Hands On With Nokia 6 Android One Smartphone - MWC 2018

HMD Global took to the latest iteration of Mobile World Congress to announce a variety of new Nokia devices spanning all price segments, with its true mid-range offering being unveiled in the form of the Nokia 6 (2018). Much like its name suggests, the handset is meant to be a direct successor to the original Nokia 6 released last year, though it comes with multiple improvements over the first model, many of which are surprising given how the new product is only slightly more expensive than its predecessor and will retail at €279 ($343) in Europe.

By far the biggest year-on-year improvement boasted by the Nokia 6 (2018) that's observable as soon as you start playing with the phone yourself is that everything is so much smoother. The first Nokia 6 was no slog but it was certainly on the lower end of the mid-range smartphone spectrum, being powered by the Snapdragon 430. Its successor has improved on that SoC with the Snapdragon 630, one of Qualcomm's best-in-class chips to date. Apps now open faster, scrolling through the menus is more seamless, and games perform better, with none of those achievements increasing the overall energy footprint of the new product. Another thing that's contributing to the overall smoothness of the new Nokia 6 is its choice of an operating system. Even though the previous handset already ran a relatively stock version of Android with only some minor software tweaks, the Nokia 6 (2018) is launching as part of the Android One program meant to showcase all of the advantages of Google's ubiquitous mobile operating system.

In other words, the product design philosophy HMD pursued while creating the Nokia 6 (2018) was that employed by Google's discontinued Nexus lineup, with the new device punching well above its weight in terms of raw performance while simultaneously delivering a vanilla Android experience. Unlike HMD's 2017 offerings, the bootloader of the Nokia 6 (2018) should be easy to unlock, opening the device to the modding community that's likely to support it for years to come. HMD itself pledged to at least two years of official software support that will be all the more easier by virtue of the fact its new offering runs Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box, so it's also compatible with Project Treble. Google's initiative to rework the mobile OS and separate its core framework from vendor-specific implementations will likely be more useful to original equipment manufacturers who opt for heavy skins but even a stock Android ROM should be able to benefit from it. In practice, you can expect monthly security patches for the Nokia 6 (2018) to actually be distributed on a monthly basis and HMD is unlikely to skip any of them like the vast majority of other Android OEMs do.

All things considered, the Nokia 6 (2018) is an extremely compelling offering that should be an attractive proposition to anyone looking for a solid mid-ranger this year. Its 5.5-inch FHD screen and Karl Zeiss-made lens supporting its 16-megapixel rear camera are also notable selling points, whereas the handset itself will be offered in two variants, one with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage space, and another model with double the flash memory and 4GB of RAM. The Nokia 6 (2018) will be released on a global level this spring.

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