Nokia 6 review: Back in black

Nokia 6 review: Back in black

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Introduction

Nokia, rebooted. The Finnish brand that was once synonymous with mobile phones had gone missing since Microsoft acquired the company’s smartphone business in 2014. Lumias were rolling off production lines with Microsoft stamped on them instead of Nokia, and the acquisition terms mandated a two-year moratorium on the use of the brand on smartphones.

Fast-forward to the spring of 2016 when Microsoft parted with Nokia completely, selling the feature phone part of the business to a Foxconn subsidiary and the Nokia brand to the Finnish company HMD Global Oy. Established specifically for this purpose, HMD is based in Finland (pretty much across the street from the actual Nokia headquarters) and is made up of long-time ‘original Nokia’ employees – it’s almost as if the brief Microsoft fling never was.

One major change, though – the ‘new’ Nokia will be making Android phones, not Windows. Breakup aside, it’s only logical to be a part of a platform that accounts for 4 out of 5 phones being sold, as opposed to one that commands only 0.3% market share.

The first child of HMD’s Nokia is the Nokia 6. Announced early this year, it’s been on sale in China for two months now, and a global version is also coming next quarter. So for now, we’ve only got the Chinese version. A few notable differences between the two include the OS (world gets Android 7.1.1, China is 7.0), RAM and storage specifics (3GB/32GB and 4GB/64GB for the global variant, only the latter in China), and Google Play Services (or, rather, the lack thereof in the Chinese-bound handset).

The rest should be mostly identical – a par-for-the-course 5.5-inch FullHD IPS display, a midrange Snapdragon 430 in charge of number crunching, a 16MP primary camera without bells and whistles and an 8MP front-facing shooter for selfies. All of this is packed in an understated but premium aluminum body that’s proven quite sturdy in torture tests. When the time comes, it can be yours for the quite reasonable sum of €230 (global, 3GB/32GB).

Nokia 6 key features

  • Body: Aluminum body, 2.5D Gorilla Glass 3 front.
  • Display: 5.5″ IPS LCD, 1,920×1,080px resolution, 403ppi.
  • Rear camera: 16MP, 1.0µm pixel size, f/2.0 aperture, phase detection autofocus; dual-tone dual-LED flash; 1080p video recording.
  • Front camera: 8MP, 1.12µm pixel size, f/2.0 aperture; 1080p video recording.
  • OS: Android 7.0 Nougat.
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 430; octa-core 1.4GHz Cortex-A53 CPU, Adreno 505 GPU.
  • Memory: 3GB/4GB of RAM; 32GB/64GB storage.
  • Battery: 3,000mAh, sealed.
  • Connectivity: Dual-SIM; Cat.4 LTE (150/50Mbps); microUSB 2.0; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; GPS; Bluetooth 4.1; FM Radio; NFC.
  • Misc: Fingerprint reader; hybrid microSD/second SIM slot; dual speakers; Dolby Atmos; 3.5mm jack.

Main shortcomings

  • Smallish battery capacity
  • Awkwardly placed fingerprint sensor

The Nokia 6 isn’t ticking all of the boxes, but at this price point we have no right to complain. There may be a lack of ingress protection or dual cameras, but the 6 does give you stereo speakers, which many flagships don’t have. The 3,000mAh battery capacity is still a bit of a red flag, but we’ll see how it does in the tests.

To reiterate, the Nokia 6 we have for review is the Chinese version. It wasn’t the the easiest review experience for us without the official Google apps, but we worked around it when possible. If it affected the testing procedure (battery life is what comes to mind), we’ve pointed it out.

There’s no reason for this to play a role on the phone’s look and feel, and that’s what the hardware overview on the next page is all about. Meet you there.

#gadgetbingo

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