HMD Global is working tirelessly to revive the Nokia brand around the world, and India is a key market for the company. The iconic brand is back in the country with a trio of new devices, but the one that intrigued us the most was the all-new Nokia 7 plus.
While the new Nokia 6 takes care of the budget segment and the premium Nokia 8 Sirocco flirts with flagships, the Nokia 7 plus sits in the middle, with oddly no other phone in this price bracket to compete with it directly. It’s a weird and challenging segment to make a mark in and the phone needs the ideal mix of features and pleasing hardware.
The Nokia 7 plus delivers on both fronts, and with the brief time I spent with the device, I’d say there’s a whole lot to like in this device.
This device, as you’d already know, is crafted from a single block of Series 6000 aluminium, which has then been coated in 6-layers of ceramic paint. It does feel a little bulky in the hand as a result, but the premium feel is unmistakable. It also features copper accents around the borders and edges of the device, the camera, and fingerprint sensor, that add subtle style to the business-like black (or white) body.
The ceramic coating hides antenna lines, and feels soft to the touch. Overall, the device brings a clean look that’s so typically Nokia. The dual-camera bump (a common denominator is today’s phones) and the central placement of the fingerprint scanner add practical touches to the back.
However, the phone does feel a little too big in the hand and one-handed usage could prove to be challenging. The soft rear panel kind of makes up for the size to make handling easier.
This is the first Nokia smartphone to feature a modern display panel, with an 18:9 aspect ratio. The large 6-inch Full HD+ (2160 x 1080) display stretched to the edges but there are considerable bezels on the top and bottom, which could have been avoided. The top bezel also has a subtle Nokia branding next to the front camera, just like Nokia phones of the yore.
In our brief hands-on time, the display appeared to be quite bright and the color reproduction was on point. The company has opted for an IPS LCD panel and that’s perfectly fine in this segment, though you will obviously not get those deep blacks.
Now, this is where the things start to get a lot more interesting, and unfortunately we didn’t get time to shoot a variety of photos with the phone. The Nokia 7 plus packs a dual rear-camera setup and a single selfie camera, all powered by Zeiss Optics. The phone boasts of a 12MP primary lens with f/1.7 aperture, coupled with a 13MP telephoto secondary lens with f/2.0 aperture on the rear and a 16MP sensor on the front.
The stand-out feature of the camera app on all Zeiss-powered Nokia-branded phones is now the Pro camera mode, which has been brought back from the dead from the popular Lumia lineup. It’ll enable you to adjust the ISO, shutter speed, white balance and a lot more settings to capture professional photos,
The Nokia 7 plus took good shots in our brief hands-on though we couldn’t shoot extensively to check the dynamic range and other aspects. The portrait mode looked crisp with a realistic blur and good edge detection. However, you will have to wait for our full review to see just how good the camera is.
Coming to the nitty gritties, the Nokia 7 plus is powered by the Snapdragon 660 chipset that’s coupled with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage (expandable up to 128GB). The device runs stock Android Oreo under the Android One program, which was proven by all the fluid animations and transitions.
We didn’t notice any stutters or lags in our time with the device and everything looks too good on first sight. The decision to join the Android One program has surely worked well for HMD Global, who managed to sell close to 10 million smartphones last year. It seems they’ll be able to top that number if the smooth experience of the Nokia 7 holds over time.
For those who’re comfortable shelling out a few bucks for a superior experience, the Nokia 7 plus could turn out to their initial choice. Also, no bloatware and the promise of timely updates and security patch releases should be enough to make die-hard Android fans drool over this phone.
The most important thing about a smartphone in this competitive market is how you price it. Nokia 7 plus will retail at ₹25,999 and my initial reaction (as you can guess) was – ‘It is overpriced, for sure.’ This price tag puts the device right in the ballpark of competitors like the Vivo V9 (which has a notch, and not a great software track record) and Moto X4 (which is also splash resistant, and also has near stock Android).
With a month still left to go, Nokia 7 plus will possibly hog all the limelight when it goes on sale on April 30. We are yet to put the Nokia 7 plus through more tests and use it in everyday situations to figure out its battery life, camera capabilities and overall experience.
So, are you looking forward to buying the Nokia 7 plus? Or do you have other plans? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.