Nokia 6.1 Plus: Stock Android experience in a budget phone (Tech Review)
New Delhi : Nokia 6.1 Plus, which was launched in India on August 21, is the first device from HMD Global's stable to sport a notch -- a little black cut-out on top of the smartphone screen -- and the latest to join the trend of 19:9 aspect ratio screen phones with tiny bezels.
This is the third iteration in Nokia 6 series and is the global variant of Nokia X6 that was introduced in China a few months ago.
The Nokia 6.1 Plus essentially competes with Chinese rival Xiaomi's Mi A2, which is the only phone from the company (after Mi A1) to have ditched its custom MIUI OS in favour of the Android One platform -- the unmodified Android operating system with a promise of improved security through frequent updates.
Google's Android One primarily focused on entry-level devices for emerging markets, including India, but later evolved into its key mobile programme.
At Rs 15,999, Nokia 6.1 Plus offers 4GB RAM and 64GB onboard storage that can be further expanded up to 400GB via a MicroSD card.
This is how the smartphone fared in real-world usage.
The aluminium frame sandwiched between Corning Gorilla Glass 3 lends a tasteful and sturdy look to the smartphone.
In terms of design, the device trumps its competitor Mi A2 which has an-metal form factor.
Notably, the all-glass premium design makes Nokia 6.1 Plus a significant upgrade from the Nokia 6 (2018) that was launched in April this year.
HMD Global has crammed a 5.8-inch FHD+ 19:9 display into a 7.9-mm smartphone, thus keeping it sleek and just perfect for single-handed use. The Nokia 6.1 had ample bezels all around and had a smaller 5.5-inch screen.
The display on Nokia 6.1 Plus was punchy without being overwhelming.
A Qualcomm Snapgragon 636 chipset powers the smartphone which also fuelled Xiaomi's budget Redmi Note 5 Pro.
We browsed videos, ran several social media apps and opened dozens of browsing windows simultaneously and did not notice any stutter in the performance.
The optimised stock Android experience is a delight to use and with the Android One programme, the smartphone will receive timely updates from Google (guaranteed for three years), which also makes the device eligible for Android Pie and Android Q OS.
The 16MP+5MP dual rear cameras, with flash, have been vertically stacked at the rear of the device. The rear shooter took good images in proper lighting conditions and outdoors without looking over-saturated.
The pictures had decent dynamic range and detail.
HMD Global has kept the phone's camera software pretty simple and added what it calls a "Bothie" mode which we first saw on last year's Nokia 8.
The Bothie feature essentially activates both the front and rear snappers to capture images or videos simultaneously.
A 3060mAh battery powers the device that managed to deliver a day's worth of juice on moderate usage.
What does not work?
The primary camera system struggled to capture detailed images in low-light conditions. However, we can expect the issue to be sorted out via software updates in the future.
We also saw noticeable shutter lag while capturing selfies from the 16MP selfie shooter.
Conclusion: Stock Android experience with a promise of timely security updates and a plush design makes Nokia 6.1 Plus a competent smartphone in this price segment, giving competition to the likes of Xiaomi and Honor.
(Krishna SinhaChaudhury can be contacted at email@example.com)