Technology Mobiles and Tabs 13 Sep 2018 Nokia 6.1 Plus vs Xi ...

Nokia 6.1 Plus vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro: Should the budget midrange king worry?

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | Edited by : ANKITA GARG
Published Sep 13, 2018, 3:24 pm IST
Updated Oct 3, 2018, 9:03 am IST
On paper, the Redmi Note 5 Pro and Nokia 6.1 Plus have similarities under the hood and are priced competitively close to each other.
Both the Nokia 6.1 Plus and the Redmi Note 5 Pro offer tremendous value for money.
 Both the Nokia 6.1 Plus and the Redmi Note 5 Pro offer tremendous value for money.

The budget segment, a major driving force in developing markets, is overshadowed by the likes of Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 5 Pro with its beefier hardware, good cameras, appreciable battery life and feature-rich MIUI OS. However, the segment has recently seen another new entrant from a brand with lots of heritage — Nokia. Under HMD Global's supervision, they have come out with the 6.1 Plus, which surely turns a new page for the brand and embraces current design trends head-on. The device follows a new premium design philosophy, incorporating a 19:9 notched display, a glass rear body, moderately powerful hardware and a decent pair of optics.

On paper, the Redmi Note 5 Pro and Nokia 6.1 Plus have similarities under the hood and are priced competitively close to each other. Therefore, why not pit them against each other in a head-to-head comparison?

 

Nokia 6.1 Plus, Redmi Note 5 ProPhoto: Nokia 6.1 Plus and Redmi Note 5 Pro

Design, Display:

The Nokia 6.1 Plus has unarguably one of the best designs in the budget segment with an all screen notch display wrapped in gorgeous glass panels and held together by a metal chassis. The smartphone is compact and feels nice to hold for a longer period of time. However, an all-glass body makes the device a lot more fragile and slippery. There is a slight tendency for the phone to slide around when kept on a flat hard surface. Also, it does not provide a comfortable grip that a metal chassis offer.

Nokia 6.1 Plus, Redmi Note 5 ProPhoto: Nokia 6.1 Plus and Redmi Note 5 Pro

The Redmi Note 5 Pro, on the other hand, is sleek and premium, and sports an elegant metal unibody design that blend with the plastic bit well on the top and bottom. As the phone is narrow, it fits easily into your hands. However, the Note 5 Pro doesn't include a notch and has a visible bezel on the top and a larger chin. The phone offers the old micro-USB port and not the USB Type-C as compared to the 6.1 Plus. Xiaomi bundles a case for protection against physical damages, sadly, Nokia doesn't bundle in a case given that the glass body on the 6.1 Plus is more prone to damage.

Both the phones feature a dual rear camera setup with a dual flash module along with a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. The Note 5 Pro has a similar design language that we have seen in many other devices in 2018 and the Nokia 6.1 Plus follows its own design philosophy which looks classic and modern in the segment.

Nokia 6.1 Plus camera samplePhoto: Nokia 6.1 Plus

The Nokia 6.1 Plus embraces a 5.8-inch 19:9 FHD+ screen and the Note 5 Pro sports a 5.99-inch full HD+ display. Both the display's render fairly vibrant colours with decent contrasts. However, HMD Global here seems to have done a good job by chopping the bezels down and adding a notch, further giving a full-screen immersive display. A higher screen-to-body ratio result in smaller bezels and a compact factor, thereby making the Nokia 6.1 Plus more appealing.

Performance:

And this is where the competition begins in true essence. Both the Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Nokia 6.1 Plus run on the same Snapdragon 636 SoC, which one of the chipsets outside the Qualcomm's flagship 800-series to feature custom Kryo cores, providing best-in-class performance. The Nokia 6.1 Plus comes in single variant — 4GB/64GB configuration (expandable up to 400GB). And the Redmi Note 5 Pro is offered in 4GB/64GB and 6GB/64GB configuration. Both the phones offer a hybrid dual-SIM slot which can accommodate two nano-SIMs or a microSD card in the second slot.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 ProPhoto: Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

Both the smartphones are a smooth runner in the real world and perform well while playing casual as well as the resource-intensive games. However, while playing graphical intensive title, we found that the default was automatically set to lower graphics. Furthermore, the smartphones sail through the day-to-day multitasking.

Nokia 6.1 PlusPhoto: Nokia 6.1 Plus

To gauge the true potential of these phones we put them to their paces in AnTuTu benchmark. The Nokia 6.1 Plus scored an average of 116281 whereas the Redmi Note 5 Pro scored managed a slightly lower average of 106697. The Nokia's 6.1 Plus scored higher, which is mostly due to the lighter and more efficient stock Android interface whereas the Note 5 Pro takes a toll on the performance due to extensive modifications and bloatware over the base operating system. However, in the real world, the performance is pretty close.

