Updated: May 12, 2017 8:47:40 am
It wasn’t too long ago, when we had Nokia’s Lumia phones with Windows OS running on them. While Nokia’s Lumia range sported premium features and design, Windows OS didn’t exactly make them popular. As Android, iOS came to dominate the smartphone market, the beloved Finnish brand lost out. But Nokia is back. Well, not Nokia per se, but Nokia-branded phones, which are now being manufactured and sold by Finish start-up HMD Global.
The world got its first glimpse of the Nokia phones at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017 in Barcelona. The big question on everyone’s mind was: when will they ship? Now, HMD Global has insisted a second quarter release for these phones, which should be the April-May-June quarter, and the revamped Nokia 3310 has already started shipping. But for most users, the interest is around the Android smartphones.
HMD Global recently showcased its portfolio of new Nokia phones in India, and we had a chance to check out these phones. Here’s our first impression
Nokia 6, Nokia 5 and Nokia 3 are the new Android smartphones. The highlight is that they sport a premium build, something we tend to associate with Nokia-branded products, and run stock Android UI with the latest Android 7.1 Nougat version on these phones.
Nokia 6 and Nokia 5 both sport a metal-unibody design with a slight curve at the back, and full lamination glass front. Nokia keeps stressing on the fact that these phones are made of one block of aluminium. In a world, where metal unibody smartphones have become so common, it is hard to feel excited by this statement. But a closer look at the Nokia phones, and you can see what the company means by being true to its original spirit.
In terms of design and build, I would say Nokia 6 and Nokia 5 are definitely among the most impressive phones out there. There’s are no antenna bands running at the back, Nokia has gone for muted ones on top of the Nokia 6 and Nokia 5, but these are subtle. The back is slightly curved, and both phones have a good grip.
Both Nokia 6 and 5 feel pretty solid to hold and have a similar design. The Nokia 5 is smaller in size though, but more on the specs difference later.
There’s a micro-USB port at the bottom, with two speakers neatly placed next to this. The camera unit on the back will remind you of the earlier Nokia Lumia 900 series, with the LED flash placed below the camera lens. It doesn’t jut out from the phone, and overall both phones have a look that is unmatched.
Nokia 6 and Nokia 5 might not be the lightest or the slimmest phones in the market, but they look like Nokia phones and that will work to HMD Global’s advantage, which is hoping to cash in on the brand recall value.
Nokia 3 has a plastic polycarbonate body, but it doesn’t look cheap or plasticky in any way. It still feels like a solid device, and yes the design, including camera placement, is similar to how it is on the other two smartphones.
Nokia 6 sports a 5.5-inch Full HD LCD IPS display, which the company claims is fully laminated and will work well even under bright sunlight. This one has sculpted Corning Gorilla Glass and pixel density of 403 ppi and brightness of 450 nits.
Nokia 5 has a smaller 5.2-inch display, with HD (1280 x 720 pixels) resolution and the company has added 2.5D sculpted Corning Gorilla Glass on top here as well. The Nokia 3 sports a 5-inch IPS LCD display again with the sculpted Corning Gorilla Glass on top.
Despite the poor lighting at the demo zone, it was clear these Nokia phones sports premium displays, which was, of course, helped by the stunning wallpaper the company had in the background. The viewing angles looked good, and all three displays are the kind that offer ample brightness.
On the specifications side, Nokia 6 has a Snapdragon 430 processor, 3GB RAM+32GB storage (expandable), while the Nokia 5 has the same processor but 2GB RAM+16GB storage. Both phones support external storage up to 128GB, though they have a dual-hybrid SIM.
Nokia 3 has a MTK 6737, quad-core 1.3Ghz processor coupled with 2 GB RAM and 16GB storage.
In our limited time with the phones, there was no noticeable lag when scrolling through or opening apps. But HMD Global says these phones are not the final devices, and there will be further software and hardware optimizations, when the final products are launched.
Nokia 6 has 16MP rear camera and an 8MP front camera. We didn’t have time to take too many sample shots in the demo zone, but the few shots were clicked on the Nokia 6 didn’t look too bad, given the poor light conditions. The pictures had enough details, the colours didn’t look over-saturated, which is impressive, if you consider this might be a mid-range smartphone.
Nokia 5 sports a 13MP rear camera and an 8MP front camera. Nokia 3 has an 8MP camera on the front and back.
Nokia 6 and Nokia 5, both have a 3000 mAh battery, while Nokia 3 gets a 2630 mAh battery. Nokia claims their optimization of the software will ensure lower battery usage, but again this is something we can only confirm once we have thoroughly tested the phones.
This is the bit where Nokia could have an advantage. Nokia phones will sport a pure Android UI, and the Nokia 6 was on Android Nougat 7.1.1. Nokia 5 and Nokia 3 also run the latest Android Nougat OS. Given that most OEMs still feel the need to add ugly, heavily customised skins on top of Android, and often don’t bother to roll out the latest updates, even with so-called new phones, HMD Global is doing something different.
It is good to see phones which don’t come pre-loaded with bloatware and offer a simple, yet clear, UI experience to users. Hopefully, HMD Global will be punctual with updates for the Nokia phones, because that’s something a lot of users will expect from the company.
In a market like India, Nokia has a lot of brand recall. Many people still remember Nokia 3310 as their first phone, ever. For many, Nokia Communicator is a device they might remember as their first ever smartphone, even before smartphones became mainstream.
Nokia 6, Nokia 5 and Nokia 3 will have to live up to some of this legacy. So far, these phones have the Nokia look and feel. Whether they can deliver on the reliability, is what we’ll have to see.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.