You can't keep a good dog down - and apparently the same applies to phone companies.
Nokia announced its resurrection earlier this year with a modernised 3310, but budget burnerphones will only get you so far. Now it's time to talk business. With HMD Global behind the helm, the Nokia 6 is the first 'real' new Nokia phone, built to take on the might of Motorola's Moto G5.
It's a mid-range blower at heart, then, but on the surface it's a real looker, with a pure Android experience and competent camera to boot.
As far as new beginnings go, this is definitely more The Force Awakens than The Phantom Menace.
DESIGN & BUILD
The Nokia 6 feels new and familiar at the same time. The angular design could almost be called boxy, just like the Nokia Lumia windows phones of old, only here you get aluminium and 2.5D Gorilla Glass instead of polycarbonate plastic.
It’s thin enough at 7.9mm, but feels undeniably chunky in your hand - those thick flat edges making their presence felt. The black finish and silver trim add an air of class that you won’t normally find in a mid-range phone, though.
On the back, the camera module sticks out ever-so-slightly from the chassis, but not so much it’ll be getting stuck on your jeans whenever you pull it out of a pocket.
Up front, the home button doubles up as a fingerprint sensor, and is quick enough - when it recognises your print. The sensor is seriously skinny, and seems to get easily confused if you don’t cover it completely with your digits. It’s not like Nokia ran out of room to fit a bigger sensor, either - there’s plenty of space, so it’s kind of baffling as to why it’s so small.
SOFTWARE & ANDROID
If subtle was the name of the game when it came to design, the same mantra applies to software. You’ll need to be a spot-the-difference expert to see where Nokia has made changes to Google’s stock version of Android - it looks pure vanilla.
You get the same circular icons and swipe-to-open app drawer as the Pixel and Pixel XL, all the usual Google apps, and absolutely no bloat.
The single pre-installed Support app adds a shortcut to the user manual, warranty, and community forums - but that’s it. With Android itself eating up 10GB of storage, it leaves you with 22GB to fill with apps, games and files.
With no custom UI to update every time Google pushes out security fixes, it should mean the phone stays up to date, too. Through the course of this review, the Nokia 6 got August’s Android security update on the same day as Google’s own Pixel - which is a great indicator of what to expect when Android O rolls around later in the year.
SCREEN & SOUND
With colour and definition you wouldn’t normally expect for the price, the 5.5in Full HD display is a real winner.
A very respectable 403ppi pixel density means photos and videos pack in plenty of detail, and text looks sharp even when the font is tiny. Viewing angles are great, and it easily gets bright enough to use outdoors on all but the sunniest of days. Dismal British ‘summer’ afternoons certainly aren’t a problem.
Colours aren’t overly vibrant, and are mostly accurate, but do lean towards the cooler side of the spectrum. You can’t boost them through the settings menu, or tweak a custom colour temperature, so it’s very much like it or lump it.
There’s no blue light filter, either, so you’ll want to limit your phone time before bed unless you enjoy counting sheep.
Officially, the Nokia 6 is certified for Dolby Atmos sound - but really, the dual speakers aren’t going to give your home cinema system a run for its money. They’re surprisingly loud, with a clear high-end that makes podcasts sound great, but there’s no real bass to give presence to your music and videos.