Philippines

Nokia 8.1 review: What took you so long?

Solid but feels dated

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There’s a Filipino song called “Bakit ngayon ka lang?”. Loosely translated, it means “what took you so long?”. The song talks about a missed romantic opportunity — of someone else coming along while you’re already committed to another. That’s almost exactly how I feel about the Nokia 8.1.

The phone — known in other markets as the Nokia 7X — was first announced in December 2018. A full seven months later, it arrived in the Philippines. And a lot has happened in those seven months.

Performance on par with midrangers today

Before I proceed, let’s get some of the specs talk out of the way. The device is powered by the Snapdragon 710 SoC along with 6GB of RAM with 128GB of internal storage which is expandable via a microSD card. That’s not bad. At all. It’s even near-flagship territory… in 2018.

One thing about the Nokia 8.1 though that will never feel dated is its OS. The phone is part of Google’s Android One program which means this is running Stock Android. If you like it vanilla — like a lot of purists do — then this is one of the phones that offer that clean experience. Right now it’s still on Android P, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you can side load Android Q beta as it is a partner device for Android’s developer preview.

Google cards are quite useful

The chip together with vanilla Android makes for a smooth and snappy experience. Most of the time I’m either just browsing or working on my phone and doing so on the Nokia 8.1 one was a very pleasant experience.

I have said this countless times but in case you’re new here, I don’t really play mobile games. The only time I ever really do so is when I have to test phones. On the Nokia 8.1 I only played Honkai Impact 3, which is a pretty graphics heavy game. The phone had zero trouble running the game and it looked especially stunning on the phone’s 6.18-inch PureDisplay screen (which we’ll get to shortly).

This means the phone will likely have zero problems running some of the most played games today like PUBG and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. If you play these games with this phone and don’t get that Chicken Dinner or that MVP, then you only have yourself to blame.

A display sent from the heavens

The PureDisplay screen technology is really pulling its own weight. When Nokia said this phone offers a higher contrast ratio and sharper output, it felt like it was even underselling it. The screen is vibrant and the colors and images look sharp all without looking too saturated.

It doesn’t have any of that crazy 90hz or 120hz display that we’ll find on 2019 flagships, but dare I say, the Nokia 8.1 probably has the best display in its price point.

I hid that notch eventually

I’ve often found myself happily watching on this phone while slowly being sucked into the YouTube rabbit hole. Speaking of watching videos on this display, I opted to turn the notch off altogether. The notch still looks like the one present on the iPhone X which came out in 2017. It’s 2019 and personally, I’d rather have a full bezel than be bothered looking at that kind of a notch.

Watching vertical FanCams is great on this thing

That said audio on this thing is far from perfect but it’s passable. The sound it produces isn’t as full as I hope to hear from phones when in speaker mode, but you can remedy all that by plugging in headphones because our good friend jack is still present on this device. Listening on wireless earbuds also offer a nice experience.

The build screams premium

One of the first things I noticed about the Nokia 8.1 is its build. The body is built with 6000-series aluminum with an all-glass back. And it feels pretty darn expensive. So much so that I was wondering why it didn’t come with any case in the packaging.

At first I was really hesitant to bring this around due to the lack of a case, but over time, my hands have grown accustomed to the glass finish. And I feel blessed every single time I touch it. There’s something about the build in finish that just screams premium.

The fingerprint sensor is at the back. And it feels like a blessing every time I touch this thing

It’s not fragile at all though. Being the clumsy oaf that I am, I may have accidentally dropped this phone twice already. The phone sustained zero scratches and zero damages. This is one tough cookie.

Pretty darn good cameras

I have to come clean and say I never really had too many chances to take photos during the testing phase. I’ve mostly just been at my desk or in a conference room which aren’t really ideal for taking photos.

The second lens acts as a depth sensor

So for samples I just took some quick shots around my place using the ZEISS-powered 12- and 13-megapixel dual-cameras. Hopefully I find some time to get a life outside of work for the next review. If you know a girl looking for a date, feel free to hit me up. I don’t bite… unless? Anyway, check out the samples below.

Quick note, features like Pro mode and Bokeh are also present on the 20MP front-facing camera.

Is the Nokia 8.1 your GadgetMatch?

And so, here we are. I’ve had nothing but mostly nice things to say about the Nokia 8.1. For a phone that was launched in late 2018, it can still square up with several midrangers in 2019. But the price, therein lies the rub.

At PhP 19,999, it’s not crazy expensive. It’s just that for a few thousand pesos less, there are actually better options. It’s hard to justify this purchase when  phones like the Realme 3 Pro and Xiaomi Mi 9T exist — both of which came within the seven months that the Nokia 8.1 was nowhere to be found on the archipelago.

