Our Opinion

The Samsung Galaxy M21 (4GB RAM, 64GB) is a slightly better phone than the Nokia 8.1 (4GB RAM, 64GB), and is also significantly better value for money. What should you buy? Go for the Samsung Galaxy M21 (4GB RAM, 64GB)!

Nokia 8.1 (4GB RAM, 64GB)  Samsung Galaxy M21 (4GB RAM, 64GB) 
Nokia 7.1 Plus Samsung Galaxy M21
Buy Now  not available currently Buy
Excellence Score
29.4
32.3
Value for Money Score
48.0
72.8
Price ₹ 26,999 onwards ₹ 12,499 onwards
Launch Date (India) Dec, 2018 Mar, 2020
Expected Launch Date N/A N/A
Smartphone OS Android 9.0 Pie, Upgradeable to Android 10Low likelihood of getting updated to next Android versionAndroid One series Android 10Expected update to next Android version
Touchscreen Yes (Capacitive) Yes (Capacitive)
Screen Size 6.18 inches 6.4 inches
Screen Resolution 1080x2244 pixels (~ 403 pixels per inch) 1080x2340 pixels (~ 403 pixels per inch)
Tall Aspect Ratio / Minimal Bezels Yes Yes
Scratch Resistant Display Yes, Corning Gorilla Glass Yes, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Display Type IPS LCD AMOLED
Screen Refresh Rate 60 HzStandard 60 HzStandard
Display Features FullView Display, IPS LCD Super AMOLED
Full Physical QWERTY Keypad
Processor 2.2 GHz 2.3 GHz
Processor Type Octa Core Octa Core
Processor Name Qualcomm Snapdragon 710Ranked #44 in Mobile Processor Benchmarks Samsung Exynos 9611Ranked #38 in Mobile Processor Benchmarks
GPU Adreno 616 Mali-G72 MP3
RAM 4 GB 4 GB
3G Yes Yes
4G Yes Yes
5G
VoLTE Yes Yes
WiFi Yes Yes
VoWiFi/WiFi-Calling Yes Yes
GPS Yes Yes
Bluetooth Yes Yes
Connecting Port USB-C USB-C
Primary Camera 13MP + 12MP 48MP + 8MP + 5MP
Camera Auto-Focus Yes Yes
Camera Flash Yes Yes
HD Video Recording Yes (4K) Yes (4K)
Other Camera Features 12MP: F/1.8 Aperture; 1/2.55" Sensor Size; 1.4µm Pixel Size; Dual Pixel PDAF; OIS, Zeiss Optics, Panorama, HDR 48MP: f/2.0 aperture; 26mm Focal Length; 1/2.0" Sensor Size; 0.8um Pixel Size; PDAF, 8MP: f/2.2 aperture; 12mm Focal Length; Ultra-wide; 1/4.0" Sensor Size; 1.12um Pixel Size, 5MP: f/2.2 aperture; Depth Sensor, Panorama, HDR, Video: [email protected]; [email protected]; EIS
Secondary Camera 20MP 20MP
Secondary Camera Features F/2.0 Aperture, 0.9µm Pixel Size f/2.0 aperture, 26mm Focal Length, HDR
Internal Memory 64 GB 64 GB
Expandable Memory Slot Yes, up to 400 GB Yes, up to 512 GB
Contacts Storage Unlimited Unlimited
SMS Storage Unlimited Unlimited
Music Player Yes Yes
FM Radio Yes Yes (Wireless)
Dual SIM GSM+GSM (Hybrid SIM slot) GSM+GSM
Thickness 7.9 mmMedium 8.9 mmMedium
Weight 180 gmMedium 188 gmMedium
Width 75.8 mmOk for one-handed use 75.1 mmOk for one-handed use
Audio Output 3.5mm jack 3.5mm jack
Water Resistant
Battery Capacity 3500 mAh 6000 mAh
Battery Standby N/A N/A
Battery Standby (3G) N/A N/A
Battery Talktime N/A N/A
Battery Talktime (3G) N/A N/A
Fast Charging Support Yes Yes, 15W Fast Charging
Included Fast Charger Yes Yes, 15.0W Fast Charger
Other Battery Parameters N/A N/A
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Other Features NFC; Noise Filtration Noise Filtration
2-minute Review [Positives]
  • In recent times, HMD has launched some exquisite smartphones this year that all exude style and class - the Nokia 8.1 is no different - it's an elegantly designed device that comes with a glass and metal design - the front and back of the Nokia 8.1 get 2.5D Gorilla Glass protection - and the glass subtly curves on the edges and seamlessly blends into the aluminium frame
  • The frame itself is a solid Series 6000 aluminium with diamond cut, chiseled edges
  • Overall, the Nokia 8.1 is built like a tank - and the material quality as well as the fit and finish are excellent - every part of it feels completely solid, right down to the thick metal SIM tray and the power and volume buttons - the body doesn't twist or flex even slightly
  • Excellent, vivid, sharp, tall display with HDR10-support - which means you can stream HDR content on supported platforms like Netflix, Prime Video and YouTube - and you will get some pretty amazing colour reproduction
