The Nokia 6.1 (also known as Nokia 6 (2018) was announced and released in 2018, but this gorgeous mid-range droid is still a capable option one year later. I got my hands on one and have my Nokia 6.1 review all done for your pleasure. Come along for the tasty treats.
Nokia 6.1 review: Quick Specs
Here are the key specifications of our review unit:
- Body: 6000 Series Aluminium unibody and glass;
- Screen: 5.5-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels, 16:9 aspect ratio, IPS LCD screen, with Gorilla Glass 3 protection.
- Rear Camera: 16MP, f/2.0 auto-focus lens; dual-LED flash; 2160p video recording,
- Front Camera: 8MP, 1080p video recording
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 630, octa-core CPU clocked at 2.2 GHz, Adtreno 508 GPU
- Memory: 3GB RAM / 32 GB storage, plus hybrid microSD slot for up to 256GB expansion
- OS: Pure Android 9 Pie;
- Battery: non-removable 3,000mAh with 18W fast charging.
- Connectivity: Dual SIM (4G), Bluetooth 5.0, GPS/A-GPS/GLONASS/BDS, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, FM radio, microUSB 2.0 Type-C
- Colors: Gold on Blue.
- Misc: .
Nokia 6.1 review: Quick Pros And Cons
Before we dive into the review proper, starting with the major pros and cons of the Nokia 6.1:
- gorgeous design and colours
- solid aluminium build quality
- good sunlight legibility
- pure Android software
- guaranteed software updates for 2 years and monthly security updates for 3 years
- fast charging from 0 to 50% in 30 minutes
- very good louspeaker
- bezels on the display may be a turn-off for many in 2019
Nokia 6.1 review: In the box
- the Nokia 6.1 phone itself (our review unit is the 3GB/32GB model in Gold on Blue)
- getting started, and product and safety info pamphlets.
- SIM ejector pin
- 3.5mm audio headset.
- USB Type-C cable.
- 18W fast wall charger.
Nokia 6.1 review: Hardware And Design
Design-wise, Nokia 6.1 is a winner. That is, if you do not think that a bezelless design is the most important thing about the looks of a phone. It has decent bezels, but the design and build are superb. Our review unit is the one with Gold trimmings on Blue, and it is a stunner.
Crafted out of a premium aluminium unibody, it is a tastefully crafted work of art. And beyond the nice looks, it has a very solid feel to it. Wherever you go, the Nokia 6.1 will stand you out with its tastefulness and elegance.
Nokia 6.1 review: Software
How many non-premium smartphones that were released in 2018 with Android 8 Oreo do you know that already run Android 9 Pie and will be running Android 10 in another 2 months? There are not a lot of them available anywhere in the world. Well, the Nokia 6.1 is one of them.
Like all Nokia smartphones running Android, Nokia 6.1 is an Android One phone. That means, it runs stock Android. If you love vanilla Android without bloatware and heavy customisations, you will like the Nokia 6.1.
Thanks to Nokia’s commitment to fast software updates, it launched in 2018 with Android 8 (Android 7 in China), got the Android 9 update released for it in October 2018, and will be running Android 10 before this year runs out.
Nokia 6.1 review: Network And Telephony
4G LTE: check.
Dual active 4G LTE: check.
LTE Band 28(700): check. Does Glo 4G actually work in it? I put a Glo 4G SIM card in it and I was able to access 4G Internet without issues. When outside of 4G coverage, it switches to 3G or 2G, depending on what is available.
Call quality is solid, and audio is just as good.
Nokia 6.1 review: Display And Multimedia
The display is crisp and clear, and watching videos or viewing images is a pleasant experience. The blacks are not as deep as I would love. An AMOLED display would have fixed that, but..hey!
The display is of the good old wide, 16:9 aspect ratio, and it is much more comfortable for typing, especially as I have big fingers. It is also good for everything else, to be honest. In my opinion, the wide aspect ratio are better for a smaller display like this one.
Lastly, seeing that we live in the tropics and have to deal with a huge amount of sunlight glare, the sunlight legibility of the Nokia 6.1 is very good – definitely best in-class.
Nokia 6.1 review: Photography
The main camera on the 6.1 is a 16 megapixel shooter with Zeiss branding, meaning that it was created in partnership with the reknowned camera brand. On the front is an 8 megapixel camera for the usual selfie. How do both cameras perform? Here are sample photos we took, so you can judge for yourself:
Nokia 6.1 selfie camera samples:
Samples from Nokia 6.1’s main camera with Zeiss optics:
One thing is clear above al else: both cameras struggle in low light scenarios. Once there is adequate lighting, however, they take decent photos with a good level of detail. And colour reproduction is very accurate too.
Nokia 6.1 review: Multitasking And Performance
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor in the Nokia 6.1 is a decent mid-range performer, just pulling in below the popular Snapdragon 660 chipset. Performance is decent, though it is not premium performance. There is 3GB of RAM in there, which makes for decent multi-tasking and app switching.
In other words, you will not get blazing speeds doing anything on the 6.1, but then it won’t keep you crawling and frustrated either. Think of it as a cruiser, not a jet fighter. It is fast enough for all but the most demanding tasks.
There is 32GB storage for your file. If you are a heavy user, you will have to do quite a bit of storage management. There is a hybrid memory card slot, meaning that should you choose to use a card, you cannot use a second SIM card in the phone.
The rear-mounted fingerprint scanner works fine too. It isn’t the most accurate that we have seen here, but then that is fine, as we are in budget territory here.
Nokia 6.1 review: Battery life
The non-removable 3000mAh battery in the Nokia 6.1 gives me almost a day of heavy use. By heavy use, I mean usage of 2 email accounts, 4 social media accounts, some web browsing, and 3 instant messaging accounts on a 4G connection with 2 SIM cards in the phone. I don’t do much of phone calls and SMS. Throw in some photography and my daily usage profile is complete.
The good thing is that when I need to top up the battery, it happens very fast, thanks to 18W fast charging. It is nice that Nokia included an 18W charger in the box.
Nokia 6.1 review: Final Words
By now, you should have a good picture of the Nokia 6.1. Here it is: a gorgeous-looking mid-range smartphone with middle-of-the-ground features and performance. It has some cutting edge features: for example, there is WiFi ac, Bluetooth 5.0, and NFC.
It was priced at around ₦90,000 at launch, but the price is down to around ₦55,000 now, making it a much more attractive proposition. Small wonder it made our list of the best compact smartphones you can buy in 2019.
Thank you for reading this Nokia 6.1 review. Do stick around for more.