Review: Nokia’s new Android One phones

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Not so long ago, Nokia was nearly dead. One foot in the grave. Now it’s looking rather lively thanks to its energetic new owner, HMD Global.

Spark has made the Finnish firm’s new Android One phones available here and after being given the opportunity to have a quick play, I found there was much to like and little to knock.

Nokia 7 plus

This is only Nokia phone that has an 18:9 inch display, dual camera and decent battery life.

It also looks reasonably flash which is important if you’re trying to live up to your mates who are waving about the latest iPhone X or Galaxy S7.

I’m still unsure about whether I like the copper trim and features. It’s a wee bit try-hard. But I do like the matte finish and it doesn’t scratch easily. The phone feels nice and solid because it’s made out of a single block of aluminium.

Nokia branding can be found in the top right hand corner of the phone, in case you’d forgotten who the manufacturer was, but it can only be seen when the screen is off.

Of course, a major selling point of the Nokia 7 plus is Android One.

Android powers 85 percent of phones around the world and most manufacturers customise their Android experience to their own brand’s needs.

But Android One allows for a wonderfully clean design and simple user experience with no duplicate apps.

That means access to all Google apps, such as Maps, Photos, Duo (video calling app), and Docs. You also get Google Play Protect which keeps your apps secure and helps stop malware-infected apps from being downloaded.

There will also be timely OS upgrades and security patches.

For those who care about a phone’s camera the most, the Nokia 7 plus has a dual lens camera made in collaboration with Zeiss. One is 12 megapixel f/1.8 wide-angle lens, while the second is a 13 megapixel f/2.6 lens with a 2x telephoto lens.

Selfie lovers should be happy with the Zeiss 16 megapixel selfie camera.

In the app, you can switch between automatic and manual modes easily and you can take pictures in pictures or record videos using both cameras at the same time.

All in all, a very nice mid-range phone that’s worth a look. The Nokia 7 plus will set you back about $699 and is currently only available from Spark.

The Nokia 7 plus has a copper trim and a Zeiss dual camera set-up.
The Nokia 7 plus has a copper trim and a Zeiss dual camera set-up. Photo credit: Supplied

Nokia 6.1

For those who want to save even more money but still have a phone that packs a reasonable punch, the Nokia 6.1 is worth a second look.

It has a conventional 16:9 display, so bigger bezels than some others in its category. It has night mode which is great if you look at your phone in the dark.

Snapdragon 630 gives the phone a decent punch and the inclusion of a microSD allows for easy expansion of the 32GB internal storage.

Unlike its predecessor, the battery comes with fast charging, which is essential nowadays.

The Nokia 6.1 is a good-all around phone and it won't break the bank.
The Nokia 6.1 is a good-all around phone and it won’t break the bank. Photo credit: Supplied

Who really needs two or three cameras when one will do? The Nokia 6.1 has a 16-megapixels rear camera.

I found the camera a little slow to focus and it wasn’t great for low light photos.

A manual mode allows you to control various settings such as focus and shutter speed.

For selfie lovers there’s a decent 8 megapixel f/2.0 aperture front camera with bokeh mode and a beauty mode.

There’s also the option for split screen capture from the front and back camera at the same time along with picture in picture.

There’s also 4K video and live video direct from the app to your social media platform.

All in all, a perfectly good phone at refreshingly good price.

The phone is available to Spark customers for $499.