Nokia 6.1 Plus Review — A Refreshing Mid-range Offering

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Introduction

After getting our hands on a slew of recent Nokia devices, expectations wasn’t high at all, well at least for me personally. Today we will be looking at one of the latest additions to Nokia’s lineup, the Nokia 6.1 Plus. The Nokia 6.1 Plus joins in on the modern notched display bandwagon. Does that mean that it could hold up its own in today’s smartphone market? Well let’s find out in this Nokia 6.1 Plus review shall we?

Unboxing

For this review, we’ve got our hands on the Blue color variant. So with the Nokia 6.1 Plus, you’ll be getting your manual guide papers, the phone itself, the charger brick, a pin to eject your SIM/microSD tray, a USB Type-C cable, as well as the power brick. Conveniently they’ve also added a 3.5mm earphones.

Appearance

The front of the device is simple, with only the Nokia logo down below, and the phone’s notch, where the selfie camera is situated in.

Over to the right side, you’ve got your usual volume and power buttons. On the left side of the Nokia 6.1 Plus, there’s only the SIM/microSD tray available.

On the top of the device, it’s nice that you’d still get a 3.5mm port for your headphones/earphones. There’s also the microphone hole accompanying it.

Down below, there’s the second microphone, a USB Type-C port, as well as the phone’s speaker grills.

Switching over to the back, you’ve got your dual camera setup with an LED flash on top. The fingerprint sensor sits in the middle alongside the Nokia logo. Being an Android One device, of course the Nokia 6.1 Plus had to showcased it at its usual spot at the bottom.

Specifications

CPU/Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 Octa-core 1.8 GHz Kryo 260
GPU: Adreno 509
RAM: 4GB
Display: 5.8″, 18:9 (2280×1080) IPS 19:9 ratio display
Storage: 64GB (expandable via microSD up to 400GB)
Camera: Main Camera(s) Primary: 16 MP, f/2.0, 1.0µm PDAF Secondary: 5 MP, f/2.4, 1.12µm, depth sensor,  LED flash, HDR, Panorama

Front Camera 16 MP, f2.0, 1/3.1″, 1.0µm

OS: Android 8.1 Oreo (Android 9 Pie available), Android One
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type-C
SIM: Hybrid dual-SIM
Battery: Li-ion 3060 mAh (non-removable)
Dimensions: 147.2 x 71 x 8 mm
Weight: 151 g

Performance

In Antutu, the Nokia 6.1 Plus comes in short compared to the Mi A2 which uses a newer Snapdragon 660 chipset. Pitted against devices with the same SoC, it loses out to the ZenFone 5 but tops the Redmi Note 5 in terms of scores.

As for its Geekbench results, it manages to beat the Redmi Note 5 in single core just slightly. Despite that, it still falls behind the ZenFone 5 in both core tests.

The Nokia 6.1 Plus scored as expected again, though you can clearly see the upgrade that it has with the scores doing well against its predecessor, the Nokia 6.1.

Work-related performance is actually quite good as the Nokia 6.1 Plus manages to be top in the list of Snapdragon 636 devices here in PCMark.

Surprisingly, the previous 6.1 manages to beat the new 6.1 Plus by a few minutes, despite the fact that the new 6.1 Plus offers a slightly bigger battery.

Real life usage with the phone was a decent experience. On full-charge, the battery managed to last me a day with usually around 45 to 50 percent left at the end of the day. Usage includes your normal social media scrolling (Facebook and Instagram), Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, and a little bit of casual games.

User Experience

Open the box then you’d find a beautiful device in the form of the Nokia 6.1 Plus. I have to say, it feels weird for me that Nokia has joined the notch-design bandwagon, but I guess everyone just needs to accept that fact.

Thanks to it, the new Nokia 6.1 Plus managed to solve one of the issues I had with the previous 6.1, where the bezels was too big. Now with a glass build, the new phone looks like a high-end device. Though I would say, that I had my worries that I’d drop it as the phone is a bit lightweight and small for my liking.

Though the phone comes with quick-charge capabilities, sadly they didn’t provide a charger that comes with it. So if you’re wondering how much juice you’d get in a 30-minute period, well I’ve managed to get 37%, which is acceptable.

 

Over to the UI section, you might take a bit of time to get use to Android 9 Pie, as I did. Thankfully, it feels refreshing and quite snappy to say the least. Compared to the previous stock Android interface for Oreo, Pie was a welcomed update to the 6.1 Plus. Personally, I liked it. It gives somewhat of a modern feel to it. As I’ve said previously in my other Nokia reviews, I just wish that the company had made their own interface, it’d be interesting how they’d fare.

Thanks to its Snapdragon 636 chipset and 4GB RAM, the Nokia 6.1 Plus was pretty smooth in terms of usability. There was hardly moments of the device stuttering or facing lag issues when I’ve used it.

On the other hand, the phone’s camera UI is quite decent. It even offers Slow Motion and Live Bokeh modes, that’s usually found on higher end smartphones. There’s also Nokia’s very own watermark, which I found was a nice thing that they’ve added.

Moving on to the camera of the device, I must say that it does a rather decent job in capturing. The HDR really helps in bringing out the colors in photos and they are more than enough for your social media uploads, in decent lighting areas of course. In low-light situations, it is rather a hit or a miss. You’d need stable hands in order to take decent night-shots. Other than that, I noticed that there’s a slight delay in the shutter speed. Now its not really that slow that you’d need to wait more than two seconds, but to be safe, you will have to steady yourself once you’ve snapped. You can check the full-sized images on Flickr.

Conclusion

Honestly, the Nokia 6.1 Plus was one of the enjoyable devices that I’ve experienced recently from their lineup. It’s got pretty decent specifications and you will get Android 9 Pie straight away (after updating of course). Camera wise, it was pretty good on most occasions. Though the design is decent on the eyes, I just couldn’t help but feel like the phone was fragile, thanks to it’s size and glass-build that made it feel slippery for me but then again, you can just get a phone cover to solve that issue. Priced at RM1,149, it is slightly higher than I would’ve liked but it understandable with its Android One, build, and specification offerings. It is definitely a step up from the Nokia 6.1. For that, I gladly give the Nokia 6.1 Plus our Pokde Bronze Award.

We would like to thank HMD Global/ Nokia for providing the Nokia 6.1 Plus that was used in this review.