Product Reviews

Nokia 6 hands on review

Update: We’re still waiting for a firm Nokia 6 release date, but the mostly likely arrival is currently looking like May.

Nokia has returned! The once-iconic smartphone brand is back in business thanks to Finnish startup HMD signing a 10-year deal to stick the Nokia name on smartphones and tablets, and the Nokia 6 is the current top dog in its initial lineup of four devices. 

Nokia’s trio of new Android smartphones (the fourth is the feature phone 3310 reboot) were launched at MWC 2017 and focus on a premium build, a simple UI and affordable price tags – and early indications are positive as we got to grips with the new Nokia 6. 

The phone boasts a 5.5-inch Full HD display, Snapdragon 430 chipset, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, 16MP rear camera, 8MP front camera, fingerprint scanner and a 3,000mAh battery.

Watch our hands-on with the Nokia 6 video below for a quick look at the new phone

Nokia 6 price and release date

  • €229 (around $240, £195, AU$315)
  • Nokia release date most likely May 2017

The Nokia 6 price is €229 (around $240, £195, AU$315), which drops it into a rather affordable category in the market, and looking at the spec sheet you get a decent amount of bang for your buck. 

If you’re feeling a little more exclusive you could always pick up the Nokia 6 Arte Black special edition, which has a glossy ‘piano black’ rear, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage and a price tag of €299 (around $315, £255, AU$410). 

There’s no firm Nokia 6 release date just yet – all we’ve been told is that it will roll out globally during Q2 of this year, so that’s sometime between April and June.

Currently it looks like May could be the most likely for the Nokia 6 release date, but we’re still waiting – almost two months after the announcement – for HMD to give us a firm date.

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Nokia 6 design and display

The Nokia 6 is crafted from a single block of aluminum, and the result is a phone which feels far more premium than its budget price tag. 

There’s a reassuring weight to the handset, and while its 154 x 75.8 x 7.85mm dimensions make it a sizable presence in the hand, it’s still easy to use.

We found the flat sides of the Nokia 6 weren’t as comfortable on the palms as phones with rounded edges – like the Nokia 5 and 3 – and this is noticeable if you hold the phone in one hand for an extended period of time. 

You’ll be able to get the standard Nokia 6 in four colors (silver, copper, matte black and tempered blue), and there’s the glossy Arte Black special edition as well.

The power/lock and volume keys are easy to hit on the right of the phone, and Nokia has also included a 3.5mm headphone jack up top, while a microUSB port resides next to a single internal speaker on the base of the handset. 

Considering the price of the phone it’s nice to see a fingerprint scanner (which doubles as the home key) on the front of the Nokia 6, flanked by capacitive-touch back and multi-tasking keys. 

Meanwhile the large 5.5-inch Full HD display is bright and clear, and it’s more than good enough for a handset in the bracket the Nokia 6 falls into. 

It means video playback and gaming should look really good on the Nokia 6, with plenty of space for on-screen controls.

Nokia 6 interface and performance

Android purists will be happy here. The Nokia 6 runs Android 7 Nougat and… that’s it. There’s no clunky overlay, and no pre-installed bloatware. Nokia has opted to stick with the stock Android interface, and it’s a choice we’re happy with. 

It makes the Nokia 6 easy to navigate, and performance was smooth for the basic tasks we carried out on the handset.

There’s a Snapdragon 430 processor under the hood along with 3GB of RAM (or 4GB if you opt for the Arte Black edition), which provided more than enough power for general usage and the camera. 

We do wonder whether the entry-level chipset may struggle with heavy lifting tasks, but you’ll have to wait for our full review to see how it copes under pressure. 

If the 32GB of space inside the new Nokia 6 isn’t enough (although for many that’s unlikely) there’s a microSD slot too, which supports cards up to 128GB in size.

Nokia 6 battery and camera

The Nokia 6 comes with a non-removable 3,000mAh battery which should see out a day on a single charge with general usage, although again we won’t know for sure until we’ve put the phone through our in-depth review process. 

Round the back a well-equipped 16MP camera protrudes slightly from the rear of the phone, and offers HDR and a dual-tone flash.

The Nokia 6 we got hands-on with wasn’t running final software, so the camera wasn’t performing at its optimum level, but we were still impressed with the handful of photos we managed to snap. 

On the front an 8MP selfie snapper is more than serviceable for the occasional vanity shot.

Early verdict

The Nokia 6 looks like a really good, affordable smartphone. It’s got a decent spec sheet and a great design, while the stock Android interface should mean it gets software updates promptly.

Our only major reservation for now is the chipset, and how it copes under heavy- lifting, but the early signs for Nokia’s return are positive.

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world’s largest exhibition for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2017 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar’s world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone.


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