Nokia 6 2018 mass-market smartphone (review)
4.3Overall Score

Price (RRP): $349
Manufacturer: Nokia

The Nokia 6 2018 also called 6.1 at A$399 sits in the middle of mass-market ($199-499). Yet it offers quality and components that you would pay more for in a competitor’s brand.

Nokia is on a resurgence. We won’t repeat all the history of how Microsoft bought the Finnish phone company and finished it. It is now under Finnish company HMD. Just take it as read that this barely 1.5-year-old company is doing everything right to be in the top-five global smartphone makers.

It starts with the huge Nokia range from The Nokia 8 Sirocco flagship to a dumb 3310 3G handset and everything in between.

Please Nokia – no more new models for a while!

Beware of fakes and grey/parallel imports – these don’t work on all bands here

At this stage, we know there are several variants in 3/32, 4/64, Single and Dual Sim. There may also be different numbers for carrier locked and unlocked.

  • TA-1016 Hong Kong and Taiwan
  • TA-1068 China (no Google services and CDMA)
  • TA-1054 EMEA/Global
  • TA-1050 APAC
  • TA-1043 LATAM
  • TA-1045 US/Canada supports GSM

Why am I making such a fuss? Because parallel imports (read the GadgetGuy exposé here) don’t have Nokia warranty (meaning you deal with the company you bought it from), and often only work on the Optus network. I hope you get the message.

The first impression

Nokia 6 2018It is a solid device. Built like a deluxe tank, this time from a single milled block of 6000-grade aluminium. While not overly heavy at 172g it’s 16:9 screen makes it heavier and wider than 5.5” 18:9 screen competitors.

The key differences between Nokia 6 (2018) and the Nokia 6 (2017) include

  • Reduced bezels
  • Fingerprint sensor moves to the back
  • Update to faster Qualcomm 630
  • Fast charging 3.0
  • Android One Oreo

I like the Black/Copper style – very masculine with a hint of style.

Specifications

These are in the context of a mass-market device. There is no way you should compare a $399 device with say a $500+.

Nokia 6 2018 also called 6.1 Model TA-1050 SS 3/32 GadgetGuy Comments
Screen 5.5”, 1920 x 1080, 403ppi, 16:9, IPS LCD
73.2% S-T-B-R
Gorilla Glass 3
Claimed 450 nits and 1500:1 contrast
Colours are average – there are no colour options. Daylight readability is not bad for an IPS screen.
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 630
Octa-core 2.2 GHz Cortex-A53
60% faster than Nokia 6 processor
Good processor and fixed the lag issues with 6 (2017). It also gives the extra power for better photo post-processing – it shows.
GPU Adreno 508 Capable of mobile games requiring up to 30fps and will play some 60fps.
RAM 3GB LPDDR4
32GB eMMC (19GB free)
MicroSD to 128GB (uses dedicated slot2)
Free, unlimited photo storage with Google Photos
3GB/32GB is fine but does not offer a lot of future-proofing. microSD can NOT be formatted for apps.
Rear Camera 1
Primary
16 MP (f/2.0, 27mm, 1.0µm), PDAF, Zeiss optics, dual-LED dual-tone flash,[email protected] and [email protected]
Dual Sight – Bothies (front and rear camera at the same time)
Smaller pixels and f/2.0 means it is not a good low light camera. Lack of OIS means ‘hold it still’.
Front Camera 8 MP (f/2.0, 1.12µm, 84° FOV), [email protected]
Both cameras use the stock Android app.
God results in good light
Comms Wi-Fi N
Bluetooth 5
NFC – rare on a mass market phone
USB-C 2.0 speed
W-Fi N is dual band and gained 867Mb/s at the router and 433 about 3 metres away. This is more Wi-Fi AC performance– see note later.
Sound 3.5mm audio jack
Single earpiece – not used for music playback
Bottom firing mono speaker and amp
OZO spatial audio recording via 2 mics
IP Rating/build No IP rating
Built from a single block of milled 6000 aluminium
No IP rating is typical for this range. Solid build is well above the range
Other The fingerprint sensor on the rear
FM radio
GPS – all
Android Enterprise Recommended
Battery 3,000 mAh
Qualcomm Quick Charger 3.0 5V/2.5A, 9V/2A, 12V/1.5A (18W)
50% charge in 30 minutes
Endurance rating 76 hours
It’s a one-day phone. The Quick charger goes from 0-100% in two hours
LTE Cat 4 150/50Mb/s
Bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28, 38, 41
Single Sim model in Australia (plus microSD slot)
Supports VOLTE and Wi-Fi calling in Android 8.1 update
Standard for mid-range. Tested at 100/Mbs in 4 bar reception.
Dimensions 148.8 x 75.8 x 8.15/8.6 mm x 172g
OS Android One
Regular security and two years of OS upgrades
Google Assistant
Google provides the updates – no Nokia.
Colours Black/Copper, White/Iron, Blue/Gold The body is matt anodised. The chamfer accents are lovely but are painted so they may show wear.
Missing Nothing for this mid-range device
Price $399
Warranty 2-years
In the box Nokia 6.1
Qualcomm Quick Charger 3.0
USB-A to USB-C cable
3.5mm buds/mic
Good move to provide the Quick Charger 3.0 – few other bands do this at this price
Website https://www.nokia.com/en_au/phones/nokia-6

Screen – 5.5” 1080p, 16:9

We get so used to the newly popular 18:9 format that it feels a little strange to use the older, wider 16:9. There is nothing wrong – it’s just a tad wider.

Nokia claimed 450 nits and 1500:1 contrast. Our measurements reached 420 nits and contrast at 700:1. The latter is possibly a difference in testing regimen.

Brightness-wise it’s lower than flagships at 600+nits. It does very well in daylight readability as the screen has good low reflectivity.

Colours are OK. There is a bluish tint making colours a little colder. There are no colour customisations – as you will find with most Android One devices. Nor is there a notification LED – ditto.