Nokia smartphones under HMD Global have a long way to go in the India market, which is largely dominated by Chinese OEMs. But it's surely on the right track with a bevy of trendy looking budget and mid range smartphones.
With the recently launched Nokia 4.2 (priced at ₹10,990), HMD Global is now bringing the look and feel of budget smartphones into its entry level portfolio.
HMD global seems to have a knack for designing good phones and that shows in it's mid and premium Nokia phones. The budget segment has been a bit bland. That is where the Nokia 4.2 steps up the game by offering the smooth glass back design we saw in the Nokia 6.1 Plus and 7.1. It also has the new teardrop design that looks a lot less distracting than the notch. Despite the smooth finish, the phone feels handy due to its small size. It has a smaller 5.7-inch screen and weighs just 161g. In comparison its immediate rivals like Galaxy M20 and Redmi 7 offer bigger screen size of 6.3-inch, but feel hefty with weight being upward of 180g.
As far as looks goes, the Redmi 7 looks slick with the glass finish and curved back design.
For users who don't really need a very large screen, Nokia 4.2’s 5.7-inch screen is more than adequate for social media, messaging and casual video playback. While it handles colours well, it looks bit dull on account of the lower resolution of 1,250x 720p, in comparison to Galaxy M20's screen which has a resolution of 2,340x1,080p.
The Redmi 7's screen in in the same league as the Nokia 4.2.
The no-frills stock Android interface of the Nokia 4.2 running atop the Android 9 doesn't look as simple as it once used to as Google has been experimenting a lot with the layout lately. Despite all this, it still feels less cluttered and has fewer pre-loaded apps to, compared to MIUI or even the Samsung's new interface.
Also, Nokia 4.2 is part of Google's Android One, which means users will get all major and minor Android updates on a timely basis, unlike in custom UI, where Google updates are often delayed and stop after one update cycle.
The Nokia 4.2 runs on Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 octa-core chipset with 3GB RAM and 32GB on-board storage. It is an entry level chipset and is designed for basic tasks. So don't expect it to be as powerful as the Snapdragon 632 chipset used in the Redmi 7 or Exynos 7-series 7904 of the Galaxy M20.
But that doesn't mean it is not capable of handling day to day tasks. It can easily and quickly open and run emails, Facebook, video playback on YouTube, music streaming on Spotify without struggling at any point.
Battery backup is decent and a single charge can get you a full day's backup on modest use. The Galaxy M20 is a lot better placed in this regard and lasted about a day and half comfortably.
Don't expect much from the 12-MP main camera and 2-MP depth sensor camera on the back. Outdoor shots look clear but lack the sharpness and even the colours look washed out. Low light shots are marred with noise too.
Unfortunately, the cameras in Redmi 7 or Galaxy M20 don't have a lot to offer either.
Nokia 4.2 is a decent smartphone that can fulfill most expectations of an entry level user. It is also more future-proof than it's rivals as it will get Google updates for two years. However, if you are looking for a more powerful smartphone which offers more value for your money, go for Samsung Galaxy M20 (starts at ₹10,990) as it is more powerful, lasts longer and has a bigger and better screen. You can consider the Redmi 7 ( ₹8,999 for 3GB RAM) over M20, only for it's more premium design, lower price tag and more polished interface.