Positioned towards middle of Nokia pack, the 7 Plus is a step-up from Nokia 6.1
Nokia, a mobile phone brand that always reminds you of ‘indestructible’ phone bodies and long-lasting batteries, disappeared after ruling the Indian market for several years. In 2016, Nokia announced that it has licensed Finnish company HMD Global to produce Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets.
In February 2017, HMD Global rolled out first batch of Nokia-branded Android phones – the Nokia 3, 5, and 6. All these phones were equipped with a low-end Snapdragon 430 processor and were sold in sub-20k segment. In August 2017, it introduced the high-end Nokia 8, priced at ₹48,000. This year, in April, the company launched the Nokia 7 Plus at ₹25,999. So, let’s have a detailed look at the 7 Plus.
When it comes to Nokia smartphones, people expect the same reliability from Nokia as they did with their feature phones. And what’s interesting is that Nokia has seamlessly incorporated its core values – reliability, consistency, simplicity and trust – in all its smartphones in a more modern way to make it appealing to the new consumers. And the Nokia 7 Plus is a great example of where the brand’s value lies.
The Nokia 7 Plus is a well-designed device that feels durable. However, in a world of unibody devices, the Nokia 7 Plus does seem a bit odd. The body is matte plastic, which is prone to oily smudges. The metallic sides are flat with sharp corners that make it difficult to comfortably grip the device, especially for long periods.
What I really like about the phone is its refreshing colour scheme, very different from black, gold or white. My review unit came in black colour with a copper finish running along the sides and circling the dual camera on the rear of the device.
You still have to bear with chunky bezels on both sides of the 6-inch display, even when there’s no physical home button. A fingerprint scanner is placed on the rear and unlocks the device instantly. And like the OnePlus 6, the Nokia 7 Plus retains the headphone jack along with the USB-C charging port.
There’s no IP-rating, so you can’t dip the device in water or shower with it. Also, there’s no wireless charging.
Display and performance
While the Nokia 7 Plus’s 6-inch, 1080p LCD screen does not pack fancy features such as HDR, it’s crisp and vibrant. Viewing angles and outdoor visibility is great too. The full-HD resolution also offers detailed reproduction of images and videos, making it a great device for multi-media consumption.
The Nokia 7 Plus is armed with a Snapdragon 660 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable storage. While the Qualcomm 600 mobile platform isn’t flagship, when combined with Adreno 540 GPU, it’s a CPU that’s 20 per cent faster than its predecessor with add-ons including LTE and AI components.
The smartphone’s everyday use is fantastic and sits comfortably in performance with other flagship phones. Scrolling through Instagram, YouTube and listening to Spotify on the go can all be handled with ease. Even the photo editing apps such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom run smoothly. Further, the Nokia 7 Plus can handle majority of games, such as Alto’s Adventure and Lara Croft Go, quite well. It can also handle some of the more graphic intensive games such as PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 8.
The Nokia 7 Plus also excels in other aspects of the performance including call quality and microphone. There’s NFC for payments, and the expandable 64GB storage is more than enough.
The Nokia 7 Plus runs on Android One OS – a variant of Android bereft of bloatware and customised skins found on Huawei and LG phones. It relies on Google’s first-party apps such as Photos, Calendar and Play Music rather than stock ones built by Nokia.
A phone you can rely on
Another advantage of Android One is the timely updates. The company has promised two years of updates, so you’ll get at least Android P and Q, and three years of security updates. The Android P beta is already available on the 7 Plus. Even though Android One promises timely updates, it feels like there is a lot of room for improvements. I experienced app crashes and unintended restarts, which were mildly inconvenient and can be fixed a simple software update.
Since its resurrection, Nokia has been trying hard to impress us with their cameras, not very successfully though – it’s really disappointing, considering the company once produced some of the best camera phones in the past. But this all changed when Nokia announced to bring back ZEISS’s imaging standards to Nokia smartphones.
The relationship between ZEISS and Nokia phones began more than a decade ago. The past collaboration saw ZEISS and Nokia phones driving technology innovations such as the world’s first multi-megapixel mobile phone and many more standard-setting devices – from the Nokia N series to those featuring Nokia PureView technologies.
On the back of the Nokia 7 Plus is a dual-sensor array comprising a main 12MP sensor with an f/1.7 aperture along with a 13MP sensor with an f/2.6 aperture. Both cameras are the result the partnership with Zeiss.
At this price, do not expect a camera that can surpass optics found on Galaxy S9 Plus, Pixel 2 or iPhone 8, however, you do get a capable snapper that can capture bright photos.
All dual camera setups that we’ve seen in the recent past function in different way, depending on their respective brands. For instance, the Galaxy S9 Plus comes with a variable aperture, which can physically switch between a very bright f/1.5 aperture and a smaller f/2.4 aperture. The Huawei P20 sports a monochrome sensor to support the main one. The Nokia 7 Plus approach is similar to the iPhone X, where the camera is used to offer added zoom without chewing up too much detail.
Images taken with the Nokia 7 Plus rear camera are great in bright sunlight. The camera is capable of capturing fast-moving objects with nice colours. The 2x comes in action when there is not much light and captures nice shots.
Usually flagship phones like Galaxy S9 Plus disappoint with their low-light shots, and the Nokia 7 Plus is no exception. If you are in a bar, the wide f/1.7 aperture lets in more light into the sensor, resulting in decent shots with a little noise due to the lack of OIS (optical image stabilisation).
At the front there is a 16MP camera which can also shoot 4K video. The front camera images are better than the likes of Oppo and Vivo. Overall, the camera is decent. Also, it has bothie feature that simultaneously utilises both the front and rear cameras and presents a split screen visual for both photos and videos on the screen.
Powering up the Nokia 7 Plus is a 3,800mAh battery, which is also the strength of the phone, meaning you can easily use it for a full day, without recharging it. An hour of Netflixing consumes approximately 10 per cent, and 30 minutes of playing PUBG gulped nearly 15 per cent of the battery life.
There’s fast-charging support, but it does not charge as fast as the OnePlus, for example, you still have to plug in the device for approx. two hours to go from dead to full.
The 7 Plus is the best handset from the Nokia in mid-range, which has excellent display, great rear camera and a decent battery life – plus Android One is potentially great, given the bugs are fixed.
It’s also important to keep in mind that consumers who began their mobile phone journey with a Nokia are now over 30 years of age. So, in order to succeed in the youth driven Indian smartphone space, Nokia needs to connect with teenagers well, while at the same time it also needs take advantage of its wide user base who have actually used a Nokia.
Colourful display, battery life