Nokia 6.1 Plus Review: gorgeous design, stunning camera

Nokia is back with what it does best; manufacturing great looking and sturdy phones within an affordable price bracket. Nokia 6.1 Plus is the latest offering from HMD Global that aims to be the bang for your buck.

The phone earlier made its debut in the Chinese market under the name Nokia X6. After its huge success there, the Finnish manufacturer decided to go global and is now available in Pakistan with a price bracket where most of the mid-range phones are occupying the space.

Read on our full review of the phone to see how will the Nokia 6.1 Plus stack up against its competitors in this category.

Design

Remember the days when Nokia used to manufacture the most rugged phones out there? Well, those days aren’t over. The Nokia 6.1 Plus is a well built sturdy phone that has not only a well-built, sturdy design and a comfortable grip but also looks premium in hand.

Nokia 6.1 Plus shows off an all-glass design extravagantly but not a point where it becomes overkill. A metal frame is encased in between. We had the Blue color for review, which looks absolutely stunning. Though you cannot tell much difference in the Black and the Blue colors while being indoors, the color of the metal frame, however, gives it away.

Both the front and the back are protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which means you can’t easily scratch the phone even if being careless. On the front, the Nokia 6.1 Plus flashes a notched design with minimal bezels.

The back of the device is home to a fingerprint sensor, a dual camera setup vertically stacked in the top left corner and Nokia and Android One brandings.

The placement of the fingerprint scanner seems a little lower than where the finger naturally hovers. The camera also has a minor bump which you might want to be careful about when putting the phone down without cover as it may scratch the camera lens cover.

On the right side of the device are the power key and volume rocker which you’ll find well in your reach as it is a perfectly sized phone for one hand use. The left-hand side is home to dual Hybrid SIM tray so you can either use a micro SD card or a second SIM. On the top, there is a 3.5mm headphone jack and a secondary noise-canceling microphone.

Nokia 6.1 Plus is one of the few smartphones under in this price range that comes with a USB Type-C charging port which is located at the bottom next to the speaker grill and main microphone hole. The antenna lines on the top and bottom edges also blend in the phone’s body nicely thanks to the respective color matching.

With an excellent glass build and attractive finish, Nokia 6.1 Plus presents looks that are way ahead of its actual price. On the downside, the glass body attracts fingerprints like crazy. You would want to wipe the phone every 10 seconds, or it gets very smudgy and looks stained and dirty otherwise.

Display

The Nokia 6.1 Plus features a 5.8-inch Full HD+ display with a 19:9 aspect ratio and a pixel density of 435ppi. For the screen to body ratio freaks, this phone packs an 81.5% ratio.

Nokia 6.1 Plus Display

With its IPS LCD, the device produces crisp and balanced colors that are neither oversaturated nor washed away, however, comparing it with an OLED panel, like the one we found on the newly released Vivo V11 Pro, will be an injustice.

The viewing angles are right, but you’ll have to deal with the reflections in broad daylight as it is not as bright as you’d expect. On a sunny day, you’ll have to increase the brightness to full, and even then you’ll end up squeezing your eyes to read a text with a smaller font.

Though bezel-less, the Nokia 6.1 Plus attributes a significant chin, but it doesn’t leave you complaining thanks to that amazing price tag. The notch trend has also shadowed upon Nokia phones, 6.1 Plus is the first one to feature a notched display in the Nokia lineup. Though it’s not as large as we saw on Huawei Nova 3i, it’s still there.

Software

Nokia 6.1 Plus is an Android One device which means that it comes with stock android.

The user interface is simple, clean, and organized. By default, the apps that you can only see on the home screen are the folder for the usual Google applications. Sliding upwards will reveal the app drawer which houses all of the remaining phone’s applications.

Nokia 6.1 Plus Software

The software is as plain as it can get. The only Nokia app you’ll see is the support app that the company has included in case the user encounters any problem. The notch optimization is excellent, and it hides behind a black bar on the notification area when playing a video or game.

The software is one of the strongest points in this phone. The biggest advantage of having stock android is the consistent security patches that come first to Android One devices such as this one. You also get unlimited storage for Google photos and play protect out of the box. HMD Global has already promised that Android 9 Pie will arrive on the Nokia 6.1 Plus later this year, which is likely to enhance the experience further.

