Nokia’s back! Back! BACK! Of course, it isn’t really Nokia: the brand was sold to Finnish firm HMD, who can use it for ten years. But this isn’t just a case of sticking the Nokia logo on a me-too Android. It’s pretty, and pretty good value for money. If you’re in the market for a Moto G5 or G5S Plus, it’s well worth taking a look at the Nokia 6 first.
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Nokia 6 review: design
The phone has been carved from a single block of aluminium, and that means it looks a lot more expensive than it actually is. It’s on the big side – 154mm tall and 75.8mm across, with a 5.5 inch screen – with sharply angled edges. We’d have preferred something more rounded as those edges get uncomfortable if you’re holding the phone for a while. It’s not exactly groundbreaking in its style but compared to close rivals such as Lenovo’s Moto phones it’s the better looking phone.
If you prefer your Nougat to be untouched, you’ll like the Nokia: it runs Android 7 without any unnecessary interface items or bloatware. An update to Oreo is promised.
Nokia 6 review: features and usability
The screen delivers full HD with crisp, clear colours and good viewing angles. It’s a good size for gaming and media, and for the camera app. The camera in the Nokia is very good, especially for the money: it’s a 16MP model with dual-tone LED flash and works excellently in normal lighting conditions. Like most budget phones it’s not so great in really low light conditions, but it does a better job than its stablemates the Nokia 3 and the Nokia 5. The selfie camera is 8MP and perfectly decent.
It’s interesting to see a fingerprint scanner, which is a rare sight in phones at this price. It’s on the front and doubles as a home key. It works fine, but unlocking your phone is noticeably laggy.
One area where the Nokia 6 falls down is in its speaker, which doesn’t sound great and is all too easy to accidentally block when you’re holding the phone.
Nokia 6 review: performance
The Snapdragon 430 won’t outrun a Samsung Galaxy S9, but with 3GB of RAM it’s a reasonably smooth experience unless you start really pushing the processor, such as in very intensive games. It benchmarks faster than the Nokia 3 and Moto G5, the same as the Nokia 5 and marginally slower than the Moto G5 Plus. 32GB of storage is fine and you can add more via microSD cards.
It’s a shame the battery isn’t brilliant. It really struggles to cope with a full day of average use, and it’s painfully slow to recharge: where other phones with similar 3,000mAh batteries are ready to rock after ten minutes, half an hour of charging only refills the gauge to 10%. A full charge can take over six hours if you let the battery go below 10%. If you tend to use your phone a lot during the day you’ll need to top it up before a big night out.
Nokia 6 review: verdict
The Nokia 6 is a mixed bag. It’s better than the Nokia 3 and the 5, but it’s let down by those sharp edges and unimpressive battery. It’s not one for power users, who’ll find the battery runs out of puff long before they do. If you’re not a heavy user or don’t mind the odd bit of battery anxiety the Nokia 6 is a good buy: it’s stylish and generally well specified, with a surprisingly good camera.