Nokia 6.1 Plus Review – Very Notable, Very Notchable

by: - Last updated on: August 21st, 2018

Nokia has had a decent run ever since it came back to the Android land via HMD Global. I say ‘decent’ because none of their offerings have managed to set the charts on fire, especially in the super competitive and price sensitive Indian market. Can the latest offering which is also amongst the most anticipated ones change this for Nokia? Let’s find out in our full review of the Nokia 6.1 Plus.

Starting with one of the highlights of the device, the Nokia 6.1 Plus both looks and feels GREAT to hold in the hand. It’s very important to understand this so let’s spend some extra time on the design. The glass back gives it a premium look, while the metallic sides give an assuring feel while using the device. But the most important thing is how easy it is to use the Nokia 6.1 Plus one-handed, thanks in large to the 5.8-inch display on the front flanked by the notch up top which considerably reduces the overall footprint of the phone. The buttons, however, are slightly mushy for my liking and do not provide great tactile feedback. There’s no skimping of ports thankfully, unlike a certain other Android One device in this segment, so that’s a plus. The fingerprint scanner on the back is fast and accurate.

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Let’s take a closer look at the display. As mentioned, it’s a 5.8-inch IPS LCD with a Full HD+ resolution and an aspect ratio of 19:9. The display itself is fantastic and has great colors, deep contrast, and wide viewing angles, but the brightness levels when using the phone outdoors could’ve been better.

Coming to the aspect where the new Nokia has been finding it tough to match up with the competition, the cameras. The Nokia 6.1 Plus sports a dual camera setup on the back with a 16+5MP lens combo with the former sporting a f/2.0 aperture and f/2.4 for the latter which is mostly for depth sensing. There’s support for PDAF and EIS for video. How does this translate to images? Under good lighting conditions, images look great with ample detail and good dynamic range. The colors, however, look slightly washed out at times, and the reason I’m saying at times is that, on a few occasions, colors turned out to be more on the saturated side which is the other end of the spectrum, hinting that the software processing is inconsistent.

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The portrait mode, however, looks surprisingly good and the edge detection seems spot on. Though, If you use your smartphone for a lot for low light photography, you’re not going to be too pleased with the 6.1 Plus. Images turn out noisy and grainy, and while they still look usable, they’re nothing to write home about.

There’s a 16MP front-facing camera with the same f/2.0 aperture and the images captured are well lit and have good amount of detail even in poorly lit environments. The portrait mode for the front camera does a good job as well with the edge detection.

Moving on to the performance, the Nokia 6.1 Plus sports a Snapdragon 636 chipset which has been a proven performer on devices like the Redmi Note 5 Pro and Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1. As expected, the phone did not break a sweat with day to day tasks and with more intensive stuff like gaming. Apart from the occasional frame drop while playing PUBG, I did not encounter any major issues. RAM management was good as well and I could easily run 6-8 apps in the background. The variant we have has 4GB of RAM along with 64GB of internal storage.

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The smooth performance can also be credited to the software which is Stock Android 8.1 Oreo as the Nokia 6.1 Plus is a part of the Android One Program which promises two years of major Android upgrades. However, this doesn’t mean the experience was bug-free. I encountered a few force closes and at times the home button would cause glitches, but nothing major. There are some nifty additions like swiping down on the fingerprint scanner to bring down the notification center and quick toggles, along with the ability to hide the notch. For those of you wondering if there’s support for face unlock, well, there’s the trusted face option which we’ve been seeing since the Ice cream sandwich days, but that’s not reliable.

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Coming to the battery life, the Nokia 6.1 Plus has a moderate 3,060mAh battery which is sufficient to get you through a day’s usage without any issues, but if you’re expecting more than that, you might be disappointed. You can achieve up to 5.5 or if used conservatively, around 6 hours of screen on time and the charging time with the supplied charger is about an hour and forty minutes but if you use a Quick Charge 3 compatible adapter, you should be able to juice it up in much lesser time. Again, the Chinese variant of the X6 carried a fast charger in the box, which is disappointing.

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So, what’s our final verdict on the Nokia 6.1 Plus? Well, for a price of Rs. 16,999, it’s right in competition with Xiaomi’s Mi A2 which again, is an Android One device, has a larger display, sports much better cameras, along with a beefier Snapdragon 660 processor. There is also the 6GB RAM variant of Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1, which although, isn’t an Android One device, but still runs stock Android and yet costs less than Rs 15000. Also, if you’re willing to spend a few thousand rupees more, you can get yourself the Honor Play which is much superior in terms of performance.

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But for us, the Nokia 6.1 Plus, is primarily about the “hand-feel”, how good it feels to hold in hand in this day of humongous displays enabling you to use the phone one-handed, and not to forget, Nokia’s brand value along with better after sales support. And yes, the convenience of not having to go through the hassles of flash sales. If you want us to pit the Nokia 6.1 Plus against any other device in this segment, do let us know in the comments section below.

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