Calling the folks at Nokia to bring their phones to the Philippines faster next time

Sure, those don’t have the build that the Nokia 8.1 has but the Realme 3 Pro offers much of the same performance for a more affordable price. And the Xiaomi Mi 9T actually feels like a 2019 phone with its triple-camera setup and a pop-up camera that makes way for an actual full screen display.

If you’re a Nokia stan — and I know there’s a lot of you out there — I can’t fault you for wanting this device. I get it. It’s pretty nice. But it’s really just a little too late. Timing is everything. Both in love and in smartphone releases.

*plays “Bakit ngayon ka lang?

Deals

Nokia 2.2, 2.1, and 1 are on massive discounts this Christmas

Freebies are also up for grabs

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Christmas season is the perfect time to buy ourselves and our loved ones a brand new smartphone. While some of us have cash to burn for a brand new flagship, most of us would be content with a budget or midrange phone. Those looking for a budget phone as their next purchase should look no futher than Nokia.

Nokia Philippines is offering three of their budget phones with a massive discount in time for the holiday seasons. These are the budget phones on discounts along with freebies in tow:

  • Nokia 2.2 — from PhP 5,990 to PhP 5,490 + free Bluetooth speaker
  • Nokia 2.1 — from PhP 5,990 to PhP 3,990 + free 16GB SD card
  • Nokia 1 — from PhP 4,290 to PhP 2,990

These discounted phones are available on all Nokia concept stores, kiosks, and authorized dealers nationwide. Or, get them at Nokia’s Argomall, Lazada, MemoXpress, and Shopee online store.

New color option for Nokia 7.2

Along with these exciting offers, Nokia is also bringing a new color option for the recently-launched Nokia 7.2: Cyan Green. It will be available on all stores nationwide starting November 27.

Nokia 7.2 launched in the Philippines last month. Its headlining feature is a 48MP camera sensor along with two other lenses: one that’s 8MP f/2.2 ultra wide and one that’s a 5MP depth sensor. Plus, it’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor. Rounding things off is a 3,500mAh battery.

SEE ALSO: Nokia 7.2 review: Quality above all

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Automotive

MG is the official mobility partner of 30th Southeast Asian Games

A special partnership for the company

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MG or Morris Garages has signed an agreement with the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) and Mediapro Asia to be the official mobility partner of the 30th SEA Games and the 10th ASEAN Para Games.

There will be 80 MG vehicles to feature the 30th SEA Games logo and these will be used to transport athletes and teams to and from games. These special edition MG 30th SEA Games edition vehicles will be scattered and seen in various parts of the country during the much-awaited, multi-sport biennial event.

The full lineup of MG vehicles including the MG 5 sedan, the RX5 SUV, the ZS Crossover SUV, and the MG 6 Fastback Sedan will be featured during the entirety of the 30th SEA Games.

This partnership is part of MG wanting to channel youthful energy as well as celebrate the pursuit of excellence. According to the company, the same values that drive MG forward: discipline, honesty, innovation, hard work, character, and fun are mirrored in each and every SEA Games athlete.

MG Philippines President & CEO Atty. Alberto B. Arcilla, says: “To be part of the 30th Southeast Asian games—an edition that features so many milestones and firsts—is a distinct honor for us at MG Philippines. As the Official Mobility Partner of the 30th SEA Games, we are grateful to provide meaningful assistance to all local and international athletes and teams by equipping them with safe, comfortable, and stylish rides for the duration of the games.”

 

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Deals

Samsung is holding a raffle for Galaxy A-series users

Various Samsung freebies are up for grabs

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Attention owners of the Samsung Galaxy A-series smartphones! The company has a treat for you. Samsung is holding a raffle where you get the chance to win exciting freebies.

To participate, users must join the bi-monthly raffle held within the Samsung Members’ app. Signing up for an account grants users one raffle entry. Those who brought the Galaxy A50s, A30s, A20s, and A10s may redeem one raffle entry on the app. Buyers of the mentioned phones who signed up gets two raffle entries.

Prizes up for grabs include a Galaxy Note 10, A10s, Galaxy Buds, Tab S6, Fit e, and Watch Active2. Samsung will announce 10 winners each on these dates: December 3, 17, and January 2, 2020. Promo runs from November 15 to December 31.

To know more about the raffle, visit Samsung’s raffle offer page.

The holiday raffle is Samsung’s push to promote its latest Galaxy A smartphones. The Galaxy A50s, A30s, A20s, and A10s offer more power than their regular versions, built specifically with millennials in mind. Featuring larger batteries, more powerful processors, and support for fast-charging technology, these smartphones truly fit the bill for younger generations who demand more out of their smartphones.

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