Nokia 4.2: The Good, The Bad, and The X factor

Yet another smartphone in the much-crowded budget segment.


Ever since Nokia made a comeback under the HMD Global umbrella, the company has kept the market busy with new smartphones being launched at regular intervals. The company announced the Nokia 4.2 during the MWC 2019, and was touted as a "mini flagship."

Nokia 4.2: The Good, The Bad, and The X factor


Well, we have to give it to HMD Global for bringing yet another stylish yet affordable device to the table. The device comes with a 5.71-inch HD+ display, dual rear camera setup, Snapdragon 439 processor, and a power key which also doubles as a notification LED. But is it the best device in this segment? Let's break it down for you.

The Good

Premium aesthetics

The Nokia 4.2 is without a doubt an aesthetically pleasing smartphone, especially for its price bracket. It has a glass front with a polycarbonate rear panel. The device brings along the first set of waterdrop notch displays for the company.

The device weighs around 161g and has rounded edges making it easy to grab with one hand. The right side houses the power key, which also doubles as a notification LED. This is a welcomed feature as the subtle indication is visible whether the device is placed face up or face down.

On the left there are the volume rockers, however, the company has added an extra button. The key is the shortcut to launch Google Assistant. It seems the company has taken a page from Samsung's book. Moreover, there's a fingerprint scanner placed below the vertically aligned camera setup.

Overall, the Nokia 4.2 is a beautiful looking smartphone and doesn't try to be too shimmering like the recent smartphones from major OEMs. It is surely one of the good looking devices in this price segment.

Android One

Android One

The Nokia 4.2 runs Android 9 Pie out-of-the-box which offers a clean and bloatware free experience. Navigating through the app drawer or navigating through apps and switching between functions is pretty smooth and fluid.

The interface comes with new gestures and features like Digital Well-being, Dashboard, Do Not Disturb and a lot more. Apart from the user interface, the touch and is also pretty responsive.

Since the device is under Google's Android One program which is an almost stock version of the OS, it is guaranteed to receive major Android updates for the next two years, and security updates for coming three years.

Smooth performer

Under the hood, the Nokia 4.2 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 processor which is paired by 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage.

While it may sound pretty outdated, the performance of the device is actually pretty zippy and smooth. In our brief usage with the device, we found that the device can handle day-to-day tasks without breaking a sweat. Our usage included a bit of everything, and the overall experience was smooth.

However, you wouldn't want to fire up graphics-hungry games on this one. Even mild gaming could make the device a bit toasty, but for this price expecting high-end gaming performance would be criminal.

The Bad

Disappointing camera

The Nokia 4.2 comes equipped with a 13MP + 2MP dual rear camera setup, while there's an 8MP camera up front. During our brief time with the device, we managed to capture a few images, and we were pretty disappointed by the end result.

The pictures taken in favorable lighting conditions came out decent, but we noticed a lot of noise in pictures taken in low-light. The bokeh effect is also not very effective and the edge detection is also below par.

Besides, the camera app and shutter do have a noticeable amount of lag. The selfie camera is no exception either. The images taken from the front snapper come out washed out and there is an ample amount of noise in the pictures. So, if mobile photography is your thing, Nokia 4.2 isn't something you should buy.

Underwhelming display

Coming to the display panel, the Nokia 4.2 embraces a 5.71-inch display with an aspect ratio of 19:9. The screen features a teardrop notch that accommodates the front-facing camera. The notch doesn't come in the way while viewing videos, but only reduces the number of icons that can be shown in that area.

The company says this is an HD+ resolution which has a resolution of 720 x 1520 pixels. However, we think the company could have used a better display, as we have a lot of high-quality displays in this price segment.

At this price point, it's still borderline passable, but considering the competition in this segment, a display with 295ppi which isn't a full HD panel would be tough to recommend over the likes of other smartphones in this segment.

Small reservoir

The Nokia 4.2 is fuelled by a 3000mAh battery and we believe the company could have used a reservoir. The much-crowded budget segment has seen a lot of smartphone with similar specs but bigger batteries.

The budget-conscious users consider the battery life as one of the most important aspects while making the purchase decision, and the smaller battery on the Nokia 4.2 could be a dealbreaker for many.

Moreover, the smartphone doesn't support fast charging because it uses a MicroUSB port for fuelling, which is another letdown. A fast charging tech would have helped amplify the value of the device against its contemporaries.

The X factor

All that said, the Nokia 4. is still a good value for money. It brings along a premium looking design, sticking close to the company's winning formula. You also get a fluid performance throughout unless you push the device to its extreme limits. To top it all, the stock Android experience makes the overall experience even better and assures updates for the next two years, and security updates for the coming three years.

It might not be the best smartphone in this segment, but it's definitely one of the better phones to see the light of day in recent times. The smartphone will face tough competition Realme 3 Pro and Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 pro, which have already received a great response from the consumers.
However, Nokia's brand value will play a key role in the sales of its latest offering. We've seen many promising products from the company, and the Nokia 4.2 seems to be yet another contender.

Hit or a miss?

With the Nokia 4.2, HMD Global has produced yet another well-rounded smartphone with an aggressive price of Rs 10,990. We are yet to see the consumer response, but it seems the company has priced the device reasonably with an impressive spec sheet.

If you are someone who's always believed in Nokia and want to switch from feature phones to smartphones, this is definitely a very good alternative. It's not going to blow your minds away with high speeds or superficial images, but for a budget smartphone, it seems well-equipped. In our opinion, buying the Nokia 4.2 is a safe bet and it won't disappoint you.

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