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Nokia 6.1 Plus Review




HMD Global’s international version of the Nokia X6, the Nokia 6.1 Plus, recently became available in the Philippines. We finally got our hands on a unit so sit back, relax, and read our review below.

Before we begin, you can check out our hands-on and first impressions here:

Design and Construction

The Nokia 6.1 Plus is one of those smartphones that are premium yet compact. It has an aluminum matte chassis mounted with 2.5D curved glass on both front and back which looks aesthetically pleasing.

The front is dominated by the 5.8-inch display covered with a Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It has a notch which houses the 16MP camera, earpiece, and sensors. Underneath the display is the Nokia logo. I like the thin bezels as it gives the impression that there are more screen real estate and less body which in turn makes the display more immersive.

You will see the hybrid dual-SIM tray on the left while the power button-volume rocker pairing can be found on the left. The buttons are also made of metal which is clicky, sturdy, yet easy to press.

At the bottom are the main microphone, USB Type-C port, and loudspeakers. There’s also a pair of antenna strips on both ends.

At the top are the 3.5mm audio port, noise-canceling microphone, and another set of elevated strips for the antenna bands.

Flip on its back and you’ll see the protruding dual 16MP + 5MP shooters and LED flash while the fingerprint scanner located just below it.

As mentioned earlier, the Nokia 6.1 Plus sports a compact build which is easy to put in the pockets and carry around. It feels solid, premium, and lightweight, however, due to the glass panels, the device is prone to smudges. The retail package doesn’t have a free protective case so I advise users to purchase one for added protection.

Display and Multimedia

The Nokia 6.1 Plus’s comes with a 5.8-inch Full HD+ display with 19:9 aspect ratio and a pixel density of 435ppi. The colors are rich and accurate,  while the viewing angles are great. Outdoor legibility is also good even at just 80% brightness.

The sound quality produced is above average when tested using select songs from Spotify and YouTube. The highs and mids are great while the lows, although weak, are surprisingly present. Still, we recommend using earphones or external speakers if you want a better listening experience.

OS, UI, and Apps

Nokia smartphones made by HMD Global are known for their Stock Android experience and the 6.1 Plus with Android 8.1 Oreo is no exception. The user interface is simple, clean, and organized. By default, the apps that you can only see in the home page are the folder for the usual Google applications. Sliding upwards will show you to the app drawer which houses all of the remaining phone applications.

The Nokia 6.1 Plus is as plain as you can get since the only Nokia-related app installed is the Support app in case a user encounters problems along the way. Out of the 64GB, you can utilize the 50.1GB free storage which is plenty enough for various kinds of files like documents, photos, videos, games, and other apps.

One of the biggest advantages of this phone’s software is Android One which explains its almost stock UI and why it’s light on pre-installed apps. You’ll also get Google Assistant, unlimited photo storage with Google Photos, plus monthly security updates and Google Play Protect right out of the box.

Camera

The Nokia 6.1 Plus is equipped with 16MP + 5MP dual rear shooters and a single 16MP lens for selfies. The UI is pretty simple and straightforward as the camera modes and features are already out at the top portion such as Filters, Beauty mode, Bothie (takes photos from the rear and front cameras at the same time), Timer, HDR, and Flash. For the rear, pressing the menu on the leftmost side will show the Photo, Panorama, Live Bokeh, Manual mode, and Settings.

The images produced by the rear camera are good in bright conditions. Details are good while the colors are accurate. Quality deteriorates, however, when shooting under low-light conditions as images become peppered with noise and becomes slightly muddy.

For the front camera, pressing the menu will bring Photo, Bokeh, Manual mode, and Settings only.

The selfies we took have good quality in bright conditions but like the rear camera, low-light shots will make the image noisy and slightly muddy.

One good thing about the Nokia 6.1 Plus is it is capable of shooting 4k videos (rear) at 30fps. There’s no video stabilization at 4K so expect a shaky footage if you’re not using any gimbals or tripods.

