For quite some time, the mid-range smartphone segment has not seen the addition of a new capable phone. Although there have been attempts by many brands such as Oppo, Vivo, Motorola to crack the mid-range smartphone market, they have mostly failed. Also, the coming of high-performance budget phones and with brands like OnePlus offering premium flagship features at the price of just over Rs 30,000 people have either been leaning left or right whenever it has been the question of buying a phone in the range of Rs 20,000 and around.
The Chinese manufacturers have really brought a revolution with their strategy of bringing high performing hardware at an affordable price point. However, for someone who is looking to invest a bit more money and wants to get their hands on a device which is perfect value for their bucks, it has been a hard time. Either they had to push their budget upwards or had to settle for a budget phone like the Redmi Note 5 Pro. Things can now take a turn though, with the coming of this new phone which we are going to talk about. The device which we are going to discuss here is HMD Global’s latest offering – the Nokia 7 Plus.
Like many might not have expected, this time HMD Global has worked a lot on every aspect of their smartphone and have finally come up with a device which can fulfil the need of every mid-range smartphone purchaser. Where many smartphones have failed, the Nokia 7 Plus has taken the lead with its offerings. Before the release itself, the Nokia 7 Plus excited a lot of Indian consumers, which is largely because of its excellent specifications and even after the launch, there were only a little who was disappointed with the price of the device.
Well, I have been using the Nokia 7 Plus since its release on April 4. And here's what I think about the smartphone in detail.
Nokia 7 Plus Design and Build
With a lot of Android phones in the market trying to copy the widely popular Apple iPhone X notch design left, right and centre; Nokia has decided to ditch the notch prospect and taken up their own design language forward. This design is possibly the best ones we have seen under a Rs 30,000 smartphone till date. Boasting of Nokia’s solid design and durability, the phone also packs aesthetically pleasing elements like the copper coloured accents. It will be safe to say that this new Nokia phone can be classified as a design prodigy given its detailed and crafty composure. Also, the fact that the chassis of the phone has been made by a single block of 6000 series Aluminium takes it ahead of its competitor. But there are some letdowns with for the smartphone. The edges are too sharp which makes the phone little uncomfortable to use. There are some days I even ended with some marks on my right hand while holding it for longer durations.
Besides this, the Nokia 7 Plus definitely presents competition to even the best players in the market out there in terms of design.
Nokia 7 Plus Display
While brands such as Oppo and Vivo who went for a notch display design on their latest devices, HMD Global strictly followed the basics. Of course, we have the Nokia X devices coming out with a notch design, but we will save that discussion for a different day. The display on the Nokia 7 Plus is a 6-inch Full HD+ panel with an 18:9 aspect ratio with a pixel density of 402 PPI. The brightness level of the phones is enough to make the phone legible even in peak sunlight. Also, the colours on the screen are of high quality with the images being sharp, dynamic and appear true to real life. Combining this with the good viewing angles, the Nokia 7 Plus becomes the best display phone in this price segment.
Nokia 7 Plus Software
Since Nokia has enrolled all their phones under the Android One program, the Nokia 7 Plus undoubtedly comes with the latest Android 8.1 Oreo with the April security patch pre-installed on the phone. The stock Android experience also offers something new to the customers who are used to the bloatware ridden smartphones.
All the stock Android Oreo features are present on this smartphone. There are notification dots and previews along with many more features like the Pixel like power menu, which comes up from the right side on pressing the power button. Besides that, the phone also comes with the ability to use the fingerprint sensor as a gesture button to drag down the notification panel.
There are some software stutters here and there, which I noticed very often during heavy usage. But for the most part, the device offers smooth performance. Overall, the Nokia 7 Plus delivers an almost perfect stock Android experience. Given that the phone falls under the Android One platform, users will not have to worry about the software or security updates on the device which will happen monthly. The May security patch update will appear on the smartphone in the next couple of days.
