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Review

Nokia 7 Plus Review: Copper edges and retro appeal

HMD Global-owned Nokia is trying to get a foothold in every price segment in the Indian smartphone market, and the Nokia 7 Plus hopes to cement its position on the under-tapped Rs 20,000-30,000 space.

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Nokia 7 Plus 4 5
BGR Rating :
4/5

Highlights

  • The Nokia 7 Plus is priced at Rs 25,999.

  • The phone is the first device available in India to be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC.

  • The upper mid-range smartphone is built well and looks great.

A lot of people were sad to see Nokia disappear into oblivion, particularly after the company’s acquisition by Microsoft forced it onto an operating system that few cared for. Subsequent years saw Android and iOS emerge as the two leading smartphone platforms, and we all wondered what could have happened if Nokia had chosen correctly from the start, and gone the Android way.

2017 saw a resurrected Nokia, under new management, but following the same philosophies as before. A handful of former Nokia executives from Finland got together to form HMD Global, which joined hands with Taiwanese manufacturing giant Foxconn to bring the brand back to life. Today, Nokia is off to a slow but steady start, and has a small portfolio of new smartphones running on the Android operating system. The range of phones are available in various budgets, from the affordable Nokia 1 to the premium Nokia 8 Sirocco.

Sitting roughly in the middle of the price range is the new Nokia 7 Plus. Priced at Rs 25,999, the smartphone hopes to offer enough value for users to consider it in the under-tapped Rs 20,000-30,000 price category. While the price might seem high for a mid-range smartphone, you do get a lot in the form of features and design. We explore everything about the Nokia 7 Plus in our review.

WATCH: Nokia 7 Plus First Look

Nokia 7 Plus Design

Nokia’s classic design language was focused on different things, considering that phones were different in those days. However, there was a definite push towards making the phones feel great, and also come across as stronger than their price tags would suggest. Fortunately, this new Nokia has kept that philosophy, if not the very styling and build cues themselves. These new Nokia smartphones are built well and do borrow some of the design language from the premium Nokia phones of the old days.

To be clear, this isn’t the Nokia of the Windows Phone era; those phones were more about bright colors that matched the bright tiled interface of the Windows Phone OS. In this case, it’s more about muted sophistication. The Nokia 7 Plus doesn’t shy away from its legacy for one second; the classic Nokia logo is proudly displayed both at the front and back. The 6-inch full HD+ 18:9 screen fills up a big chunk of the front of the phone, with narrow non-screen space at the top and bottom. It isn’t a very chunky smartphone, but it does feel heavy thanks to the solid metal frame. The back of the device is plastic, but is designed rather well.

 

What works rather well for the Nokia 7 Plus is its copper accent. The sides of the phone – essentially the entire frame – are copper-colored. The copper shading is also visible around the fingerprint sensor and rear-camera setup, along with the buttons and SIM tray. Whether you buy the white or black variant, the copper accents are standard and look rather good. It is indeed, on the whole, one of the best looking and built smartphones available in India at under Rs 30,000.

Nokia 7 Plus Specifications and Performance

While last year’s affordable Android-powered Nokia devices didn’t sport the best set of specifications, 2018 is a different ballgame. The Nokia 7 Plus represents a more performance-focused approach to the field, and sports top-notch specifications for the segment. The phone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC, and is the first smartphone launched officially in India to have the chipset. You also get 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, which is expandable through the phone’s hybrid SIM slot. As mentioned, the phone’s screen is a 6-inch full HD+ 18:9 IPS LCD display. It’s excellent in terms of sharpness, colors and brightness, and more than adequate for the phone’s price.

The Snapdragon 660 is effectively a higher-clocked version of the Snapdragon 636 that we’ve seen on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro. This means there’s a little more in terms of peak performance from the Nokia 7 Plus, while battery life is theoretically a bit less. In practice, that’s entirely visible on the Nokia 7 Plus. It’s the best performing mid-range smartphone around today, and better performance than this will involve spending Rs 30,000 and more on phones that sport flagship chipsets.

