New Nokia 6 review (hands-on): The premium budget phone
Nokia has unleashed a barrage of smartphones at MWC 2018, so many that we didn’t get around to writing up a hands-on with them all at the launch event. The New Nokia 6 is the last on our list but that doesn’t mean it’s boring.
In fact, it’s the least expensive of all of Nokia’s “proper” smartphones announced at the event yesterday. It’s set to retail at €279, which takes it into what you could lower mid-range territory.
New Nokia 6 review: Specifications, price and release date
5.5in FHD fully laminated IPS display, 1,500:1 contrast ratio, 450cd/m2 max brightness
Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 630
3GB or 4GB
32GB or 64GB
76 x 8.2 x 149mm
16MP with Zeiss optics, phase detect autofocus and dual LED flash
Android 8 Oreo
New Nokia 6 review: Design, key features and first impressions
Ignore the silly naming convention for a moment (yes, it really is called the New Nokia 6) and concentrate on the way this phone looks. Cast from a single block of lightweight, 6000-series aluminium, the phone looks great. It’s finished in an attractive two-tone anodised paint job with bands of shiny copper or silver trim surrounding the rear, the front and the camera module.
The shots you see here are of the black version with copper trim, but there’s also a blue version with silver trim available. They both look great and, just as importantly, the build quality is excellent. This feels like it’s a well made, high-quality smartphone.
And it needs to be too, given the competition it’s up against. The Honor 7X springs to mind at this price, a phone that has a 6in 18:9 screen and a price tag of £270.
The New Nokia 6 doesn’t have the long-tall screen of the 7X but its display looks bright, colourful and clear enough. The aspect ratio is a standard 16:9, the resolution is a sensible Full HD (1,080 x 1,920) and its IPS LCD panel is laminated to the glass on top in a bid to cut down on contrast-killing glare. First impressions are that this is an excellent display, and Nokia has added subtle curves to the edges of the Gorilla Glass panel to round off the look.
The New Nokia 6 doesn’t have the dual-camera setup of the Honor 7X either and, instead, has a 16-megapixel snapper on the rear. To make up for this, the optics are Zeiss-branded with an aperture of f/2.0, there’s phase detect autofocus and a two-tone LED on the rear. So it’s not all bad.
At the front, the camera is a “wide-angle” 8-megapixel unit and Nokia is reprising its “#Bothie” selfies here – a feature that allows you to capture front and rear photos simultaneously and even broadcast the dual feed to Facebook and YouTube.
At this sort of price there’s usually a compromise or two, and as ever this this arrives with the technical specifications of the phone. Inside the New Nokia 6 is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 chip and it’s backed by 3GB or 4GB and 32GB or 64GB of storage, with microSD card expansion available (you can add up to 128GB) if that isn’t enough for you.
This might not be the quickest phone on the block, then, but Nokia is promising that battery life will be decent. The phone has a 3,000mAh battery and this delivers a claimed 12.5 hours of video playback, while the USB Type-C fast charging will charge the phone from zero to 50% in 30 minutes.
Elsewhere, the phone is equipped with a centrally positioned fingerprint reader that lives on rear panel, it runs Android 8.0 Oreo and has all the rest of the gear you’d expect of a modern smartphone, including NFC, so you’ll be able to use the phone to pay for goods at contactless terminals via Android Pay.
New Nokia 6 review: Early verdict
Despite the silly name I do rather like the New Nokia 6. It’s nicely designed, generally well-appointed and it feels well built.
It’s not flashy, it’s not shouty, it’s just a solid offering from a brand that’s slowly regaining its confidence after a few years in the wilderness. I look forward to seeing how it performs when we get hold of a review sample for further testing.