Affordable Phones Battle: Should You Buy a Nokia 8.1 or Poco F1?
Poco F1 (left) and Nokia 8.1 (right)
Poco F1 (left) and Nokia 8.1 (right)(Photo: The Quint)

Affordable Phones Battle: Should You Buy a Nokia 8.1 or Poco F1?

Nokia and Xiaomi’s Poco go head to head with the Nokia 8.1 and Poco F1 smartphones respectively, in the Indian market. The geeks among you might say what’s the point of comparing a phone with a Snapdragon 845 processor with a Snapdragon 710 unit? But their similar price points mean buyers might be keen on knowing which is better value among the two.

The Nokia 8.1 is priced at Rs 26,999 while the Poco F1 starts from Rs 20,999 and goes up to Rs 28,999 in the market. Both the phones also pack a big capacity battery and dual rear cameras.

Also Read : Nokia 8.1 First Impressions: Just a Good Looking Mid-Range Phone?

So, which one of these should you pick and why? We’ll tell you everything a buyer would want to know.

Specs comparison of the Nokia 8.1 and Poco F1
Specs comparison of the Nokia 8.1 and Poco F1
(Photo: The Quint/Arnica Kala)

Design

The Nokia 8.1 has all the trademarks of a signature Nokia phone. Classy design, complimented by sturdy body construction and packing in the latest hardware features for the price point. It’s worth pointing out that the glass body construction makes the phone slippery, even if you place it on a table.

The back body of the Nokia 8.1 is made of glass.
The back body of the Nokia 8.1 is made of glass.
(Photo: The Quint)

Also Read : Xiaomi’s Intent on Battling OnePlus With the Poco F1 for Rs 20,999

The notch on top of the display gets effectively managed with the software, which becomes less invasive while using apps that have been tweaked to support the soft feature.

Coming to Poco F1, the material design used by the Poco team is reminiscent of what we’ve seen with OnePlus devices over the years. But with the Poco F1, you are kind of reminded about the Nokia Lumia phones that had a premium plastic coating.

Polycarbonate finish is sturdy, but not the most appealing.
Polycarbonate finish is sturdy, but not the most appealing.
(Photo: The Quint)

Poco is using polycarbonate materials to design the back body of the Poco F1 that compared to the Nokia 8.1 doesn’t look that premium, but gets the job done.

Unlike the glass-metal combo used by most phone makers these days, we prefer the former, for its durability more than anything else, especially if you have butter fingers.

Display

The Nokia 8.1 gets a 6.1-inch Full HD+ screen with 2280x1080 pixels resolution. The screen is bright, and one can easily go through the content on the device. It is also another phone in 2018 to get the much talked about notch on the front, which manages to house the front camera as well as the microphone unit.

Nokia has yet again worked on the phone without putting an LED notification light, relying on stock Android’s active display feature.
Nokia 8.1 comes with 6.1-inch 2280x1080 pixels screen. 
Nokia 8.1 comes with 6.1-inch 2280x1080 pixels screen. 
(Photo: The Quint)

The chin size at the bottom, in order to accommodate the Nokia logo, is much bigger than what we would have liked.

With the Poco F1 you’re getting a 6.1-inch screen with 2246x1080 pixels resolution, but the cost-cutting measure shows up with the use of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 instead of 5.

The Poco F1 uses a basic screen panel, which isn’t very bright.
The Poco F1 uses a basic screen panel, which isn’t very bright.
(Photo: The Quint)

The other aspect about the Poco F1 is its relatively lower quality of screen panel used. We have seen comparison tests on the internet where people are pitting the Poco F1’s screen with phones like the iPhone XR, but to the naked eye, the quality difference is evident.

Also, it’s worth highlighting the stark contrast in the screen quality of both these devices, where the Nokia 8.1 gets top marks from us.

Hardware and Software

The Nokia 8.1 is one of the first phones to come with a Snapdragon 710 processor in the market. This is yet another dependable processor from Qualcomm, which manages to handle multi-tasking with ease and playing PUBG on medium settings doesn’t make it go bonkers. You get the option of 4GB RAM with 64GB storage, which is further expandable via a microSD card.

Then you’ve got a 3500mAh battery loaded inside the phone, which the company claims will last up to 2 days on a single charge.

The Nokia 8.1 supports USB Type C and has a 3.5mm headphone jack. 
The Nokia 8.1 supports USB Type C and has a 3.5mm headphone jack. 
(Photo: The Quint)

With the Poco F1 you can rely on the flagship-level octa-core Snapdragon 845 processor, with RAM options going up to 8GB. For storage, you can choose between 64GB, 128GB and 256GB, and you can expand it further via the hybrid SIM slot. Battery wise, you get a 4000mAh unit on the Poco F1.

Poco F1 packs a wider notch on top of the display.
Poco F1 packs a wider notch on top of the display.
(Photo: The Quint)

The Nokia 8.1 is also probably the first of the devices from Nokia to come with Android 9.0 Pie out of the box. Other Nokia phones have got the latest flavour via an update already. Very few brands can claim to be offering Android 9.0 out of the box (looking at you, Samsung) and HMD Global deserves the credit.

Nokia 8.1 comes with Android 9.0 out of box.
Nokia 8.1 comes with Android 9.0 out of box.
(Photo: The Quint)

The Poco F1 has opted to stick with MiUI based on Android Oreo, but uses a Poco Launcher with some lightweight tweaks to make the user experience nimble and friendly. Still, we’re big fans of the stock Android experience.

Camera

The Poco F1 gets 12 and 5 megapixel sensors at the back with aperture f/1.9 on the primary lens, while the secondary one handles the depth-sensing duties. The Poco F1 gets a 20 megapixel camera on the front.

During our time with the Poco device, we saw improvement in quality with every software update that was pushed by the company. It is also going to add enhancements such as 4K video recording at 60fps and 960fps slow-motion recording by February.

Dual rear cameras on the Poco F1 are decent but nothing great to write about.
Dual rear cameras on the Poco F1 are decent but nothing great to write about.
(Photo: The Quint)

The Nokia 8.1 comes with dual rear cameras (12 and 13 megapixel) with f/1.8 and the other sensor is meant for depth-sensing, just like what the second sensor on the Poco F1 does.

Nokia has done an impressive job with the cameras of the Nokia 8.1.
Nokia has done an impressive job with the cameras of the Nokia 8.1.
(Photo: The Quint)

Having said that, what also helps Nokia’s case is the use of Zeiss Optics lens, which includes optical image stabilisation (OIS) as well as electronic image stabilization (EIS). The resulting pictures, clicked in most conditions, including low light deliver quality results and we’re seeing a gradual imaging improvement on Nokia’s cameras.

Which One Worth Buying?

Nokia 8.1 or the Poco F1? It comes down to your needs. 
Nokia 8.1 or the Poco F1? It comes down to your needs. 
(Photo: The Quint)

Nokia 8.1 is a solid mid-range phone, but it all comes down to what the buyer is looking for. At this price point, there are plenty of options available, but if you need a reliable device with the latest Android version and decent service support, then the Nokia 8.1 has to be on your list.

And with the Poco F1, with prices starting at Rs 20,999 for the 64GB storage / 6GB RAM variant, you’re looking at another affordable flagship device, reminiscent of Xiaomi’s Mi3 a few years ago.

Between these two, it all depends on your needs. For heavy gamers, the Poco F1 is a no brainer. For everyone else, the Nokia 8.1 promises effective performance that ticks most of the boxes for a phone buyer.

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