Nokia 6 review | Nokia Android phone review: Hands-on with Nokia's Pure Android

Nokia is back, and with it comes four new phones that look set to disrupt the market. At MWC 2017, the brand, which is now part of Finnish company HMD global, unveiled three new Nokia Android smartphones and a reboot of its classic Nokia 3310 complete with the iconic Snake game and its familiar ringtone. We spent some time with the Nokia 6, the most premium of the four new launches, to bring you a hands-on review. You can also check out our hands-on review of the Nokia 3310 here

Also see: Nokia 8 and 9 rumours

The Nokia 6 isn’t completely brand new to MWC 2017. It was launched exclusively in China in January, and according to Nokia it sold out in 23 seconds with more than one million pre-registrations. Thanks to that huge success, Nokia has decided to bring the Android smartphone to the rest of the world in the second quarter of the year, positioned at the top of its new range alongside the Nokia 5 and Nokia 3. Whether it will be successful in the UK and other markets is yet to be seen, but we anticipate that the much-loved brand name will attract many. 

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Nokia 6 review | Nokia Android phone review: Price and availability

There’s no official launch date for the Nokia 6 in the UK or elsewhere aside from that vague Q2 prediction, but we do know that the Nokia 6 will start at 229 Euros for the model with 32GB internal storage, with a price tag of 299 Euros for the Nokia Arte Special Edition which is available in Piano Black. That’s likely to work out at around £200 and £250 respectively, so very reasonable prices considering that the Nokia 6 is currently the most premium in the brand’s range. It’s possible we’ll see a flagship at a higher price point from the company later in the year though. 

Nokia 6 review | Nokia Android phone review: Design and build 

The Nokia 6 sports a 5.5in Full HD Gorilla Glass screen housed within a body that’s made with a single block of 6000 series aluminium for a seamless unibody design that comes in Matte Black, Silver, Tempered Blue or Copper (which we’d argue is more of a pink). It’s also available in a shiny Piano Black if you’re willing to cough up the extra cash for the Arte Black Limited Edition, which also has extra storage space (we’ll talk more about that later). The Arte seems to take some design inspiration from Apple’s Jet Black iPhone 7, and like Apple’s offering picks up fingerprints within seconds so if that’s the sort of thing that you’re bothered by we’d recommend opting for another of the Nokia 6 options.

The Nokia 6 is more squared than its smaller siblings, the Nokia 5 and Nokia 3, which we did find made it slightly less comfortable to hold although slightly easier to grip. It measures 154 x 75.8 x 7.85mm which we found to be perfectly slim enough. 

Overall, though, we’d say that this looks much like a flagship phone but with a low mid-range price tag that’s bound to appeal to many. 

Nokia 6 review | Nokia Android phone review: Hardware features and specifications 

During our brief time with the phone we found the screen to be vivid and bright, but certainly not as impressive as some of its flagship rivals. Of course, that’s to be expected from a phone at this price point, but we’re still keeping our fingers crossed from a high-end smartphone from Nokia later this year.

Inside the Nokia 6 is a Snapdragon 430 processor with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. If you’re after more storage and a RAM boost, you might want to opt for the Arte Black Limited Edition despite that fingerprint attracting back, because that’ll get you 64GB internal storage and 4GB RAM. Both models do however come with a MicroSD card slot that will allow you to add up to 128GB more memory.

We’re looking forward to putting the Nokia 6 through its paces when we get it back to the PC Advisor labs soon, but during our testing it performed perfectly speedily enough when launching and changing apps, including the camera, Gmail and Chrome. That said, the model we tried had nothing much stored on it, and we were unable to try playing a game or any heavy-duty multi-tasking and we think the 430 chipset may struggle to keep up. It's the same chip you'll find in the new Moto G5, too, and you can pick that up for £169 rather than the Nokia 6's higher price tag. 

You’ll find a 16Mp camera on the rear, and an 8Mp camera on the front, which is a solid offering for a phone with this price tag. There’s a dual-tone flash on the rear too, and Nokia has included HDR. 

The Nokia 6 also boasts a fingerprint sensor for extra security, which sits neatly beneath the home button. On either side of that sensor are back and multi-tasking keys most Android users will be familiar with.

There’s Dolby Atmos sound with a smart audio amplifier and dual speakers, too, making watching videos on the small screen slightly more enjoyable.

The non-removable battery is 3,000mAh but of course we’ll need to wait until we’ve spent more time with the Nokia 6 to determine how long that’ll last in everyday use. It charges via MicroUSB rather than the USB-C that we’re getting used to seeing in new smartphones at the moment.

Nokia 6 review | Nokia Android phone review: Software 

The Nokia 6 will ship with Android 7.1.1 Nougat, and Nokia prides itself on being simple and human so has decided to forgo any fancy overlay for a stock Android that it calls “Pure”. This will be a huge draw for fans of Google’s vanilla Android, and we found it a joy to use without being overcomplicated in any way. It’s intuitive and does away with anything unnecessary to make space for the essentials to be at the forefront. Nokia also promises regular updates to the software.

Nokia 6: Specs

  • Android Nougat 7.1.1 5.5in 1920x1080 touchscreen, 403ppi 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 octa-core processor Adreno 505 graphics 3GB RAM 32GB storage 16MP main camera, dual-LED flash, 1080p video at 30fps 8MP front camera Bluetooth 4G LTE GPS NFC 3000mAh non-removable battery 75.8x154x8.4mm 165g
  • Android Nougat 7.1.1 5.5in 1920x1080 touchscreen, 403ppi 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 octa-core processor Adreno 505 graphics 3GB RAM 32GB storage 16MP main camera, dual-LED flash, 1080p video at 30fps 8MP front camera Bluetooth 4G LTE GPS NFC 3000mAh non-removable battery 75.8x154x8.4mm 165g

OUR VERDICT

The Nokia 6 is a difficult one to offer a verdict on because we feel quite torn about it. If this were a smartphone launched by any of the other big players in the smartphone industry right now we’d probably say that it’s a decent smartphone with a really good price tag but nothing particularly outstanding in the current market. But because this is Nokia we’re talking about we’re strangely excited about it. We think it’s going to catch the attention of those who loved their Nokia phones years back thanks to their simplicity and reliability, and with such a great price tag we expect it’ll quickly become a popular choice for smartphone buyers. We’re looking forward to spending more time with the Nokia 6 and its siblings, and we’re intrigued to find out what the future holds for Nokia.

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