If you know about the history of Nokia smartphones, then you know that the company did not go with Android from the get go. As other manufacturers embraced Android, Nokia chose to go with Windows Phone but that was not that good of a decision. The company had a good run with the Lumia phones but low sales forced it to abandon the ship and almost get out of the smartphone market.
This is when HMD Global decided to bring back the Nokia smartphones but with a twist. The company decided to bring back this iconic smartphone brand but instead of going with Windows Phone (windows 10 Mobile), it chose to go with Android. The Nokia 6 was the first true Android smartphone with the Nokia name and was first released in China before expanding to other markets.
I have been using the Nokia 6 for a couple of weeks and this is what I think about it. The phone is available in Kenya for around Ksh 25,000 from different retailers across the country.
Design and Build
The one thing that I appreciate and was really impressed with when using the Nokia 6 is the build quality and design. In a market where we are used to seeing and using devices with subpar quality, having a device such as the Nokia 6 is refreshing. Its made of metal which is a nice touch especially for a phone within this price range. You definitely feel that you are getting value for your money.
The design of the Nokia 6 borrows a lot from previous Nokia Lumia devices and this is not a bad thing. If you have ever used a Lumia device, you will notice the resemblance and feel right at home. This is a simple design that gives the phone a different look and feel from what we have on Android. This is what people liked about Nokia devices before and it is nice to see HMD maintain that with the new Nokia phones.
The usual ports and buttons are included on the phone but the company went with the normal MicroUSB slot for charging and data transfer. I wasn’t necessarily expecting a USB Type C port as this phone was first released towards end of 2016 in China and back then MicroUSB ports were still the norm.
On the left side of the phone is the hybrid dual SIM card slot. What this means is that you have the option of using one SIM card and a MicroSD card or two SIM cards with no MicroSD card.
The Nokia 6 comes with a 5.5-inch display that is just about the right size for most people. You can interact with this display with one hand but in some cases you will need both hands. This is a Full HD display with good contrast and can get bright enough when outdoors. Under direct sunlight, you may have issues using it but this isn’t the case all the time.
Above the display is the 8MP front facing camera and the earpiece that also doubles up as a stereo speaker, sound quality through this speaker and the one next to the MicroUSB slot is really good.. Below the display is the fingerprint sensor and the two navigation keys that are backlit. The placement of the fingerprint reader and the navigation keys is awkward and unnatural. They are placed towards the bottom of the phone leaving a chunk of unused space right below the display.
The display has gorilla glass protection to keep it safe from accidental scratches. I had to mention this as they are some manufacturers with devices within this price range that are yet to use Gorilla glass protection on their devices.
Software and Performance
The Nokia 6 comes with Android Nougat out of the box. This near stock Android experience means that you do not get a ton pre-installed applications that you do not need. The OS and user interface is also not that different from what Google intended it to be. Most of the apps installed are Google’s own and this means that you will have to go ahead and download the specific apps you want. I am a big fan of this, there is no point of pre-installing a ton of applications that I will end up deleting anyway.
Even though this is not a customized Android experience, there are some unique Nokia touches on the software. Most of the pre-installed applications have a blue colour which is also the colour of the UI.
The Nokia 6 is powered by the Snapdragon 430 processor (Octa-core). This is not a performance-oriented processor and that means that in normal day to day operations, the phone runs smoothly. It can also handle demanding tasks easily but you will notice it slowing down if you throw heavy applications at it. This may not be the case for you but I noticed it once in a while. For the RAM, you will get either a 3GB or 4GB option with at least 32GB of space that can be expanded further using a MicroSD card.
The Nokia 6 comes with a 16MP camera at the back and an 8MP front facing one. The 16MP camera at the back has phase detection autofocus and dual LED flash. This camera is good with great details but not as great as the other Nokia phones before it. It is not the sharpest (even in HDR mode) when it comes to colour reproduction and this is especially so when taking photos indoors.
The front facing camera on the other hand takes some decent shots but some of them appear washed out when the lighting is not so good. Both the front and back cameras can record Full HD videos which is a nice addition.
One big issue I have with the camera experience on the Nokia 6 has to do with the camera app. It is a basic one. You do not get a ton of features and this is not what Nokia fans are used to. In the next device, I hope HMD incorporates a better camera app with a ton of features especially when using manual mode.
The Nokia 6 has a 3000 mAh battery that is not the biggest one I have used but its not the smallest either. Battery drain is fast and if you are one of those people always using the phone, you will have problems getting it to last the whole day. On the other hand, if you are an average user, getting the phone to last the whole day will not be that big of a problem.
The first Nokia smartphone by HMD is really good in my opinion. For its price, this phone is not that bad. The company has not thrown in a ton of features just to get people excited. The features included on this phone just work, no gimmicks here. On paper, this may not be a smart move when compared to other devices within its price range but when you use the phone you will see how the features you get work perfectly.
I particularly like the design and build quality of the Nokia 6. You can see the amount of work the company put in here. I also like the software experience and the freedom HMD gives you to install the applications you need. The phone handles day to day tasks with ease, it may slow down a bit but this will be after you start running heavy applications.
All in all, for Ksh 25,000, the Nokia 6 isn’t that bad of a deal if you ask me. It is a phone worth recommending for anyone looking for a device within that price range.
Also Read: The OPPO F5 Review