[First cut] Nokia 4.2: Finally, a four from Nokia

Hardly cutting edge, though

by: - Last updated on: July 22nd, 2019

Nokia has added a new smartphone in its portfolio and the latest entrant in the family bridges the small gap between the Nokia 3 series and the Nokia 5 series. Since the company stepped back into the smartphone markets, it has been sticking with numerals for names and while the brand had covered most number bases, the one which was left was “4”. Nokia has now launched the Nokia 4.2 which completes the family. Here are our first impressions…

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What every smartphone looks like

What do smartphones look like these days? The tall display on front bundled with thin bezels and a drop notch? Plus a glass or glass-like back? This is definitely the latest template for smartphones across different categories and the Nokia 4.2 follows it to a T. It comes with a tall 5.7-inch display bundled with the latest design hygiene in smartphones, the drop notch. The screen is surrounded by thin bezels but comes with a slightly thick chin, which comes with ‘Nokia’ branding. The bezels are not super thin but the company has definitely tried to trim them down.
Unlike some brands that are trying to pass off polycarbonate as glass by making it all shiny and reflective, Nokia seem to be sticking to the good old glass. The smartphone comes with a glass back which definitely feels more premium than some of the polycarbonate smartphones we have used of late but is a lot more vulnerable to smudges and scratches.

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The top mid portion of the back is home to the primary cameras on the smartphone placed in a vertical arrangement along with LED flash. The camera unit is followed by a slightly recessed, circular fingerprint scanner. The brand’s logo sits right in the middle of the back, while Android One branding is towards the lower half. The two glass faces (front and back) are held together with a shiny frame with smooth rounded edges. The top of the Nokia 4.2 holds the 3.5 mm audio jack while the base holds the micro USB port and speaker arrangement. The left side carries the hybrid SIM card slot while the right side holds the volume rocker and the power/ lock button which is accented in white and definitely stands out on the frame.

Along with the basics, the Nokia 4.2 also comes with a dedicated button for Google Assistant placed just below the SIM card slot. Pressing the button will wake up Google Assistant on your Nokia 4.2 and once set up, you can use the virtual assistant to carry out certain tasks for you by giving it a voice command. We initially thought that the power button might be the Google button, given the manner in which it was highlighted, but it is not – a rather odd design decision, we think, considering the dedicated Google Assistant button is one of the USPS of the device.

The design of the Nokia 4.2 is pretty clean and aligns perfectly with the design definition of today’s smartphones. The smartphone measures 148.95 x 71.30 x 8.39 mm and weighs 161 grams. It definitely feels compact which is refreshing in the day and age of endlessly tall smartphones. That said, because the design has been done to death now, it is hardly going to sweep anyone off their feet. It is what works these days but is nothing we have never seen before.

A slightly underwhelming spec sheet

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It may have got the looks of any mainstream smartphone but the Nokia 4.2 still has a bit of catching up to do in terms of numbers and specs. It comes with a tall 5.7-inch display with thin bezels but what this display lacks is the power of pixels. The smartphone comes with an HD+ display with a screen resolution of 720 x 1520 pixels. While the display of the Nokia 4.2 is not as washed out as some of the HD+ displays we have used in the past, lacking a full HD+ display, at this price point is definitely a major minus point for the smartphone.

The Nokia 4.2 brings a new chipset to the party – the Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 chipset, the first phone in the Indian market to sport it. It is paired with 3 GB RAM and 32 GB storage. The storage can be expanded up to 400 GB via microSD card. The new processor is placed slightly above the Snapdragon 425 and we do not expect it to set records and come on top of all heavy duty tasks it has to face but it should definitely get you through the basics smoothly.

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The Nokia 4.2 comes with a dual-camera set up on the back. It is a combination of a 13-megapixel main sensor with f/2.2 aperture and a 2-megapixel supporting sensor for depth analysis. On the front sits an 8-megapixel front-facing camera with f/2.0 aperture. It is not a very imposing set up on paper, considering what the likes of Xiaomi and Realme are offering, but as long as Nokia can deliver results with both, we have got no problems.

Nokia has been walking down the stock Android path ever since it came back in the market and it is sticking to the same path when it comes to Nokia 4.2 as well. And yes, it too is part of the Android One initiative. The smartphone is powered by Android 9.0 (Pie), Android One edition. Having Android One onboard means that the smartphone will get direct updates from Google, which means the UI will not only come with all the basic goodness of stock Android but with the assurance of regular Android updates as well.

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Running all of this is a 3,000 mAh battery under the hood. It does not come with support for fast charging. 3,000 mAh might not sound like a big number but because the Nokia 4.2 sports an HD+ display and does not boast super high-end specs, we think the smartphone should be able to see through a day of normal usage comfortably. Connectivity options on the smartphone include 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, and GPS.

A price that will need to be justified

Priced at Rs. 10,990, the Nokia 4.2 is not made up of head turning-ly stunning design or astonishingly high-end specs. If anything, the smartphone comes with a mainstream design and sub-par specs for the price. And you cannot afford to have anything sub-par, especially in a segment which is ruled by the likes of Xiaomi and Realme that are bundling great value for money specs in not one but multiple smartphones. Competition like the Redmi Note 7, Redmi Note 7 Pro, Redmi Y3, Realme 3 is staring down at the Nokia 4.2. Will be it be able to survive in this tough world? Wait for our detailed review.

Buy Nokia 4.2

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