Performance and Benchmarks

The Nokia 6.1 Plus is powered by Snapdragon 636 processor, Adreno 509 GPU, and 4GB RAM. As far as basic tasks like social media browsing, multi-tasking, file transferring, and video streaming go, the performance is smooth and responsive. One thing that I noticed, though, is that the fingerprint scanner is a bit slower compared to other mid-range smartphones I’ve handled before. It’s not a big deal though as it still unlocks in about a second.

Check out the benchmark scores below:

  • AnTuTu v7 – 117,438
  • PC Mark – 5,841 (Work 2.0)
  • Geekbench 4 – 1,332 (Single-Core), 4,925 (Multi-Core), 4,507 (Compute)
  • 3D Mark – 949 (SSE – OpenGL ES 3.1), 759 (SSE – Vulkan)
  • Androbench – 281.29 MB/s (Sequential Read), 238.4 MB/s (Sequential Write)

It can run light-to-moderate graphics games such as Mobile Legends, PUBG Mobile, Arena of Valor with ease but lags and stutters will happen occasionally when I tried playing Tekken and Asphalt 9: Legends. Warming can also be felt during heavy usage but not to a point where it’s uncomfortable in the hands.

Connectivity and Battery Life

The Nokia 6.1 Plus got the basic connectivity features like the dual-SIM with 4G LTE, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, and GPS. It uses USB Type-C which is a plus since it’s more convenient provides a faster file transfer speed. The calls are loud and clear while mobile data is fast as long as the area has a good signal. Apps like Waze, Grab, Google Maps are also working perfectly and shows our exact position.

The device carries a 3,060mAh battery which is below the average capacity of mid-range smartphones nowadays. The 6.1 Plus lasts around 1 to 2 days without charging when being used casually (messaging, social media browsing, streaming videos, shooting photos or videos) while our video loop test (1080p movie, 50% brightness, 50% sound w/ headphones, airplane mode) yielded 12 hours and 5 minutes of playback which is decent. Charging the device took around 2 hours with the help of Quick Charge 3.0 and the phone’s own adapter.

Note: PCMark’s battery test crashes midway.

Conclusion

The Nokia 6.1 Plus is, by far, my personal favorite among all the smartphone releases of HMD Global this year. It deserves the title of “Small but Terrible” due to its compact size, solid and premium build, and good performance.

For the price of PHP 15,990, it’s a bit pricey considering that there are smartphones with stock Android and Snapdragon 660 processor at a lower price. However, if you’re like me who likes the Nokia quality in a smartphone, then you’re in for a good treat with this one.

Nokia 6.1 Plus specs:

  • 5.8-inch Full HD+ (1080 x 2280) IPS 19:9 display, 435ppi
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 1.8GHz octa-core CPU
  • Adreno 509 GPU
  • 4GB/6GB RAM
  • 32GB/64GB e-MMC 5.1
  • microSD up to 256GB (SIM2 slot)
  • 16MP + 5MP EIS, PDAF rear camera, LED flash
  • 16MP front camera
  • LTE Cat.4 150Mbps DL/50Mbps UL
  • WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • GPS/AGPS, GLONASS, Beidou
  • USB 2.0 Type-C
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Gyroscope
  • 3.5mm audio port
  • Android 8.1 Oreo
  • 3,060mAh battery
  • 147.2 x 70.98 x 8.59 mm
  • Gloss Black, Gloss White, Gloss Midnight Blue

What I liked:

  • Compact size
  • Solid and premium built
  • Slim bezels
  • Good camera performance
  • Decent performance
  • Stock Android

What I didn’t:

  • Smudge and Fingerprint magnet
  • Below average battery capacity



Vaughn is your go-to person when it comes to comparing gadgets especially smartphones. He's also a gamer by heart and the "Hackerman" of the team.

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3 Responses

  1. Apple says:

    Very biased review!!! How much were you paid by HMD Global???

    • Ingenius says:

      How is this biased? Have you used the device already because I got one and I agree with the content presented. In what way is this biased?

  2. Alan says:

    Hi sir. Is this already available here? If so, would you have a list of stores? Thanks.

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