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A smartphone with a 6-inch Full-HD+ display, 18:9 Aspect Ratio, Android Oreo 8.1 and Dual rear camera set-up, Bluetooth 5 and a massive 3800mAh battery with fast charging does seem like a specs-sheet that belongs to a high-end smartphone. But it's not. It's Nokia 7 Plus, which is being sold at Rs. 26,000. Yes, surely a very competent device for a mid-range market.
Since the unveiling of the device at the MWC 2018 earlier this year, Nokia has been taking over the competition which they had lost a couple of years back. HMD surely has big plans for Nokia looking at the way it has placed the improved product onto the hands of fans and Android-buffs. Assuredly, the Android purists are favoring the latest Nokia lineup this year, including the Nokia 7 Plus.
Despite the comparatively not-well-known Snapdragon 660 which is used to power the device, the Nokia 7 plus does add a great sense to the price tag, not withering or deteriorating the performance bit. Additionally, the choice to opt for Android One also makes it a Pixel-par device in terms of Stock Android experience.
Not to give away the verdict right away, these are some of the thumbs-up, which needed a shout-out straight away from its specs sheet. But real life performance is what matters. Now, having been using the Nokia 7 Plus for quite some time, I have come down to a conclusive ending which you might want to be patient about. In the meantime, here is what we felt about the device categorically.
Nokia 7 Plus: Full Specification
- 6-inch (2160 × 1080 pixels) Full HD+ 18:9 2.5D curved glass display with Corning Gorilla glass 3 protection
- Octa Core Snapdragon 660 14nm Mobile Platform (Quad 2.2GHz Kryo 260 + Quad 1.8GHz Kryo 260 CPUs) with Adreno 512 GPU
- 4GB LPDDR4 RAM, 64GB (eMMC 5.1) internal storage, expandable memory up to 256GB with microSD
- Hybrid Dual SIM (nano + nano / microSD)
- Android 8.1 (Oreo)
- 12MP rear camera with f/1.75 aperture, 1.4µm pixel size with ZEISS optics, 13 MP secondary camera with 1.0µm pixel size, f/2.6 aperture with ZEISS optics, dual-tone LED flash
- 16MP front-facing camera with ZEISS optics
- Fingerprint sensor
- Dimensions: 158.38 x 75.64 x 9.55 mm
- 3.5 mm headphone jack, Three microphones with Nokia OZO Audio
- 4G VoLTE, WiFi 802.11 ac (2.4GHz + 5GHz), Bluetooth 5, GPS + GLONASS, NFC, USB Type-C (USB 2.0)
- 3800mAh battery with fast charging
Design and Display
The Aluminum Unibody is well tucked in within the frame of the Nokia 7 Plus. It clearly brings back Nokia's nostalgic ideals from the past viz. sturdiness and durability. The some-how matte-finish gives an edge to the phone, while another element that adds value to the design is the Copper lining running along the sides. Both White and Black color variants use the same elements to enhance the elegance of the already premium looking handset. The Copper accent used around the camera module, display and fingerprint sensor does reveal a great sense of design-orientation. Moreover, this is so far the most suitably and elegantly designed device from HMD-headed Nokia. The ceramic-like coating also conceals the not-worth-revealing antenna line and kudos to Nokia for that. [what's the point of showing that anyway]
So far, in the smartphone industry, apart from few manufacturers, not many have tried taking a bold move in using square angles on the sides. Rather, we have seen iPhone, Galaxy and other smartphone series go with the rounded sides. Nokia on the other hand, with its 7 Plus has in fact moved away from the trend and have followed a really clever design. The unibody from the back and front slide into the edges to form rounded sides but the Copper film running along the sides give it a sharp square angle, leaving half-rounded sides as well as flat surface. This particularly gives this device a pretty good grip [many may want to disagree here but it gave me far better grip than iPhone 6S, OnePlus 5t and other devices with rounded sides].
Talking about the frontal design. The tower aspect ratio proves to be going hand-in-hand with the size and ergonomics of the device. Although the bezels are minimum at the sides of the display, Nokia could have tried to reduce the same at the bottom or top, which would have possibly given space to reduce the overall size. Nonetheless, the Nokia 7 Plus does look stunning.
As far as the physical dimension is concerned, the Nokia 7 plus scales 158.4 x 75.6 x 8.0mm. Placement of the buttons and ports do seem to have gotten the right spots. The cutaway for Type-C USB port, speaker and primary microphone at the bottom does seem neat. The Volume Rocker and Power Button on the right side, Hybrid SIM tray on the left side and thankfully a 3.5mm headphone input seem to be traditionally placed. However, I personally think the Nokia branding beside the front camera is not helping. It's somehow breaking the symmetry of the frontal design. It was that important, Nokia can possibly have it on the left side. Even if they lose the branding above the display, it should make sense, because the Nokia 7 plus already has it in the rear side.
