Nokia Goes From High to Low With its 2018 Phones

If 2017 saw Nokia re-introduce itself to the smartphone world, it looks like 2018 will be the year the iconic smartphone fills out its product lineup with devices for budget shoppers and flagship fans alike.

At Mobile World Congress today (Feb. 25), HMD Global, which develops and releases phones under the Nokia banner, trotted out four new smartphones across a whole spectrum of prices. Ultimately, it's a story of extremes, with both the priciest and least expensive models both offering intriguing features to their target audiences.

Credit: HMD Global

(Image credit: HMD Global)

While HMD Global gave some hint on how it will price these new models, it's not yet specifying which phones will ship to which markets. And with Nokia phones commanding interest more interest overseas than in the U.S., it's not clear if any of these models will make it to this country. If not, it would be a pity, as the new Nokia phones all sport some worthwhile additions to the Android platform.

Here's what you need to know about the latest smartphones to carry the Nokia name.

Nokia 8 Sirocco

The priciest model unveiled today — the Nokia 8 Sirocco will cost around €749 when it ships in April — is also the best looking of the bunch. The 5.5-inch POLED screen on the Nokia 8 Sirocco stretches from edge-to-edge, giving Nokia the kind of immersive displays that have proven popular with phones from LG, Samsung and Apple over the past year. The 3D Gorilla Glass 5 curves around the sides of the phone, covering 95 percent of the Nokia 8 Siroco.

MORE: Best Unlocked Smartphones - Phones Under $200, $300, $500

Nokia says not to worry about that phone cracking — it's built to withstand 450 pounds of pressure. And the Nokia 8 Sirocco offers IP67 water- and dust-resistance so the phone won't be damaged by any accidental dips in water.

You'll find two cameras on the back of the device, a 12-megapixel main shooter and 13-MP telephoto lens, both with Zeiss optics. The dual lens setup gives the Nokia 8 Sirocco a 2x optic zoom, while up front, the 5-MP selfie cam boasts an 84-degree field of view to squeeze more people into your self-portraits.

The Nokia 8 Sirocco will have to make do with last year's top-of-the-line processor. Not that there's anything wrong with a Snapdragon 835 — it powered most of the top Android phones of 2017 — but with the Snapdragon 845 arriving, Nokia 8 Siroco users won't have the latest and greatest mobile processor powering the phone. At least it's loaded up with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

What's Interesting: The Nokia 8 Sirocco gives the rebranded Nokia a flagship of its own aimed at going toe-to-toe with the iPhone X and (once it's unveiled) Galaxy S9. We're particularly eager to see how those rear cameras compete with other top camera phones.

Nokia 1

At the other end of the spectrum is the Nokia 1. And if you're wondering why you should give a second glance to a phone that will cost around $85 when the Nokia 8 Sirocco is there to catch your eye, consider what Nokia managed to include with this 4.5-inch phone.

The Nokia 1 runs Android Oreo, or at least the Android Go version of Google's latest OS. That's a stripped-down version of Android that's not only capable of running on budget handsets, but also re-engineered so that frequently used apps run faster and use up less data. Nokia says the version of Android Oreo running on the Nokia 1 also allows for 50 percent more storage space on the phone — important since you're getting just 8GB of storage (though a microSD card lets you boost that to 128GB). The Nokia 1 is also capable of running Google Assistant, a nice addition to a sub-$100 device.

MORE: 22 Top Features of Android Oreo

The storage space on the Nokia 1 hints at what kind of phone you're getting here. A quad-core MediaTek MT6737M powers the phone, helped on by 1GB of RAM. You'll be able swap out the 2150 mAh battery, and Nokia is bringing back Nokia Xpress-On covers you can snap onto the back of the Nokia 1, changing up its look and color.

What's Interesting: You're unlikely to see the Nokia 1 reach the U.S., as HMD Global seems to be targeting emerging markets with this phone (or at least, people ready to make the jump from low-end feature phones to smart devices). Still, at a time when many higher-end phones are still stuck on an older version of Android and budget models continue to ship with Nougat installed, it's interesting to see a sub-$100 handset use Android Go to the fullest.

Nokia 6 and Nokia 7 Plus

The Nokia 6 already hit the U.S. last year — it's available through Amazon as a Prime Exclusive phone, for instance — but Nokia has an updated version coming in April for €279. It boosts the processor inside the phone to a Snapdragon 630, which Nokia says will deliver 60 percent better performance than last year's model.

The cameras on the new Nokia 6 figures to be a highlight, as the phone will support Nokia's "Bothie" mode. That lets you simultaneously use both cameras — the 16-MP rear shooter and the 8-MP selfie cam. It sounds like a bit of a gimmick, but the feature could appeal to photo-obsessed smartphone users who want to capture everything at once. Two mics on the phone deliver 360-degree spatial audio for when you're shooting video.

Bothie Mode, as seen on a Nokia 7 Plus

Bothie Mode, as seen on a Nokia 7 Plus

The latest Nokia 6 has some nice design touches, such as copper accents on its side and camera bezel, but the new Nokia 7 Plus really puts an emphasis on design. The 6-inch phone sports a ceramic-feel coating intended to make the phone feel grippy in your hand while also hiding antenna lines.

Think of the €399 Nokia 7 Plus as a less expensive version of the Nokia 8 Sirocco, with a display that features an 18:9 aspect ratio. (The midrange Snapdragon 660 CPU in the 7 Plus helps explain the price difference.) It's also got dual rear cameras — a 12-MP shooter plus a 13-MP telephoto lens for a 2x optical zoom. The 16-MP front camera combines four individual pixels into one, capturing more light so that your selfies should shine even in low-light venues. Like the new Nokia 6, the 7 Plus features Zeiss optics on its cameras, and it supports the twin-camera Bothie mode.

As with Nokia's other phones, look for the 7 Plus to arrive in April, though it's unclear if that will be in the U.S.

Image Credits: Caitlin McGarry/Tom's Guide

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.