  • Being an Android One device, you get simple, clean stock Android similar to Pixel devices, along with a promise for Android updates for at least 2 years - there is also basically zero bloatware
  • Slick, butter smooth performance with the new Snapdragon 710, that's just a notch below the Snapdragon 800 series flagships - in real-life use, you will only be able to notice any difference from flagships in the most high-end games
  • Very good dual camera setup on the rear - take some very good images, especially in daylight conditions - you will get very good detail and vibrant colours - the camera is also quick to lock focus and fun to use - live Bokeh shots too come out looking great
  • Videos are crisp and sharp too, again especially so in daylight - and optical image stabilisation definitely makes a difference
  • The front camera is pretty good too, in all sort of lighting conditions, and has a good portrait mode as well
  • Overall, the camera experience on the Nokia 8.1 is right up there with the very best in this price bracket
  • Good speaker - sound through the single mono speaker is very loud, and is not too harsh or tinny
  • Good battery life with a 3500mAh battery - you will comfortably get a day of use and more
  • Fast charging support
  • The Nokia 8.1 is undoubtedly a strong new choice in the mid-range - it does not rely on gimmicks or fads to try and woo you - at its core, this is a phone that focuses on the essentials and delivers a great camera, good performance, excellent battery life and an absolutely clean build of Android with a promise of long-term support - for people who are looking for an uncluttered software experience and fast updates, the Nokia 8.1 will be an excellent, reliable choice
  • Decent looks and build quality - very similar to the Samsung Galaxy M31, with a a unibody polycarbonate design, and glossy finish on the back panel - the only major difference is the camera module which houses a triple rear camera
  • The plastic body keeps the phone feeling relatively lightweight at 188 grams, which is mighty impressive for a phone packing a big 6000 mAh battery
  • It also feels great to hold with a seamless curved panel that meets the display up front
  • Modern, Infinity-U front - bezels around the screen are slim, except for a slightly thick chin - you still get around 90 per cent screen-to-body ratio, which is great
  • Fingerprint sensor at the back is easy to reach and work very well
  • Gorgeous, 6.4-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display with excellent viewing angles, and brightness levels - easily one of the best displays in the price bracket
  • It also comes with "Widevine L1" certification, which helps stream content in crisp HD resolution
  • Blacks are deep on the AMOLED display, which looks good with Night mode enabled
  • Samsung's OneUI is today one of the more clean, refined Android UIs that's especially well optimised for large displays like this
  • One UI also brings in other useful stuff, like a System-wide Dark mode (which turns the background completely black, and looks great on the M21's AMOLED display), and Always On Display option
  • Decent performance with the Exynos 9611 at the core (similar to Snapdragon 665) - the device is fairly quick to load up apps - multitasking is a breeze
  • Decent triple rear camera setup - a 48MP primary snapper, an 8MP ultra-wide lens and a 5MP depth sensor
  • In broad daylight, you'll get consistent, crispy shots with decent dynamic range and sharpness levels are respectable with the primary lens
  • The ultra-wide sensor, like on any budget phone, is a good addition - it takes social media-worthy images in great lighting conditions (in low-light, the quality dips and pictures look grainy and noisy, wide-angle shots also have barrel distortion at the edges)
  • Live Focus shots are quite good and the camera app does give you the option to set the level of blur before taking a shot - edge detection is very good and the Galaxy M21 does a good job of separating the subject from the background
  • The 20MP selfie camera is quite good and takes detailed selfies (though, in low light, the quality goes down a notch and results are grainy)
