Nokia 6.1 Plus review: You cannot go wrong with this one

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The Nokia 6.1 Plus became available in Kenya in October 2018. The device is the international version of the Nokia X6 which was launched globally,  in August last year.

The Nokia 6.1 Plus was actually one of the favourite budget smartphones of 2018. The XL version offers some improved features, upgraded specs and a larger display. We did a separate article highlighting these specs. In case you missed it you can read it here.

We managed to get a review unit of the device which I have been using for the last 4 weeks. Did I like the device, here are my final thoughts.

Design and Display

I must admit I love the design of the Nokia 6.1 Plus. The device has an aluminum matte chassis mounted with 2.5D curved glass on both front and back which makes the phone looks really nice. This fine design combined with the reassuring build quality makes the phone appear expensive than it actually is.  

At the front, you have the 5.8-inch display covered with the Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Italso comes with a notch which houses the 16-megapixels camera, earpiece, and sensors. I loved the thin bezels as well together with the rounded edges. Underneath the display, you have Nokia logo.

The display is great and sharp, probably one of the best for a phone in this price range. The colour reproduction, contrasts, and viewing angles are all great and decent, nothing to complain about here.

On the left, you have the hybrid dual-SIM tray while the power button-volume rocker buttons can be found on the left. All these buttons are made of metal which is clicky, sturdy, and easy to press. (We have a gallery of Nokia 6.1 Plus photos at the bottom of this review article)

I need to mention that the Nokia 6.1 Plus is actually among the most compact smartphones in the market right now. With this compact build, it’s easy to carry it around in your pockets and even hold it in your hands. The device feels solid, premium and lightweight. Remember as I mentioned earlier the Nokia 6.1 Plus comes with glass panels meaning its prone to smudges. Unfortunately, HMD Global does not include a protective case in the packaging so you will have to purchase one to protect the device.

Specs and Performance

As we mentioned we have the Nokia 6.1 Plus specs highlighted in a different article. The device is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor with custom Kryo 260 cores. It comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, which can be further expanded with a microSD card.

The Nokia 6.1 Plus is an Android phone. Android One has been described as the ‘purest form of Android’’ and comes without any of the stuff that most smartphone manufacturers like to bundle in – no skins, no duplicate apps and those annoying additional services. All the Nokia Android smartphones are also known for their stock Android experience and Nokia 6.1 Plus with Android 8.1 out of the box is no exception.  The smartphone also started receiving a new Android Pie update towards the end of December 2018. This was the first update of the Android Pie which was released in October in the same year. The update brought with it some UI enhancements, improved system stability, and December 2018 Google Security Patch. Among the UI enhancements were Pro Camera mode in the main camera app and the ability to hide the notch, or the Full Bezel mode.

The user interface is simple, clean and well organized. By default, the apps you get in the home page are the usual Google applications.

In terms of performance, I never experienced any lags although at some point the phone kept hanging when I made calls or tried using the camera. This was however fixed when I upgraded to Android Pie. Overall, the device holds up nicely in everyday usage.

Cameras

The Nokia 6.1 Plus comes with a dual-camera setup at the back with a 16 MP f/2.0 primary sensor and a 5MP f/2.4 depth sensor. The images produced are quite good, sharp and really detailed, especially in daylight conditions. See sample images below. The 16MP f/2.0 f selfie camera does not disappoint either. It captures some great selfies both indoor and outdoor.

More images are available on our Instagram page.

The selfie camera also has this Dual-Sigh mode that allows you to capture photos and videos from both the front can rear cameras at the same time. This is really great for a family picture and might also come in handy when vlogging. I, however, can’t remember the number of times I used it.

I also need to mention that the Nokia 6.1 Plus is also capable of shooting 4 videos with the rear camera at 30fps. There’s however no video stabilization at 4k so expect some shaky football unless you’re using a tripod or gimbal.

Connectivity and Battery Life

The Nokia 6.1 Plus comes with the basic connectivity features in a smartphone like dual-SIM with 4G LTE, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, and GPS. It also used the USB Type-C which is actually really impressive.

For the battery, the device comes with a 3,060mAh battery capacity which does not disappoint especially on moderate usage. I was able to use it for an entire day without worrying about running out of juice. With the bundled Type-C charger, it should take you about 2 hours and about 20 minutes to charge the battery from zero to hundred per cent. The Nokia 6.1 Plus also supports QuickCharge 3.0.

Conclusion, Pricing and Availability

Well, Nokia is alive and it means business. Back in the golden age of mobile phones (not smartphones, mind you) Nokia was the best-selling phone brand in the world. As camera phones started to advance, Nokia lost a lot of market share to its competitors and didn’t survive the advent of the iPhone and all the other big smartphone brands. 

While Nokia’s phones were pretty well received by the public in 2017, they did not stand out from the crowd. They were in line with the rest of the smartphones in the market, providing perfect tools to read the news, play the games, and snap great pictures and selfies, but other than that, they were pretty much the same as their competitors’ handsets.

From lat year, in turn, the press is speaking a lot about Nokia, and the topic is usually not the company’s revival of its most popular phones from the pre-smartphone era. Nokia has, in turn, also updated its Android-powered smartphone line – and this time, it has captured the interest of the press and the users alike.

The Nokia 6.1 Plus is by far my personal favourite among all the smartphone releases of HMD Global in 2018. Its compact sized, solid and comes with a premium build, and good performance as well.

HMD is selling it at Ksh.31,990, a bit pricey, yes, considering you can get smartphones with stock Android and Snapdragon processor at a lower price. However, if you’re a Nokia enthusiast then the Nokia 6.1 Plus is worth considering. You can get it from any of the shops listed here.

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Nixon Kanali
Kanali is a freelance tech journalist based in Nairobi. For product reviews, pitches, guest posts, or interviews drop me an e-mail nickcanali@gmail.com/nkanali@techtrendske.co.ke.

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