Nokia four.2 Assessment: One Large Flaw

The Nokia four.2 has been a curler coaster. My preliminary assessment unit suffered from fixed stutters and freezes that made utilizing the cellphone a hair-pulling affair. The second unit has delivered a markedly improved expertise, but it surely doesn’t cease this $189 cellphone from having a number of compromises.

Inexpensive telephones must make sacrifices, however the issue rests with the competitors. Motorola makes a cellphone with efficiency that’s magnitudes higher for simply $10 extra: The Moto G7 Play. It additionally has the extra handy USB-C port, on high of an honest digicam, nice battery life, and a near-stock Android expertise.

HMD’s Nokia four.2 has so much going for it. The digicam, whereas sluggish, is succesful in broad daylight. It doesn’t look its value (in a great way), battery life is superb, and I like the notification LED that circles the ability button. It’s additionally an Android One cellphone, so it’s assured updates for 2 years. But it surely all boils all the way down to efficiency, and it may be irritating.

Compact design, common show

The Nokia four.2 doesn’t resemble a funds cellphone. The Moto G7 Play, by comparability, seems and feels decidedly low-cost. The Nokia four.2 has a metallic unibody with a polycarbonate body, and the rear is protected by glass. Meaning it has the next likelihood of needing a restore after a drop, but in addition makes the cellphone really feel extra substantial.

A fast notice on the colour. I like to recommend going for the Pink Sand possibility over black. It’s far more enticing, and helps the cellphone stand out.

The rear glass is a fingerprint magnet you’ll be wiping down usually. Talking of fingerprints, there’s a fingerprint sensor current right here. It may be a little bit sluggish, which is a constant theme with the Nokia four.2.

You’re handled to a headphone jack on the high, a Micro USB charging port on the backside, a devoted Google Assistant button on the left, and a quantity rocker and energy button on the suitable. The dearth of a USB-C charging port is disappointing; many different merchandise have USB-C ports, from MacBooks and iPad Execs to Home windows laptops and most Android smartphones. It’s excellent to hold only one cable that may cost something. The $200 Moto G7 Play has one, so why couldn’t HMD add it in right here?

The Nokia four.2’s processor cripples the cellphone.

The headphone jack is a welcome inclusion, and also you’ll wish to use it or use Bluetooth earbuds, as a result of the bottom-firing audio system aren’t loud. The audio high quality is respectable, although. The buttons across the cellphone are clicky, and the devoted Google Assistant button is helpful if you happen to use Assistant so much (you’ll be able to disable it, however can’t remap the button).

My favourite characteristic is the ability button, which glows while you obtain notifications. That’s good, as a result of the Nokia four.2 doesn’t have an At all times-on Show when it’s not charging (as a result of lack of an OLED display screen). It seems nice, at nighttime. It might’ve been neat to customise the colour, however you’re caught with white.

I like how compact the Nokia four.2 feels. The display screen is simply 5.71 inches, which can sound massive, however as a result of the bezels are slim it packs plenty of display screen in a small-ish bundle. The rounded edges make the cellphone extra snug to carry, and the glass is easy to the contact.

Nokia 4.2 vs the Pixel 3aThe Nokia four.2 (high) vs Pixel 3a. Julian Chokkattu/Digital Developments

The HD+ LCD display screen is nothing to jot down house about. It’s colourful and sharp (1,520 x 720 decision) if you happen to take a look at it from an affordable viewing distance. Look nearer, and pixels are seen. It’s a bit dim, making it laborious to learn the display screen in broad daylight, and black ranges aren’t as satisfying as an OLED display screen.

There’s a teardrop notch on the high, which is the place the selfie digicam sits. The cellphone nonetheless has a “chin,” or backside bezel, however the entrance design helps the Nokia four.2 look extra trendy (and simply higher than the Moto G7 Play).

Manageable efficiency

The Nokia four.2’s processor is what holds all of it again. It’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 chipset with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of inside storage. Whereas 32GB is common for a cellphone this inexpensive, you’ll wish to use the MicroSD card slot, as with my 101 apps put in (together with the preloaded apps), I hit 86 p.c of the allotted storage.

