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We tried the device with a pair of Sony Bluetooth WH-100XM2 headphones that support Hi-Res aptX HD and LDAC. It defaulted to SBC. In developer mode (a secret mode you must enable) you can select SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX and LDAC. The Sony cans were noticeably better with LDAC.

Other

Other Fingerprint sensor
GPS and e-compass

The fingerprint sensor is on the back. It is fast and accurate. It supports NGC/Google Pay.

Battery

Battery 3060mAh battery
Quick Charge 4.0 compatible
18W Quick Charger 3.0 supplied
30 minutes for 50% charge
No Qi wireless charge

Tests

  • An FHD video loop and it lasts for 10 hours.
  • In heavy office use, we got 22 hours.
  • GeekBench 4 scores are 4108 taking 7 hours and 12 minutes to exhaust the battery under full load.
  • Using the supplied 18W adaptor, it took under two hours for a full charge
  • Using a standard 5V/2A (10W) charger took just over four hours.

It is a full day phone, and Quick Charge makes it a breeze to top up.

4G/LTE

LTE Cat 6 (300/50Mbps)
Bands (care – not confirmed): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 28, 38, 40, 41
Sim Single (as dual sim model may be available)
The second slot is dedicated microSD
Other VoLTE, VoWiFi and HD voice depends on the carrier

We are not 100% sure of the TA-1096 LTE bands but suspect it uses the Qualcomm X12 LTE modem that supports up to 18 bands.

Our test unit has a single SIM and a dedicated microSD slot. While dual sim is nice the second slot is often hybrid (shared with microSD) so if this is your need then look for a phone with a dedicated microSD slot.

As far as a phone goes, it gets similar download speeds to any other phone.

Operating system

OS Android One 8.1
Android Pie coming

Android One (pure Android) phones feature a curated set of pre-installed Google apps that maximise functionality and available storage space. They will run any Google Play store app.

Android One phones gain free, unlimited high-quality photo storage with Google Photos, regular security updates, two years of OS upgrades, and additional software innovations from Google.

Our test device has October 2018 security updates – currently, no other Android test phone is past September.

Build

Colours Midnight Blue with silver highlights
Steel with copper highlights
Build 6000-series milled aluminium block. Gorilla Glass 3 front and unspecified glass or polycarbonate rear
Dimensions 149.7 x 71.18 x 7.99mm x 160g (add 2.25mm for camera bump
IP Rating Not stated

It is well made, and I must admit to falling for the Steel and copper highlights version – it is so masculine. Nokia still uses a single piece of milled 6000 aluminium for the frame, and that makes it very durable. While Gorilla Glass 3 does not have the drop resistance of Gorilla Glass 5, it is more scratch resistant.

What’s missing

Missing Notification LED
Colour adjustments
No formal IP rating

Lack of a notification LED is more about the convenience of knowing someone has called or there is an email – it is not about functionality.

Colour adjustment is for photographers and no deal breaker for Joe and Jane Average especially as this is a great screen.

Price

$499 from JB Hi-Fi or Harvey Norman. Remember there is no such thing as an ‘international’ version – they all need Australian firmware and LTE band support to work here!

Camera

Rear Camera 1
Primary
12 MP RGB/2PDAF/f1.8/1.28um, dual flash, HDR, Zeiss Optics.
It will do [email protected] without EIS – don’t try it.
[email protected] with EIS.
Rear Camera 2 5 MP, BW/FF/f2.4/1.12um depth camera
Selfie 8 MP FF/f2.0, 84° FOV

These days we must review the smartphone camera based on various capabilities.

For example, the top smartphone cameras (over 100 DxoMark) are in the Huawei P/Mate 20 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S9/+/Note9, HTC 12+, Sony XZ2, OPPO Find X, Google Pixel 2/3 XL etc. These phones are all well over $1000, and frankly, the difference is a scant few points on the DxoMark.