Nokia brand licensee HMD Global on Tuesday launched its much awaited smartphone, the Nokia 6.1 Plus, in India. The smartphone is priced at 15,999 for the 4GB RAM/64GB internal storage variant, which makes it a sweet deal considering the fact that the older Nokia 6.1 costs 16,999. The Nokia 6.1 Plus will go on sale from August 30 exclusively through Flipkart. The phone will be offered in three colour options - Gloss Midnight Blue, Gloss Black and Gloss White

Nokia 6.1 Plus first impressions:

At first glance, the Nokia 6.1 Plus appears to be double its price. It has a very understated look, so it doesn’t have any flashy gold accents or gradient colours – just one, single colour throughout the phone. The phone is wrapped in glass on the front and back with an aluminium railing sandwiched in between. It has a smaller form factor when compared to 6-inch phones like the Huawei Nova 3i and the Honor Play, which makes it very comfortable to hold. It is not that slippery either and the mix of glass and metal gives the phone a very solid build. It features a USB Type-C on the bottom and a 3.5mm headphone jack on top.

On the front, the Nokia 6.1 Plus features a 5.8-inch full HD+ IPS display with a resolution of 2280x1080. It is not the brightest display in the market; neither it’s the one with the best contrast ratio. But the colour reproduction and pixel density are on point, so I wasn’t bothered much while using the phone indoors. Stepping out with the phone was a bit difficult, as the screen struggles to counter harsh sunlight.

Powering the device is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor, coupled with 4GB RAM. The phone didn’t have any noticeable lag while navigating through the interface or casual browsing. However, I can instantly say that this is not a hardcore gaming device. While playing Asphalt Legends there were no frame drops on medium graphics, but when I yanked it up to high graphics, there was noticeable lag and the graphics didn’t really look all that good when compared Honor Play. While watching videos, I observed that the speakers aren’t the loudest in the pack. They don’t crackle or lose their edge on the highest volume though.

It runs Android One platform running on Android Oreo 8.1. Thanks to the stock Android interface, there’s no extra bling in terms of UI – it’s a plain, simple experience. There’s no extra bloatware, just the Google’s suite of apps, hence setting up the phone is fairly straightforward as you don’t have other apps coming in the way. The only app that does not provide a stock Android experience is the camera app, which brings us to the camera.

In terms of biometrics, there’s a fingerprint scanner on the back, which is fairly responsive. If you dig further in the settings, you’ll find a facial recognition feature as well, but it doesn’t work as reliably as the fingerprint scanner.

The Nokia 6.1 Plus sports a vertically stacked dual rear camera. The 15MP primary sensor has an aperture of f/2.0 and a pixel size of 1.0µm while the 5MP secondary depth sensor has an aperture of f/2.4 and 1.12µm pixel size. On the front, there’s is a 16MP selfie camera with an aperture of f/2.0.

In a time when every smartphone manages to squeeze in AI cameras, the Nokia skips on that. As a result, there aren’t many modes in the camera app. There are only beatification and portrait modes in the app apart from the AR stickers. The app is a little slow to operate and I observed a noticeable shutter lag while clicking pictures.

The Nokia 6.1 Plus features a vertically stacked dual rear camera.
The Nokia 6.1 Plus features a vertically stacked dual rear camera.

The rear camera’s picture quality appeared okay during my brief usage, but the selfies were decent. I’m yet to review the camera in-depth, so it will be unfair to judge it by my limited usage.

The phone comes with a 3,060mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0. It goes from zero to 50% in 30 minutes, but heated up noticeably while doing so and even showed me a warning to stop charging.

The smartphone is competing fiercely with other sharks in the budget category, namely the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro, Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 and the recently launched Honor Play. Its understated look, stock Android nature and Nokia’s reputation of rolling out updates on time gives it an edge over the others (except the Zenfone, which also runs stock Android). But a detailed review will determine if it is actually a worthy competitor.

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