Nokia has been trying to get a grip on the Indian smartphone market – a region which it ruled a decade ago – ever since it made a comeback in 2017. The only problem? While it was gone, a wave of Chinese brands engulfed the smartphone market whole and one of the first segment that was submerged under this wave was the popular sub Rs. 15,000 category. Nokia has been trying to get back in the game by launching smartphones at different price points, many of them in this very segment. Its latest effort in this zone is the Nokia 4.2 priced at Rs. 10,999. On paper that might seem like a reasonable price, and indeed it would have been a few years ago, but right now, it places the Nokia newbie bang in the middle of some very capable handsets. And perhaps its biggest rival is the already bestselling Redmi Note 7. Both these smartphones are going down a similar price road. Both come with different value propositions. One is from a former number one, the other from the current numero uno. Which of them is the better option? Here’s a quick look at what these rivals offer:
(Red)Mi looks slightly more premium
Both Nokia 4.2 and the Redmi Note 7 are based on the same basic design blueprint. The two smartphones come with tall displays with a drop notch, trimmed down bezels and shiny glass backs. When two devices look largely the same, it all boils down to the finer details. The Nokia 4.2 comes with a smaller display as compared to the Redmi Note 7, which makes the Nokia 4.2 more compact and easier to hold and use. If small displays are not your thing then other design anomalies between the two give points to the Redmi Note 7. Note 7 comes with a taller display with thinner bezels as compared to the Nokia 4.2. The flat back and the pattern that light forms on the back also give it a slight edge over the plain glass back of the Nokia 4.2. The Redmi Note 7 is also protected by Gorilla Glass 5, both back and front, which makes it tougher as compared to the Nokia 4.2 (which makes no mention of any sort of protection). Overall, we think the Redmi Note 7 looks a tad more premium than the Nokia 4.2. The Nokia 4.2 comes with a clean and subtle design but the Redmi Note 7 throws the wow factor in the mix.
…and has bigger display and more pixels too
Unlike the looks department where the two devices gave one another a tough fight, the display department is pretty much a one-sided battle. The Nokia 4.2 sports a 5.7-inch HD+ display with a screen resolution of 720 x 1520 pixels while the Redmi Note 7 comes with a 6.3-inch full HD+ display with a screen resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels. This means not only does the Redmi Note 7 brings a bigger display to the table but also a better one in pixel terms. Only one winner here.
A dance with old and new (Snap)dragons
Another section where the Redmi Note 7 sweeps its competitor aside is the processor. The Redmi Note 7 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor which is coupled with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage. There is a 3 GB/ 32 GB variant available too. The Nokia 4.2, on the other hand, runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 processor that comes with 3 GB RAM and 32 GB storage. Even though the Snapdragon 439 is a new chipset, it still is a few levels below the Snapdragon 660 in the Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset family tree. The Note 7 is also bundled with more RAM and inbuilt storage – the Nokia 4.2 at the time of writing had only a 3 GB/ 32 GB variant.
Such dedication to storage, Nokia
Both phones support microSD cards. But the Nokia 4.2 brings a dedicated microSD card slot which can expand the memory of the device up to 400 GB and has dedicated slots for dual SIM cards. The Redmi Note 7, on the other hand, brings a hybrid SIM card slot to the table, which means that you miss out on a SIM slot whenever you use a microSD card. What’s more, the Redmi Note 7 only supports microSD cards of up to 256 GB.
United by dual cameras, divided by selfies
Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 may be getting little to no competition in most of the departments so far, but things get pretty tight in the camera section, especially in the dual camera comparison. Both Nokia 4.2 and the Redmi Note 7 come with a dual camera comprising a 12-megapixel main sensor with f/2.2 aperture supported by a 2-megapixel depth sensor, tying this round tightly. Fortunately, a tiebreaker called the front camera comes to the rescue. The Nokia 4.2 falls a little short in bringing numbers to the front camera and delivers an 8-megapixel front-facing camera with f/2.0 aperture while the Redmi Note 7 brings a 13-megapixel sensor to the table, giving the device an edge over the Nokia 4.2 in the camera section as well.
UI in this beautiful (Android) world
When it comes to UI, the Nokia 4.2 and the Redmi Note 7 come with the same base but one brings a topping to the mix, while the other remains plain. The Redmi Note 7 runs on Android 9.0 (Pie), topped with Xiaomi’s in-house UI, MIUI10. The Nokia 4.2, on the other hand, runs on Stock Android 9.0 (Pie). It also comes under the Android One initiative which means the device most definitely will receive Android updates directly from Google for the next two years, at least.
Some might prefer the feature-rich interface of the Redmi Note 7 but the sheer smoothness of the stock Android experience and assured updates definitely get the Nokia 4.2 back in the race.
Note-worthy, Note-able battery
The battery department also looks like a very one-sided affair as the Nokia 4.2 is powered by a 3,000 mAh battery with no support for fast charging whereas the Redmi Note 7 runs on a much bigger 4,000 mAh battery and comes with support for fast charging, although an 18W fast charger has to be purchased separately. That said, the extra 1,000 mAh add to the existing lead of the Redmi Note 7 as it wins this round, too.
Ok, Google, Nokia’s got a button for you
One of the USPs of the Nokia 4.2 is a dedicated Google Assistant button that the smartphone sports on its frame. The dedicated button once setup will let you wake up and command Google Assistant to get certain tasks done by just using voice commands. The button is pretty versatile and can be used to carry out functions other than waking Google Assistant, as well. The Redmi Note 7 has nothing like it.
C that type of USB?
Connectivity is one area where the two smartphones come with very different strong points, although they both tick the basic boxes such as 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS, the Redmi Note 7 sports the USB Type C port while the Nokia 4.2 comes with a micro USB port. The Redmi Note 7 also brings its staple infrared port to the party which the Nokia 4.2 lacks. No, we do not think any less of the micro USB port, but there is no denying that the USB Type C port is more contemporary and convenient.
A price that makes you see Red(mi)
With all the departments the Redmi Note 7 has won above, you would think, the Nokia 4.2 would come with a slightly smaller price tag to make up for lost ground. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The 3 GB/ 32 GB variant of the Note 7 is priced at Rs. 9,999 whereas the Nokia 4.2 comes with a price tag of Rs. 10,999. The fact that the Nokia 4.2 actually comes with a higher price tag in spite of giving ground to the Redmi Note 7 in so many departments, makes the Redmi Note 7 a clear winner here as well. It is just offering more for less.
Nokia left in the Red(mi)!
It does not look good for the Nokia 4.2. The Redmi Note 7 beats it comfortably on a number of parameters – it comes with a better processor, bigger display, bigger battery, a higher overall megapixel count, and plus it is more affordable as compared to the Nokia 4.2. The Nokia 4.2 has some neat features like stock Android, dedicated microSD card slot and Google Assistant button but all that cannot make up for the numbers it misses out on. The detailed review of the Nokia 4.2 might see it pull some rabbit out of its hat, but at the time of writing, the Redmi Note 7 is a much better deal for your money.