Nokia is not a name which needs any introduction to a person born in the last 10 years or so. With the rise in popularity of mobile phones, Nokia made quite a sudden impact with cheap and useful phones which were unrivaled for almost a decade. Nothing good lasts forever though, same was the case with Nokia phones. Failure to adapt to newer technology and late adoption of touchscreen technology meant that people flocked towards Android and iOS devices, leaving Nokia in a metaphorical ditch.
Now, after a brief stint with Windows Phone devices, Nokia brand is back with a Finish company — HMD Global. To revive the Nokia brand, HMD Global is looking towards the biggest kid in the playground, Android.
Nokia 6 is the third device after Nokia 3 and Nokia 5 to be released in the new Android series of phones by the Finnish manufacturer. Let’s take a look at how well does to hold against other competitors who have been in the smartphone market for much longer than this new-comer.
Nokia 6 comes with following specifications:
- 5.5 inch screen with full-HD (1920x1080p) resolution
- 4GB RAM and 64GB storage (expandable up to 256 GB with microSD card)
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor with Adreno 505 GPU
- 16MP phase detection autofocus rear camera
- 8MP front camera
- Android 7.1.1 (Nougat)
- 3000 mAh Li-Ion battery
Pros and cons
Nokia 6, like almost any other phone in existence, has both pros and cons. The main attractions of this phone are:
- Decent camera
- Great build quality and design
- Above average battery life
In addition to these plus points, these are some of the issues which might force the user into thinking twice before buying the device:
- Lackluster performance
- No fast charging support
What do you get in the box?
- 5V/1A wall adapter with standard USB-A port (no fast charging)
- Standard length USB-A to micro-USB cable
- 3.5 mm hands-free
- SIM Card slot ejector tool
- Warranty information and product guide
Design and build quality
Nokia, even in the days of Lumia phones, was famous for crafting some very good looking phones. With a metallic finish on the back and 2.5D curved glass on the front, Nokia 6 is no slouch in the design department.
The front of the device is quite plain looking. With the usual earpiece at the top of the display (which also works as a second speaker to complete the stereo mode), the front facing 8 MP camera and the ambient light sensor. There are three capacitive touch buttons with the center home button serving as a fingerprint reader too.
The back side of the device is pretty standard for Nokia phones of the past. There is a small slab in the upper middle section of the back for the camera with the Nokia logo imprinted below it. There’s nothing else on the back of the phone, except FCC information about the device itself.
The right side of the device houses the volume rocker and the power button. The volume rocker is pretty tactile and easy to press, but the power button could be a little more raised and easier to feel. It feels a little more smushed in than most other devices I have tested. The left side of the device has the single hybrid SIM card/microSD card slot. The top is home to 3.5 mm headphone jack while the bottom holds micro USB port and loudspeaker in place.
A big difference between Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 is that unlike the first two, Nokia 6 comes with a 1080p IPS LCD panel instead of a 720p one. Can you notice the difference? Yes, you can. If you put both Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 side by side, the latter has a much sharper and clearer screen. One thing that hasn’t changed between the three devices is a slight bluish tint on the screen. It isn’t that noticeable but might bug people coming from vibrant AMOLED screens. Nokia could have provided a color calibration option in settings which would have rectified the issue completely.
Other than that minor hiccup, Nokia 6 packs an excellent display for its price. It gets really bright so you won’t have any issue using the phone in outdoor sunny conditions. Overall, the screen gets a solid A for the price category it is aiming for.
Similar to other Android Nokia devices, Nokia 6 also runs a near stock version of Android Nougat. The build version is 7.1.1 which is the closest any non-pixel phone can get to latest Android build right now. Nokia has not customized the software used on their Android devices. The only noticeable additions that I could find in the software were an inclusion of FM Radio app, tweaks to camera application, option to enroll in Nokia’s software experience program in the settings and the addition of a support application. Rest is stock and vanilla Android experience. It’s not a bad thing by any measure, I enjoy using stock Android and prefer it over most custom skins and ROMs available today.
All the usual goodies that come with Android Nougat like Google Assistant, Multi-window mode, quick replies in notifications and pixel launcher are all present with the software onboard the Nokia 6. The added support application is also super useful and might come in handy if you have any questions about your device. The gestures added in the settings are also pretty nifty and might help in situations where shaving off a couple of seconds towards responding to a call is necessary.
Now it is time to discuss one of the weaker points of Nokia 6 — its performance. Nokia has decided to go with the same chipset in both Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 — a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor with Adreno 505 GPU. Although it isn’t a particularly weak chipset, it doesn’t hold a candle against some other offerings which are being used in phones of same price category. Although its 4 GB RAM makes sure that multitasking is a breeze, Snapdragon 430 will prove to be a bottleneck when you try to play some very high-end 3D games. Expect a few freezes and dropped frames here and there while playing that kind of games.
Resource intensive tasks aside, Nokia 6 performs admirably well while going through day to day tasks. There is no visible slowdown or jitters even while multitasking 5-6 apps simultaneously. Most users should find Nokia 6’s processing power adequate for their usage.
To power up the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 and the 1080p screen, Nokia has used a 3,000 mAh battery in Nokia 6. It might seem a bit smaller as compared to significantly larger batteries used in phones like Huawei Y7 Prime, but considering the power requirements of the phone, it churned out a pretty good performance. With constant data connection (either through Wi-Fi or cellular network), a fair amount of social media usage, music streaming on regular intervals and with a few rounds of games thrown here and there, I was able to easily go through the whole day with few percentages of juice left at night. The screen on time during the day was in the range of 5-6 hours, which should be more than enough to satisfy most customers.
A disappointing stat about Nokia 6 is that it does not support fast charging. This means that filling up the 3,000 mAh battery takes a bit longer than it should in this day and age. It also means that there is no luxury of just plugging in your device for a half an hour to keep it running for 5-6 hours.
Like most other phones from the Finnish manufacturer, Nokia 6 is no slouch when it comes to camera performance. It is equipped with a 16 MP back camera with a f/2.0 aperture and phase detection autofocus. Not only does it seem special on the paper, it also performs admirably well in real life. The pictures taken by Nokia 6 come out well sharpened and with a lot of details. The color reproduction is also on point and, if taken in well-lit areas, the picture quality is pretty good for the asking price. Low light performance isn’t its strong suit but you can easily get some decent looking pictures if you manage to keep the hand steady enough for the camera to get enough light into the sensor.
The real surprise in these Nokia Android devices is the front camera. The 8 MP front sensor comes with autofocus, something which sets it very apart from other phones in this price segment. It quickly locks on to your face and does a good job of keeping it in focus even if you are moving the phone a bit. There is plenty detail in the selfies and they come out worthy of posting on whatever social media network that you subscribe to.
To effectively conclude the review, the important thing to look at is whether or not the device justifies the price tag stamped on it by the manufacturer. In case of Nokia 6, that price tag is of 26,500 PKR. What do you get in nearly 27K Pakistani Rupees? You are getting a phone with a good screen, brilliant camera quality, decent battery life and premium looking design. There are also some minor issues like slightly bad performance while carrying out resource intensive tasks and the absence of a fast charger, but these are not deal breakers. With a lot of good points and very few major issues, Nokia 6 is shaping up to be a very capable contender for a good mid-range device.