Nokia 6.1 Plus review: Good design but disappointing performance
Product name: Nokia 6.1 Plus
Display: Full-HD+ 5.8-inch, 19:9, Gorilla Glass 3
Camera: Dual Main: 16 MP AF, f2.0/1.0um, Dual second: 5 MP, BW/FF/f2.4/1.12um
Front-facing camera 16 MP FF, f2.0/1.0um
Performance: 3060 mAh battery, 4 GB LPPDDR4x RAM, Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, USB Type-C
One of the big highlights of HMD Global's Nokia phones has been the near-stock Android experience. Earlier this year it announced a partnership with Google to launch a bunch of Android One-based phones, The Android One programme ensures priority security and Android updates to smartphones. Another big strength of new Nokia phones has been the design.
The new Nokia 6.1 Plus combines the best of Google software and HMD Global's hardware prowess. It is also HMD Global's first smartphone to sport a notch display. Aggressively priced at ₹15,999, Nokia 6.1 Plus checks all the boxes for a mid-range smartphone. It has Snapdragon 636 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB built-in storage.
Nokia 6.1 Plus competes with Xiaomi Mi A2, which is also an Android One-based phone with impressive camera capabilities and excellent performer. Xiaomi's smartphone (64GB model) is available for ₹16,999.
We have been using Nokia 6.1 Plus for quite some time and here's our detailed review.
As said earlier, new Nokia smartphones are quite good-looking, courtesy a seamless glass design. Nokia 6.1 Plus is too wrapped in 2.5D curved glass and comes in three colour options of gloss midnight blue, white and black. The smartphone is also quite compact, slim and light. It was quite a delight moving to this phone from a long list of phones with clunky design. Nokia 6.1 Plus fits perfectly in my tiny hands and even in my tight denim pockets.
Smaller form factor doesn't mean the phone compromises on a big screen. Sporting a 5.8-inch full HD+ display with a notch, Nokia 6.1 Plus has an aspect ratio of 19:9 with Gorilla Glass 3 protection.
While I enjoyed using a compact phone after such a long time, the display quality is far from being satisfactory. For instance, auto-brightness just fails to deliver legibility under direct sunlight. Despite cranking up the brightness settings to the maximum, it's quite difficult to use. It, however, works just fine indoors.
It's great to have vanilla Android on a phone. But, software is just one aspect of the performance. And it isn't much of use when the overall optimisation is missing. Powered by Snapdragon 636 processor with 4GB of RAM, Nokia 6.1 Plus has same chipset RAM combo that Xiaomi's powerhouse Redmi Note 5 Pro has. Nokia phone, however, doesn't impress when you're playing graphic-intensive games. If you're a PUBG fan this isn't the phone to go for.
Nokia 6.1 Plus doesn't have a strong battery life either. The on-board 3,060mAh battery lasts at a stretch for up to eight hours on regular use. This includes phone calls, using apps like WhatsApp, Instagram, and streaming on YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Once you're on low battery, the phone will show two red banners. Thanks to USB-C, the phone does charge quite fast.
Another disappointment was the cameras of Nokia 6.1 Plus. It has a dual-camera setup of 16-megapixel and 5-megapixel sensors at the rear. Photos clicked in bright light conditions were pretty but could have been a lot better. Nokia 6 which is available around the same price has Zeiss lens for better optics.
Low-light photography is a difficult feat, and the smartphone isn't an ideal choice for this either. Considering its price tag, one would expect good camera performance. Nokia 6.1 Plus uses a 16-megapixel camera for selfies. The front camera wasn't impressive either. The smartphone does have software features to play around with like AR stickers and the 'Bothie' camera.
Apart from the premium and compact design, Nokia 6.1 Plus doesn't have much to offer. From camera quality, battery life to performance in general, Nokia 6.1 Plus leaves a lot to be desired for a mid-range smartphone. For roughly same price, you should go for Xiaomi's Redmi Note 5 Pro or Mi A2 if the stock Android is important for you.