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Nokia 7 Plus Review - The Mid-range All-rounder to BEAT?

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Few weeks global, HMD Global launched the Nokia 7 Plus, a very promising upper mid-range smartphone to the Philippine market.
Nokia 7 Plus Review - The Mid-range All-rounder to BEAT?
Nokia 7 Plus review!

The Nokia 7 Plus highlights some of the very best build, specs, battery, and cameras in its class.

In particular, it has Nokia's signature sturdy design combined with the modern 6-inch FHD+ 18:9 screen with tiny bezels, 14 nm based Snapdragon 660 octa-core chip, and ZEISS cameras.

In addition, this Nokia device is also under Google's Android One program which promises the cleanest and purest version of Android with fast updates always.

Sounds great right? Let's check it out. Here's our full review!

Nokia 7 Plus Specs

Display: 6-inch FHD+ IPS 2160 x 1080 resolution w/ 2.5D curved glass and Gorilla Glass 3 protection at 402 ppi
CPU: 2.2GHz 64-bit Snapdragon 660 octa-core processor
GPU: Adreno 512
RAM: 4GB
ROM: 64GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 128GB
Back Camera: 12MP f/1.75 ZEISS optics + 13MP f/2.6 ZEISS optics w/ Dual Pixel PDAF, 2x optical zoom, and dual tone LED flash
Selfie Camera: 16MP f/2.0 ZEISS optics w/ AF and screen flash
Battery: 3,800mAh w/ fast charging
OS: Android 8.1.1 Oreo
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 ac, LTE Cat 6, Bluetooth 5.0, BLE, aptX, NFC, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, dual SIM (hybrid)
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, proximity, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Others: Fingerprint sensor, face unlock, triple microphone w/ Nokia OZO Audio, single speaker w/ Smart PA, USB Type-C, Colors: black / copper, white / copper
Dimensions: 158.38 x 75.64 x 9.55 mm
Weight: 183 g
Price: PHP 21,990 (PHP 19,990 sale price)

Unboxing / Accessories

Everything inside
Everything inside

The Nokia 7 Plus came with the usual box with jam-packed inclusions inside. It has 18W fast charger, USB Type-C data / charging cable, earbuds with mic, extra eartips, SIM ejector tool, flexible TPU clear case, and paper docs.

In other parts of the world, it'll come with a protective cover. 

Build Quality / Design

Mic, dual cam, and fingerprint scanner at the back
Mic, dual cam, and fingerprint scanner at the back

The Nokia 7 Plus has some of the very best build found in the mid-range category as of this writing.


Overall build is really sturdy!

It features a diamond cut 6000 series aluminum construction on the frame and a ceramic-like back cover. On the top, the 6-inch FHD+ IPS display has the respectable Gorilla Glass 3 protection against hairline scratches and some light drops.

This is a handset that's designed to last. It has no water and dust resistance though.
Top
Top
Bottom
Bottom

It terms of design, Nokia made this a classy looking device. The unit we got has minimalist black finish at the back with gold accents on the frame, fingerprint scanner behind, and the dual camera setup. It also has no visible antenna lines.

It isn't the smaller phone for the screen size around, but it is still more compact than your traditional 6-inch phone. Thanks to its tall and modern 18:9 screen ratio and small bezels.

The phone measures at 158.38 x 75.64 x 9.55 mm which is surprisingly handy in general. It has enough hefty, but far heavy despite the large 3,800mAh battery at 183 grams.

All ports and buttons are found on familiar placements too. Our only minor gripe in is construction are the edges. It is a bit sharper than what we expected.

Put the TPU case inside for better comfort while holding the phone.

Display Quality

Decent looking screen
Decent looking screen

On the top, the handset has a big 6-inch IPS screen with FHD+ resolution and taller 18:9 screen aspect ratio. 

What we like about its screen is it has a wider and taller viewing experience. Bezels are not as small as phones with 19:9 screens, but it is still tinier versus your traditional 16:9 smartphone.

It also goes with a sharp enough screen resolution fo 2160 x 1080 which translate to 402 pixels per inch.

Colors are respectable, but there are times where it has a bit of a bluish tint. Contrast and blacks are comparable to some lower-end AMOLED panels.

Sunlight legibility is decent and can go bright enough. However, it isn't the brighest around. It'll struggle under the direct hit of the sun.

As expected, it has 10 points of touch.

Audio Quality

On the speaker part, the Nokia 7 Plus has a single bottom-firing speaker. In our test, it delivered pretty good audio output, just don't expect it to produce deep and punchy bass response.

It is quite loud and can deliver clean and meaty (mids) audio output. The distortion level on max volume output is noticeable, but it is still far from annoying in my personal opinion.

It would have been better if HMD Global added a stereo speaker setup for this device though.

For headphones, output is respectable. It is quite clean overall and can go quite loud. It has one of the better driving power at this price point. But, there is audible noise even on 50 percent loudness.

Again, audio out is decent for low powered headphones and earphones, but it could have been better.

Microphone quality is actually great. Thanks to its triple microphone setup w/ Nokia OZO Audio. It is good for calls (obviously) and the audio captured from videos are a bit better than most mid-range phones we tested this year. It is a bit clearer and cleaner sounding as well.

Battery Life

Good battery performance!
Good battery performance!

HMD Global boasts that the 3,800mAh battery of the Nokia 7 Plus can last up to two days on a single charge.

Long lasting battery!

In our test, it lasted for over hours and 34 minutes or over 5 hours of screen on time under really heavy usage. Our heavy usage include 4G data all the time, WiFi hotspot mode at times, gaming, calls, and taking photos or videos.

