7.0
Score

Pros

  • Good Build Quality
  • Pure Android Experience
  • Decent Battery Life
  • Reasonably Priced

Cons

  • Disappointing Low Light Performance
  • AndroidOne tends to be Buggy

Back in April, Nokia unveiled the Nokia 7 plus for the Malaysian Market. Just like any other Nokia smartphone unveiled in the past under HMD Global, this smartphone runs AndroidOne, the purest android OS backed by Google. But Nokia added some extras – like their very own camera app and much more – to give that Nokia flair to it. With so many smartphones out there in the market and at a such competitive price tag, does the Nokia 7 Plus stand a chance?

Time to find out in this Nokia 7 Plus review.

Design & Build Quality

1/9

Back in the day, when the Nokia Lumia Series was still around – I loved their industrial looking design. The matte finish paint on top of that glass finish on the front. The Nokia 7 Plus rocks a similar design. The Nokia 7 plus has a beautiful Matte Black finish with a smooth and soft texture to it. What gives the whole device unique in a way of its own, it’s the bronze or should I say Rose Gold finish to it.

The bronze trimming on the camera, fingerprint sensor, around the display and the metal rails adds a bit of flavor to the device. The white Nokia 7 Plus sports the same bronze touch-up as well, giving it that beautiful and sleek look to it. Other than that, the design is normal and there’s nothing much to it. I personally like how it looks and I am a huge fan of this design – a rather very simple design.

One of the strongest suit when it comes with the Nokia 7 Plus (or any Nokia Smartphone), is the fact that the body of the device is crafted just with one Aluminum Block – aluminum 6000 Series to be specific. This gives the phone a bit of a solid feel and holding it in the hands, it’s entirely a different feeling.

You know that you are holding a polished smartphone. I like the fact that the weight of the phone is evenly balanced – which means the chances of toppling off your hand is too minimal. You’d still need to get a case for your Nokia 7 plus and good thing is – they’ve included a decent silicon case with the smartphone – which is a nice touch. The display is covered in a Corning Gorilla Glass, which makes it a lot less prone to major scratches.

Specification and Benchmark

As for the specification, the Nokia 7 Plus has decent power under its hood. It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 with 4GB Low Power DDR4. As for the storage, you don’t have to worry about getting a MicroSD card in your first run as it has 64GB Internal Storage. Yes, you can expand your memory up to 256GB with a SD Card. It comes with LTE Cat 6, 2CA support that will give you 300Mbps Download speed and 50Mbps Upload Speed. Nokia has also included the latest Bluetooth 5.0, making life a whole lot easier. Finally, yes – for those NFC Fanboys (like myself) the Nokia 7 plus has one.

Below this, you’ll see the benchmark that was done using Antutu, Geekbench and CPU-Z. Do take note, the benchmark score does not reflect to day-to-day performance as the scores are purely under a controlled scenario. But, we’ll still benchmark it anyway.

1/3

Display

The Nokia 7 plus rocks a 6” IPS LCD Full HD+ that comes in this 18:9 aspect ratio. Yes, for those who do not want a notch on their phone, you’ll be happy with this display. It is covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

I have to say – the color on this display pops and it’s super saturated. The display is indeed calibrated to a cooler tone rather than being neutral. Thanks to the glass that slips and slides into the body flush, the display looks immersive and very pretty. Instead of having the sharp edges, the display has rounded off corners to give that polished feel to it.

So, much so, the front of the phone looks as if I am looking at a Google Pixel 2XL in some way. The viewing angle on this thing is on point and it doesn’t have this washed out or any color distortion to it. One thing is that, the brightness in this – is not the strongest suit. Under low light or in a room, the brightness is just nice but once you step out of the house and use it under a bright sunlight, it isn’t as bright as you think. This could be since the display is polarized and laminated. Although, having a brighter display could have been a nice touch.

Performance

Looking at the specification, you’d be like – “Oh! It’s the 600 Series processor!”. I felt the same too. The Processor has a Kryo architecture that improves the performance and tend to optimize user experience. This chip also houses a Qualcomm AI Engine that caters the whole experience when you use your camera or anything performance related. As for the GPU, the phone has an Adreno 512. Enough with the technical part, now on to the day-to-day performance.

Under normal use – which involves using social network and other applications like Netflix, iflix and so on was a breeze and there wasn’t any hiccup at all. Thanks to the 4GB of RAM the laptop was able to handle the multi-tasking counterpart really well. As for gaming, I only tried selected titles like Tekken, NFS No Limits to be specific – the load times were faster (around 5s) and the animation was smooth and nice to look at. Apparently, PUBG Mobile did face some frame drops here and there that affected the game quality.

There wasn’t any sort of weird lags or app crash during my time using it. It was actually quick and nice to use. If you’re someone who’d just want to use a bunch of apps and play just a few game titles – it should handle it completely fine.