Performance & Battery

The Nokia 6.1 Plus is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor that’s clocked at a maximum 1.8GHz. It’s got 4GB RAM and 64GB of inbuilt storage with support for expandability. Here are the benchmark scores of Geekbench and AnTuTu.

Nokia 6.1 Plus Benchmarks

The device opens apps fast and handles them pretty well in the background. We seldom found the apps rebooting while multitasking. Basic tasks like social media browsing, multitasking, file transferring, and video streaming are not a problem for the phone. The device performs smooth and responsive in moderate use.

The fingerprint scanner on the device is a tad slower than we have seen on other mid-range phones in the market right now, but in real life, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

In heavy usage, we played games like Real Racing 3, Deer Hunter and Asphalt 9 Legends and though the phone performed smoothly in gameplay, we noticed a substantial lag while switching between apps and games. Heavy games also take quite a time to load up.

The handset, however, after 40 minutes of extensive use started to become mildly warm but since it did not get uncomfortably hot, so another 30 minutes of extensive usage was good to go.

Though Snapdragon 636 in the Nokia 6.1 Plus is known for controlled battery consumption, we noticed that the phone ate up more battery than expected

Nokia 6.1 Plus Battery Test

Nokia 6.1 Plus packs a 3060 mAh battery that is backed by the Qualcomm Quick charge 3.0 with USB Type C which means it can charge faster than the traditional charging systems.

During one hour of moderate usage, which consisted on social media browsing, calling and texting, the phone dropped a 14% of battery, and in an hour of extensive usage, we were shocked to see that it ate up 25% battery.

This battery consumption rate accurately tells you about the real-life scenario, though we also tested the phone in our video playback test where it gave out a good run for the battery.

Camera

Nokia 6.1 Plus Camera

The Nokia 6.1 Plus has a combination of 16MP + 5MP sensors. While the former is the main camera with an aperture of f/2.0, the latter is a monochrome sensor having an f/2.2 aperture.

The photos in daylight are well-detailed with a good range of colors but somehow come out undersaturated sometimes. However, HDR helps a good amount in popping up the colors. The camera specifically struggles a lot in controlling sunlight, and that is where HDR comes in handy.

Picture of Wall with Auto Mode on Nokia 6.1 Plus
Auto Mode

Picture of Wall with HDRMode on Nokia 6.1 Plus
HDR Mode

Auto Mode on Nokia 6.1 Plus
Auto Mode

HDR Mode on Nokia 6.1 Plus
HDR Mode

Picture of Clock Tower with Auto Mode on Nokia 6.1 Plus
Auto Mode

Picture of Clock Tower with HDR Mode on Nokia 6.1 Plus
HDR Mode

Nokia 6.1 Plus is equipped with an AI camera, so it automatically adjusts its settings according to the scene. Night shots also come out appropriate, filled with rich colors but a noticeable amount of noise creep in too.

In the bright indoor light, the camera can do wonders. The live bokeh mode works almost perfect and successfully differentiates between the subject outline and background.

Picture with Auto Mode at night with Nokia 6.1 Plus
Auto Mode

Picture with HDR Mode at night with Nokia 6.1 Plus
HDR Mode

Picture with Auto Mode on Nokia 6.1 Plus
Indoor Light Auto Mode

Picture with HDR Mode on Nokia 6.1 Plus
HDR Mode indoor light

Image With Auto Mode on Nokia 6.1 Plus
Auto Mode

Image With HDR Mode on Nokia 6.1 Plus
HDR Mode

Pot Picture with Live Bokeh Mode on Nokia 6.1 Plus
Live Bokeh

While the phones in this price range are basically are a mix of compromises, and you have to sacrifice one feature to get better quality in the other, in this case, Nokia 6.1 Plus while not being perfect phone ticks most of the boxes.

Verdict

Honestly, you can’t find too many faults in the Nokia 6.1 Plus given its price. The design and build of the phone punch way above its price tag, However, the more demanding you are, the more you turn away from the device.

Don’t get it all wrong. Nokia 6.1 Plus is just not the phone for power users and extreme mobile gaming. At this price, the camera is amazing, and as you know, the design of the device speaks for itself.

So should you buy Nokia 6.1 Plus? Is it worth your money? Absolutely yes, because you can’t expect any phone to provide flagship performance in this price bracket and Nokia 6.1 is your best shot at getting a premium phone in a controlled budget

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