While Xiaomi’s strategy for the mid-tier flagship slot remains largely unclear as of this moment — last we heard, the Mi 6 won’t be coming to India — its affordable and lower mid-range ambitions are more thought-out and sorted. The company knows where it’s going with them. The Mi Max, the Redmi Note 4 (previously the Redmi Note 3), the Redmi 3S Prime and the newly launched Redmi 4A have received a phenomenal response from buyers. It’s not surprising. Not only does Xiaomi make some cool budget phones, their bang for the buck pricing is what makes these phones instant bestsellers.
Not everything is perfect in this imperfect world though. All Xiaomi phones are hard to get. All Xiaomi phones are almost always out of stock. There’s never a good time to buy a Xiaomi phone, is what I keep hearing people come up and say to me. Some of them, who are in quite urgency to buy a new phone, then ask me for alternatives. The next obvious alternative would be any of the new Moto G phones.
The Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus are almost always available for buying, but, only online. Buyers have sort of become accustomed to not buying their phones from brick and mortar stores, because well, it’s not like they have a choice. If that wasn’t enough, Lenovo sells the Moto G5 via Amazon, while the Moto G5 Plus is exclusive to Flipkart. You got to be kidding me. The Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus make last year’s Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus look dumb. The least that Lenovo could do was make the most of it. It didn’t. Rather, it left buyers in a frenzy by selling the cheaper Moto G on one platform, and the pricier Moto G on another.
At a time when Xiaomi phones aren’t always available for buying, and Moto phones want buyers to keep track of ‘what goes where’ online, Nokia is making a comeback with the Nokia 6, 5 and 3. It may not be the same old Nokia of yore, but, a number of things that it has promised want me to believe in HMD, the Finnish company that now owns the rights to sell all Nokia-branded smartphones (and feature phones).
— The Nokia 3, the Nokia 5 and the Nokia 6 will all run a vanilla version of Android Nougat and will be “pure, secure, and up to date,” according to HMD Global. Moto phones, once upon a time, offered a similar promise — of quick updates — only to lose steam midway. I am hopeful that HMD (or rather HMD) will stay true to its word, but, only time will tell whether or not it actually does.
— The Nokia 3, the Nokia 5 and the Nokia 6 will be available for buying from both online and offline stores. HMD will also have service centres in at least 250 Indian cities for these phones, it has confirmed. While having as many service centres alone doesn’t always guarantee a quick solution, it’s always nice to know that you’re covered should things turn awry.
In the case of the new Nokia Android phones, specs really don’t matter. The Nokia 3, the Nokia 5 and the Nokia 6 are more about the experience. And nostalgia. In its 151-year history, Nokia has built (and sold) everything from toilet paper to television sets. But that’s not really what Nokia is known (and remembered) for. It is remembered, largely, for its mobile phones. In the early 90s and well up to 2014, Nokia was a pioneer in developing the GSM and LTE mobile standards. It was the largest vendor of mobile phones in the world, once upon a time.
The company has history in its favour. The Nokia 1011 was the first commercially available GSM-based mobile phone. The Nokia 3310 remains to be a tough cookie to crack to this day. The Nokia 1100, to this day, remains to be the best-selling mobile phone of all time. It has been a pioneer in mobile gaming and mobile photography, long before graphical processing units and endless megapixel counts were the in-thing. Remember Snake? Remember the N93? Nokia has also invested in virtual reality and digital health services.
Having said that, Nokia’s legacy cannot be taken for granted. HMD will need to fulfill its promises of a seamless experience right from the moment when buyers invest in its phones, to when they start using it, and then during after-sales. The Nokia of yore, after all, stood for experience.
The Nokia 3, the Nokia 5 and the Nokia 6 (along with the new Nokia 3310) will land in India sometime in June this year and will likely carry a price tag of under Rs 20,000 for the Nokia 6 and go all the way down to under Rs 10,000 for the Nokia 3.
The Nokia 6 is an all-metal smartphone — boasting of 6000 series aluminium — with chamfered edges and curved 2.5D Gorilla glass on the front. It has a physical home button on the front that also houses a fingerprint scanner, and is flanked by touch-based capacitive keys which are backlit. The power button and the volume rocker lie on the right, while the SIM card slot rests on the left. It comes with a standard Micro USB 2.0 port (and no USB C-Type) and also supports USB OTG.
Hardware specs include: a 5.5-inch 1080p display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor clubbed with 4gigs of RAM under the hood, and 64GB of internal memory which is further expandable by up to 128GB via microSD card slot. The speaker setup on-board the Nokia 6 comes with dual amplifiers and supports Dolby Atmos sound technology.
The Nokia 6, in addition, carries a 16-megapixel camera on the rear with f/2.0 aperture, Phase Detection Autofocus and dual-LED flash. On the front, it comes with an 8-megapixel camera. The phone is backed by a 3,000mAh battery.
The Nokia 3 and the Nokia 5 are simply toned down versions of the Nokia 6. While the Nokia 5 is a 5.2-inch phone, the Nokia 3 comes with a 5-inch screen.
The Nokia 5 is closer to the Nokia 6 in that it comes with a full-metal body and a front-mounted fingerprint scanner. It is also powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor but gets 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory which is expandable. The Nokia 5 sports a 13-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera.
The Nokia 3, meanwhile, boasts of a polycarbonate body with an aluminium frame. It is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6737 processor clubbed with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory which is also expandable. The Nokia 3 sports 8-megapixel camera on the front as well as on the back.