Dear Nokia, welcome back, but the world has changed!

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By 2017-01-10

By Ritesh Bendre

The moment Nokia loyalists had been waiting for since years is finally here! Rising from the ashes like a phoenix, Nokia 6 is the company's first comeback smartphone running on Android OS. Made by HMD Global and launched exclusively in China, the smartphone packs in 'decent' set of specifications to be honest. And this is exactly what may steer away 'some' buyers, if not many. I've been a Nokia fan since long – my first ever phone in 2002 being a Nokia – and still have the Lumia 920 as a spare camera phone, I'm disappointed with the Nokia 6.

Since Nokia disappeared from the market (after Microsoft acquired its handset division in 2013), market dynamics have completely changed. People no longer buy smartphones based on brand name alone. Today, it's all about price vs specifications war, and Chinese companies like OnePlus, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo are dominating the sub
Rs 20,000 segment. Lenovo and its sub-brand Motorola is doing great in this category, with a market share of 25 per cent in online sales. As a result, big brands such as Samsung and HTC are already struggling in the sub Rs 20,000 category, and Sony is only focusing in the high-end segment, where to be honest it isn't doing quite well.

Now, coming back to the Nokia 6, it sports a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080p) display covered with 2.5D curved glass, and there's nothing new about it. The smartphone features a unibody design made from 6000 series aluminum, but it is something that has now become mainstream, even on sub Rs 10,000 devices. Priced at 1,699 CNY, which is approximately Rs 17,000, the Nokia 6 is powered by Qualcomm's 64-bit Snapdragon 430 octa-core SoC (eight Cortex A53 cores) clocked at 1.4GHz paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage.

Here's the real problem – Snapdragon 430 SoC is a decent performer. The Cortex A53 cores ensure battery efficiency, but it does not provide real power one would need for running graphics hungry apps and games. Even sub Rs 12,000 devices such as the Redmi Note 3 comes with Snapdragon 650 SoC (four Cortex A53 cores + two Cortex A72 cores), and LeEco Le 2 with Snapdragon 652 SoC (four Cortex A53 cores + four Cortex A72 cores). Here, the Cortex A53 cores power the device during normal usage, and the Cortex A72 cores kick in when performance boost is needed, like playing graphics intense games. This ensures a balanced – both in terms of battery life and performance.

Even the Lenovo Z2 Plus and LeEco Le Max2 priced at Rs 17,999 feature Qualcomm's top-end 64-bit Snapdragon 820 quad-core SoC (four custom Kryo cores) clocked at 2.2GHz. This gives these smartphones all the required raw power it needs for optimal performance, while also ensuring battery efficiency, thanks to the 14nm process the SoC is built on. What's more, the 16-megapixel rear camera of aperture f/2.0 and 8-megapixel selfie camera of aperture f/2.0 has nothing more to write about. Nokia phones have always been known for their camera quality and I'll only be in a position to pass a judgment when I review the Nokia 6.

Even the battery on the Nokia 6 is a 3,000mAh one, whereas the Redmi Note 3 packs a 4,050mAh one, and Lenovo Z2 Plus packs in a 3,500mAh one with fast charging support. By far, one of the key takeaways I can see in the Nokia 6 is the 4GB RAM + 64GB onboard storage, with no other storage variant. In 2016, we saw 3GB RAM + 32GB storage on most smartphones, and this year, 4GB RAM + 64GB storage could set the trend.

Why I am not pleased with HMD's latest outing in the form of Nokia 6? Well, 'Nokia' is the only one to be blamed. No, don't get me wrong, but let me explain. Be it the Nokia 3650 with circular dial pad, the Communicator with appearance like a compos box, the Nokia 7650 slider phone, the Nokia 6810 with an unusual fold-out QWERTY keyboard, or the weird Nokia 7280 with 'lipstick box' like design phone, Nokia has always set the bar with innovative designs. But when I look at the Nokia 6, I don't see an inspiring design, or a powerful hardware for its asking price. I'd rather wait for a mind blowing Nokia phone or may opt for something else.

To sum up, Nokia has a decent device up its sleeve and it could have been a talk of the town if the release was sometime in early 2016. However, with the market dynamics completely changed over the past couple of years, it remains to be seen if Nokia brand name is just enough to drive sales. (BGR)

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