Battery & Charging

The Nokia 7 plus has a 3800 mAh battery that’s jammed under that thin and slender body. Nokia claims that the phone will offer about 2-days battery life. Let’s talk about the experience I had first. Since I was using the Nokia 7 Plus as my daily driver, you can say I used it extensively. Good thing is – the phone gave me 11 hours with a SOT of 4 hours 19 minutes under active usage – which is decent. Under another scenario where I was using the phone only for hotspot, it gave me 8 hours with a SOT of 1 hour 59 minutes.

I did charge the phone to 100% and unplugged it once at night and left it in standby. The next day morning, I noticed it only lost about 8% of the battery which is not too shabby either. The battery life was indeed good but I wouldn’t say it would last for 2 days, if you have two SIM in your phone because it requires a lot of battery. But still, the battery life is way better than some other phones we have seen in the past.

Camera

1/2

Rear Facing Camera

Nokia did a wise choice in opting in for something that’s functional than gimmicky. It houses a dual camera setup, where it has a Primary 12MP sensor with f/1.75 aperture and 1.4um and a secondary 13MP sensor with f/2.6 aperture and 1.0um. What makes these two cameras stand out is – get ready for this – yes, it’s the ZEISS optics. We all know for a fact that Nokia Camera with the Zeiss Optics, is a match made in heaven. That was back with their Windows Powered Smartphone – Lumia. But with the Nokia 7 plus is a bit different – because it runs a completely different OS and the whole Algorithm is different. Does it still apply with this? Honestly, it’s a confusing one.

The pictures in day light turns out fine but does have a bit of minor hiccups whereas the low light pictures – well, you can check out the detailed comparison.

Detailed Comparison

The first picture of the flower, it was completely shot in Auto. On the left side, I took it just by launching the camera and snap without any tinkering. When you look at it, the flower is way over exposed to a point that it doesn’t look natural. On the right side, I set the focus at the flower and reduced the exposure and the camera was able to get the right picture I want. Take note, it did take few seconds to get the right shot.

Now, moving on to a low light shot on both the rear camera. The details on the wall and the roads looks just fine but the saturation is a bit to the higher side. But there is one problem to this picture – a huge one. When you look at the tree, the whole detail is just completely washed out (more blurred out). Switching to telephoto lens, you’ll notice that the painting on the wall has some softening texture and the home further away lacks details compared with the primary shooter. It wasn’t a mediocre experience, but I was kind of disappointed.

1/25

But if you really take a bit of time to take every single pictures, expect it to turn out decent. Your day light shots will turn out just fine but if you are using it in low light, it’s going to be a bit on the disappointing side. Nokia has to improve their camera app and the way the whole thing works. Considering the fact that, Nokia was indeed the king in making amazing cameras for their smartphone.

Front Facing Camera

On the front of the device, the Nokia 7 Plus houses a bigger 16MP sensor – again with ZEISS Optics. I don’t take selfies at all – to begin with. But when I tried it – the details were nice and the color was indeed saturated. Under a bright light – it should be okay. For some reason, due to my skin tone – it did over expose a bit. They might have to take a bit of look into that.

Speakers, Fingerprint Sensor

1/2

The speaker on this – it’s located on the bottom of the phone and it’s a mono speaker. When you play games or watch movies – chances are – you might block the speaker. But the speaker sound quality in general isn’t that bad either. So, that’s a good thing to take note on.

The fingerprint sensor – registering is easy and has no problems with it. When you unlock the phone for the first few times it’s quick and snappy. But there are times where the phone fails to recognize the fingerprint sensor – so you’ll have to clean the sensor (just wipe).

UI & OS

One of the wisest choice Nokia did (finally) is going for Android. But they went for AndroidOne – which isn’t a bad thing either. The Nokia 7 Plus runs Android 8.1 out of the box – making it one of the phones that runs the latest android version till date. It’s clean, fast and efficient.

The only problem is – it’s buggy. During my time using it – there were times the phone fails to load some aspect of the UI – not lag – but it just doesn’t load. So, I have to restart the phone. Like for instance the Camera App.

There was another bug I came across – that is the Overheating notification. The phone was on standby and connected to the charger – the phone started overheating and it prompted this notification. It happened more than 2 times. Once even when disconnected from the charger. I received a new update and the bug was solved and the problem was solved.

Despite the bugs, the Pure Android Experience is simply amazing – there’s no bloatware, it’s clean and the fact that you’ll receive monthly patches and yearly major updates without a doubt seals the deal for me.

Conclusion

That’s the review on the Nokia 7 plus. Did I like the phone? I did. Do they need to improve? Yes, they do. The phone would be a really good choice for the consumers if the Camera Software in particular is fixed. Some people might think that the phone is too plain for their taste due to the Pure Android counterpart – where it has no fancy features.

We are living in 2018 and Flagship series smartphones are getting affordable too – like the Mi Mix 2 or even the upcoming Asus Zenfone 5Z that’s rumored to be sold for less than 2k ringgit. When you have all these options – it makes the Nokia 7 plus hard to recommend at the same time.

All I can say is this – if you want a Pure Android experience with no custom UI – go for the Nokia 7 plus. Considering the fact that, most of the problems the phone has – can be fixed with a major update where the camera is improved and the OS itself. The Nokia 7 plus is a decent phone but I think it can be better. J

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