New Nokia phones are officially on their way back the US.
The phone will only be sold through Amazon, and will cost $US229 to buy outright.
Here’s a rundown of the most relevant specs:
- A 5.5-inch 1080p display
- Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 430 chip
- 3 GB of RAM
- 32GB of storage, with the ability to add 128 GB more through a microSD card
- A 16-megapixel rear camera, and an 8-megapixel selfie camera
- A 3,000mAh battery
HMD Global announced its intentions to sell Nokia-branded phones in the US earlier this year. The Nokia 6 — along with its less powerful siblings, the Nokia 5 and Nokia 3 — has launched in various Asian markets already.
The Nokia 6 is a not-flashy but potentially promising mid-range device. We’ll have to test out the display and camera before making any judgments there, and the Snapdragon 430 chip isn’t as strong as the Snapdragon 625 you’d find on the Moto G5 Plus, which we consider the current top phone in this price range.
That said, the chip should be fine enough to get you through most of the essentials. More notably, HMD Global loads its Nokia phones with a near-totally clean version of Android 7 Nougat. Aside from a custom camera app and a couple tweaked icons, it has none of the add-ons that often take up space and drag down performance on other third-party Android devices. That means the phone should get more out of its hardware than usual.
HMD Global is promising faster software updates than most third-party Android devices as a result, and says it will stay on top of Google’s monthly security patches as well. Time will tell if that holds true.
The Nokia 6’s other selling point is its hardware. It’s not tiny, and it doesn’t have the bezel-free display of more premium phones, but it’s made of a solid, relatively clean aluminium.
The most interesting thing about the Nokia 6, however, is its branding. To be clear, this is a “Nokia” device in name only: The actual Nokia still exists, but is out of the consumer phone business after a disastrous partnership with Microsoft earlier in the decade. Along with BlackBerry, it is one of the most famous casualties of Apple and Google’s rise to dominance in the smartphone market.
HMD Global, which is headed by former Nokia execs, has steadily launched Nokia-branded phones around the world since acquiring the Nokia name last year. The idea is similar to what Chinese brand TCL has done with BlackBerry: use a once-dominant brand name to point eyeballs toward their own Android phones.
Either way, the phones aren’t likely to be sales smashes: The vast majority of US smartphone shoppers still buy their phones through mobile carriers, and HMD Global is sticking strictly to Amazon here. Beyond that, the phone will only work fully on T-Mobile — AT&T only has partial LTE support, and Verizon and Sprint aren’t supported whatsoever. Nevertheless, the Nokia 6 may be worth a look for Android enthusiasts on a budget.