Nokia 6.1 Review: Fixing the Flaws of Its Predecessor

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Our review is organized into easily digestible sections that cover everything you need to know about the Nokia 6.1. We’ve got everything from design to display, battery to the camera, and storage to sensors.

We’re not just giving you the facts but also sharing the highlights and our honest opinion. By detailing the features, pros, and cons of the Nokia 6.1, we’ll provide you with a straightforward idea of what to expect from this smartphone – regardless of whether or not you decide to make it your own.

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My Initial Thoughts

Nokia 6.1 Review: My Initial Thoughts

With the way the smartphone market is going, it seems very normal to be left with $1000 flagship smartphones. However, phone manufacturing companies like Nokia’s HMD Global are really breaking that norm with low-budget, decently spec’d smartphones.

Following the release of the Nokia 6 in 2017, Nokia decided to provide an upgrade with the Nokia 6.1 in 2018. This choice of phone names sometimes leaves customers confused – why would Nokia name the new model 6.1?

 

Could the inclusion of “.1” in the Nokia 6.1 simply mean a slight upgrade over the Nokia 6 or something more than that? Well, you won’t find that answer in this paragraph till you read on!

Nokia 6.1 Design, Dimensions and Weight Review

Design is not exactly the selling point of the Nokia 6.1 especially if you’re used to seeing its predecessor – the Nokia 6. In fact, this 2018 Nokia 6.1 has the same size, same edges and same solid metal build as the Nokia 6.

Weighing 172 g, the Nokia 6.1 is only 3 g heavier than its predecessor which weighs 169 g. With the same curved metal edges, the Nokia 6.1 has a dimension of 148.8 x 75.8 x 8.15 mm.

By comparison, the Nokia 6.1 is not as tall and thick as the Nokia 6 with its dimension of 154 x 75.8 x 8.4 mm. Away from Nokia 6.1 and its predecessor, let’s compare the weight and dimension of the Nokia 6.1 with other brands of its price range.

First on the list is the Honor 7X I reviewed earlier which weighs lesser than the Nokia 6.1 at 165 g. If you like tall phones, the Honor 7X is also taller and slimmer at a dimension of 156.5 x 75.3 x 7.6 mm.

The Moto G6 Plus is another smartphone that belongs to the category of the Nokia 6.1. The Moto G6 Plus weighs 167 g which is also lighter than the Nokia 6.1.

As for dimensions, G6 Plus has a dimension of 160 x 75.5 x 8 mm which is taller and slimmer than the Nokia 6.1. Looking at the figures of all four smartphones, it’s fair to say that the Nokia 6.1 has fair weight and dimensions.

Apparently, the Nokia 6.1 has the highest weight among all four smartphones so expect it to be a bit chunky.

Remember I mentioned that there’s not much to be excited about the Nokia 6.1’s look? Well, there’s one noticeable difference between the Nokia 6 and 6.1 when it comes to color options.

Instead of simply providing plain color options to this smartphone, Nokia decided to add a color accent to every color variant. There are three color options with three different color accents to them.

More precisely, there’s the matte black color variant highlighted with a copper accent around its edges. Another color option is the phone’s white variant with the iron accent, while the blue color variant has a gold accent around its edges.

To be more descriptive, the various accent surrounds the phone’s curved edges as well as the camera bump and fingerprint sensor. This in turn gives the Nokia 6.1 a somewhat two-toned look rather than a single boring color.

Perhaps Nokia wanted to give her customers something slightly different from what the predecessor has. With such a design choice, you cannot dislike how this phone looks.

Away from color options, let’s talk about what’s on the surface of the Nokia 6.1. This smartphone pretty much has the same thick bezels at the top and chin of the phone like the Nokia 6.

On the top bezel are the obvious “Nokia” text logo and selfie camera. Even though the lower bezel is also thick, it is actually empty – no navigation keys there because those keys are actually on-screen.

At the top area of the phone is where you’ll see the audio jack. While on the left side is the SIM tray which is a hybrid slot.

By hybrid slot, it means you can have two nano-SIM cards without a microSD card or a single nano-SIM and a microSD. At the end of the day, this hybrid slot cannot have two SIM cards and a microSD card at the same time.

For charging, there’s the USB Type C charging port which is good for a 2018 smartphone. This is especially true when some 2019 smartphones still come with the typical MicroUSB port.

Right beside the Nokia 6.1 charging port is a single speaker. In addition to that, the right side of this smartphone is where you’ll see the power button and volume rocker.

Moving away from that, let’s talk about the back of the Nokia 6.1. The color accent I mentioned earlier is what catches your attention at first glance on the phone’s back.

First is the long camera bump that is longer than the short stuff we’re used to seeing in Nokia smartphones. Furthermore, in this camera bump is a rear-facing camera lens and LED flash.

Another thing on the bump that can’t be ignored is the “ZEISS” text logo. I will provide further explanation on what ZEISS means in the camera section.

Moving on, a fingerprint sensor is yet another component you’ll find further below the bump. Another “Nokia” text logo is also vertically placed below the fingerprint sensor.

