The "1-Minute" Review
- Inconsistent camera software
- Screen glare
- Weak battery
Nokia built a reputation around solid, classy designs with a minimalist experience. When the smartphone revolution came, Nokia didn’t fare well. With the release of the Nokia 6 (2018) -- also known as the Nokia 6.1 -- they’re out to prove they still have what it takes to take on the mid-tier market.
With an all-metal aluminum chassis and squarish edges, the phone bucks the typical trends of glossy glass and sleek curves. It’s also heavier than much of the competition. But reviewers found the heft reassuring and didn’t have trouble with the edges digging into palms. However, the diamond cut edges are a bit more prone to scratches and dings than reviewers would have liked to see.
Around front, you’re greeted with a similarly minimalist design. The 5.5-inch 1080p IPS LCD panel includes a layer of Gorilla Glass 3 for added protection and glare resistance. There are no buttons on the front -- so you’ll be using software buttons to navigate. Since the phone uses the older 16:9 aspect ratio, there’s also decent bezels at the top and bottom of the display.
In terms of screen quality, its good but not great. The color is on the cool side and contrast drops when viewing it at extreme angles. Otherwise, it’s plenty bright and detailed.
Powering the phone, you’ll find an octa-core 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 603 processor with 3GB of RAM. This is more than enough for playing the occasional game or bouncing between apps -- but don’t expect it to take on any flagships in terms of performance. In daily use, it’s enough to get the job done without being frustrating.
The phone includes a generous 32GB of internal storage for your apps, games, and media. If you’d like to upgrade storage, support for microSD cards makes it easy. But that requires using the second SIM card slot. So you’ll either have more space or an added line, but not both.
The phone ships with Android 8.1 Oreo. As an Android One phone, you’ll enjoy fast updates and no bloatware. Overall, the software appears solid with no mentions of slowdown, crashes, or weird behaviors. The promise of updates for two years is also reassuring if you’re not the type to upgrade phones often.
The simplified trend continues with the Nokia 6.1’s cameras. You’ll find a single-lens 16MP rear camera with an 8MP front-facing lens. Reviews for the cameras are respectable for its price. However, some reviewers had software issues with lag and focus. Fortunately, this is something Nokia can address with updates. The cameras are not ideal for low-light use and struggle in high-contrast environments -- but overall, there’s far worse available for a similar price.
Battery life was the only area where reviewers consistently noticed issues. While the 3000mAh battery with USB Type-C fast charging is good for a 50% charge in roughly 30 minutes, you’ll want keep your charger handy. Most found that the battery didn’t quite make it through the day with regular use of social media, light gaming, and the occasional selfie session.
Overall, reviews are positive. Pocket-Lint summed up opinions well saying, “... You're getting a lot of phone for your money. It's not just the generous hardware that makes a difference here, with Full HD screen and mid-range Snapdragon platform, but when you put this Nokia phone down on the table, it's a solid, good-looking device that shows the brand has found its form once more.”
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