Nokia 6.1 Review: Improving a Winning Formula

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HMD Global launched Nokia 6 last year which was a good phone for its price but lacked a lot of things that even a midranger in 2017 should have, such as a USB Type-C port or an 18:9 display. With the launch of the new Nokia 6.1 (2018), it seems like Nokia has managed to fix a few things to make the 6.1 up to date.

Two variants of the Nokia 6.1 (2018) are available in Pakistan. One is the 3GB/32GB variant that comes at a price tag of Rs. 24,000 whereas the other variant that comes in the configuration of 4GB/64GB is available for Rs. 33,700.

Today we will be taking a look at the Nokia 6.1 (2018) with the 4GB RAM and 64GB storage.

Video Review [In Urdu]

Design and Display

It still carries on the same design language as last year’s model and actually improves over it. This year you have another slab of aluminum that feels rugged in the hand and feels like as if it could survive a few drops too.

The back still has a single camera along with a LED flash that is placed on a slightly raised module, with a fingerprint scanner below. The fingerprint scanner’s placement is kind of on the lower side and makes it hard to reach unless you’re accustomed to it.

On the bottom of the phone, you have the loudspeaker and thankfully a USB Type C port this time around.

The display remains the same as last year with a 5.5-inch screen at FullHD resolution. It’s also an IPS LCD panel which means great viewing angles and given the resolution of the display, text and other content was sharp as well.

Although the display size is the same as last year’s along with the same 16:9 aspect ratio, the overall footprint of the device has decreased, making it easier for one-handed usage.

Performance

Where the new Nokia 6.1 sees some major changes is under the hood. The last year’s model came with a Snapdragon 430, however, this year we have a more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 octa-core chipset along with 4GB of RAM. Nokia claims that the new 6.1 has around 60% better performance than last year’s model, and that is a huge jump.

Since it’s running stock Android, moving through the UI is buttery smooth and the animations don’t stutter at all. Most of the applications including some resource intensive games worked just fine and even titles like Asphalt 9 and PUBG held up pretty well and with a decent frame rate.

Multitasking was also a breeze and it easily flies through applications, given the generous 4GB of RAM. When moving between applications, you aren’t met with apps that refresh every time you open them.

Camera

The camera on the new Nokia 6.1 remains the same as last year’s model except for the Carl Zeiss branding on the lens. You have the same 16MP sensor along with a LED flash on the back whereas on the front you have an 8MP camera. However, this doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing since the camera performance of last year’s Nokia 6 was also pretty good.

The Nokia 6.1 didn’t disappoint. The pictures taken in good lighting were usually sharp and detailed. Colors were accurate too and not oversaturated like on most smartphones.

However, moving to a dimly lit condition has the same effect as on the other mid-range phones; noise starts to increase and the quality decreases. To help with these situations, HDR is available and it does help with some low light scenarios but keep in mind that the shutter speed decreases, meaning you have to keep a steady hand in order to avoid any blurring.

The front camera is 8 MP with a f/2.0 aperture. The results weren’t too impressive. Even in good lighting conditions, photos came out soft. You can take a look at the camera samples below.

Camera Samples

Nokia 6.1 (2018) Camera Samples!

Battery

The battery on the Nokia 6.1 is 3,000mAh cell which is barely enough to keep the phone powered throughout the day.

I still managed to have around 20% of battery left at the end of the day and my usage mainly consisted of gaming, checking social media, taking photos, 4G was on almost all of the time. With such a heavy usage, having a 20% at the end of the day is still pretty good and a light user might be able to get better battery timing.

Verdict

Overall, the Nokia 6.1 is still an impressive phone for its price and provides good value for money but only if you go with the 3GB/32GB variant as it’s priced a bit on the lower side.

The 4GB/64GB variant, on the other hand, has everything you need from a mid-range smartphone such as a great display, great performance, good cameras, an all-day battery life and best of all, stock Android but at that price point, you can get a better chipset with the new Nokia 6.1 Plus.

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