IT FEELS like only yesterday when Finnish smartphone flogger Nokia took a few years’ hiatus from the smartphone market. But HMD Global, the company that now licences the Nokia brand, is seemingly making up for lost time, having unveiled a host of devices over the past two years.
That was particularly evident at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) conference in Barcelona this February, where Nokia released a raft of different smartphones aimed at many different kinds of people.
Among them was the new Nokia 6 (called the 6.1 in some markets), an Android-powered handset that boasts a rich feature set for a wallet-friendly price of just over 200 quid.
But even at this price, is it still worth the money? Read on to find out.
The Nokia 6 isn’t going to win any awards for its design, but that’s not to say it’s a bad-looking smartphone thanks to its classy aluminium chassis and eye-catching copper accents.
Saying that, it is quite weighty at 172g and not the most comfortable to hold due to its wide dimensions. Measuring 75.8mm wide by 8.6mm thick, users with small hands might struggle to stretch their stumpy digits to the far corners of the display when playing mobile games, for instance.
On the other hand, the build of the smartphone is top notch, and in true Nokia style, it’s built like a brick shithouse, as they’d say up’t North.
During our time using the Nokia 6, it withstood a good few knocks and bangs, although we did notice a couple of tiny dints on the edges of the chassis, so it might be worth investing in a case if you’re a prissy little baby.
One of the best things about the Nokia 6 is its gorgeous 5.5in IPS 1080p LCD screen that comes with a glossy finish, a 16:9 aspect ratio, and a damage-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass coating.
Colour representation proved vibrant and images sharp, with a lovely bright backlight that holds up well even in sunny environments. However, it’s worth noting that there’s no way to tweak this if needed, with the Nokia 6’s display colour set to a more cool temperature by default – not good if you like to stare into the abyss that is your phone before falling asleep. There is a night-viewing mode as you’d expect, but instead of appearing a little warmer, the screen just looks completely Essex-tan orange.
What’s more, those who are in the know when it comes to the latest smartphone trends might be put off by the Nokia 6’s 16:9 screen as nearly all other brands in this arena are switching to the 18:9 ratio, adding an extra 240 rows of pixels to fill more of the phone’s front.
Performance and software
The Nokia 6 packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 chip comprising an octa-core Cortex-A53 CPU clocked at 2.2GHz, which comes paired with an Adreno 508 GPU and 3GB of RAM. All this is a pretty big upgrade over the 2017 version of the phone.
The handset also comes loaded with Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, and – like on previous Nokia smartphones – HMD is offering a largely vanilla OS experience, likely the most stripped-back you’ll find outside of Google’s own Pixel range.
In our experience of using the Nokia 6, we have no major performance issues to report and the phone was generally smooth in operation thanks to a combination of its Qualcomm CPU and un-touched OS. However, the camera app could be slow to launch, and we can image that, over time – when the handset has been loaded with lots of apps and personal media – that it could slow somewhat.
On Antutu, the Nokia 6 scored 90223, precisely the kind of score you’d expect from a handset with these specs.
Battery, connectivity and storage
Thanks to the Nokia 6’s 3,000mAh battery, we easily managed a full day of use without needing top re-juice, unlike many other – way more expensive – smartphones on the market these days.
There’s also a nifty turbo charge feature that means you can get about a third of the battery recharged in just 15 minutes.
In terms of storage, there’s up to 64GB of inbuilt memory and you can also take advantage of a microSD card slot which adds up to 128GB of additional space.
Charge cables are of the USB Type-C variety alongside an optional Dual SIM (4G) uption, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, NFC and Dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n: all the usual shit you’d expect from a smartphone.
As for the Nokia 6’s snappers, it features a 16MP solo rear camera at f/2.0 and dual-tone LED flash and an 8MP fixed-focus selfie camera, at f/2.0.
Yes, it is a little disappointing that there’s no dual lens rear camera on the Nokia 6, but can you really complain at this price? The likes of the Honor 9 Lite have managed it, though, so perhaps we’ll see it on the 2019 model.
As for picture quality, the Nokia 6’s rear-facing cam does the job. It’s not the fastest around but it switches between still photo and video modes fairly quickly, and there’s also a pro mode for fiddling with settings – just don’t expect anything on the level of the impeccably complex Huawei P20 Pro.
Shots are impressive when the lighting is good, with HDR mode offering a high level of detail with nice white balance and colour representation. But as with most cheap phones, the Nokia 6 doesn’t excel in low-light conditions and struggles to take decent night shots.
Surprisingly for the price, there’s also a 4K video recording option at 30fps, which works relatively well. We say “relatively” because shooting in this mode does warm the phone, drain the battery quickly and fills up its storage quickly – proof that a device of this calibre is not really meant for such high-quality image capture.
The selfie cam does have a nice wide-angle lens though, which is nice to see.
The Nokia 6 might not be the creme de la creme, but offers a decent upgrade compared to its predecessor and is a decent effort compared to other smartphones in the same price bracket.
For just £229 you get a pretty handsome and well-built device with a good set of specs that will do the job for daily tasks. If you’re not looking to splurge on your next handset and need a well-rounded device that can handle the daily needs of the average user, the 2018 edition of the Nokia 6 is a worthy contender and definitely worth a look.
The Nokia 6 is available from Nokia.com SIM-free or on contract exclusively at Carphone Warehouse in the UK starting at just £15.99 per month.
Price, build quality, 1080p IPS display
Wide ass screen, weight, design not to everyone’s taste
Nothing ugly at this price point
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