HMD Global, the Finnish company that sells Nokia-branded phones, needs a hit soon. The reason is obvious: smartphone sales have skyrocketed in India and players like Redmi and Realme are ruling the market. But HMD Global has failed to cash in despite the brand loyalty of the Nokia brand.
But the company seems to be changing its strategy this year. It launched the Nokia 7.2, a mid-range smartphone, which it says will appeal to consumers beyond the current hard-core Nokia fan base. At Rs 18,599, the Nokia 7.2 costs a bit more than the competition, is it worth the added cost?
Nokia 7.2 specifications: 6.3-inch FHD+ HDR10 display| Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor| 4GB or 6GB RAM/64GB storage| 48MP+8MP+5MP triple rear cameras|20MP front camera|3500mAh battery| Android 9.0 Pie
Nokia 7.2 price in India: Rs 18,599 (4GB RAM/64GB storage, Rs 19,599 (6GB RAM/64GB storage)
Nokia 7.2 review: Design and build
The first thing you will notice about the Nokia 7.2 is its design and build quality. I do like the matte glass finish on the back, which is refreshing compared to glossy, smudged phones. The phone is comfortable to hold, doesn’t feel too slippery in your hand. HMD Global has put some thought into getting the size of the phone right.
Apart from the size, there are a couple of physical traits to take care of. The back of the handset has a circular camera module at the top, which is slowly becoming the design trend every manufacturer wants to follow in 2019. Below that is a fingerprint scanner, which feels fast and reliable.
The power button on the right edge has the phone’s notification light which glows white when you receive a message. And on the opposite edge is a dedicated Google Assistant button. The bottom edge has a USB-C port, while the top edge houses a 3.5-mm headphone jack.
The front of the phone is a standard affair. You will notice a water drop-style notch and the bezels on the right and left are minimal. The ‘chin’ at the bottom shows the Nokia brand name.
My matte black finish review unit does feel premium and solid in hand. But there’s the Cyan Green shade, which in my opinion, is a crowd puller.
Nokia 7.2 review: Display and audio
Other than the phone’s classic Nordic design, the screen makes the biggest impact. It’s a regular LCD panel and not an OLED screen. While it lacks absolute blacks for a superior contrast ratio, I still feel the 6.3-inch Full HD Plus display does look stunning. Colours are bright and viewing angles are excellent with decent brightness outdoors. Thanks to HDR10 support, it further expands the range of both contrast and colour.
The Nokia 7.2’s mono speaker is mediocre. I listened to Lady Gaga’s Alejandro, which didn’t carry that much weight throughout my small room. However, the vocals were clear.
Nokia 7.2 review: Performance and battery
The Nokia 7.2 has Qualcomm’s mid-range processor, the Snapdragon 660, either 4GB or 6GB RAM, 64GB storage and a microSD card slot. The phone feels completely smooth in general use, but I did notice some judder while playing graphics-heavy games, or zooming in photos. That puts the Nokia 7.2 in an awkward position. At Rs 18,599, the phone isn’t cheap, meaning there are other phones that offer better specifications costing less or the same in the mid-range segment. Rival phones like the Realme XT starts Rs 16,999 and features the Snapdragon 712 processor and 6GB RAM and 128GB storage.
Battery life isn’t all that special, coming in at 24 hours between charges, with hundreds of messages and emails a day, three hours of music of Apple Music via Galaxy Buds, 30 minutes of Netflix and an hour of web browsing. I am certain the phone will get you through a day with moderate to light use, but don’t expect the battery lasting two days. That’s not going to happen for sure. Oh, and one more thing— charging the 3500mAh battery takes a minimum of 2 hours to refill a dead phone from 0 per cent to 100 per cent. Unfortunately, the phone ships with a 10W of charger and lacks fast charging.
Nokia 7.2 review: Camera and software
HMD Global tried really hard to improve the camera experience in the Nokia 7.2, but it is nowhere close to the competition. The phone comes with a Zeiss-branded triple camera array on the back, featuring a 48MP primary sensor, an 8MP ultrawide, and a 5MP depth sensor.
The thing is, the camera isn’t perfect. In good lighting, the 48MP primary camera (it shoots 12MP image by default) takes respectable shots and I have no major complaints. Colour reproduction in this photo is excellent, and you can see through details even in this image which is resized for the web.
Take a look at photos from the Nokia 7.2
That said, the phone’s camera suffers from inconsistency. There have been times when the camera delivered unusable shots, lacking details and colours. Even the ultra-wide lens is mediocre; it cannot pull in detail which is why I didn’t even bother sharing the photo I took with the Nokia 7.2.
Portrait mode, however, is surprisingly good. I was still able to get relatively fine results. Low light, once again, isn’t something the Nokia 7.2 is good at, despite the presence of a dedicated night mode. The 20MP selfie camera is good, as is video capture performance.
Unsurprisingly, the software on the Nokia 7.2 is buttery smooth. This is an Android One-branded phone, which means the user interface will be free from bloatware. It will also get at least 2 years of Android updates and 3 years of monthly software updates. While the Nokia 7.2 is running Android 9.0 Pie at the moment, the company assures Android 10 is on the way.
Nokia 7.2 review: Conclusion
The Nokia 7.2 is a critical smartphone from HMD Global. The Finnish company seems to be betting a lot on the success of its latest mid-range smartphone in India, but I think the phone fell short on performance. While I do like the Nokia 7.2’s classic design and display, the phone does make compromises and the list is long. I wish the phone had a better processor and at least 6GB RAM on an entry-level model. The camera could have been better.
If I were buying for myself, though, I’d probably go with the top-end model of Samsung Galaxy M30s. At Rs 16,999, the phone is affordable and has a massive 6000mAh battery among other top-notch features.