” the Nokia 8 Sirocco is fashioned from stainless steel and wrapped in a vacuum-formed layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 5. It’s a dark, gleaming jewel that’s pretty tough to boot; Nokia says it’s about 2.5 times more durable than the milled aluminum bodies of the other phones announced this year. It’s IP67-rated, giving you a degree of protection against dust, spills, and general wear and tear.
Perhaps inspired by Samsung’s Galaxy Edge series, the Nokia 8 Sirocco is 0.29-inch thick at the center, and tapers down to a bit less than .07-inch at the sides. Fortunately, the glass body isn’t just for show; Qi wireless charging is supported, but details on any adapters that might be included in the box were not available at the time of writing. The 3,260mAh battery can be half filled in 30 minutes via Fast Charge through the Type-C USB port, which is also where you’ll plug your headphones.
The phone’s 5.5-inch 2K (2,560 by 1,440) OLED screen also looks incredibly fetching when combined with the reflective glass body.
Underneath that glossy exterior sits a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU, which enables VR goodness, but is still yesterday’s news compared with the brand new Snapdragon 845. You also get a healthy 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, so there’s plenty of memory for apps and games and storage for pictures and video.The main camera is another dual-lens Zeiss-branded affair, with a 12-megapixel main sensor and a 13-megapixel telephoto one for 2x lossless zoom, and a 5-megapixel front camera, apparently with a larger sensor than the one on the Nokia 7 Plus.
Radio-wise, there’s a Cat 12 antenna for downloads, giving you up to 600Mbps and for downloads, a Cat 13 radio, pulling down up to 150Mbps.
While hardcore Nokians will rejoice at this undoubtedly well-crafted flagship, those who care about the bottom line may pass on the Nokia 8 Sirocco, as the price is expected to exceed the $900 mark.
Check back soon for more information, and full reviews when the phones are available.