Nowadays, most smartphones are sequels to once successful headliners and, in an unsurprising turn of events, HMD opted to continue the Nokia 6 series. It was a no-brainer decision though as the 2017 model reportedly sold in more than 10 million units so HMD is wise to make the best of this opportunity.
The new Nokia 6 (2018), also known as Nokia 6.1, has its screen bezels trimmed and employs a modern and much more powerful Snapdragon 630 chip. The main camera benefits from a new Zeiss lens and it can now do 4K videos.
The upgrade list continues with high-quality audio recording, newer Bluetooth 5.0, and the latest Android 8.1 Oreo in its stock form as the phone is now part of the Android One program.
- Body: Gorilla Glass 3 front, aluminum unibody
- Screen: 5.5-inch, 16:9, 1080p IPS LCD; Gorilla Glass 3
- Rear Camera: 16MP, f/2.0 Zeiss lens, PDAF; 2160p@30fps video recording; dual-tone LED
- Front Camera: 8MP, autofocus, 1080p@30fps video recording;
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 630, octa-core Cortex-A53 @ 2.2GHz, Adreno 508 GPU
- Memory: 3/4GB RAM, 32/64GB, dedicated microSD slot for up to 256GB expansion
- OS: Android 8.1 Oreo
- Battery: 3,000mAh, Turbo Charge 18W
- Connectivity: Optional Dual SIM (4G), Bluetooth 5.0, GPS/GLONASS/BEIDOU, Dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, FM radio, USB Type-C port
- Misc: Fingerprint reader on the back
A few things were left untouched since the first Nokia 6 – the storage and RAM options, the 3,000 mAh battery and the camera sensors on both front and rear snappers. But the Nokia 6 (2018) has seen enough changes already and if done right – there is no reason why the new 6 shouldn’t surpass the old one in sales.
Unboxing the Nokia 6 (2018)
The Nokia 6 (2018) price might be hinting for basic bundled accessories, but that’s exactly what the bundle is not. Inside the paper box, we found an 18W wall plug for fast charging, a regular USB Type-C cable, and a pair of earbuds with an integrated mic. Granted, the headset is more basic than the one the Nokia 7 Plus gets, but at least, we have all bases covered with the included stuff. Okay, perhaps without a complimentary phone case, but we are really pushing it.
Some paperwork and a SIM ejection pin complete the Nokia 6 (2018) box contents.
There is nothing fancy about the Nokia 6 (2018) design. HMD kept it basic, comfortable, and user-friendly. But there is beauty in simplicity and the no-nonsense design arguably gives off a stylish vibe that’s nowhere to be found on the Redmis.
HMD also sneaked these cool paint accents around the frame and the camera glass that even in such small quantities make for a huge design booster.
So, the anodized aluminum body is back, almost flush at the back, and perfectly flat around the sides. The tiny chamfers are painted in copper on the black model, iron on the white, and gold on the blue version.
The Nokia 6 (2018) has the same 5.5″ 1080p screen of the old 6, but HMD has trimmed the bezels by moving the fingerprint scanner on the back and thus getting rid of the whole capacitive control deck. The new Nokia 6 spreads at 148.8 x 75.8 x 8.2 mm – that’s some impressive half a centimeter shorter.
The Nokia 6.1 weighs 172 g, just 3g on top of the Nokia 6.
The entire front is covered by a large piece of Gorilla Glass 3, 2.5D-finished as usual. The third edition might be a bit old, but it’s the one we usually prefer – more resilient to scratches at the expense of being relatively more susceptible to shattering when dropped (compared to GG5).
It takes some time to notice the antenna strips on the back, but they are there – running along the top and bottom edges.
The camera glass now has this big ZEISS logo, and the fingerprint sensor found a new home just below the camera (last year it was on the front). The scanner is always-on, accurate and reliable.
We are fans of the flat frame and its tiny chamfers – those boost the overall grip by a mile and the Nokia 6.1 is one of the few phones we’ve felt absolutely secure in hand.
While the Nokia 6 (2018) has kept all popular ports intact, including the analogue audio one, the earpiece is no longer doubling as a second speaker. HMD decided to use just one speaker for the new Nokia 6 – and it’s at the bottom behind a small grille.
We already mentioned the secure grip, but we also want to acknowledge the overall positive impressions from when handling the Nokia 6.1. It feels great in hand, and although it’s a tad bigger than we’d prefer for a 5.5-incher, we are still fond of the overall feeling of security and sturdiness. The black model is all matte, but it still attracts some smudges. The blue and white ones don’t have such issues, though.
No matter which model you get – Black/Copper, White/Iron, or Blue/Gold – we’re sure you won’t be disappointed by the looks, grip or handling.
Clean Android Oreo
The Nokia 6 (2018) is part of the Android One program – meaning it gets pure Android as seen on the Pixels but on the cheap. Indeed, the OS updates are timely and the unit we got for review is running Oreo 8.1 with the most recent April security patch.
Android as Google intended shows up when you wake up the phone – clock, notification cards, two shortcuts on the bottom. Ambient display will show you a clock and notifications when you pick up the phone even without waking it up but be sure to enable this feature first.
Fingerprint enrollment uses the standard Oreo interface. Unlocking works as advertised and is quick and reliable.
Past that is the standard Android 8 homescreen with a pull-up app drawer.
The same 16MP camera
The Nokia 6 (2018) comes with the same camera specs as on the first Nokia 6. It’s a 16MP sensor with 1.0µm pixels sitting behind a 27mm-equivalent lens with an f/2.0 aperture – so nothing extraordinary here. Focusing is handled by phase detection, and there’s a dual LED dual-tone flash to help in the dark.
The interface is simple – shutter release at the bottom, a switch to video mode next to it and a shortcut to the gallery on the other side. A tiny mode selector next to the shutter release gives you the option to choose Regular photo, Panorama, or ‘Touch up’ mode (another word for ‘Beautification’).
On the opposite end of the viewfinder there are switches for beautification, picture-in-picture, flash (on/off/auto), HDR (on/off/auto), self-timer (off/3s/10s), and front/rear camera toggle. There’s a hamburger button too, for access to settings and additional modes (panorama and pro).
The 16MP samples we shot in broad daylight with the Nokia 6 (2018) turned out rich in detail, contrasty, with accurate colors and white balance. The only letdown was the grass presentation, which is mostly smudgy.
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