On a brief note, it appears that Nokia attempted to add some lovable additions to the look of the Nokia 6.1. The nice color accent and USB Type C port are commendable changes over the previous model.

With that in mind, I will rate the design features of the Nokia 6.1 an eight out of ten in this section of the review.

Nokia 6.1 Display Features Review

Nokia 6.1 Display Features Review

The display on the Nokia 6.1 is as you would expect. Specifically, this display is made up of an IPS LCD display panel, FHD (1920 x 1080) display resolution, and a 5.5” display size.

To start off, the IPS LCD produces colors accurately, however, viewing angles are not great here. The Full HD resolution on the other hand is pretty decent but sometimes may look a little washed out.

When it comes to screen brightness on this smartphone, it is not remarkable but it remains usable. However, the screen brightness in the Nokia 6.1 isn’t so sufficient for use in direct sunlight.

In fact, the maximum brightness on this device is 450 nits which measure how bright a screen gets. This may look like a high figure but it’s just 50 nits higher than the average nits of 400.

Moving on, the 5.5-inch screen size is nothing like the latest smartphones which are boasting of an 18:9 aspect ratio. Nevertheless, this Nokia 6.1 screen has a fair aspect ratio of 16:9.

To simplify, aspect ratio refers to the ratio of the width to the height of a screen or image. In more descriptive terms, the aspect ratio is how wide an image or video spreads all the way to the width and height of the screen without producing black edges.

As you may have guessed, a higher aspect ratio is better than a lower one. Despite the 16:9 aspect ratio of the Nokia 6.1, it is good enough for enjoying videos, images, and reading.

To end this section, this mid-range smartphone has pretty average display features ideal for its price tag. On that note, rating the display features of the Nokia 6.1 an eight in this review is not far-reaching.

Nokia 6.1 Camera Features Review

When you hear about low-budget smartphones, you never really expect a camera to die for right? Well, let’s just say the Nokia 6.1 does better than you may expect.

Starting with the features, the rear-facing camera is 16 MP with ƒ/2.0 aperture. The selfie camera has the same ƒ/2.0 aperture to accompany the 8 MP lens.

Despite not being the best in AI, the inclusion of the Zeiss lens produces good-looking photos. Actually, Zeiss is a German company that produces high-end optical systems which includes cameras.

If you think this is the first Zeiss lens from Nokia, think again because the more expensive Nokia 7.2 comes with a Zeiss lens. With all that said, let’s talk about this camera performance.

Starting with the rear-facing main camera, it struggles with overexposure and sometimes doesn’t do well with highlights. Irrespective of that, photos are usable in daylight and a general well-lit environment.

However, taking pictures in low light environments presents dull and dark photos. To adjust that, you’ll most likely have to use a picture editing app like Pixel lab to light things up.

Notably, you’ll need patience using this camera. This is because the main camera is slow to focus which means you’ll have to wait till the autofocus feature picks up.

When it comes to the 8MP front-facing camera, it takes perfectly good selfies. It also has the beauty mode which, unfortunately sometimes looks very unnatural.

All the same, it’s realistic to say that both cameras produce usable pictures for social media. Asides from pictures, video is another media file we love sharing on social media right?

Well, this new model can record videos in 4K which is an upgrade over the 2017 Nokia 6 that could only record 1080p videos. Now, as good as that sounds, there’s one downside.

This video recording in 4K won’t come with image stabilization. This means you’ll have to keep your hands very steady or use a tripod when recording.

Although, if you don’t mind lower video quality, you can opt for the 1080p mode to record videos. Even though details won’t be as sharp as the 4K mode, this 1080p video recording mode has image stabilization.

In brief, the Nokia 6.1 camera feature is well worth an eight in this section of the review. This is because of its very usable camera and the inclusion of the 4K video recording feature.

Nokia 6.1 Battery Life and Talk Time Review

Nokia 6.1 Battery Life And Talk Time Review

The battery size of the Nokia 6.1 doesn’t offer anything different from its predecessor. Apparently, the Nokia 6.1 comes with the same 3000 mAh non-removable battery as we saw in the Nokia 6.

Perhaps Nokia didn’t change the battery of this new model because they didn’t see the need to. Irrespective of that, battery life is what really matters.

For an inexpensive smartphone, the battery life of Nokia 6.1 is great as it lasts a whole day on average use. On video playback, this phone lasts roughly 6 hours when screen brightness is at its maximum.

Comparing the Nokia 6.1 with the 3200 mAh battery of the Moto G6 Plus, the latter performed better. To be exact, the Moto G6 Plus lasts about 8 hours on video playback with full-screen brightness.

Still in comparison, the Honor 7X has a 3400 mAh battery that lasts about 9 hours on video playback. Apparently, the Nokia 6.1 with its 3000 mAh battery performs just as you would expect – not so great.

When it comes to 3G battery talk time, the Nokia 6.1 lasts up to 16 hours. With all that battery life, it’s important to know what it’s like charging the Nokia 6.1.