Nokia 7 Plus Performance and Battery
The Nokia 7 Plus packs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC which is the newest offering by Qualcomm for upper mid-range phones. The Snapdragon 660 SoC runs on the Kryo 260 CPU which is clocked at 2.2 GHz and comes paired with the Adreno 512 GPU that is a step ahead of the Adreno 509 GPU as seen on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro. The phone also does not heat up or present any lags while playing games or doing performance intensive work. Although the phone does heat up a bit during charging, it performs flawlessly during intense gaming. The microphone of the Nokia 7 Plus is excellent, but the loudspeaker is something which worried me as it doesn't get loud enough. While it's better than the one present on the Moto X4, it certainly doesn't compete with the likes of the OnePlus 5T. The 4GB of RAM keeps most of the applications in memory, and the device has 64GB of internal storage, which can be expanded up to 256GB with a microSD card.
On the battery front the Nokia 7 Plus packs a 3800mAh power and boy, the battery life on this device is exceptional. Nokia is advertising the smartphone as it delivers two days worth of battery life, which is entirely true. Thanks to the power-efficient Snapdragon 660 SoC, the Nokia 7 Plus is a battery champion and could easily go down as the best battery smartphones of 2018. Even on days when I used camera extensively, the device delivered me a day's worth of battery life. The phone comes with a USB Type-C port and has support for fast charging as well.
Connectivity options in the Nokia 7 Plus include 4G LTE, VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0 and GPS. Sadly, the Indian variant of the 7 Plus doesn't offer dual 4G and VoLTE support even though the chipset supports it. With a recent OTA update, Nokia enabled the dual 4G functionality on the Nokia 7 Plus in China, but it will be interesting to see whether they're making to the Indian version or not. Also, HMD Global said that the 7 Plus will receive Face Unlock feature with an OTA update, which is yet to be released.
Nokia 7 Plus Camera
With the coming of the Android Oreo 8.1, the Camera application on the Nokia has gone through a revamp, which by the way I am not complaining about since the new app features less clutter compared to the last time and also makes it easy for the user to navigate within the application. The pro-mode on the phone also works pretty well even, and the interface of the Pro camera reminds the Lumia Camera application. Specs wise, the Nokia 7 Plus offers a 12MP primary camera and a 13MP secondary telephoto lens with ZEISS branding. To the front, the Nokia 7 Plus offers a 16MP camera.
The images rendered by the device are with low grain, low noise, are in good dynamic range. However, occasionally the phone does tend to over-expose images in overlit conditions. The portrait mode on the phone does suffer a bit with the camera not blurring the background accurately, however, the front camera on the device makes up for it by delivering pictures with the good shallow depth of field. The Pro Camera mode also allows for tweaking the white balance, ISO, exposure, focus, and shutter speed. The Portrait mode is something which worried me a lot, but thanks to the narrow f/1.75 aperture which blurs the background in close up shots.
Despite the camera being an awesome performer, the video recordings on the Nokia 7 Plus will need a lot of work. We say this because the 1080p recording on the phone becomes jittery during panning. Also, on the 4K setting, the effects do not present enough quality to impress the users. There are also some issues related to frame-drops.
The popular Bothie feature on the Nokia phones which is exclusive to the company also brings out something new and innovative. This new feature also manages to perform well in nicely-lit conditions. There is also a very interesting feature of the OZO audio recording where the user can select the direction from where the audio should be recorded; this works well in sync with the video.
Overall, the Nokia 7 Plus' camera hardware is capable of shooting excellent images, but the company should work on the video recording, and Portrait mode features to make it a perfect one.
Nokia 7 Plus Conclusion
The Nokia 7 Plus with much fanfare went on for sale a couple of days ago at Rs 25,999. Honestly, the device is complete worth for money product. With the Nokia 7 Plus, we get a good-looking smartphone that stands out from the crowd, excellent performer, capable cameras, gorgeous 18:9 display and more importantly, that battery life tops every other feature on the device. If you're looking for a device around Rs 25,000 or slightly above or slightly below, just get the Nokia 7 Plus without looking further.