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(Pocket-lint) - Nokia has just announced the Nokia 7.1, a £299/$349 "affordable flagship" with a great deal to offer. It slots underneath the Nokia 7 Plus in the increasingly wide Nokia Mobile range.

Nokia 7.1 pre-orders have started in Europe, and the US and the rest of the world will follow on 12 October. In the UK, the Nokia 7.1 will be available from EE and Carphone Warehouse for £299.

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The 7.1 has a screen that's 0.6-inches smaller than the 7 Plus and some more modest specs, notably in the camera department. 

It's a fine-looking handset - so what did we make of our time with the phone at Nokia's London launch for the new device? 

Nokia 7.1 design

  • Significantly smaller than the Nokia 7 Plus
  • Available in two colour finishes

Available in gloss midnight blue (which looks like black) and gloss steel, the 7.1 weighs in at 160g and is 149.7 x 71.18mm in terms of footprint. The Nokia 7 Plus looks significantly larger up against it as you can see below. 

The Nokia 7.1 is clearly very well designed and put together and really does have a premium feel about it; it's hard to think that it's just £299. Even when compared to the Nokia 8 Sirocco, you don't feel you're dealing with a handset that's over £100 less. 

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The thickness is just shy of 8mm, though the camera housing does jut out by around 1.5mm extra - hardly an issue. There are openings for the microphone, USB-C charging port and single speaker on the bottom of the phone. 

Nokia 7.1 screen

  • Nokia's PureDisplay technology impresses
  • Can display HDR and upgrade SDR to HDR

The 5.84-inch 19:9 display is LCD rather than OLED (as we'd expect at this price), but thanks to Nokia's PureDisplay technology there are a few enhancements which make it one of the best mid-range phone screens we've yet seen.

There's a better resolution than on the 7 Plus for starters, 2,244 x 1,080 and a whopping 1,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio.

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A PixelWorks chip adjusts contrast according to environmental conditions (similar to Apple's TrueTone tech) as well as enables the handset to display HDR10 video and upgrade SDR to HDR, too.

Video from YouTube looks pretty stunning, comparable with handsets a couple of times the price of the 7.1. We weren't in the best environment for testing a display, but it looked super bright.

Finally, the display is covered with protective Corning Gorilla Glass 3. We've seen from other full-front screen handsets that they just aren't protected enough and we are interested to see how robust this phone really is. 

Nokia 7.1 specs

  • Based on Snapdragon 636
  • Dual 12 and 5 megapixel camera

The phone is based on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 636 platform compared to the Snapdragon 660 inside the 7 Plus. There's 3-4GB of memory as well as 32 or 64GB of storage - we'd go for the larger version if we were you - and, naturally, an SD card slot to expand everything up to 400GB or so. 

Our initial time with the device showed no speed or lag, but it was a totally boxfresh handset so, again, it's one for our review. 

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The 3,060mAh battery should provide upwards of a day of use, but we'll be sure to test this when we get our review sample.

Oh, and there's a 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C for Qualcomm-powered fast charging, NFC for Google Pay and Bluetooth 5.0, too. The handset should be able to charge up to 50 percent in 30 minutes. 

Out of the box our early test phone ran Android Oreo, though an upgrade to Android Pie is forthcoming. Remember that this is Android One, so it's pure Android and free from other bloat or additions.

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In terms of the camera, there are dual cameras on the rear with dual flash - a 12-megapixel f/1.8 unit and a 5-megapixel f/2.4 secondary one, too.

On the front, there's a 8-megapixel f/2.0 snapper. Aside from the main camera, those are pretty average specs these days but you do get various photo modes including pro and bokeh. 

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The results are fairly impressive - we'll bring you some sample snaps in our upcoming full review. 

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Nokia Mobile is now in the top five of Android smartphone manufacturers and it's no wonder: the phones are great. Looking at this handset, it's really rather hard to justify spending double on a flagship handset even if some of the specs - notably the camera - are significantly better.

With a super screen and premium design, there's little to dislike about the Nokia 7.1. We'll bring you our full review soon. 

Writing by Dan Grabham. Originally published on 4 October 2018.