Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Best Nokia phones of 2020: find the right Nokia device for you

Nokia was once the biggest phone company in the world. How times change. In 2020 it is seeing a renaissance as a budget- to mid-range Android player, with a few premium handsets thrown in for good measure. 

Nokia was once the biggest phone company in the world. How times change. In 2020 it is seeing a renaissance as a budget- to mid-range Android player, with a few premium handsets thrown in for good measure.

Nokia phones are actually made by fellow Finnish company HMD Global, who licenses the use of the Nokia name. When we first heard about the partnership we were sceptical, but it has proven to be an excellent one - we now find ourselves reviewing several excellent Nokia smartphones every year.

It means there’s a wide choice of Nokia phones for you if you have your heart set on one, but the huge range can be confusing. That’s why we’ve ranked the eight best Nokia phones for most people below.

We’ve fully reviewed each and listed the pros and cons so you can see which has the best features and price for your needs and budget. Plus Nokia phones all have excellent clean Android software and amazingly frequent software updates, so they are a solid choice if you want a phone that lasts a good three years. 

We haven’t yet reviewed the recently announced Nokia 8.3 5G, but it looks like a decent 5G option for 2020. With the Snapdragon 765G on board it could be a lower cost option than other 5G Android phones too. HMD said it’s due to be released sometime around June.

HMD also unveiled the Nokia 5.3 and Nokia 1.3, mid-range and budget options that we hope to review as soon as possible, and will no doubt appear in this chart to replace some of the older models.

Best Nokia phones 2020 at a glance:

  1. Nokia 9 PureView
  2. Nokia 8.1
  3. Nokia 8
  4. Nokia 6.1
  5. Nokia 7.2
  6. Nokia 7 Plus
  7. Nokia 7.1
  8. Nokia 5.1

Best Nokia phones 2020

Nokia 9 PureView

The Nokia 9 PureView is Nokia's most recent flagship phone, and it comes with cutting-edge features to match. In particular, it comes with one important feature (or five depending on how you count it) in the form of its five-sensor rear camera, which is the most we've seen in a smartphone.

It's not exactly an expensive phone either, compared to some of the flagships you can buy today, so if you want a photographic smartphone powerhouse without taking a chunk out of your bank account, this may be the phone for you.

The Nokia 9 PureView has problems, as most phones do, but it represents the best Nokia has to offer right now.

Read our in-depth Nokia 9 PureView review

Nokia 8.1

The Nokia 8.1 was our favorite Nokia phone until the Nokia 9 PureView came along – it's a competent mid-range device offering up a tried-and-tested Snapdragon 710 chipset, functional camera, and adequate battery, all for a relatively low price.

For such a low-priced phone you'll certainly be impressed by its screen, with 2280 x 1080 Full HD+ and an 81% screen-to-body ratio, and an elegant design to match.

It's by no means a powerful smartphone, and it won't rival high-end models in terms of specs of functions, but at its price band it's a tempting device.

Read our in-depth Nokia 8.1 review

Nokia 8

Nokia phones are often reliable handsets that lack any defining or distinctive features, and the Nokia 8 is a prime example of this. It looks great, with an impressive display and beautifully designed body, but many of the other features could be defined as 'fine'.

The dual cameras were acceptable in 2017 when the phone was released, and features like the 3.5mm headphone jack and physical front button which used to be commonplace but aren't any more, may appeal to users who like these features.

With the Nokia 8 you're getting a solid handset that won't let you down, but won't be an icebreaker at parties either.

Read our in-depth Nokia 8 review

Nokia 6.1

While the Nokia 6.1 doesn't quite have all the bells and whistles of the other Nokia handsets above, it's still a great device – especially given many of the downsides we could attribute to it wouldn’t realistically be expected on a phone of its price.

It's a tough device with a robust design and strong frame – fans of solid and secure phones will love the Nokia 6.1's durability.

It also packs some pretty impressive specs for its low price, with a competent chipset and splendid screen – yet its camera loadout isn't as impressive as it could be.

Read our in-depth Nokia 6.1 review

Nokia 7.2

The Nokia 7.2 is a solid mid-range phone, but it struggles to stand out in the sea of Nokia Android devices. That said, it has smooth performance, a premium design and good quality main cameras. 

Unfortunately the wide-angle camera is not up to scratch, which is disappointing when that can be a fun shooter to use. It is also a very slow phone to charge up and isn’t waterproof.

But the Android One version of Android 9 Pie is a godsend, with attractive stock design and a guaranteed two years of OS updates and three years of security updates, which is as good as the Google Pixel line.

Read our in-depth Nokia 7.2 review

The Nokia 7 Plus is exactly what you'd imagine from a Nokia handset, in that it's half the price of a flagship from its era yet it comes packed out with all the features you'd expect.

In particular the handset has an impressive camera loadout for its price, and can last for a long time under heavy use. There are drawbacks to the phone too, but it's still an impressive Android device.

Read our in-depth Nokia 7 Plus review

Nokia 7.1

The Nokia 7.1 isn't exactly a miracle of a phone, but with such a low price tag you'll find the device great for everyday use if you don't need the high processing power.

That tall, bright, sharp screen really stands out for us though, and it makes video watching a pleasure – you can easily forget you're not using a modern flagship with it.

And at such a low price point, you definitely won't come away from the Nokia 7.1 feeling like you've got a bad deal – it's a reliable and snappy Nokia smartphone.

Read our in-depth Nokia 7.1 review

Nokia 5.1

You wouldn't guess to look at it that the Nokia 5.1 is another mid-range smartphone – its metal body, classical styling and sleek design make it look like a premium device.

Of course it's what inside that counts too, and the Nokia 5.1 doesn't have the best specs which it's why it's a little lower on our list – but that doesn't mean it's a bad phone, and it'll serve your needs easily.

The Nokia 5.1 also has a great screen, with a Full HD+ display, which is rare in its price category  – but it should be this low cost that draws you in in the first place, as few phones that look this good cost so little.

Read our in-depth Nokia 5.1 review


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