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Nokia 6.1 Plus review: Stock Android and Nokia’s budding trust
The Nokia 6.1 Plus is the first smartphone from the Finnish smartphone manufacturer to feature a notched display.
HMD Global recently launched the much-awaited Nokia 6.1 Plus for the Indian market. The Nokia 6.1 Plus is the global variant of the Nokia X6 which was announced earlier this year in China. The smartphone is packed with some latest trending features such as a bezel-less display, dual-lens camera setup, Nokia's reliable design and more.
The Nokia 6.1 Plus is the first smartphone from the Finnish smartphone manufacturer to feature a notched display. It appears that with the release of 6.1 Plus, Nokia wants to offer a premium smartphone experience in budget price-point. The new smartphone also has a lot on its shoulders as it has been launched in the most competitive price-segment where Xiaomi is simply ruling the charts.
The new Nokia smartphone packs a decent processor and comes under Android One program which means that the device will be first in line to receive the Android updates and security patches. The device comes with a price tag of Rs 15,999. At this price range, the smartphone gets direct competition from the devices such as Redmi Note 5 Pro and Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1, Xiaomi Mi A2 and others. In this article, we will be helping you to decide whether you should go for the new Nokia handset or should consider some other options. So, let's get started.
Display: Notch bug bites Nokia
Let's begin with the display. The Nokia 6.1 Plus
sports a 5.8-inch Full HD display with an aspect ratio 19:9. The elongated display comes with the infamous notch but thankfully it is smaller in size that ensures a slightly better screen real-estate for multimedia consumption. However, the notch can't be turned off which is quite annoying. The display comes with a
screen resolution of 2280 x 1080 pixels and has a 2.5D curved Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for screen protection. The display adjusts itself as per the notch while streaming videos on YouTube and Netflix. Notably, this is an LCD panel which means that the notch doesn't black out as clearly as it does on the AMOLED panels and is fairly visible. The display produces fairly bright and responsive colors and is apt for media consumption.
However, the compact display might not come handy when you want to enjoy heavy graphics games or binge on high-resolution videos which streams better on bigger display devices.
The display seems pretty average under direct sunlight, which might trouble users who spend a good amount of day using their handsets outdoors.
Design: Pleasing to eyes and compact form-factor
In terms of design, Nokia has used a glass body design similar to the Nokia 8 Sirocco housed within a thick aluminum frame. The device is compact and can be comfortably used with one hand. The glass-body does need to be handled with care as they have a reputation of getting cracked. So, users will need to use a case with the 6.1 Plus to keep it safe.
As far as the placement of keys and ports are concerned, the volume rockers along with the power key are placed at the right panel of the device. The SIM card tray is placed on the right panel of the device.
The 3.5mm headphone jack along with the Type-C USB port and speaker grille is placed at the bottom of the device. Even being small in size the audio produced by the speakers is quite impressive.
The rear panel of the Nokia 6.1 Plus houses the vertically stacked dual-camera setup below which is the fingerprint scanner. The fingerprint scanner is ideally placed where our finger will rest automatically; this makes it easy to unlock the smartphone in a jiffy.
The volume rockers, camera module, and the fingerprint scanner are wrapped inside a metallic lining giving the device a premium look.
However, it would have been highly appreciated if the company used metallic linings to wrap the device overall. The bezels around the 6.1 Plus are fairly thin and the 81.4 percent screen-to-body ratio makes the device optimum for single hand use. One of the major disadvantages of the glass body which I personally find irking is that the glass body is a fingerprint magnet. No matter how hard you try to keep the smartphone clean it will eventually pick on the fingerprints and also they are prone to smudges.
Overall, the Nokia 6.1 Plus boasts a robust and sturdy design, however, the durability of glass-back remains a question, and it is suggested to use a case to protect the device from damage.
Camera: Dual-rear camera setup
In the imaging department, the Nokia 6.1 Plus features a dual-rear camera setup consisting of a 12MP primary sensor which works on a f/2.0
aperture and comes with PDAF and 1um pixel pitch. There's a 5MP secondary sensor with a f/2.4 aperture for depth sensing.
