Just a few days after the leak of the Nokia 9, another Nokia device has leaked: the Nokia 8.1 Plus. The leak comes courtesy of 91Mobiles and OnLeaks, which have taken a CAD file and turned it into a render.
Since this is just a CAD file, the leak doesn’t have any information on the price or specs, and we’re not even sure if “Nokia 8.1 Plus” is the final name. What we can see, though, is a 6.22-inch display with a hole-punch design, a USB-C port, a bottom-firing speaker, a top headphone jack, a dual camera setup on the back, and a rear fingerprint reader. As usual, Nokia is part of the “Android One” program, which just means the phone has stock Android and a reliable update schedule.
If 2018 was the “Year of the Notch” for Android phone design, 2019 is shaping up to be the year of the hole-punch camera. As phone bezels get smaller and smaller, the placement of the front-facing camera becomes an issue. Notch designs would cut out a big chunk of the display for camera placement, but most of those cutouts were bigger than they needed to be (probably because manufacturers wanted to copy the sensor-packed iPhone X design). By contrast, a hole-punch design pushes the display out to every edge of the phone body. The front camera is placed under the display, and just enough pixels are punched out to remove any camera obstructions. We’re merely 10 days into 2019 and so far we’ve seen signs that Samsung, Huawei, Motorola, and Nokia are all pursuing this style on their upcoming phones. The hole punch seems like an improvement, but it’s hard to tell since devices haven’t launched yet.
With well-built hardware, stock Android, a reliable update program, and solid mid-range price points, Nokia is one of our favorite Android manufacturers at the moment. Its lineup remains as confusing and complicated as ever, though, especially when you compare this design to the upcoming Nokia 9. The Nokia 9 sounds like a higher-end design than the Nokia 8.1 Plus, with a higher model number, an in-screen fingerprint reader, and a crazy five-camera setup on the back. Why then, does the Nokia 8.1 Plus have a better front design? The Nokia 9 has a thick, straight top and bottom bezels that make it seem like something from 2017, while the Nokia 8.1 Plus’ hole-punch display gives it a more 2019-era design. If you want a high-end Nokia phone, it seems like you would want the front of the Nokia 8.1 Plus combined with the back from the Nokia 9.
Both of these devices are just rumors so far, and as always, the price will be a big determining factor in how well both phones are received. We should know more by the end of January.