Last year’s NokiaÂ 6 had a lot of expectations upon its shoulders – it not only heralded the return of an iconic smartphone brand but also marked Nokia’s first proper tryst with Android. While the design and fluid software were appreciated by everyone, the 2017 iteration of the Nokia 6 was let down massively by its underpowered processor. HMD Global is now set to make amends with the Nokia 6 (2018) which comes with updated internals, a refined design and a few new flagship grade features.
The Nokia 6 (2018) has been launched in China at a starting price of around Rs 14,500 putting it straight in the Xiaomi Mi A1’s ballpark. After years of doggedly sticking to MIUI, Xiaomi finally gave in and adopted stock Android with the Mi A1. In addition to fast and fluid software, the Mi A1 comes with a premium design, capable dual cameras and solid internals.
Even though the Nokia 6 (2018) has been launched only in China as of now, it is sure to arrive in Indian shores in the coming weeks. Let’s see how Nokia’s first smartphone of 2018 compares against the Mi A1, which has firmly established itself as the budget smartphone king:
- Both the Xiaomi Mi A1 and Nokia 6 (2018) are metal clad smartphones that look quite premium and stylish. Both the Nokia 6 (2018) and Xiaomi Mi A1 have chamfered edges and rear mounted fingerprint sensors. The Nokia 6 (2018) is machined from series 6000 aluminium and goes through a two-colour anodisation process. The Xiaomi Mi A1 has a clean and well thought out design but loses out a little in terms of originality. With its metal body and dual rear cameras, it looks remarkably like the iPhone 7 Plus.
- If last year’s Nokia 6 is anything to go by, the 2018 iteration is also expected to be built like a tank. The 2017 Nokia 6 was extremely solid and durable and exhibited no creaks or rattles, even under pressure. The build quality of the Xiaomi Mi A1, while better than Xiaomi phones in the past is not as good as competitors such as the Moto G5 Plus and last year’s Nokia 6.
- Both the Nokia 6 (2018) and Xiaomi Mi A1 come with a 5.5-inch 1080p display covered with Gorilla Glass 3 for protection against nicks and scratches. Both smartphones lose out to smartphones such as the Honor 7X as they are equipped with a bog standard 16:9 display in a day and age of edge-to-edge 18:9 panels.
- As mentioned in the introduction, the lowly Snapdragon 430 processor was the biggest downfall of last year’s Nokia 6. This time around, HMD Global, the company responsible for Nokia’s comeback into the smartphone game has equipped the Nokia 6 (2018) with a much more sensible (and powerful) Snapdragon 630 processor clocked at 2.2GHz. This helps Nokia’s smartphone compete on a much more even footing with the Xiaomi Mi A1 which is powered by the ultra-reliable Snapdragon 625 processor which has become a staple of Xiaomi’s budget line-up.
- The rest of the specifications are extremely similar. The Nokia 6 (2018) comes with 3/4GB of RAM depending on the variant, 32/64GB of internal storage expandable via a microSD card and a 3,000mAh battery with fast charging support. The Mi A1 is offered in a single variant with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage expandable via a microSD card and a 3,080mAh battery. While the Mi A1 did not support it initially, the Oreo update has brought fast charging to the smartphone.
- In another case of Nokia playing catch-up, the Nokia 6 has finally ditched the age-old microUSB port for the future forward USB-Type C port. The Xiaomi Mi A1 also comes with a USB-Type C port for charging and data transfer. While most connectivity options are similar (4G Volte, Wi-Fi, GPS and so on), the Nokia 6 (2018) outdoes Xiaomi’s smartphone thanks to support for aptX and Bluetooth 5.0.
- At the start of 2017, very few would have bet on Xiaomi launching a smartphone with stock Android. But launch it they did, and it has become quite a runaway hit. In fact, thanks to Nokia’s tryst with pure Android and smartphones like the Mi A1, stock Android moved down the price ladder in 2017. Both smartphones run on a clean and untouched version of Android – but one is slightly more true to Google’s vision than the other. The software on the Mi A1 is exactly what you will find on the Google Pixel – a move that will appeal to purists. While the software on the Nokia 6 (2018) is also almost 100 percent stock, Nokia has skinned the icons and added a few features like dual capture (Bothie) to add their own identity. While the Mi A1 has already got Android 8.0 Oreo, the Nokia 8 (2018) ships with Android 7.1.1 Nougat with an update to Oreo promised in the near future.
- On the imaging front, the Nokia 6 (2018) comes with a 16MP rear camera with phase detection autofocus, an aperture of f/2.0 and a dual-LED flash. At the front, there is a 8MP sensor with an aperture of f/2.0 and an 84 degree wide-angle lens. Dual-sight capture on the Nokia 6 allows users to capture photos and videos from the front and rear camera at the same time. The Xiaomi Mi A1 on the hand has a dual camera setup at the back – a 12MP 26mm wide-angle sensor with an aperture of f/2.2 paired with a 12MP 50mm telephoto sensor with an aperture of f/2.6. The dual camera setup not only allows for the capture of bokeh shots but also offers 2X optical zoom. On the front, the Mi A1 has a 5MP sensor. HMD Global probably missed a beat by not equipping the Nokia 6 (2018) with dual cameras.