Nokia 6 (2018)
The Nokia 6 was the first phone in the new era of Nokia smartphones. It popped up in China in January 2017 and promptly sold out there before coming to the US and Europe later that year.
This new Nokia 6 ups the price a little, but in return you get a more powerful chipset, a funkier design and a fast charger.
It also enters an increasingly crowded mid-range market though, so has it done enough to stand out?
Watch our hands-on video below!
Nokia 6 (2018) release date and price
The new Nokia 6 (2018) will be available from April 2018. It will cost €279 / AU$449 and our current best guesses for prices elsewhere are £269-279 in the UK and around $279-299 in the US.
Design and display
The standard Nokia strategy to make a phone that feels surprisingly good for the price is to take a block of aluminum and carve out its insides to fit in all the parts that make up a phone. It worked for the first Nokia 6, and it works here too.
You get the hard, dense feel of a unibody phone, with none of the seams of one made of different plates of plastic and metal. There's a little strip of plastic up by the top of the rear, but you’ll see this in just about all metal phones, as it gives the antennas room to transmit.
This year HMD Global – the company behind the new Nokia phones – also shows off a 'double anodisation' process. This is how you get a metal phone with a blue back and gold bits of trim, even though the metal underneath isn’t blue or gold. It looks good.
The Nokia 6 (2018) will also come in black with glints of copper, and white with an 'iron' trim. It's all very tasteful, in a much lower-key manner than the bright, bold colors of the old Nokia Lumia phones.
Other changes include a shifting around of some of the hardware features. The fingerprint scanner used to be on the front, but now it's on the back, nudged down towards the center by the camera housing. You can also unlock the phone with your face, but you'll have to wait for our full review to see how well this feature works.
The soft keys are gone too. It's software buttons all the way, but this gives the new Nokia 6's front a cleaner look.
At 148.8 x 75.8 x 8.15mm the new Nokia 6 sits reasonably well in the hand, but it's larger than the Nokia 8 Sirocco which has the same size display. That's down to the larger bezels around the display.
The new Nokia 6 has a pretty conventional 5.5-inch 1080p IPS LCD screen. It's sharp, the colors look solid, it's just what we'd expect at the price.
However, an 18:9 aspect ratio panel would have been welcome. Wide-aspect screens like that tend to nudge out more of the screen surround below and above the display. It gives a phone a more modern look, and also provides extra room for your thumbs when you play games.
18:9 screens aren't yet the default for affordable mid-range phones like the Nokia 6 (2018). But they might be by the end of the year, so it's a slight shame that we only get a 16:9 display here.
New Nokia 6 (2018) hands on gallery
Power, performance and interface
We find the original Nokia 6 struggles a bit if you push it too hard. The poor thing only has an entry-level Snapdragon 430 chipset.
Power has improved this time around. The new Nokia 6 has a Snapdragon 630 chipset, with a faster clock speed and significantly more powerful Adreno 508 GPU.
We've only taken the Nokia 6 (2018) for a quick spin so far, but Android runs very well, as you'd hope. Judging by our previous experience with Snapdragon 630 phones, it shouldn't have too much trouble with high-end games like Asphalt 8 either.
Just like every other recent Nokia smartphone, the new Nokia 6 runs a totally plain version of Android. It is part of the Android One platform, meaning there are no bonus apps to take up space and no custom interface elements to get in the way.
Look at it: just like a Pixel phone, right? Some might say this also means there’s little to set the Nokia 6 apart, but there's nothing wrong with clean and simple software.
There will be two variants of the new Nokia 6, one with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, while the other will have a 4GB/64GB configuration – but both will come with a microSD allowing you to expanding the storage further.
In the UK it looks like only the 3GB/32GB configuration will be available – but we'll update this hands on look once we know more.
Unlike more expensive Nokia phones such as the Nokia 7 Plus, the new Nokia 6 has just the one camera on the back. It's a 16MP sensor with an upgraded Zeiss-brand lens.
We've only tried it out in a relatively dingy office so far, and in such conditions the photos come out quite soft. However, that's to be expected of a non-stabilized camera that doesn’t have great big sensor pixels.
Around the front there's an 8MP selfie camera, and you get the Nokia Bothie feature. This lets you capture those birthday presents being opened and the look of disappointment on your face at the same time. Instagram gold.
Battery life is another area we can’t judge quite yet. You get a 3,000mAh cell just like the last Nokia 6, but we do have some reason to think stamina may be a little better than that phone’s one-day stamina.
The new version's Snapdragon 630 chipset is more efficient as it uses a 14nm process, although we’ll be surprised if it makes it through two days' use. Not given the way we treat our phones anyway.
You also get fast charging as standard this time around. While the original Nokia 6 does support fast charging, you don’t get a fast charger in the box. And who wants to spend more cash when you’re already on a budget?
The 2018 Nokia 6 will get you from 0% to 50% charge in 30 minutes. While not the fastest around, we'll take that sort of improvement.
The Nokia 6 (2018) isn’t quite a ground-up revamp of this mid-range line. However, it does make some notable improvements that address some of our quibbles with the last version.
We get more power, better charging and, with any luck, at least slightly longer battery life. The core appeal remains the same, though: a metal unibody phone with a SIM-free price that won’t make you pass out.
MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest exhibition for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2018 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone.
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