Nokia 4.2 Review Julian Chokkattu/Digital Developments

My preliminary assessment unit annoyed me to no finish as a result of fixed cling ups and freezes as I used the cellphone. This turned out to be an issue with the unit; the second mannequin didn’t have many of those points.

Efficiency is respectable. Count on stutters right here and there when scrolling by way of apps like Twitter and Instagram, but it surely’s bearable. Video games like Pako: Ceaselessly and Breakneck ran admirably, with only some dropped frames right here and there. I discovered myself in a position to do a lot of the duties I’d accomplish with a flagship smartphone, all of it simply took a little bit longer.

Opening an app takes a a couple of seconds; so does loading a recreation, or sharing an image, or turning the cellphone on. There have been moments after I rapidly wanted to seek for one thing on Google Maps, and I’d be annoyed at how sluggish the cellphone took to offer me what I wished. It’s not the case on a regular basis, however normally after I’m juggling between a couple of apps.

Listed below are the benchmark outcomes:

AnTuTu 3DBench: 77,060
Geekbench four CPU: 896 single-core; three,313 multi-core
3DMark Sling Shot Excessive: 493 (Vulkan)

These scores are under the Moto G7 Play, which has the superior Snapdragon 632 (so does the Moto G7 Energy). My colleague didn’t have efficiency issues with the Moto G7 sequence when he examined it — all the pieces operated easily. Sadly, the Nokia four.2 will inevitably frustrate you in some unspecified time in the future.

Android One

I like HMD’s telephones as a result of most run the Android One program. They’re assured not less than two years of Android software program and safety updates. These updates roll out rapidly, too, so that you hardly want to attend after Google rolls them out. As compared, Samsung Galaxy S9 homeowners needed to wait six months for the corporate to deliver Android Pie to the cellphone.

The advantage of updates means the cellphone stays safe, you acquire new options, and bugs and points have the next likelihood of being patched. That is the place HMD has Motorola beat. Motorola hardly presents a yr of Android updates for its telephones — the Moto G7 Play will solely get Android Q, and never far more.

Nokia 4.2 Review Julian Chokkattu/Digital Developments

Android One doesn’t simply imply quick updates, although. You obtain inventory Android, which is uncluttered, easy, and simple to make use of. There’s no bloatware, other than preloaded Google apps. There’s even NFC on board, so you need to use Google Pay (one other plus over the Moto G7 Play).

Whereas the software program is a optimistic expertise on the Nokia four.2, I did encounter a bug. If the cellphone’s left alone and on standby, it might typically disconnect from Wi-Fi. Turning the display screen again on reconnects it, but it surely’s a difficulty I haven’t been in a position to resolve. We’ve additionally observed this bug on the Moto G7 sequence, so there’s an opportunity it’s Android-related and never machine particular.

Gradual digicam

The Nokia four.2 has a dual-camera system on the rear — one 13-megapixel lens paired with a 2-megapixel depth-sensing digicam. The digicam could be sluggish to launch, and the shutter may also take its time. Due to this, it’s essential to be nonetheless when attempting to take a photograph to keep away from a blurry outcome.

Nokia 4.2 Review Julian Chokkattu/Digital Developments

However in good lighting, the Nokia four.2 could be succesful. It does an honest job of coping with high-contrast situations with HDR, particulars are stable, and colours look pure. Living proof? The image of the Vessel in New York Metropolis, in addition to the picture of my canine mendacity on my mattress. They’re spectacular for a $189 cellphone.

As ordinary, it’s in low-light environments that the digicam begins to degrade in high quality. Pictures are grainy. Whereas I needed to keep nonetheless earlier than, in low-light it’s essential to be as nonetheless as a statue.. I noticed higher outcomes utilizing the Professional mode within the digicam at night time, however not everybody will perceive the way to use guide controls.

Portrait Mode works nicely in good lighting circumstances, however any dip in mild, together with use indoors, could make pictures look poor. It has bother focusing in these conditions, and photographs by no means look fairly sharp. HDR by no means appears to work as nicely in Portrait Mode, too.

