Nokia 6.1 Review — One Good Looking Mid-range Smartphone

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Introduction

This time around, we’re reviewing the Nokia 6.1, which is a smartphone under the Android One program. Does it offer an experience that today’s generation will appreciate? Well let’s get started shall we?

Unboxing

The Nokia 6.1 that we’ve got is the Blue/Gold variant. From the box, you will be getting the power brick, USB Type-C cable, your product documents, a SIM ejector, as well as a 3.5mm headphones.

Appearance

As you can see, the phone doesn’t offer a notch. The front only shows the single front camera as well as the Nokia logo on the top right side.

Over to the left side, you’ve got your tray for your SIM card and microSD, alongside the antenna lines on the edges.

Switching over to the right hand side, you’ve got your usual volume rockers and of course the power button.

There’s only the 3.5mm port on top, which is always a welcomed addition to any smartphone.

Down below, there’s the microphone hole, the Type-C port in the middle and finally the speakers of the Nokia 6.1.

At the back, there’s the ZEISS camera lens, accompanied by the phone’s fingerprint scanner, and of course, the Android One tag below.

Specifications

CPU/Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 Octa-core 2.2 GHz Cortex-A53
GPU: Adreno 508
RAM: 4GB
Display: 5.5″, 16:9 (1080p) FHD display, 73.2% screen-to-body ratio, 403-nit brightness
Storage: 64GB (expandable via microSD up to 256GB)
Camera: Main Camera(s)
16 MP, f/2.0, 27mm (wide), 1.0µm, PDAF
Zeiss optics, dual-LED dual-tone flash, panorama, HDR
Front Camera
8 MP, f/2.0, 1/4″, 1.12µm
OS: Android 8.1 Oreo (Android One)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 5.0
USB Type-C
SIM: Dual nanoSIM
Battery: Li-ion 3000mAh (non-removable)
Dimensions: 148.8 x 75.8 x 8.2 mm
Weight: 172 g

Performance

Here we can see that the Nokia 6.1 comes short when compared to popular mid-range devices in the form of the ZenFone Max Pro M1 and Redmi Note 5, where both of them use Snapdragon 636 chipsets and costs lower than the 6.1.

In Geekbench, the Nokia 6.1 scored lower in both single and multi-core tests than the ZenFone 3 which uses a lower Snapdragon 625 SoC.

If you compare it with ZenFone 4 that uses the same SD630 chip, the Nokia 6.1 did better in the Ice Storm Unlimited test by a small margin but still lost in the other two.

In terms of general productivity related performance, the phone does an acceptable job in its scores. What came to a shock was the the HUAWEI MediaPad M3 Lite which comes with a SD435 managed to beat it.

For its battery performance, the test showed what was expected already with it lasting 8 hours and 9 minutes, which is average.

In terms of personal daily usage, I find it weird that the battery drains quite fast. I’ve used Instagram, Facebook scrolling and messaging, as well as your normal messaging apps. On one night, I charged it until 100% before sleeping and lightly used it. The following day, i came to notice that the battery was already around 75%.

User Experience

I’m not going to lie, the Nokia 6.1 is one of the prettiest phones that I’ve seen in the market. It looks and feels premium, especially with the gold accents around the device, and it doesn’t sport a notch on top, which is always a plus for me.

The build is solid and I really like the feel of it. Though I find the power button to be funny as it is a bit wobbly, well maybe that’s just me.

Aside from the looks, I was quite impressed with the charging rate of the phone. Of course, during the test, I’ve used the power brick and cable that comes included with the Nokia 6.1 itself. If you charge it for 30 minutes, you’ll be getting 32% juice, which is decent to say the least.

With the phone being a part of the Android One family, the main benefits is that devices under the category gets a pure Android experience that guarantees you no bloatware, other apps and services that’s not meant for the device. There is the promise of constant updates, which I’ve experienced myself. When I first used the device, I found out that there were 5 system updates, which is encouraging as that will promise you that you’ll be getting the best experience for your device.

The UI of the Nokia 6.1 is what you’d expect from a stock android device, where it is plain. Some might find it neat and smooth while some might find it a bit too boring. It all boils down to preference. For me personally, I think that if Nokia had their own  personalized UI, it will freshen things up a bit.

 

With the phone’s camera app, there’s the the Panorama, Pro, and Slow Motion modes aside from your usual photo and video mode.It also comes along with Nokia’s bothie concept, where you can capture a photo using both front and back cameras at the same time. To check on full sized samples of the device, you can check that out here.

The photos captured with the phone was quite decent. Though as you’d usually expect, low-light photography was a bit noisy but still more than acceptable for your social media usage. HDR on the phone really brings out the colors and it’s not too aggressive.

Conclusion

Honestly, I would rate the phone if it had been on the market earlier. With other brands releasing phones with flagship specifications but still ranging in the same price tag, it’s hard to justify the Nokia 6.1’s price of RM1169. That being said, what you get with the device is a phone that stands out from the rest in terms of looks (one of the best looking mid-range device, for me personally at least) and the promise of regular updates with it being a part of the Android One program. It just feels like the Nokia 6.1’s specification is out of date and it would’ve been better if it came out sooner.

We would like to thank Nokia Mobile for the Nokia 6.1 that was used in this review.