Best Nokia phones 2021: find the right Nokia smartphone for you

The best Nokia phones are often affordable and mid-range options. That’s because those are the types of phones the company mostly makes. While the best Nokia phones don’t change as rapidly as some manufacturers, it’s worth checking back regularly to see how the rankings differ over time.

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There’s also a possibility that Nokia is branching out with some higher-end phones potentially on the way including the rumored pinta-lens Nokia X50 and the fabled Nokia 10 which might be a true flagship entry, although information is pretty scarce for now.

Right now though, there’s no need to wait to get your hands on a Nokia-branded phone with plenty of good options already out there. These range from the ageing but still excellent Nokia 9 PureView, to the newer mid-range Nokia 8.3 5G and beyond.

We’ve ranked the top choices below, so you can see which Nokia phones are the best of the best. We’ve included an overview along with pros and cons for each of them so you can easily see which is the best fit for your needs.

And if nothing catches your eye? Check out some of our other smartphone guides listed below for a better fit for you.

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Best Nokia phones 2021

(Image credit: Nokia)

1. Nokia 9 PureView

Nokia’s newest flagship smartphone

Release date: February 2019
Weight: 172g
Dimensions: 155 x 75 x 8mm
OS: Android 9
Screen size: 5.9-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 2880
CPU: Snapdragon 845
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 3,320mAh
Rear camera: 12MP, 12MP, 12MP, 12MP, 12MP
Front camera: 20MP

Reasons to buy
+Eye-catching five camera cluster+Decent photos for sub-flagship price

Reasons to avoid
Middling other featuresNot a comfortable hold

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

(Image credit: HMD Global)

2. Nokia 8.3 5G

A respectable entry into the 5G market for Nokia

Release date: October 2020
Weight: 220g
Dimensions: 171.9 x 78.6 x 9mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.81-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Snapdragon 765G
Storage: 64GB/128GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 64MP + 12MP + 2MP + 2MP
Front camera: 24MP

Reasons to buy
+Good display +3.5mm headphone jack

Reasons to avoid
Annoying Google Assistant button Small storage size for some

The Nokia 8.3 5G offers some strong specs for the price with a large 6.81-inch display that’s ideal for watching movies while on the move or playing games. With a chunky battery lfe, it’ll last you all day too, even if you are enjoying that extra screen space to its fullest.

There’s a dedicated Google Assistant button that invariably gets in the way and proves annoying, but otherwise, the Nokia 8.3 5G is reasonably well designed if unremarkable looking. Similarly, while the camera setup sounds impressive on paper, the macro sensor is rather mediocre so we wouldn’t recommend this one for avid photographers.

Still, the Nokia 8.3 5G is an ideal Nokia-flavored option if you’re desperate to try out 5G. With its strong battery life and large display, it should keep most people happy, despite its flaws.

Read our in-depth Nokia 8.3 5G review

(Image credit: Nokia)

3. Nokia 6.1

A low-tech but hardy phone

Release date: April 2018
Weight: 172g
Dimensions: 149 x 76 x 8mm
OS: Android 8
Screen size: 5.5-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 1920
CPU: Snapdragon 630
RAM: 3/4GB
Storage: 32/64GB
Battery: 3,000mAh
Rear camera: 16MP
Front camera: 8MP

Reasons to buy
+Durable yet attractive+Generous HD screen

Reasons to avoid
Solo rear cameraBattery just about lasts a day

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

(Image credit: Nokia)

4. Nokia 7.2

A solid if unexciting phone

Release date: September 2019
Weight: 180g
Dimensions: 159.9 x 75.2 x 8.3 mm
OS: Android 9
Screen size: 6.3-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2280
CPU: Snapdragon 660
RAM: 4/6GB
Storage: 64/128GB
Battery: 3,500mAh
Rear camera: 48MP + 8MP + 5MP
Front camera: 20MP

Reasons to buy
+Strong main cameras +Good performance

Reasons to avoid
Bad wide-angle cameraVery slow to charge

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

(Image credit: Nokia)

5. Nokia 7 Plus

A middleweight marvel

Release date: March 2018
Dimensions: 158 x 75 x 8mm
Weight: 183g
OS: Android 8.1
Screen size: 6-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2160
CPU: Snapdragon 660
Storage: 64GB
Battery: 3,800mAh
Rear camera: 12MP, 13MP
Front camera: 16MP

Reasons to buy
+Pure Android+Good camera

Reasons to avoid
Mid-range CPUCamera struggles in low-light

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

(Image credit: HMD Global)

6. Nokia 8.1

Once the best Nokia phone you could buy

Release date: December 2018
Weight: 180g
Dimensions: 155 x 76 x 8mm
OS: Android 9
Screen size: 6.2-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2280
CPU: Snapdragon 710
Storage: 64GB
Battery: 3,500mAh
Rear camera: 12MP, 13MP
Front camera: 20MP

Reasons to buy
+Well built design+Large, clear display

Reasons to avoid
Not waterproofLacks wireless charging

The Nokia 8.1 was our favorite Nokia phone until the Nokia 9 PureView and Nokia 8.3 5G 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

(Image credit: Nokia)

7. Nokia 5.3

Cheap phone holds its own

Release date: April 2020
Dimensions: 164.3 x 76.6 x 8.5mm
OS: Android 10 Android One
Screen size: 6.55-inch
Resolution: 720 x 1600
CPU: Snapdragon 665
RAM: 2/3/6GB
Storage: 64GB
Battery: 4,000mAh
Rear camera: 13MP + 5MP + 2MP + 2MP
Front camera: 8MP

Reasons to buy
+Great price +Good cameras

Reasons to avoid
Average performanceIffy display

Considering it only costs £149 the Nokia 5.3 performs well with a Snapdragon 665 and Android One, the bloatware-free, clean version of Android that guarantees you two years of updates.

The screen isn’t great though at only 720p, and you won’t want to go anywhere near high-end mobile games as the phone will likely struggle. But the cameras are surprisingly decent and the clean, simple design is a perk.

With a rear mounted fingerprint sensor, headphone jack, and decent battery life, this is by no means a bad phone, but be aware that while it handles the basics well you won’t want to push it too hard.

(Image credit: Nokia)

8. Nokia 8

Old school cool

Release date: October 2017
Weight: 160g
Dimensions: 151 x 73 x 8mm
OS: Android 7
Screen size: 5.3-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 2560
CPU: Snapdragon 835
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 3,090mAh
Rear camera: 12MP, 13MP
Front camera: 5MP

Reasons to buy
+Beautiful design+Gorgeous QHD display

Reasons to avoid
Launch price is higher than we’d expectNot waterproof

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

  • HMD Global is bringing Nokia back to its former glory
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