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Nokia 6.1 and Nokia 7 Plus review

Posted on 4-Jun-2018 18:48 by M Freitas | Filed under: Reviews

The Nokia brand lives through HMD Global, the Finnish mobile phone company that now produces feature phones and smartphones under the famous brand. The newly launched in New Zealand Nokia 6.1 and Nokia 7 Plus are part of the second wave of Android-based smartphones and it is kind of a big deal.


Most of the times we talk about smartphones in a three tier approach: there is entry-level, mid-level and top of the line smartphones. Retail prices will move through this scale accordingly. But I would perhaps split the mid-level in two parts, to better accommodate these new Nokia smartphones.


The main reason is because I see the Nokia 7 Plus as an exceptional mid-level device, while the Nokia 6.1 is not really an entry-level device but perhaps just a notch below the Nokia 7 Plus in that mid tier. Obviously the top of line model this year would be the Nokia 8 Sirocco, not yet available in New Zealand.


What makes these two devices so similar and so different?


For a starter both Nokia 6.1 and Nokia 7 Plus are Android One devices. This basically means these are stock Android devices, pretty much like Google's own Pixel devices, but created by OEM. They run a stable and solid version of Android (in both cases Android 8.1 at launch) and not loaded with any additional software by the manuracturer. It also means these devices receive updates on a much higher frequency than those produced by OEM that implement their own Android flavour e.g. Samsung, Huawei, LG.


Another feature of these devices is compatibility with Project Treble, a redesign of the Android system architecture for Android Oreo and beyond. Devices that ship with Android O out of the boxe should support Treble and this is true for both the Nokia 6.1 and Nokia 7 Plus (an easy way to check is to install Termux and use the command getprop ro.treble.enabled which will show True for these devices).


Both Nokia 6.1 and Nokia 7 Plus are made of an aluminium unibody with a ceramic-feel coating that is really nice to hold. The Nokia 6.1 has a copper colour accent while the Nokia 7 Plus has a full body copper-coloured rim.


The Nokia 6.1 has 5.5" FHD screen IPS LCD screen (1920 x 1080 16:9) while the Nokia 7 Plus a visibly larger 6" FHD IPS LCD screen (2160 x 1080 18:9). Both have Corning Gorilla Glass 3 but the Nokia 7 Plus is laminated and polarised.


The Nokia 6.1 screen is easy to read and nice on the eyes. The Nokia 7 Plus screen is even easier and beautiful. I'd say it compares very favourably to devices using AMOLED technology.



In terms of performace you will notice a bit of difference between those two models. The Nokia 6.1 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 and comes with 3 GB RAM while the Nokia 7 Plus runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 platform and 4 GB RAM. It doesn't sound like much but the Antutu benchmark shows a difference. The Nokia 6.1 has a 90488 Antutu score (CPU 40028, GPU 19753, MEM 5591) and the Nokia 7 Plus goes a bit higher with a 142051 Antutu score (CPU 65780, GPU 30003, MEM 7127). For reference the OnePlus 5T has a 209175 Antutu score.


Both use USB-C for charging and both have a 3.5 audio jack - so no need for your Bluetooth headphones yet.


In terms of photography Nokia continues with their Zeiss partnership. The Nokia 6.1 has one primary camera with a 16MP PDAF sensor (1.0µm,f/2, dual-tone flash) and a front-facing camera with 8MP full frame sensor (1.2µm, f/2, FOV 84).


The Nokia 7 Plus has a primary camera with two sensors (12 MP sensor, 1.4µm, f/1.75 and 13 MP, 1.0µm, f/2.6) and a front-facing camera with a 16 MP sensor (1.0µm f/2.0). The second rear facing lens gives the camera access to a 2x optical zoom, and the quality is really good when compared with a pure digital zoom (even the one from the Nokia 6.1 for instance).


Of those two, the Nokia 7 Plus is the clear winner when it comes to photo quality but Nokia 6.1 users won't be disappointed. In both cases the camera app allows photos that capture both cameras on the same image - a neat trick.


You can just slide the shutter button up and access the pro settings, and you can then pick one of five white balance presets, focus manually, choose ISO (100-3200) and shutter speed (1/500s-4s), or set exposure compensation (-2/2EV in full stop increments).


One thing I've noticed though is the camera app sometimes being a bit slow to open - not a big deal but just that fraction of second that you can notice.



The Nokia 6.1 Plus comes with 32 GB and can use a microSD card of up to 128 GB for expansion. The Nokia 7 Plus comes with 64 GB and can use a microSD card up to 256 GB for expansion.


After about three weeks of using the Nokia 7 Plus I'm impressed with battery life - the 3800 mAh battery lasted really well into a couple of days of usage. The Nokia 6.1 has a slightly smaller 3000 mAh battery. Both are non-user replaceable.


Both models have WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n and the Nokia 7 Plus has 802.11 ac support as well. In terms of mobile connectivity, the Nokia 6.1 supports LTE Cat. 4 (150 Mbps DL/50 Mbps UL) and the Nokia 7 Plus goes further with support for LTE Cat 6 (2CA, 300Mbps DL/50Mbps UL).


Overall both handsets are really great products for the introductory price I'm seeing - definitely not top of the line prices and affordable for the Nokia 6.1. Both are available through Spark stores and other retail channels now.