Having launched the Nokia X6 in China amid much fanfare earlier this year, HMD Global – the Finnish company that holds exclusive rights to the Nokia brand – will soon announce a global rollout of the X6, starting with a July launch of the phone in Hong Kong; only that the international version will be called the Nokia 6.1 Plus.
While some changes and upgrades can be expected on the global variant, the basic premise of the 6.1 Plus will remain, more or less, the same as the X6, which is what we’re going to review here to give you an idea of what you can expect from the Nokia 6.1 Plus when it does appear on the international scene.
While the build quality and user experience have been pretty much satisfactory on recent Nokia releases, one common trend that we’ve seen on these phones is the fact that they haven’t been great value for money.
HMD wanted to address exactly that area of concern with its subsequent releases, and it appears that it has managed to achieve that pretty well with the Nokia X6.
The Espoo -based company’s first Nokia phone with notch packs quite a punch for the price it’s available for – well, at least on paper.
So, let’s go straight ahead and check out whether, or not, all that on-paper goodness translates to practical goodness, too.
The first thing that you’re likely to notice on this phone is the notch – a feature you’re either going to be thrilled about or disgusted with, depending on your take on notches.
Some people simply hate notches, finding them obtrusive and aesthetically displeasing, while others love them for the high screen-to-body ratio they bring with them.
Love it, or hate it, the notch is something you’ll have to contend with if you’re contemplating buying the X6; however, you do have a provision in the software to hide the notch if it really hassles you that much.
The Nokia X6 comes with a 5.8-inch 19:9 aspect ratio Full HD Plus resolution IPS LCD panel, all of which translates to an impressive pixel density of 435 pixels per inch, good colors, and excellent viewing angles – a great screen for media consumption.
The Nokia X6 is a glass-sandwich design, adequately protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3, front and back, with an aluminum frame holding it all together.
What’s more is that HMD has succeeded in keeping the bezels thin enough, which is, in fact, why it has managed to keep the phone compact enough, without having to compromise on the display size.
The X6 is 8 millimeters in thickness and weighs in at 150 grams – dimensions that make it manageable and comfortable in the hand.
While glass-back phones look glossy and attractive, they do attract fingerprints and smudges, but that’s more than compensated for by its decent build quality – HMD has done impressively well on that front.
Not only does the Nokia X6 have beauty, it has a lot of character to go with it, as it packs some pretty solid specs under the hood, including the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 CPU to run the show.
This mid-range chip, also seen on the likes of Xiaomi’s Redmi Note5 Pro and Asus’ Zenfone Max Pro, not only handles the day-to-day usage with aplomb, it holds up quite nicely during intense activities like gaming, too, with a lot of contribution from the Adreno 509 GPU, of course.
When it comes to memory, we’re looking at two options here; one with 4GB of RAM and 32GB internal storage and the other with 6GB of RAM and 64GB storage.
Both configurations are backed by a 3,060mAh battery that supports quick charge 3.0 and boasts a day-long battery life, which is good but not as good as it gets on the Redmi Note 5 Pro or the ZenFone Max Pro.
However, when a battery gets you through a day of moderate usage, with around 20 percent fuel still left in the tank, it has served its basic purpose; so, you can’t really call it bad, can you?
For reasons best known to HMD, it continues to ignore the stereo audio setup like we saw on the original Nokia 6 but, that said, the single speaker is loud and clear enough to, honestly, complain about.
The good thing is that HMD has equipped the X6 with a 3.5mm headphone jack – a feature that has not been in favor with most manufacturers in recent months.
The phone’s cellular performance and call quality are both up to the standard; excellent, in fact.
On the software side, the Nokia X6 is based on the Android 8.1 Oreo operating system, but you must know that this is the China-specific model we’re talking about here. The global version – the Nokia 6.1 Plus, as mentioned before – will likely come under the Android One Program.
The China-centric model’s firmware, however, does have a kink or two that need ironing out, including some occasional scaling issues, but nothing major, really.
The gesture-based navigation control on the China model firmware is absolutely brilliant and one hopes that it makes its way over to the global version’s firmware, as well.
The fingerprint reader on the back, centered below the vertically stacked dual camera setup, is fast and accurate and so is the face unlock feature.
The hardware and the software on the X6 combine to give you a fast and fluid experience throughout your time with it, whether you’re browsing or app-hopping.
As for the cameras, the dual lens arrangement on the rear includes a primary 16-megapixel camera with 1-micron-size pixels and f/2.0 aperture lens and a secondary 5-megapixel monochrome unit with slightly larger 1.2-micron-size pixels but a narrower f/2.2 aperture.
While the results are decent enough under good lighting, the same can’t be said when you’re shooting in lowlight conditions, but even then, they’re not too bad.
Coming to videos, the Nokia X6 supports, both, 4K and IES and produces decent footage, but the dynamic range is still not as good as it is with stills – a software issue, probably, which we hope HMD can correct on the global version.
The front-facing shooter is decent enough, with a portrait mode for your selfies, as well as a new pro mode.
In the end, kudos to HMD Global for, finally, coming up with a phone that offers fantastic value for money – the best ever, in that respect, from the Finnish company.