MWC 2017: Nokia 6 Hands-On With Nokia’s Comeback Android Smartphone

Silicon tries out the Nokia 6 to see if the venerable mobile maker can return to the market

Nokia has returned to the smartphone game, with HMD revealing three Android smartphones; the Nokia 3, Nokia 5, and Nokia 6.

Aimed at being affordable alternatives to the handsets from Apple, Samsung, and LG, the trio of mobiles will all sport an un-touched version of Android 7 Nougat with access to the Google Assistant. For fans of pure Android, this is certainly a selling point.

Nokia is back 

Nokia 6The Nokia 6 was already unveiled for the Chinese market last month, but HMD noted it will make the handset available to the wider market with a few tweaks in colour options and price; matte black, silver, blue, or copper versions of the Nokia 6 will retail at 229 euros, and the glossy black will sell for 299 euros.

The Nokia 5 has a smaller 5.2inch display and has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chipset paired with 3GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. The Nokia 6 rocks a 13MP rear camera and an 8MP forward-facing camera with a wide-angle lens.

The design of the phone is slightly different to its larger sibling, with the edge of the display curving into the chassis, cutting out edges or bumps in the design. Shipping in the Spring, the Nokia 5 will cost 189 euros.

MWC 2017: Nokia 6

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Nokia 6 (4)

The final part of Nokia Android range is the Nokia 3, which has a 5inch display, an MTK 6737 quad-core chipset – a step down from the Snapdragon 430, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. Rather than metal, the mobile makes use of polycarbonate with an aluminium frame. On the front and rear of the Nokia 3 you’ll find 8MP cameras, in keeping with this budget phone priced at 139 euros, and like the Nokia 6 and Nokia 5 it comes in matte black, copper, blue and silver colour options.

With the new Android smartphones and the 3310, HMD’s Nokia line looks to provide something for everyone. However, the smartphone market is competitive from virtually all angles, so only time will tell if Nokia’s comeback starts with a whimper or a bang.

Silicon hands-on first impressions

Nokia 6 sideIf the Nokia 3310 feels like it’s trying to ride a wave of retro tech nostalgia, then the Nokia 6 is HMD Nokia’s serious attempt to get back into the Android smartphone game.

On the outside, the Nokia 6 is not an unattractive phone for its price, all slathered in aluminium and Corning Gorilla Glass. However, to the touch is feels a little light and insubstantial, with the aluminium rear feeling more like coloured plastic than true metal. But then again compared to some budget smartphones in the market, it feels like a well-made device. Flat sides to the phone’s chassis means some may find it uncomfortable to grip over long periods, compared to the rounded edges found on many other smartphones.

The 5.5inch display didn’t blow use away with colour or contrast, and at a Full HD resolution stretched over a large screen, the Nokia 6 isn’t offering the greatest sharpness around. Yet, in practice this is hardly a major problem; the display is nice and bright and makes the pure stock Android 7 Nougat a lovely thing to behold, devoid of any frivolous additions shoehorned in by HMD.

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The software runs fairly nicely as well, with the entry-level Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 clearly benefiting from a lack of software bloatware. Whether filling the phone with apps and data will cause significant slowdown is something we’d have to try in a longer test. But so far, the Nokia 6 offers solid if unremarkable performance.

The dual-tone flash equipped camera promises good mobile photography results, particularly in low light conditions. While the software wasn’t finalised on the demonstration phones at MWC, thereby potentially not performing at its peak, the camera delivered solid results, albeit at a well-lit stand, but did not blow us away with seminal smartphone photography. However, we’d need to test the camera further before passing any definitive judgment.

Nokia 6 rearFor a predicted cost, once currency was converted, of around £200, the Nokia 6 offers a decent mid-range smartphone with a clean version of Android for a wallet-friendly amount.  For companies looking to roll out a solid yet affordable mobile to their workforce, then the Nokia 6 is worth a closer look when it makes its debut.

However, the real problem the Nokia 6 faces is from the Moto G5 Plus, a rather lovely stock Android smartphones that feels nicer to the touch, has to our eyes a better display, and sports a snappier Snapdragon chip, for around £50 more.

Time will tell if Nokia can really make a comeback in the smartphone market, but at first glance it might stand a fighting chance.

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