The front camera, on the other hand, is a 16MP selfie shooter with a f/2.0 aperture.
The other features supported by the 6.1 Plus's camera includes portrait shots, bothies, UHD 4K videos and others. For those who have no idea about bothie, I would like to add that the bothie mode utilizes both the rear as well as the front camera simultaneously to capture images. Users will also have the option to Live stream their bothies in real-time by using the masks and filters to Facebook and YouTube directly using the camera app.
The camera app is pretty basic and it misses on the Pro Camera app which can be spotted on the Nokia 6.1 and the 7 Plus. The camera app has also got built-in beauty effects which utilize machine learning, something which the other OEMs have been boasting about for quite some time now.
The rear camera captures decent quality images in well-lit situations, the images captured have natural colors nothing too animated which is a good job done by the company. The images captured in low-light situations are not very appealing and you might have some disappointment there. The low-light shots often come out to be blurry and show noticeable noise.
The front camera performs in a similar manner to the rear camera. The selfies captured in daylight has good detailing and balanced colors.
However, as the lights start to fade so does the picture quality. The selfies captured in low light situations are soft and grainy and lacks fine detailing. The So, if the camera is your priority then you might consider other options as well.
Hardware and Software:
The Nokia 6.1 Plus is powered by an octa-core (1.8 GHz, Quad core, Kryo 260 + 1.6 GHz, Quad core, Kryo 260) Snapdragon 636 SoC with Adreno 509 GPU for graphics. The device has 4GB of RAM with 64GB of onboard storage. The storage is further expandable up to 400GB via microSd card. In terms of performance, I didn't experience any hiccup or lag from the device while playing graphic-rich games. The 6.1 Plus was able to play high-resolution videos as well without any issues. I played Warships Blitz and PUBG on the device and was not let down by its performance. However, for playing PUBG this device might not be your first choice but it was able to handle the game swiftly.
The device also didn't heat up much with regular gameplay or video streaming which was quite impressive. The only drawback here is the hybrid card slot in which you have to choose between an expandable storage and a second SIM card. The processor is apt to carry out day-to-day tasks with ease and it would not be wrong to say that this is among the best mid-range device in terms of performance which is available in the market.
In terms of software, the Nokia 6.1 Plus is a part of the Android One program and ships with stock Android. This is the pure version of Android and doesn't come preloaded with any third-party developers or any skin on top. The only pre-loaded apps you will get is the Google apps and Nokia Mobile Support app. The Nokia Mobile Support app allows you to connect with the HMD customer service via chat.
The UI is pretty basic and simple similar to what you will notice on the other stock Android devices and is also user-friendly. The major advantage of the stock Android devices is that they come first in line to receive the Android update and security patches. Therefore the Nokia 6.1 Plus will also receive timely Android update and security patches. The device will receive the latest updates from Google for two years. It is also expected that the device will receive the Android 9 Pie update in the coming months.
Battery and Connectivity:
The Nokia 6.1 Plus is backed by a 3,060mAh battery which seems like a disappointment when you compare the handset's battery unit with Redmi Note 5 Pro and Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1.
But let me tell you that the battery lasting ability on this handset is not bad in real-life usage. Even though the battery might seem less powerful on papers, its performance is decent. The device lasted for almost an entire day with a single charge and light to moderate usage. With continuous heavy usages such as playing graphic-rich games and media, you will need to charge the battery more than once.
The connectivity aspects of the Nokia 6.1 Plus include a USB Type-C port for charging and data transfers, a 3.5mm headphone jack for audio output, Bluetooth v5.0, USB OTG support and Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and others. It is a relief to see that the company has used USB Type-C for charging and data transfers.
The Nokia 6.1 Plus is a decent device which performs quite well. At this price range, the device is a worthy competitor of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro and Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1. The stock android gives a premium user experience and the handset also performs very well in computing and multitasking. The only drawback of this device is the average camera performance.
So, if you are planning to get a new smartphone solely based on its camera performance, then Nokia 6.1 Plus might not be the one for you; however, if camera holds less priority than software and hardware performance, Nokia 6.1 Plus is a good buy.