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(Pocket-lint) - Nokia's new mid-range marvel is the Nokia 7.2, launched alongside a near-identical Nokia 6.2, a phone that carries much the same design, but with a lower grade of hardware.

It sees the coming together of the Nokia 7 and 6 series, which have offered handsets in slightly different positions over the past couple of years. 

There's been a sequential stepping up from Nokia 7 Plus to Nokia 7.1 to arrive at the Nokia 7.2, a phone that on first impressions, has a lot to offer.

Stunning design

  • 159.88 x 75.11 x 8.25mm, 180g
  • Aluminium core, Gorilla Glass front and rear

The biggest talking point on the Nokia 7.2 is likely to be the triple camera array in the centre of the back. It moves along from previous Nokia cameras aligned along the spine of the phone, but as was the case with the Nokia 9 PureView, this is potentially a tidier way to group multiple cameras. 

Nokia actually has some heritage design going on here: the Nokia Lumia 1020 had a similar raised round camera on the rear in 2013.

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But aside from that new camera, what's most impressive about the Nokia 7.2 is the finish. Nokia has used an aluminium core coated in a polymer composite with Gorilla Glass front and rear. It's designed to be solid. 

But the rear also has some depth to it, so instead of being a flat colour like many previous Nokia models, there's a shimmer to it, especially on the Cyan Green colour, which we think is the pick of the colours for this phone. 

There's also a lovely satin feel to it and although it will need a bit of a wipe to keep it looking its best, it's a nicely designed phone. You'll also not that there's an additional button on the left, a dedicated button for Google Assistant

A smart display 

  • 6.3-inch, Full HD+ PureDisplay
  • HDR compatible
  • 500 nit brightness

Some of that keen design comes into the display. The Nokia 7 series has pushed taller aspects over the past few years, from a 18:9 display with bezel to a notch, it now has a waterdrop notch at the top to house the front camera. It's a tidier arrangement than previous devices and brings the feeling that Nokia is on the pulse of design here, rather than slightly behind.

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There's still some chin at the bottom of the display - with enough space for Nokia to squeeze in its own name - but you're still rewarded with an expansive 6.3-inch display. It sticks to Full HD+, but that's common for this price point.

Nokia calls is PureDisplay, an adaptive LCD that offers 500 nit brightness to cut through glare and aims to adapt the visuals to suit the environment you're viewing it in. First impressions are good - it seems bright and vibrant, with a nice purity to whites and punch to colours.

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It also supports HDR, with a Pixelworks visual processor that will upscale from SDR to HDR in realtime to boost your video content. We've not had the chance to see how effective this is - or how well the display performance in a wider and more demanding context than our brief hands-on time, but we have high hopes - it looks like a competitive display.

Hardware specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, 4/6GB RAM
  • 64/126GB storage + microSD
  • 3500mAh battery

When it comes to the mid-range, there's a lot of variance in hardware and price. The Nokia 7.2 sits on Snapdragon 660 with options for 4 or 6GB RAM. That's a good mid-range offering, although care needs to be taken against the pricing - because choosing the top model sees you drifting closer to some higher-powered devices, like the Mi 9 SE for example, although there's more to a phone than the core hardware.

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From the time we've spent with the phone its hard to assess the real-world performance: we know that this Snapdragon hardware does run daily tasks really well. Equally, we can't assess accurately just how long the 3500mAh battery will survive the rigours of active use. 

The storage is fairly generous, with the option for microSD a bonus that many manufactures are now withdrawing - in this case it's a single tray also supporting dual SIM, so there's three slots.

The new camera experience

  • 48MP main camera, f/1.79, 5MP depth sensor
  • 8MP wide-angle camera, f/2.2
  • Zeiss lenses and bokeh functions
  • 20MP front camera

Nokia's big new play is in boosting the photography experience. Newly added is the ultra wide-angle camera which will give you a new perspective on things. It's a great addition at this position of phone and we've always found that wide-angle is a lot of fun to shoot with - and genuinely useful.

While the Nokia 6.2 also gets this wide-angle camera, it has a different main camera, which is where we'll shift our focus now, pardon the pun. Looking to push the pixels, the main camera is a 48-megapixel sensor with 1/2in size, with the Zeiss lens offering f/1.78. It can shoot at full resolution, or use pixel combining to give you more typical 12-megapixel photos (which is what most of these high resolution sensors do anyway).

We've spent some time playing with this camera and there does seem to be a lot offered. There are plenty of shooting modes, including a new AI-boosted night mode that will detect whether you're taking a handheld shot or have the phone supported and vary the number of images it combines to make a final photo. We've not tested it in anger alongside the Pixel 3's Night Sight, but it's good to see on a mid-ranger.

Then there's a collection of portrait or bokeh modes. This claims to bring in the data from the second sensor for greater accuracy, but it's also available on the front single camera … so we don't know (yet) how much that depth camera actually helps.

There's also a dabbling of Zeiss branding going on here, with Zeiss portrait modes designed to reflect the effects you'd get from different Zeiss lenses on a DLSR camera. Whether we buy into that or not it's too soon for us to judge, but our test shots did give us some great results - the question is whether Nokia is overwhelming with options.

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HMD Global is also claiming that you'll be able to get great portrait results in lower light and HDR condition - something we're keen to test.

Pure, secure and always up to date

  • Android One software

Running on Android One, the Nokia 7.2 will be mercifully free from bloat. We've always liked that - especially when faced with some rivals that have a lot of customisation, from Honor or Xiaomi for example.

Nokia has now established itself as one of the best at updates and we're sure that with Android 10 just getting launched, it won't be long until that update will hit these devices. 

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The aim of Android One is to ensure that devices remain up to date and secure and that's essentially Nokia's mantra in its mobile devices.

From the time we've spent with the Nokia 7.2 it's hard to tell exactly what the performance will be like on the software side, but we liked the Nokia 7 Plus a lot - so hopefully the Nokia 7.2 can deliver on all it promises. 

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First Impressions

The Nokia 7.2 offers premium design, a big display and an array of camera skills to tempt you towards the mid-range. Mission accomplished: this is a great looking phone that has plenty of appeal.

The camera certainly looks interesting, while the lure of quick updates to the software means that there's a lot on offer here. But with the likes of the Pixel 3a just a little more expensive, the Nokia 7.2 really has to prove itself.

The Nokia 7.2 will be available from the end of September, starting at around €299, full prices still to be confirmed.

Writing by Chris Hall. Originally published on 3 September 2019.