The Nokia 7 Plus packs a 6-inch (2160 × 1080 pixels) Full HD+ display offering 403 ppi density. The trending aspect ratio of 18:9 featuring display has a 2.5D curved glass layered on top along with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. Despite being IPS LCD the display is pretty clear and crisp. The touch response is quite fast. It does have a decent screen-to-body ratio of approximately 77%.
One of the areas on display which I particularly liked was the sunlight legibility. Compared to most of the devices in the same range, the Nokia 7 Plus has the edge even with an LCD display.
With 60Hz refresh rate and all the above features, the Nokia 7 Plus is above average in its category. However, it should be noted that the device has average display when compared with the likes or latest devices from Samsung, Sony, and others.
Hardware and Software: Performance
Talking about the guts of the Nokia 7 Plus, it runs a pretty decent hardware as a mid-ranger. Powered by Snapdragon 660, which is an Octa Core SoC with 2 Quad Cores clocked at 2.2GHz and 1.8GHz. The chipset is based on 14nm Mobile Platform. The Snapdragon 660 does come along with Adreno 512 GPU, which enables decent gaming experience to Nokia 7 Plus. Further, the 4GB LPDDR4 RAM, 64GB (eMMC 5.1) internal storage, which can be expanded up to 256GB with microSD, is yet another two enhancing support element to augment the performance of the device.
Just to refresh, the Snapdragon 660 brings in a lot of feature to the device like support for artificial intelligence, advanced photography and gaming, long battery life and fast LTE speeds and also offers up to 30% higher graphics performance and twice the LTE and Wi-Fi downlink speed compared to its predecessor. Also, the fast charge facility is supported by this chipset, which Nokia has made use of.
While we played some games like Modern Combat and Dead Trigger 2, we didn't face any lag in the initial start-up. However, when we played for a long duration of more than 30 mins, the device started heating up and started to lag [we were also running tests on the device in the background].
However, with minimum stress like playing Music, running multiple small-tasks in the background the device seems to be quite effective. The lag starts only when the device is put under serious stress like while playing heavy games for a long duration, recording video with heavy apps running behind.
The Nokia 7 Plus comes equipped with a dual-camera setup comprising two 12MP sensors. For, selfies, however, the company has tucked in a 16MP snapper. The rear cameras are accompanied by a dual-tone LED flash. The camera is capable of capturing 4K videos, while the front shooter can take full HD recordings.
Speaking of the camera performance, the company has surely worked its way up in the camera department compared to its previous generation smartphones. The camera app offers a simple interface but isn't completely out-of-the-box. It offers several options such as beautification mode, HDR mode, a Bothie mode that allow you to take pictures using both front and rear cameras simultaneously. While this feature sounds cool, there isn't much unless you want to capture your reaction and the events at the same time. You can also live stream content to YouTube or Facebook using the live mode.
The rear camera offers lossless zoom up to 2X offering good bokeh shots. Although the Nokia 7 Plus' dual camera is good, they still don't challenge the ones we have seen in Honor View 10 and OnePlus 5T. The camera also uses AI techniques for enhancing the pictures. In normal daylight, the pictures come out fine, but the low light performance of the device isn't impressive. You can actually notice a lot of grain and the pictures lack details. However, in moderate lighting condition, the pictures come out decent. Overall, if you are someone looking for a smartphone with exceptional camera performance, then this might not be what you are looking for.
The battery performance of the device is really good and we noticed that the idle drain was minimal. The credit also goes to the Snapdragon 660 chipset and the massive 3800mAh battery of course. If you are a moderate user and your usage is restricted to social media and messaging apps, the device will last well over a day before you start looking for a charger. But if you are a heavy user, you are likely to get a full day of backup on a single charge.
The smartphone also supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 that can fuel up the device in little over one hour. End of the day, the battery backup depends on the usage. Using the device for high-end gaming or multitasking heavy apps will drain the battery at a faster rate.
With the Nokia 7 Plus, HMD Global managed to tick almost all the boxes. It comes with an 18:9 display, performs efficiently and has a good battery life. As a part of the Android One initiative, the smartphone will be getting quick software updates and security patches, which is a good sign.
However, the company could have used a better camera with some fine-tuning that improves low-light photography of the device. Honestly, at a price tag of Rs 25,999, the smartphone feels a tad expensive. There are other phones with similar specs such as the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro available in the market at a much lower price. But if you look beyond the flaws, the Nokia 7 Plus can be a good bargain.
Overall, the Nokia 7 Plus is everything you would expect from a Nokia device. It packs a good set of specs and you should definitely buy this device if you are ready to shell out something around Rs 25,000.