  • Monster 6000 mAh battery delivers an incredible 2-3 days of usage easily, making for one of the largest battery life smartphones currently available
  • Supports 15W fast charging
  • If you're someone who consumes a lot of content on their phone, the Galaxy M21 is a good phone for you, it has great AMOLED display, outstanding battery backup that will last you for days
2-minute Review [Negatives]
  • The display notch is quite wide
  • Low light performance from the rear cameras, for both stills and videos, is decent, but could have been a little bit better
  • The power button and volumes are quite flush with the frame which means they lack that tactile, clicky feel
  • Design feels a bit dated and underwhelming, there is no spark in Galaxy M21's design as we see in other brand's phones like Xiaomi and Realme
  • However, this is an old chipset and heavy gaming isn't best on this phone - the Redmi Note 9 Pro and the Realme 6 are much better options that will handle gaming better than the Galaxy M21
  • Photos taken in low-light are average - focusing gets worse in low light and the extreme noise-correction makes images look like water paintings
  • Overall, the cameras on the M21 are decent, but there are better cameras available in this price bracket, including the Galaxy M31, which is just a tad bit pricier
  • Samsung Galaxy M11 falls behind in fast charging as competitors are offering close to 30W fast charging, the 15W on M21 feels low
  • Having said that, the Redmi Note 9 Pro and the Realme 6 will still offer you more bang for your buck, overall and when it comes to intensive tasks like gaming, you’ll be better off choosing the Realme 6 or the Redmi Note 8 Pro that are probably the best phones for gaming in this segment
Expert Reviews
  1. Solid mid-range device
    techradar.com in-depth Read Review »
  2. There is a lot to like about the Nokia 8.1, but most of the things that give it its appeal can also be found in phones that cost much less
    gadgets.ndtv.com in-depth Read Review »
  3. This is a phone that focusses on the essentials...offers tremendous value-for-money
    fonearena.com in-depth Read Review »
  4. Gets almost everything right...In case you prefer brand trust and software over the latest tech and powerful hardware, then the Nokia 8.1 is the kind of device you would like in your pocket
    bgr.in in-depth Read Review »
  5. A true Android flagship killer... Nokia is ending the year on a bang
    news18.com in-depth Read Review »
  6. A marvellous mid-range smartphone
    expertreviews.co.uk in-depth Read Review »
  7. A great phone that nails the fundamentals
    androidcentral.com in-depth Read Review »
  8. As close to a flagship phone as it gets...And to top it off, HMD has priced the Nokia 8.1 at an incredibly competitive price
    indiatoday.in in-depth Read Review »
  9. trustedreviews.com in-depth Read Review »
  10. stuff.tv in-depth Read Review »
  11. themobileindian.com hands-on Read Review »
  1. All the battery life you need
    fonearena.com in-depth Read Review »
  2. Great battery in an average package
    bgr.in in-depth Read Review »
  3. A judicious mix of features and performance gets the day-to-day work done easily
    economictimes.indiatimes.com in-depth Read Review »
  4. Buy This For The Battery and Vivid AMOLED Display
    news18.com in-depth Read Review »
  5. A Phone That Caters Best To Video Content Consumers
    in.mashable.com in-depth Read Review »
  6. Sharp display, good cameras, decent performance and an amazing battery life, though the Galaxy M31 is better
    zeebiz.com in-depth Read Review »
  7. A good option if you are out in the market looking for a capable smartphone that is not Xiaomi or Realme
    business-standard.com in-depth Read Review »
  8. Big battery and display at an affordable price
    indiatoday.in in-depth Read Review »
  9. gadgetsnow.com in-depth Read Review »
  10. gsmarena.com hands-on Read Review »
  11. ibtimes.co.in hands-on Read Review »
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Official Website Official Website » Official Website »
Unofficial specs? N/A N/A
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