Pattern photographs from the Nokia four.2

The Eight-megapixel digicam on the entrance works decently, although it has an issue with high-contrast situations. Within the selfie picture of me, the sky is totally blown out. The Portrait Mode selfie picture is healthier, because the publicity is correct with no blown-out areas, and there’s a pleasant bokeh impact.

It’s a succesful digicam that takes a damaging flip in low mild, like all funds telephones. You do must work with the digicam to remain extraordinarily nonetheless, although, which is annoying. It’s corresponding to the Moto G7 Play, although I believe the Nokia four.2 fares a little bit higher in high quality.

Good battery life

Lastly, we get to the most effective a part of the Nokia four.2. By no means in my time reviewing the cellphone did I fear about it dying on me. The three,000mAh battery isn’t massive, however with low energy specs and a low-resolution display screen, it’s sufficient to maintain the cellphone whirring for greater than a day.

With laborious use, the cellphone will hit round 20 or 30 p.c by midnight. With mild to common use, it’s going to nonetheless have juice for a second day, although it would require a recharge by midday.

Whereas I used to be pleased with the battery in real-world testing, the Nokia four.2 didn’t fare as nicely in our battery check. I performed a 1080p YouTube video with the display screen brightness at max on Wi-Fi, and the Nokia four.2 solely survived for 7 hours and 38 minutes. It’s an honest time, however the Moto G7 Play lasted greater than 9 hours, and the $250 Moto G7 Energy stayed alive for almost 14 hours.

Battery check apart, most individuals will probably be greater than happy with what the Nokia four.2 can provide right here. It’s only a disgrace it wants a Micro USB cable to cost.

Value, availability, and guarantee info

The Nokia four.2 is $189 and accessible from Amazon and Greatest Purchase. It solely works on GSM networks, so you need to use it on carriers like AT&T, T-Cell, Cricket Wi-fi, and Metro by T-Cell. It gained’t work on CDMA networks like Verizon or Dash.

HMD presents a typical one-year guarantee that covers the cellphone from manufacturing defects one yr because the buy date.

Our Take

The Nokia four.2’s attractiveness, nice battery life, respectable digicam, and speedy Android updates are held again by a weak processor. It’s succesful, however there are higher options.

Is there a greater various?

Sure, the Moto G7 Play. It shares lots of the identical specs because the Nokia four.2, from the three,000mAh battery to 3GB of RAM, however the processor is what pulls it forward. The Snapdragon 632 is far more succesful and gained’t frustrate you. That’s why I believe the G7 Play is the higher purchase for simply $11 extra at $200.

It does come down as to if you wish to select longer software program help over efficiency, as these Motorola telephones will solely ship one Android model replace (Android Q), whereas the Nokia four.2 will get Android R subsequent yr as nicely. Whereas we sometimes give reward to telephones that promise software program updates for 2 or extra years, I believe the numerous enhance in processor energy provides the Moto G7 Play the sting.

When you spend $250, you should purchase the Moto G7 Energy, which has a much bigger display screen — however you get the identical efficiency because the Moto G7 Play. Higher but, the 5,000mAh battery means it’s a two-day cellphone.

If you wish to keep on with the Nokia model, it’s price shelling out $300 for the Nokia 7.1. It has good efficiency, the identical Android One software program, and a succesful digicam. In case your funds goes up a bit extra, then the Google Pixel 3a must be in your listing, as a result of it’s all of the cellphone you want at simply $400.

For extra, take a look at our information to the most effective low-cost telephones.

How lengthy will it final?

The Nokia four.2 is sandwiched in glass, so it’s best to get a case to ensure it doesn’t crack from a drop. It’s additionally not water-proof.

On the plus aspect, the cellphone will obtain two years of Android model and safety updates, so it ought to final two years on the minimal. That’s if the efficiency doesn’t take a flip for the more serious by then.

Must you purchase it?

No. A 600-series Qualcomm processor contained in the Nokia four.2 would have modified the story, however the Snapdragon 439 doesn’t minimize it when you should purchase a cellphone with higher efficiency for simply $11 extra.

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