In that regard, a noticeable difference between the Nokia 6.1 and the Nokia 6 is the fast charging feature. Unlike the Nokia 6, the Nokia 6.1 comes with a fast charger in the box and fast charging feature in the phone.

As a result, the 2018 Nokia 6.1 takes about 1 hour 40 minutes to achieve a full charge from 0-100%. The 2017 Nokia 6, on the other hand, takes twice that time to get a full charge.

Specifically, Nokia 6 takes up to 3 hours to charge from 0-100%.

In a nutshell, even though the Nokia 6.1 has the same battery size, it has a better fast charging feature. Such battery feature of the Nokia 6.1 is worth an eight in this section of the review.

Nokia 6.1 Storage Options and Performance Review

Like the Nokia 6, the Nokia 6.1 has the same storage options. The Nokia 6.1 comes with two storage options.

Specifically, you can get this phone with either 32 GB or 64 GB of onboard storage. Having 32 GB or 64 GB storage options is quite common for smartphones of this price range.

Whichever variant you go for, this storage should be sufficient. However, if you would want more storage you can do that with storage expansion.

With the use of a microSD card, you can expand the Nokia 6.1 by up to 128 GB. By the way, this size of storage expansion is also not unusual.

However, it would have been more desirable if Nokia offered something more of up to 256 GB expandable storage. This is especially expected because its competitors like the Honor 7X and Moto G6 Plus come with 256 GB storage expansion.

In brief, the storage features on the Nokia 6.1 are pretty much average and worth a seven in this review.

Nokia 6.1 Security Features and Sensors Review

Nokia 6.1 Security Features And Sensors Review

In the sensors department, many think the fingerprint sensor is the only sensor in a smartphone. Actually, that’s not the case, there are more sensors on a smartphone that improves how we use it.

For the Nokia 6.1, there are the accelerometer, compass, fingerprint, gyro, and proximity sensors. Starting with the most visible, the fingerprint sensor on this smartphone is responsive and without lags.

The presence of this fingerprint sensor on the Nokia 6.1 makes it easier to unlock this phone than having to use the PIN, password, or pattern method. Not forgetting of course that the fingerprint sensor is more secure.

Moving on to the other sensors on this smartphone, the accelerometer and gyro are some of the most common sensors that cannot be absent in a smartphone. As for their function, both sensors are responsible for the phone’s orientation.

This explains why autorotation and playing car racing games are possible. Another common sensor on the list is the proximity sensor.

This sensor does the job of turning off the display screen when the phone is close to your face or ear. This mostly happens during a call.

If you’re wondering of your phone’s screen turning off automatically during a phone call, on benefit is to reduce the battery consumption of a phone. It also ensures that your face don’t mistakenly open apps during a phone call.

Next up is the compass sensor which functions just as the name suggests. This sensor helps the phone understand its location while using it.

You get to really see the compass sensor at work when using a compass app like Google Maps.

By and large, the Nokia 6.1 has the necessary and very modern sensors that make it truly a smartphone. As for ratings, the Nokia 6.1 sensors features is deserving of an eight in this review.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who Is Nokia Owned By?

HMD Global has been the owners of Nokia since it was sold to them by Microsoft in 2016.

2. How Long Does The Nokia 6.1 Battery Last?

This smartphone can last a whole day on moderate use.

3. Does Nokia 6.1 Have Fast Charging?

Yes. There is a fast-charging feature on Nokia 6.1 that charges fully in less than two hours.

4. Is The Nokia 6.1 Waterproof?

No. There is no water-resistant feature in this smartphone.

5. Is Nokia 6.1 A Flagship Smartphone?

No. This phone is best described as a mid-range smartphone. That is because it does not have the features of a flagship phone.

My Final Thoughts

Nokia 6.1 Review: My Final Thoughts

For a decent mid-range smartphone, the Nokia 6.1 has some strong competitors like the Moto G6 and Honor 7X. Both phones have great designs and are cheaper options over the Nokia 6.1.

In addition to that, both the Moto G6 Plus and the Honor 7X have larger displays and smaller bezels. Not forgetting of course their larger storage capacity and bigger batteries.

All in all, the Nokia 6.1 is a pretty decent mid-range smartphone that has proved to be an upgrade over its predecessor. Even though the upgrade isn’t a lot, it’s good to see the inclusion of the fast charging feature and USB Type C port.

I hope you found this Nokia 6.1 review helpful. Be a part of the discussion at Itechguides Community and share your thoughts with the community!

For more Smartphone reviews, visit our Smartphone Reviews page. You may also find our Smartphone Specs page very helpful.

References and Further Reading

  1. trustedreviews.com – Nokia 6 (2018) Review
  2. ephotozine.com – Nokia 6.1 Smartphone Review
  3. tomsguide.com – Nokia 6.1 Review: One of the Best Values of the Year
  4. androidpolice.com – Nokia 6.1 review
  5. lifewire.com – Nokia 6.1 Review
  6. pcmag.com – Nokia 6.1 Review
  7. gadgets.ndtv.com – Nokia 6 (2018) 4GB Review
  8. techradar.com – Nokia 6.1 (2018) review
  9. Itechguides Community

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