“Should I not buy a Nokia 8 instead?”
That is the question we have been asked a number of times ever since Nokia launched the Nokia 7 Plus at a price of Rs 25,999. A few months ago, the question would have provoked laughter. But with the price of the Nokia 8 having been slashed to Rs 28,999, the 7 plus has a sibling as a rival, cue that question with which this article begins. And the fact that the answer is not an easy one is a reflection of just how much technology can progress in a short while.
Some (especially spec driven) people would think that this is a no-brainer. After all, the Nokia 8 was until the arrival of the 8 Sirocco edition, very much the Nokia flagship, the device that was proof that a rejuvenated Nokia was capable of mixing it with the best. It comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip (the same seen on the likes of the OnePlus 5T and the Pixel 2), 4 GB RAM, dual 13.0-megapixel cameras and a 5.3-inch display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440. Its design is not the most crazily eye-catching but is rock solid (we promise we will not say “out of a single block of Aluminium”…oops!) and well, it allowed you to use both front and back cameras simultaneously, creating the now (in)famous Bothie. It was splashproof and its 3090 mAh battery was capable of seeing off a day’s usage quite comfortably. Yes, it came a cropper in comparison to the OnePlus 5T when it was launched at Rs 36,999, but at its reduced price, it is the most affordable “flagship level” device in the Indian market by some distance.
At that reduced price, it is also a right royal pain for the Nokia 7 Plus, although some of our sources have even hinted that the 8 might be taken off the market soon.
But the 7 Plus has a few aces up its sleeve too. It has a larger (if slightly lower resolution) 6.0-inch display, which also comes with the 18:9 aspect ratio that is the rage these days. And well, it also boasts Zeiss optics in its dual cameras (one 12 and one 13 megapixel) at the back and even the 16.0-megapixel shooter in the front – and while it is very early days, we have so far found it to be every bit as good ask if not better than what we saw in the 8 – the cameras are definitely faster. And while the Snapdragon 660 might not sound as snappy (pun intended) as the Snapdragon 835, the 7 Plus also boasts 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage. it also has the Nokia OZO audio that the 8 had, and there is also the matter of it coming with a massive 3800 mAh battery, which Nokia claims can deliver two days of usage. Round that off with the fact that with its ceramic-feel back and copper accents around the sides, fingerprint sensor, and camera, it actually cuts a more noticeable figure than the Nokia 8, and you can see why people are getting confused between the two.
Speaking for ourselves, although it is too early to hand out a concrete decision (we have had the 7 Plus for just a day at the time of writing), our geek side would unabashedly opt for the Nokia 8, but our more mainstream side would consider the 7 Plus too, not just for its seemingly better cameras, design and larger battery, but also for the fact that the 8 is actually a product that might be coming to the end of its life cycle (the Sirocco takes its place), while the 7 Plus is just starting out. And while both devices come with pure Android and are assured Android updates, the 7 Plus is part of the Android One initiative, which means it gets updates for about two years from the time of writing – the 8 is likely to get them for slightly more than a year (although Nokia may extend that – the company has been scoring in the update department, occasionally even pipping the Pixel).
It is not often that a mid-segment device can consider a former flagship from its own brand to be a challenger, but the 7 Plus would seem to be in that position. It is a nice problem for the consumer to have, although the company might feel a little concerned at seeing two of its own products going against each other. Yes, we will be comparing both devices in the coming days. Stay tuned.