Sunday, 10 September 2017

Nokia 6 - Nostalgia


Writing a review for Nokia 6 was not in my mind until I had hands on experience. I just could not resist myself from writing this; after all it's a Nokia comeback through HMD Global. Unlike my previous reviews, this one is going to be a quick and mini review as it is already available in various markets since many weeks.

Key Specs
Full HD IPS LCD display with 450 nits of brightness
3GB RAM and 32GB NAND (4GB RAM and 64GB NAND for Arte Black Edition)
16MP PDAF rear camera with dual tone flash and 8MP front camera
Snapdragon 430 Chipset
6000 series Aluminium anodized finishing (Black, Blue, Silver, Copper and Arte Black)
GPS, GLONASS, Dolby Atmos, 3.5mm Jack and Fingerprint Reader,
Dual Sim (Hybrid slot) with dual VoLTE supporting 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28, 38, 40 bands (Cat 4) besides regular 2G and 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 with NFC.
3000 mAH battery, Micro USB2.0 with OTG Support,
Android Nougat 7.1.1 with every month security updates and upgradable to Android Oreo.

The first moment when I held the device and booted up, it's all about nostalgia. Commendable job by HMD and Foxconn (who built the phone) in bringing high end build quality for a mid ranger like Nokia 6. Words are not enough to praise the build quality and design. Android phones are definitely missing this design language and finishing for years even in some of their flagships, I am not exaggerating. HMD Global says, the Nokia 6 is made of single aluminium block (Unibody) and is polished at least 40 times before going on sale. Holding the device for a second will confirm their words, if at all are doubtful. Nokia 6 is ~7mm thin, made of aluminium unibody with a small cosmetic camera hump and feel good 2.5D curved gorilla glass with fingerprint sensor at bottom, perfect finishing. Did I forget to tell you about the silver lining around the body and camera hump? sexy.


Design apart, probably the downside of the handset at least on paper is the Snapdragon 430 clocked at 1.4GHz coupled with 4GB RAM and 32GB NAND (Arte Black version gets 4GB RAM and 64GB NAND). The two obvious reasons for selecting this could be 1) to deal with heating issues as it is a metal body 2) a better battery backup. Strictly speaking, the specs on paper or the comparisons with other similar priced phones do not matter much in real world especially for a normal user. The actual performance is so smooth that you won't believe it's running low end Qualcomm chipset, thanks to stock Android. The display is good with accurate colors but the brightness could have been more. The white point is not accurate and there are no modes to adjust this. Nokia website promises 450 nits of brightness, however, under bright light conditions it can shoot higher than this to compensate for reflections. The battery is 3000 mAh in capacity and the backup is pretty good with one day definitely guaranteed. The charger is 10 W (5V x 2A) rated and takes around 2hrs+. Sad that HMD Global could not provide faster charging though SD430 supports Qualcomm's quick charge 3.0.

The primary camera is 16 mega pixels with phase detection autofocus (PDAF) and dual tone LED flash. The quality of the sample images are good for its price range. The focus is quick, details are great (see below sample) and colors are a bit oversaturated. The video quality is okay and records in full HD resolution with 3X digital zoom which is really good. It has neither digital nor optical stabilization. I am not a fan of selfies, however, there is a 8MP front camera and images are satisfying outdoors while being not so great indoors. There is HDR mode as well for better lighting. The audio part is taken care by dedicated amplifier, however, the overall volume loudness is less for a loudspeaker; of course its stereo. The audio output on 3.5mm jack is good with theatre mode allowing Dolby Atmos sound surround to kick in. The call quality is good but the volume is little low compared to previous Nokia phones. 

HMD Global promises every month regular Android updates mainly security patches. As soon as I connected the phone to internet, July and August updates were installed. While writing this, September month updates were being downloaded; that's pretty fast. There are no customizable themes as of now and all basic icons are rounded off blues. My experience with Android is still less but the Google Assistant has evolved a lot and now it keeps tracking everything you do. 

Overall, some may mark it as just another chinese phone but holding the phone in hand will give you the answer. The Nokia traits, at least in design and build quality are faithfully inherited via HMD Global. The differentiating factor for Nokia in the saturated Android ecosystem right now could be their design and premium build quality and the stock Android with regular updates. HMD Global should take care of the chipset for next phones to satisfy the tech geeks and also for better marketing. The already announced Nokia 8 promises to be a good flagship but I am expecting even a better one like the leaked Nokia 9 to tackle Galaxy Note 8 and upcoming iPhone 8 series. The marketing strategy was underwhelming as it's flash sale. Amazon is a big place for  products, no doubts about that, but it took 3 weeks for me to get the mobile that too using autoscript extension on chrome. Brands like Nokia do not need this like other chinese phones. I knew many people who could not buy it through flash sale and shifted to other alternatives. Hopefully, HMD Global understands all the shortcomings from manufacturing to marketing and improve them.

Pros: Stunning design and premium build quality with good display and good battery backup.
Cons: SD 430 chipset is too less for this price range, No Glance screen (Always on)

Overall Score*

Design and Build Quality: 10/10
Network and Connectivity Features: 9/10
Screen: 8/10
Camera 7/10
Other Hardware: 8/10
Software Overall: 9/10

*Rating based on the price range i.e value for money

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