The Nokia 6 was the first device that HMD Global launched under the Nokia brand on Android. It was a phone we liked, demonstrating some of the best build quality for its price and position, but ultimately let down by some of its performance.
In a highly competitive arena, there are a lot of low price mid-rangers that have a lot of appeal. Re-born for 2018, the new Nokia 6 makes some essential tweaks to widen its appeal.
New Nokia 6 design
- Metal unibody design, two-tone anodisation
- 148.8 x 75.8 x 8.15mm
- Rear fingerprint scanner
The Nokia 6 retains much of the appeal that the first iteration did when it comes to design: it's still carved from block of 6000 series aluminium, reinforced with an internal metal plate and feeling solid in the hand.
Diamond cutting helps highlights details around the phone, imparting a sense of quality and solidity. There are some hard lines on this design, thanks to the squared sides of the phones, so it's not as curved as some, but we feel there's an industrial appeal to those looks.
The fingerprint sensor on this new version of the Nokia 6 has moved from the front of the phone to the rear and that's given HMD the opportunity to make this phone a little shorter. We also feel that rear fingerprint scanners are a little more practical and positioned as it is, we found it easy to hit.
Being more compact is an obvious benefit, but it's also hanging on to the familiar looks of the previous device.
Nokia 6 hardware specs and display
- 5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 pixel display, 16:9, 403ppi
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 630, 3/4GB RAM
- 32/4GB storage + microSD
- 3000mAh battery with fast charging
So it's still a solid phone, it's a great design and it's now better proportioned than before. It does hang on to a 16:9 display however, so is fairly conventional and doesn't make that step-forward to 18:9 that the Nokia 7 Plus offers.
The 5.5-inch IPS LCD display has a full HD resolution just as the previous version of this phone did. This is a good size and resolution so we can't complain too much. On the previous phone we weren't totally sold on the colour tuning of this display, but first impressions of the new version are good.
Moving swiftly on, the new Nokia 6 gets an important upgrade in power, moving onto the Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 platform, from the 430 that the old version offered. That should boost the performance in a number of areas, making this a faster phone all round.
There will be two version of the Nokia 6, one with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage and another with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. We're not sure how the distribution of these phones will be managed and if both will be available in all regions or not.
Whichever you choose, there's the opportunity to boost that storage using microSD, up to 128GB.
There's also another important change and that's the inclusion of fast charging. That will see the 3000mAh battery topped up much faster than the older model, so if battery endurance is a concern, then charging no longer is. Additionally, Nokia has now moved this phone to USB Type-C - but fear not, it still has a 3.5mm headphone socket.
Overall, there's a good range of improvements here: the new Nokia 6 isn't just an incremental update, it's repositioned to be a more competitive device, which perhaps also explains the bump in asking price.
First impressions are of a snappy handset and we can't wait to see how it performs when we have a final release version in for review.
New Nokia 6 camera gets Zeiss boost
- 16-megapixel 1µm f/2.0 Zeiss main camera
- 8-megapixel 1.12µm f/2.0 front camera
The camera hardware in the new Nokia 6 reflects the same specs as the old camera with a rear 16-megapixel camera. This is, however, now boosted with Zeiss optics. Whether that will make a practical difference in performance remains to be seen.
Boosting the feature set, the Nokia 6 now supports bothies, Nokia's signature camera feature which lets you capture from the front and rear cameras at the same time, to tell both sides of the story.
The camera app is boosted with a pro mode, meaning you'll be able to get more precise creative control if that's what you're after.
The front camera remains at 8-megapixels. Until we get a final device in for a full review, we can't pass any judgements, but hopefully the Nokia 6 can hold its own against some of the aggressive movers in the mid-range.
Nokia 6 is now Android One
- Pure Android Oreo
- Part of the Android One programme
HMD Global has confirmed that it's moving the Nokia portfolio over to the Android One programme. What does this mean? It basically reinforces the position that Nokia established in 2017, with pure Android phones.
Android One simply means that this is guaranteed to have no bloatware, no added apps, no additional services and no duplication. It's pure, unprocessed Android Oreo. It also brings with it 2-years of guaranteed updates, so you'll move from Oreo to Peanut to Quorn (or whatever names they get). That's in addition to 3 years of security updates.
Nokia has a good track record of delivering these updates, being one of the first to move from Nougat to Oreo, so this is a good thing.
About the only change that Nokia brings is using its own camera app. This is permitted under the guidelines of Android One and helps unlock the additional features that the camera offers.
Overall, this pure and secure Android build gives the Nokia 6 an advantage over some of the slightly over-processed software builds you might find on mid-range devices, such as Huawei's EMUI.
We liked the old Nokia 6 and we like the new Nokia 6 - it's a good size and solidly built. There are essential updates to this new 2018 version of the phone that should make the hardware sing a little better and make it stronger performer.
It's too soon to judge exactly how it will all come together, but the price is also creeping up, now sitting at €279 compared to €199 of the previous version. That's a fairly big step, so we hope that's played out in the performance of the phone.
The new Nokia 6 will be available from April 2018.