Nokia 6.1 handset sits neatly in the middle row


Flagship Android phones are great for a lot of people, but some folks don't like the recent trends towards rising prices, disappearing headphone jacks, overstuffed software packages, and iffy update policies. Nokia hopes its freshened mid-range 6.1 handset can find some buyers in the United States with its middle-ground asking price, stock Android experience, and two years of software upgrades.

Buyers will get an eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 instead of the flagship-bound Snapdragon 845. The SoC is paired with a generous 4 GB of LPDDR4 memory and 32 GB of storage space. That's an extra gigabyte of RAM compared to the Nokia 6 the rest of the world got last month. Users can expand storage by up to 128 GB by adding a microSD card.

The 5.5" IPS screen's 1920x1080 resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio, and noticeable bezels aren't going to attract attention in a crowd, but the display nonetheless offers sufficient size and clarity to get things done. A layer of Corning's Gorilla Glass sits atop the screen for enhanced durability.

The integrated battery has a capacity of 3000 mAh, and Nokia says it can go from completely dead to 50% charge in half an hour. All those electrons jump on board through the USB Type-C connector on the bottom of the phone. The other end of the handset has the headphone jack prized by those unwilling or unable to carry around an adapter dongle. 

The front of the phone has an eight-megapixel camera above the screen. The aluminum back has a a single Zeiss-branded 16-MP snapper and a fingerprint reader. A tragically-named "Bothie" feature lets users capture photos and video from the front and rear cameras simultaneously.

Maybe Nokia added the ".1" name to really drive home the handset's membership in the Android One program. Android One phones are guaranteed to have two years of operating system updates, including monthly security patches. This policy still doesn't match the support level Apple extends to its iOS devices, but it represents a major improvement compared to what most Android phones usually get. The phone even comes packing Android Oreo from the get-go, so it won't have to play catch-up right from the start.

The Nokia 6.1 will cost $269 unlocked when it goes on sale at Amazon and Best Buy on May 6. Verizon and Sprint customers (and users of MVNOs that sell bandwidth on their networks) shouldn't get too excited, though—the 6.1 doesn't support CDMA networks.

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