In our normal daily use, it lasted for a more than 1 day on a single charge.

Charging time is also decent. You can fully charge the phone in 1 hour and 30 minutes (or a bit more) using its 18W fast charger.

Cameras

Dual ZEISS cameras at the back
Dual ZEISS cameras at the back

The main highlight of this device are its ZEISS branded cameras. It has a 12MP f/1.75 ZEISS optics with extra fast Dual Pixel PDAF focus and 1.4µm pixel size paired with 13MP f/2.6 ZEISS with 2x optical zoom. It also has an LED flash behind.
Pro mode
Pro mode

It also boasts an improved camera UI coming from its predecessors. This device now has a cleaner looking interface with more features. It has auto HDR, face beauty, and the pro mode is back.

The pro mode now has WB adjustments, manual focus, ISO 100 to 3200, EV -2 to +2, and shutter speed 1/500s to 4s.


Impressive mid-range camera performance!

On the camera quality part, the Nokia 7 Plus is impressive! It has really fast focus speed and respectable shutter and saving speed. It can even do some macro shots using the manual focus of the pro camera mode.

Note: Exposure on auto focus mode is mostly great. Exposure via tap to focus mode is hit or miss. There are times where it'll underexpose or overexpose your subject.

In well-lit places, it has good sharpness with no visible noise. Sharpness is also mostly great in well-lit conditions. Exposure and colors are quite good and natural looking as well.

The 2x telephoto zoom is also usable. It isn't as detailed as the primary shooter, but at least it is better than most digital zooms.

Dyanmic range is respectable even in indoor shots. But, it could be a bit better. It isn't as wide as other mid-range phones. On the positive note, it doesn't have that much noise even in lowlight.

The lowlight performance of this phone is quite good even without the flash at times. On extra challenging lighting conditions, use the pro mode and the flash.

Rear Camera Samples

Auto HDR
Auto HDR
HDR shot
HDR shot
Close-up
Close-up
1x zoom
1x zoom
2x zoom
2x zoom
Lowlight 1
Lowlight 1
Lowlight 2
Lowlight 2
Lowlight 3
Lowlight 3

On the front, the Nokia 7 Plus has a 16MP f/2.0 ZEISS optics w/ AF and screen flash. It also has HDR and adjustable face beauty mode.
ZEISS in front!
ZEISS in front!

For us, it is one of the best in the market right now. It has fast tap to focus and good shooting speed. The face beauty mode won't over beautify you at times too.

It can also shoot very detailed and well exposed selfies with natural looking photos. The HDR of this selfie camera is also great. It can even capture the detail in the sky if the it is your background.

Lowlight selfie performnace is also good. The screen flash won't overexpose your face as well.

The overall selfie camera performance of this phone is better than most mid-range selfie centric phones from OPPO, Vivo, Huawei, and ASUS.

Selfie Camera Samples

Normal selfie
Normal selfie
Indoor well-lit selfie
Indoor well-lit selfie
Cropped selfie
Cropped selfie
Indoor selfie
Indoor selfie
Lowlight selfie
Lowlight selfie

For videos, it has shoot up to 4K in quality with good color reproduction and fine details. But, it is more stabilized at 1080p at 30 fps since it has EIS. There's no way to shoot 60 fps 1080p videos though.

In front, it can shoot up to 1080p 30 fps with respectable quality and stabilization.

Video Samples


Performance

High benchmark scores
High benchmark scores

On paper, the Nokia 7 Plus is a beast for the price. It has the speedy upper mid-range grade 2.2GHz 64-bit Snapdragon 660 octa-core processor paired wiht Adreno 512 GPU, 4GB RAM, and ample 64GB expandable storage.

Great overall speed!

It can handle most of our daily tasks with ease like Facebook, Instagram, and other social media apps. We also noticed that switching from an app to another is almost seamless and near flagship grade in quality. This device can also handle multitasking quite well.


It gaming it was able to load our usual NBA 2K18 all all high settings with cloth simulation. Its actual performance for gaming is almost as good as the OPPO F7 with Helio P60 chip. However, when running PUBG it has noticable lag on default balanced settings.

We also noticed that Helio P60's thermal management on the F7 is a bit better than the SD660 chip of the Nokia 7 Plus. It is still one of the better gaming phones for the price.

On the software part, this phone runs with Android 8.1 Oreo OS. It is also a part of the Android One program. As a result, experience is stock like! It is very near, easy to use, and fast. It also has guaranteed fast updates always.

It just doesn't have some of the cool custom tricks found on other phones with skinned UI.

The fingerprint scanner is also fast and accurate. It works 9 out of 10 times. It also has face unlock tech hidden in the settings. It works, it is fast, and pretty secured. It won't work if your eyes are closed. Cool!

We never had a problem with the rest of the telephony experience. It has strong GSM signal, 4G LTE works, Bluetooth 5.0 is stable, and GPS is fine in performance.

We also like that it has OTG and gyroscope. The gyroscope sensor works with most of the VR and AR apps we have.

Pros - Tough build quality, wide 6-inch FHD+ screen, great speed, decent battery life, good dual cam setup at the back, amazing selfie camera, good mic quality, Android One
Cons - Sharp edges without the case, screen could have been brighter


Verdict

The Nokia 7 Plus is a solid all-rounder! It has great build quality, really fast performance, respectable battery life, clean user interface, and fantastic cameras for the price of just PHP 21,990. To our eyes, it is better than most competiting phones at this price point.

Build / Design - 4.5
Display - 4
Audio - 4
Battery - 4.5
Camera - 4.5
Performance - 4.5
Average - 4.33 / 5
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