June 22, 2018

The Nokia 6.1 Review: Better Than the First!

For a few weeks now, I have been using the Nokia 6.1 (Nokia 6 2018) testing it out to see how it stands out compared to other devices on the market. The Nokia 6.1 is the successor to the Nokia 6 from 2017 and I wanted to see if it is a worthy upgrade or not.

I have already reviewed the Nokia 6 from 2017 and you can read more about it using the link below.

The Nokia 6 Review

The Nokia 6.1 is currently available in Kenya for Ksh 29,000, around the same price the original Nokia 6 when it was launched in the country. With this price, you may be asking, is it worth it? I will try and answer that question in this review.

The Nokia 6.1 may look and feel like the original Nokia 6 but the company says that it is more powerful and has a few upgrades to help it compete with most other Android smartphones on the market. It is important for HMD Global to make sure the new Nokia phones are competitive as a lot has changed since we last saw Nokia smartphones.

The Design and Build

Flat and boxy build

HMD Global has not changed the design of the Nokia 6.1 from what we had with the original Nokia 6 from 2017. We still get the same metal frame that we saw on the Nokia 6 and even the size has not been changed. The phone has a flat profile with sharp edges and in my opinion looks good. It looks different from most of the other smartphones that we see with curved edges. I like this design, it is one of the things I liked about the Nokia 6 and I am glad HMD decided to stick with it.

Nokia 6.1 2018 design 2

Not everything on the Nokia 6.1 is what we saw on the original Nokia 6. Even though the design is the same, HMD has differentiated the Nokia 6.1 using the gold accents around the phone’s frame, the camera and the fingerprint scanner. This gives the phone a premium feel that turned heads everywhere I went.

Nokia 6.1 2018 bottom

On the back of the phone we get the 16MP camera with Zeiss optics. If you know anything about the old Nokia phone, then you know that they had Zeiss optics that ensured they were some of the best camera phones back in the day. This is what HMD wants with the new Nokia phones and the Nokia 6.1 is one of them. Below the camera is the fingerprint sensor that is not the biggest one I have seen so you will have near misses if you have big hands.

The USB port for charging is at the bottom and next to it is the speaker. This speaker is loud enough and I didn’t have any issues with it. At the very top we get the headphone jack that you can use with the wired earphones found in the box. These are not the best earphones I have seen from Nokia and I prefer the ones that come with the Nokia 7 Plus instead.

The Display

5.5 inch, 1080 x 1920 pixels

The Nokia 6.1 comes with a 5.5-inch Full HD screen. This is the same display we had on the Nokia 6 from 2017. The display isn’t the brightest I have used as it has a bluish tint that I was not able to change. This is not a big issue but is something you may notice if you are very keen. Most people I showed the phone to did not notice that so this may all be about me.

Nokia 6.1 2018 in kenya

This display is big enough for those who are always on their phones. It is perfect for media consumption so if you tend to read a lot or watch movies/videos on your phone, this is the display for you. Some people may say that this display is too big but I think it is the perfect size. It does not have the 18:9 aspect ratio as we have seen on most smartphones in 2018 but that is not a big deal for most people.

This display gets bright to use outdoors under direct sunlight. It is vibrant and has just the right contrast to make for an amazing experience. We get Corning Gorilla Glass protection that will keep the screen safe from accidental scratches.

Nokia 6.1 2018 selfie camera

I am happy to see HMD move the fingerprint scanner from the front to the back. This is one of the issues I had with the original Nokia 6 and I am glad to see that has been fixed.

Software and Performance

2.2 GHz Octa-core Snapdragon 630, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, Android One

One thing I had an issue with the original Nokia 6 was performance. I felt like it was not the best for its price and it could have been better. With the Nokia 6.1, HMD Global promises better performance and I sure did notice this.

The Nokia 6.1 is part of the Android One program and this means that we are getting a pure Android experience. This has been HMD’s policy ever since it brought back the new Nokia phones. The company does not load bloatware (pre-installed apps) on their phones meaning that users are free to download the applications they will want to use. This is not something we see on most other Android phones and is refreshing to see on the Nokia 6.1.

Noka 6.1 2018 android one

Being part of the Android One program, the Nokia 6.1 is guaranteed to get timely updates as soon as they are made available. The phone comes with Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box and is scheduled to get the next two major Android updates (Android P and Android Q) when they become available.

Performance is great and better than what I experienced with the original Nokia 6. The phone runs smoothly and even multitasking did not present any problems. This is thanks to the new Snapdragon 630 processor paired with 3GB of RAM. The Nokia 6 from 2017 came with the Snapdragon 430 processor in case you were wondering.

This processor is a 2.2 GHz Octa-core one and can still run a few games without any issues. I got to play a few games including Asphalt 8 without any problems. For storage space, the Nokia 6.1 comes with 32GB of storage space that can be expanded further using a MicroSD card.

Network performance is also great, the phone picks up available networks very fast and never drops them.

Camera

16MP at the back, 8MP Selfie camera

The Nokia 6.1 comes with a 16MP camera at the back and an 8MP wide angle selfie camera. The back camera is slow to focus for some reason and I did not like this. Nokia is known for its great cameras and I was expecting this on the Nokia 6.1.

Nokia 6.1 2018 camera

The photos are great with great colours and contrast. This is the case when taking photos indoors and outdoors and these results are slightly better than what we saw on the original Nokia 6. This back camera can also record 4K videos for those who may be interested in that. The selfie camera also takes some good shots and can record Full HD videos.

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There is also the boothie feature that lets you take a photo or video with the front and back cameras at the same time. You will not be using this feature all the time but in cases where you are livestreaming and want to show your viewers what you are looking at and at the same time you want them to see your face, this feature comes in handy.

The Battery

3000mAh non removable

The Nokia 6.1 comes with a 3000mAh non-removable battery. This is the same size battery we saw on the Nokia 6 from last year. With this battery, I could use the phone for an entire day without having to recharge it in between. You can get it to last longer if you are not a heavy user like me.

The Nokia 6.1 supports quick charging so you can get it from 0 to 100% in less than two hours. This is helpful in situations where you have a low battery and are in a hurry and just need to recharge it for a few minutes to get a few hours of usage.

Conclusion

The Nokia 6.1 is a good smartphone to get for under Ksh 30,000. This is an upgrade from the original Nokia 6 from 2017 and is worth considering if you are looking for smartphones within this price range. It is not the perfect smartphone and the camera is disappointing but most of the other things make it stand out.

Nokia 6.1 2018 back

Pros

  • Great Design
  • Great performance
  • Fast Processor
  • Fast charging

Cons

  • Not the best cameras

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Mobile Editor: I do gadget reviews and then some... . Send your tips and Press Releases to kaluka@techarena.co.ke