Nokia 6 (2018) Review

The second edition of HMD Global’s best-selling smartphone from last year is here, and yes, it’s the Nokia 6 (2018) we’re talking about | So, let’s review it!

Nokia 6 (2018) Review

The moment you hold the new Nokia 6 in your hands, you get a sense and feel of the sturdiness of the phone and the kind of durability you can expect from it – thanks to the Series 6,000 aluminum body.

And, you can’t disagree with the fact that no aesthetic compromises have been made to achieve that body strength.

The chamfered edges, camera and fingerprint scanner combine well to give the phone a premium look and feel, and it is pretty ergonomic as well.

The 2.5 D gorilla-glass-protected display remains at 5.5 inches with a full HD resolution, promising a pixel density of 400 pixels per inch (PPI).

The display is sharp and vibrant, offering great contrast and excellent viewing angles but what’s missing here is the 18:9 aspect ratio, which is a shame, honestly, when you consider that it’s a given in most phones today – something that customers actually expect.

There’s one more small matter that could prove to be a bit irksome; it’s the use of onscreen buttons that eats into the usable screen area.

At a time when brands are increasingly switching over to 18:9 panels, tripping over each other to lure customers with the biggest possible display sizes and overall screen areas, HMD Global appears to have taken a step in the opposite direction, at least with this particular aspect of the second edition of the Nokia 6.

However, to be fair to the company, it does provide a decent alternative through Gestures, which basically allows you to just swipe to get the keys you want.

For example, swiping from the bottom left on to the screen will perform the ‘Back’ function; swiping up from the bottom center takes you ‘Home’ while swiping up from the bottom right gives you recent apps and a double swipe will allow quick switches. It’s a good enough solution and doesn’t take too long to get used to.

So, what makes this 2018 version of the Nokia 6 so fast?

Well, to start with, it’s the hardware inside this Nokia 6 edition that makes it as snappy as it is, what with a much more powerful chipset than its predecessor.

The Snapdragon 630 processor on the new Nokia 6 is fast and snappy, with little to no lag compared to the entry-level Snapdragon 430 in the previous model, which basically struggled to keep up with intensive tasks.

Another factor behind the briskness of the new Nokia 6 is the software. The near top version of the Oreo may be a Chinese adaptation of the firmware but there is no denying the fact that it is extremely fast – as close as it can get to stock Android.

Whether you’re watching videos, surfing websites, or just hanging out on social media, the Nokia 6 (2018) gives you a pleasurable everyday-usage experience, thanks to its consistently dependent software – a big plus indeed.

Even when it comes to more intensive tasks like gaming, for example, the Adreno 508 GPU inside this Nokia 6 holds its own pretty efficiently.

You might experience the occasional rough weather with very high-intensity tasks, but for most parts, it’s pretty much smooth sailing.

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While we are on the subject of gaming and videos, there’s another drawback about the Nokia 6 (2018) that will not go down well with users who give a lot of importance to audio features.

The earpiece that comes with the new edition does not double up as a speaker to give that fantastic stereo effect we witnessed on the previous edition of the phone. One wonders about the thought process behind HMD Global’s decision to do away with this great functionality.

However, the single speaker at the bottom is of premium quality, producing some of the loudest and cleanest audio output you may have heard on recent brands. So, that should go some way in alleviating the disappointment in the absence of stereo audio.

Also, the output using the 3.5 mm headphone jack is pretty impressive too, with no major issues as far as cellular reception and call quality are concerned.

Battery life is another area where the Nokia 6 excels. The phone, which still boasts a 3,000 mAh battery, lasts long, really long – not only when the usage is casual, but also when it’s much more intense.

With the new Nokia 6, you will seldom run out of juice before your day ends regardless of the kind of usage the phone has been subjected to.

Even if you do have to plug it in for some reason, the Nokia 6 (2018) supports fast charging through the new Type C port, which takes you from 0 to 50 in a matter of a mere 30 minutes.

Now, let’s check out the cameras on this thing.

Well, nothing changes here as you still get the same back-facing and front-facing cameras you saw on the first edition – a 16 MP, f2.0 aperture, 1-micron size pixel camera on the rear and an 8 MO, f2.0 aperture, 1.12-micron size pixel selfie camera in front.

The lowlight performance of the rear-facing camera continues to be ordinary, just about acceptable, at best, and the color reproduction is not much to write home about as well.

Owing to the relatively small sensor and 1-micron size pixels and the not so wide f2.0 aperture, the noise levels are also on the higher side.

However, there’s not much to complain about the camera’s behavior under good lighting conditions, where images are sharp and natural with an okay dynamic range when HDR is turned off. Of course, the auto HDR is always an option, and it does an excellent job, too.

The 8MP front camera produces sharp selfies with good colors, good dynamic range and, like the back camera, has an HDR mode as well.

While the Nokia 6 (2018) has 4K video-shooting capabilities at 30 frames per second, there isn’t any stabilization, neither electronic nor optical, as a result of which the footages can appear somewhat shaky.

The video quality, however, is quite impressive in itself; the footages are sharp with true to life colors, and the dynamic range is not bad either.

Now, let’s address the most pertinent question about this new Nokia 6:

Should you buy it?

Well, the Nokia 6 (2018) is more of a hit than a miss when you consider all the good and the not so good about it, but again that is a subjective opinion, and you may well feel that the negatives outweigh the positives.

Whatever it is, let’s just summarise the main positives and negatives and let you decide for yourself whether this Nokia 6 is the phone for you, or whether you’ll be better off exploring other avenues.

Positives

  • Snappy performance due to the upgraded chipset and software
  • Great battery life
  • Fast charging
  • Solid build and good looks
  • HMD Global’s promise of swift updates and security patches

Negatives

  • No dual cameras
  • Poor camera performance in lowlight conditions
  • Missing 18:9 aspect ratio

Nokia 6 (2018) Specs

  • Dimensions: 148.8 x 75.8 x 8.15mm (L x W x D)
  • OS: Android 8
  • Screen size: 5.5 inches
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • CPU: Snapdragon 630
  • RAM: 3GB/4GB
  • Storage: 32GB/64GB
  • Battery: 3,000mAh
  • Rear camera: 16MP
  • Front camera: 8MP

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