Introduction

11 May 2018

After using Motorola Moto X Play for about two years, I decided to get a phone with a fingerprint scanner. It was all because frequent typing in of the password for work email app became annoying. The fact that Motorola, now Lenovo, totally dropped the ball when it comes to security patching, was another reason I decided to move on.

Again, I was absolutely not willing to part with a grand to get a new phone, so Nokia 6.1 (also known as Nokia 6 2018) seemed like a pretty good choice. It comes with Android One, which is as stock Android as one can get without getting an expensive Pixel phone. This platform is supposed to get regular security patches, which sounds good (let's hope it's not an empty promise, like Motorola's).

I purchased a TA-1068 model of the phone, which comes with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of flash storage. The phone was, in dollar terms, even cheaper than what I paid for Moto X Play. It is not splash or dust resistant, but that was not a deal breaker for me.

First impressions

The phone is more or less the same size as Moto X Play, but thinner. It feels pretty solid in the hand, with that one piece aluminium body. It is slippery, just like most of the other phones out there. It also feels much more squarish than Moto X Play. Weird in the hand and pocket, but nice when typing on the phone with it being laid down on the table.

The phone actually does feel like a pretty good quality phone. The keys are easy to press and feel accurate. The finish is flawless.

Once again, the battery is not replacable. That seems to be the norm these days. With an aluminium unibody, it kind of makes sense. It has the capacity of 3,000 mAh, which is less than what Moto X Play has. However, after using it for about a week now, I can say that it lasts for 2 days with my usage pattern. I guess a newer CPU model and other components are more power efficient.

The screen is sharp and bright. Absolutely fit for purpose. No complaints there.

Everything happens pretty fast. In fact, compared to Moto X Play, it is visibly faster.

Functionality

This phone does not come with a notification LED, which is slightly disapponting. I do not understand why manufacturers insist on removing this useful feature. Displays that turn on when the phone is lifted, which this phone does have, are not the same thing.

Even with a bit more intense workout of the CPU, this phone does not warm up at all. I guess all that aluminium is a pretty efficent heatsink. A better CPU, manufactured using 14 nm process, probably helps too.

VOIP calling is right where it should be, in the main phone app. Nice.

Gmail is still terrible for IMAP mail, so K-9 Mail it is. DAVdroid works great on the phone as well. Both of these are highly recommended.

The rest is pretty standard Android stuff and works mostly without major problems.

Nokia's camera software (or is it Android's?) seems to be taking decent photos.

Before inserting my existing 64 GB Micro SD card into this phone, I checked what kind of file systems would be supported. Apparently, FAT32. So, I reformatted the card on my T450s laptop that runs Fedora to use that file system and copied all of the stuff back. The card works just fine.

The speaker is not really loud enough. It's quite easy to miss various notifications, even calls. Apart from that, calls on it are nice and clear, both using the earpiece and the headphones.

Updates

The phone came with Android 8.0.0, which was updated to 8.1.0 after a few days. I must say that both the 8.0.0 and 8.1.0 are rather nice and are an absolute pleasure to use.

17 May 2018: Google's 1 May 2018 security update was delivered today, together with other Android Oreo 8.1 updates.

26 Jun 2018: Google's 1 Jun 2018 security update was delivered today, together with other Android Oreo 8.1 updates (build number 2.22E). This is, however, not the latest security update from Google, who list 5 Jun 2018 as well. No idea whether that's on purpose or just an oversight by Nokia.

26 Jul 2018: Google's 1 Jul 2018 security update was delivered today.

17 Aug 2018: Google's 1 Aug 2018 security update was delivered today.

18 Sep 2018: Google's 1 Sep 2018 security update was delivered. Everything still works.

Conclusion

If the promise of regular security updates turns out to be true with Android One, this phone looks like a really great value for money.

Copyright © 2018 Bojan Smojver, Rexursive.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the licence is here
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