Nokia 6.1 Plus, Redmi Note 5 ProPhoto: Nokia 6.1 Plus and Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

The UI is also smooth and we didn't notice any lag or stutter while flicking between the regular apps. However, when it comes to software, the 6.1 Plus seems to have a slight edge over the Redmi Note 5 Pro, as the former device offers a pure stock Android Oreo experience with a clean, optimised, bloat-free and easy-to-use UI with a promise of up to two years of a security update. While stock Android has its pros, it does miss out on a lot of value-added benefits that Xiaomi's MIUI offers. It comes with a lot of features and customisations that you don't get in stock Android. Things like theme support, App lock, Dual apps (which lets one use two windows of a single app with different accounts), Second space (this helps one create a separate profile on the same device), Caller ID (this identifies unknown numbers and also alerts if that is a  spam) and much more. However, it does come with some amount of bloatware too. 

Moving ahead, Nokia has so far not disappointed when it comes to delivering the latest Android updates. Our review unit was running on the August Android security patch at the time of writing. The 6.1 Plus is said to get the latest Android 9 Pie as and when it is officially released in the market and this is something that we cannot confirm for the Redmi Note 5 Pro. While it was a little disappointing that the latter was running on the dated Android 7.1.1 Nougat (based MIUI 9) — given that the Android 9 Pie is out — thankfully the smartphone has now received the latest MIUI 9.5.6 update based on Android 8.1 Oreo but is running the July Android security patch.

Camera

Now, this is where the Redmi Note 5 Pro has a slight edge over the 6.1 Plus. The former smartphone packs a dual camera setup, comprising of a 12MP f/2.2 sensor and a 5MP sensor for sensing depth for the Portrait mode. The Note 5 Pro captures good shots with a fair amount of details and sharpness. It renders true-to-life colours and handles light metering well. The device manages to capture decent shots in low light, with fewer details and noise present. Additionally, the image quality degrades at night. The camera takes good selfies but due to the beautification mode, the picture contains fewer details.

Coming to the Nokia 6.1 Plus, it features a dual rear camera system, including a 16MP f/2.0 sensor and a 5MP f/2.4 sensor, tuned for portrait modes. The handset in daylight captures reasonably crisp and detailed shots. However, a fair amount of oversaturation is clearly visible, where a few colours seem to be unnaturally bright. In low light, it takes average photos that lack details as compared to the Note 5 Pro. The selfie camera output is decent.

Check out some of the camera samples from the smartphones.

Nokia 6.1 Plus camera sample (above)Nokia 6.1 Plus camera sample (above)

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 ProXiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro camera sample (above)

Nokia 6.1 Plus camera sample (above)Nokia 6.1 Plus camera sample (above)

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 ProXiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro camera sample (above)

Nokia 6.1 Plus camera sample (above)Nokia 6.1 Plus camera sample (above)

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 ProXiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro camera sample (above)

Nokia 6.1 Plus camera sample (above)Nokia 6.1 Plus camera sample (above)

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 ProXiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro camera sample (above)

Nokia 6.1 Plus camera sample (above)Nokia 6.1 Plus camera sample (above)

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 ProXiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro camera sample (above)

Going by the sample shots, the Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Nokia 6.1 Plus seems to be on par, however, the Note 5 Pro takes a tad better photographs and exhibits more details and natural colours than the Nokia 6.1 Plus.

Battery

The battery life of a smartphone is the main requirement for any user. And here one can clearly make out which device performs better. The Redmi Note 5 Pro comes with a large 4000mAh battery, which delivers around one and a half days of battery life, whereas the Nokia 6.1 Plus offers a smaller 3060mAh battery, which only manages to give an entire days stamina. Clearly, the Redmi Note 5 Pro wins brownie points in this section. Do note that the outcome of the test was largely dependent on the usage scenario, which included casual browsing, regular social media apps, music streaming, binge-watching YouTube and much more.

Price:

Nokia 6.1 Plus (4GB/64GB) — Rs 15,999

Redmi Note 5 Pro (4GB/64GB) — Rs 14,999 and Rs 16,999 for the 6GB/64GB variant.

Verdict:

Overall, both the smartphones perform equally good for a value-for-money budget daily driver. However, the Note 5 Pro gives a tad better set of cameras and healthier battery life, while the Nokia offers glamourous glass aesthetics and stock and clean Android UI.

If stock Android, fluid performance and a stylish design is your priority, then the Nokia 6.1 Plus is the one you should pick. However, the Redmi Note 5 Pro performs a tad better in terms of photography and delivers noticeably better battery life a feature-rich MIUI based on Android 8.1 Oreo. Both the phones offer tremendous value for money, but Xiaomi's Redmi Note 5 Pro trumps Nokia's 6.1 Plus by a considerable margin.

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