Nokia 6.1 Plus Unboxing, Quick Review: Third Time’s The Charm

by Duey Guison  October 14, 2018

We check out HMD Global’s latest mid-range Android One offering

The Nokia 6 series is an important model in HMD Global’s portfolio. Since the resurrection of the Nokia brand in 2017, the OG Nokia 6 has been a consistent best seller for HMD Global. But what was a promising line hit a pricing snafu, with last year’s model being less than competitive than its rivals in the same space.  

HMD Global has corrected this little niggle to a degree with the new Nokia 6.1 (aka Nokia 6 2018), offering a more powerful processor, Zeiss camera, and Android One certification with a more competitive price. Several months later, HMD makes a third attempt with the Nokia 6.1 Plus: with the same local pricing with the Nokia 6.1, the Nokia 6.1 Plus is a major upgrade from its predecessor, starting with an aluminum and glass build and a bigger, notch-sporting display.

HMD Global’s third iteration of the Nokia 6 aims to make it go head-to-head against similarly priced rivals in the saturated mid-range segment.

What is it?

The Nokia 6.1 Plus is HMD Global’s third generation of the Nokia 6 line. It is more premium phone than its predecessor thanks to its aluminum and glass build while maintaining the price of the aluminum-bodied Nokia 6.1.

What’s in the box?

Like the Nokia 3.1 and Nokia 2.1, you get a white square box with the Nokia 6.1 Plus, adorned with a photo of the phone on the front. Inside the box, you get the unit itself, 10W charger, USB-C cable, headset, SIM ejector pin, and documentation. There is no case bundled with the Nokia 6.1 Plus.

It looks very premium.

Indeed it is. The Nokia 6.1 Plus’ glass back reminds us of the Nokia 8 Sirocco, albeit thicker than Nokia’s premium flagship device. The design change gives the Nokia 6.1 Plus extra heft and elegance, especially with our review unit’s glossy black color.

A glass back usually means two things: one is the phone is a smudge and fingerprint magnet, and you’ll be constantly wiping the phone down to keep it looking pristine, and two is the fact that it’s pretty slippery, so butterfingers need not apply.

Another major change for the Nokia 6.1 Plus is the display, as the phone now has a notch, along with a bigger 5.8-inch Full HD+ display that is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. It is one of the better IPS panels out there as it looks brighter than usual, and has vibrant color reproduction that is close to typical AMOLED panels.

As for the port layout, the Nokia 6.1 Plus shares the same layout with the Nokia 6.1: SIM tray on the left, headphone jack on top, volume and power buttons on the right, and USB-C, microphone, and speaker at the bottom.

Zeiss cameras no more?

While you get dual rear cameras with the Nokia 6.1 Plus—consisting of a 16-megapixel f/2.0 RGB and 5-megapixel f/2.2 monochrome—HMD Global has omitted the Zeiss branding on the phone. A deal breaker? Maybe – we’ll still have to see if the loss of the Zeiss branding on the Nokia 6.1 Plus really means worse camera performance in our full review.

As for the front camera, the Nokia 6.1 Plus gets an upgrade with a 16-megapixel f/2.0 snapper sans Zeiss branding. Like the Nokia 6.1, the Nokia 6.1 Plus’ cameras have the trademark Bothie mode, with the addition of AI scene detection for better photo processing.

What’s powering it?

Under the hood of the Nokia 6.1 Plus, you get a Snapdragon 636 processor, paired with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage. The phone feels snappy during our initial use, though we need to do our usual tests to see how it performs in the long run.

The Nokia 6.1 Plus comes with Android 8.1 out of the box, though our review unit has received the beta version of Android 9.0 as of this writing. Keeping the lights on is a 3000mAh battery that supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0.

How much does it cost?

As announced a few days back, the Nokia 6.1 Plus will retail for Php 15,990. That places the Nokia 6.1 Plus in a tough spot, as it has to duke it out against several other phones offer similar, if not better, specs for a lower price.

The phone will be officially available on October 29 (preorders are ongoing), and take note that the Nokia 6.1 Plus has an available Android Pie beta build that prospective buyers can take advantage of if they decide to pull the trigger on the phone.

Nokia 6.1 Plus specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 64GB of expandable internal storage
  • 5.8-inch Full HD+ IPS display with Gorilla Glass 3 protection
  • 16-megapixel f/2.0 RGB and 5-megapixel f/2.2 monochrome rear cameras with PDAF, dual-LED flash, 4K recording, AI Scene Detection
  • 16-megapixel f/2.0 front camera
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
  • USB Type-C, fingerprint scanner
  • Android 8.1 Oreo (Android One), upgradable to Android 9.0 Pie beta
  • 3060mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0

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    This is great for us who don’t like skinned versions of Android. Sure, Huawei and Xiaomi undercuts this phone spec for spec; however a pure Android experience can justify a slightly higher price.

    This will flop again for the third time, nothing is charming in this phone. If this is a Snapdragon 660 and with a batt of 3,500 mah it would be competitive. Xiaomi mia2 is an Android One too but has a 660 with the same 3,000 mah batt and is selling 2k+ less.