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Nokia 6 now available in US, but is it a good deal?
Amazon might have released a slew of Prime Exclusive phones a few days ago, but the one making more headlines is the Nokia 6. This makes sense for a few reasons, the biggest of which is that the Nokia name is one that invokes plenty of nostalgia and reminders of the phones of yore.
However, this is not your parents’ Nokia. Without going into incredibly granular detail, Nokia sold its mobile and devices division to Microsoft in 2013 in order to fight off its bleak financial situation. Microsoft Mobile became the successor to Nokia’s mobile devices unit in 2014, but it only took two years for Microsoft Mobile to sell off its Nokia-branded feature phone business to HMD Global, which was founded by former Nokia executive Jean-Francois Baril.
Nokia subsequently entered a licensing deal with HMD that made the latter the exclusive manufacturer of Nokia-branded phones and tablets outside of Japan. The deal also granted HMD exclusive rights to certain patents and feature phone software, with Hon Hai Technology Group (Foxconn) working alongside HMD to churn out devices.
Fast forward to today, and we now have one of the results from this mess of sales and agreements: the Nokia 6. As far as the U.S. is concerned, Amazon is the only place that offers the phone, and though the price helps the Nokia 6 compete with other budget phones, does that make the Nokia 6 a good deal?
5.5-inch IPS LCD
1920 x 1080 resolution
Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 430
Expandable up to 128 GB with microSD card
Rear: 16 MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture, PDAF, dual-LED flash
Front: 8 MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture
Quick Charge 3.0
Android 7.1.1 Nougat
Dimensions and weight
154 x 75.8 x 7.9 mm
The design helps it stand apart. Design-wise, you would not know that the Nokia 6 is a budget smartphone. From the solid, cool feel of aluminum in the hands, to the way the glass is slightly above the surrounding metal, the Nokia 6 looks and feels great in the hands. You do feel the chamfered edges before the glass when you swipe from either side, but the Nokia 6 is light enough to not strain your hands while using it and heavy enough that gives you some reassurance should your drop it.
Clean software with promised timely updates. Nokia and HMD could have loaded up the Nokia 6 with unnecessary apps to help stem off manufacturing costs. Instead, the Nokia 6 runs a squeaky clean version of Android 7.1.1 Nougat that reminds me of the Google Pixel every time I use the launcher. Even better is that there is no bloatware to be seen. Sure, the version with lock screen ads does have a few pre-installed Amazon apps, but with an estimated 85 million people signed up for Amazon Prime anyway, those apps are actually somewhat useful. Best of all, HMD promised timely Android updates, though we will wait and see if that pans out.
The performance is…fine. The Nokia 6’s software may be clean, but it is a bit hamstrung by the Snapdragon 430. Even in day-to-day activities, such as browsing on Chrome and launching the camera app from the lock screen, you can definitely feel the processor chug a bit. The Adreno 505, meanwhile, might surprise you with what it is capable of. Games like Mortal Kombat X and Unkilled ran just fine, though titles like Modern Combat 5 and Assassin’s Creed: Identity will not run as smoothly. In short, the Nokia 6 does not perform any miracles on the performance front, but does alright.
NFC + fingerprint sensor = Android Pay! The presence of both NFC and a fingerprint sensor means that Nokia 6 owners can take full advantage of Android Pay, Google’s mobile payments service. With mobile payments on the rise, phones that do not feature NFC have become less abundant and will age faster than those that do, so the Nokia 6 is in a solid position as far as that is concerned.
No USB Type-C. Unfortunately, one of the Nokia 6’s biggest disadvantages moving forward is the lack of USB Type-C. The phone falls back to the older microUSB standard, which is okay for now. However, more phones have migrated over to USB Type-C, and even though the Nokia 6 is a budget smartphone, that microUSB port does the phone no favors for what the landscape will look like in a year’s time.
Ultimately, whether the Nokia 6 is a good deal will come down to two things: price and the competition. In terms of pricing, the Nokia 6 goes for $179.99 with lock screen ads and offers and $229.99 without the ads. You can always buy your way out of the lock screen ads, but that is another expenditure you will need to set aside whenever the time comes.
In a vacuum, the Nokia 6 is a great value. It carries just enough oomph to get you through everyday tasks and looks good doing it. In other words, it is the smartphone you get if you just need it to do basic smartphone things and not much more.
However, the Nokia 6 is not in a vacuum – the ZTE Blade V8 Pro, HONOR 6X, and the Moto G5 Plus all exist and are solid alternatives. The Moto G5 Plus, in particular, is on sale for $250 and features more RAM, internal storage, processing grunt, and works on more carriers than the Nokia 6, which only works on AT&T and T-Mobile.
As such, the question of whether the Nokia 6 is a good deal depends on how much money you will spend on it. If you are an Amazon Prime subscriber, the $180 price tag makes the Nokia 6 a great deal. If you are not, however, the $230 might be a bit too high of a price for what is being offered.