Battery life is fairly decent on the Nokia 7 Plus, primarily thanks to the quality of the Snapdragon 660 chipset and the sheer size of the 3,800mAh battery. You are likely to get a full day of use on a single charge even if your use is heavy, and charging is quick as well. The phone comes bundled with a Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 compatible charger that tops the phone up in a little over one hour.

High performance use such as gaming and multi-tasking does of course drain the battery quicker, but the quality of the chipset ensures that basic standby and core functions don’t strain the battery too much.

Nokia 7 Plus Software

The latest range of Nokia smartphones has touted software as its USP, with near-stock Android software under the hood. Indeed, the current range of Nokia Android smartphones have been launched with current Android software with the bare minimum modifications; it’s as close to stock as it gets. The OS also relies entirely on Google’s stock set of apps, including Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Photos and Android Messages, among others. This helps keep the phone light and easy.

Naturally then, it would make sense for the Nokia range to get onto the Android One program, considering the software is practically Android One already. The Nokia 7 Plus is the first of the new Android One-certified devices from HMD Global, and is therefore assured software that is practically the same as what you’d expect on a Pixel device, along with support from Google itself. Android One devices also usually receive the latest software updates quicker than other devices.

While the phone launches with Android 8.0, an update to Android 8.1 has already rolled out for the Nokia 7 Plus and we have our review unit already running it. It’s as easy to use, light and performance-centric as you’d expect, and has absolutely no apps that you don’t need or haven’t installed yourself. You won’t get a better performing phone than the Nokia 7 Plus at this price. However, the stock Android software also means that there are no fancy software-based tricks on the phone, such as face unlock. You do get a quick fingerprint sensor, dual-camera setup and great performance, but nothing out-of-the-box on the Nokia 7 Plus.

Nokia 7 Plus Camera

The Nokia 7 Plus sports a dual-camera setup at the rear, with two 12-megapixel sensors. The front camera is a 16-megapixel fixed-focus shooter, and the rear camera also comes with dual-tone LED flash. The rear camera can record video at 4K resolution, while the front camera is capable of full HD recording. You also get the trademark Zeiss branding on the rear camera, indicating the tuning for the lenses.

The dual-camera setup at the rear serves two functions – up to 2X lossless zoom, and enabling the depth-effect mode for bokeh shots. Both of these work as advertised, although the depth-effect mode isn’t quite as capable as it is on slightly more capable dual-camera devices such as the Honor View10 and OnePlus 5T. It takes some effort to get the depth-effect right with objects, but the algorithms are quicker when capturing images of people. It also works with the front camera using AI techniques.

Nokia 7 Plus Camera Samples

For regular use, pictures are great in decent light, and suffer a bit in low-light conditions. Shots in darkness show a lot of grain and loss of detail. However, in moderate light conditions, the camera tends to do a good job, particularly when shooting in the shadows. The 2X zoom effect works well too, capturing plenty of detail while sharply capturing pictures. Take a look at the camera samples for a better indication of how the Nokia 7 Plus performs.

Nokia 7 plus Camera Samples

Verdict

With a price tag of Rs 25,999, the Nokia 7 Plus may seem a bit expensive. Other mid-range devices – including the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro with very similar specifications – retail at much less. With that in mind, perhaps the Nokia 7 Plus seems a bit expensive at first glance.

However, the Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 price segment does see a dearth of good options, with only a handful of worthwhile devices occupying it. While it may seem expensive, the Nokia 7 Plus does deserve to occupy this space, and is a viable option if your budget sits around Rs 25,000. You get the best mid-range chipset currently available, and software that is geared towards being easy-of-use, flexible and performance-oriented. And more than anything, you get the pleasure of owning a Nokia that indeed looks and feels like a Nokia should. The phone gets the Nokia philosophy spot on.

Therefore, the Nokia 7 Plus is definitely worth considering if you’re shopping for a new smartphone between Rs 20,000 and Rs 30,000. It’s beautiful, reliable and everything you’d expect from a Nokia phone.

You Might be Interested

Nokia 7 Plus

25999

Android 8.0 (Oreo)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 Processor
12 MP with ZEISS optics, 13 MP with ZEISS optics, dual-tone flash
  • Published Date: April 12, 2018 7:00 AM IST