The Two Year Retrospective

We're now into October which means Nokia Android devices from 2017 are either EOL or have switched to a quarterly patching schedule until October 2020.

The Two Year Retrospective

Muser Muser
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We're now into October which means Nokia Android devices from 2017 are either EOL or have switched to a quarterly patching schedule until October 2020. For early adopters I figure this would be a good time to reflect on the past two years in a pros/cons/verdict format as it relates to our devices, HMD's efforts and if we would consider buying another Nokia branded device.

I purchased a Nokia 6 in 2017,

Pros
- Great design and build quality - The Nokia 6 is essentially an updated Lumia 930 with the quality to back it up. I use an official Slim Crystal Case and I can't count the number of times I've dropped my phone, despite that it's still working great without a scratch or scuff on it. I've travelled quite a bit with it as well and harsh weather conditions have never been a problem.
- Timely updates - With the exception of February 2019 HMD was able to deliver on their promise of monthly updates, no OEM outside of Google is able to manage this across such a wide variety of devices which is incredible for a startup.
- An extra year of support! - When the Nokia 6 launched the device was only promised two years of support/updates, getting a third is a welcome surprise
- Dolby Atmos sounds great with headphones*
- Unfortunately, the only Nokia Android device with stereo speakers

Cons
- The camera software isn't very good and I can't say its gotten any better in two years. If the lighting is right you can get great shots out of it but in less than ideal conditions it simply doesn't keep up. Indoor photos also tend to have a weird "yellow" tint to them that isn't present in some third party camera apps.
- Dolby Atmos hasn't consistently worked since Oreo. It's fine with headphones but without them the experience is too inconsistent, some updates have fixed this while others have broken it again
- No bootloader unlock - This isn't a huge issue for me but once the device is officially EOL it would be nice to tinker with it.
- In two years, HMD hasn't done anything to make the software feel more "Nokia". No new apps of their own on Google Play, no tweaks to the OS, etc. I was hoping we would have seen more from HMD here when I first purchased my device so this is a pretty big let down for me.
- According to some users, HMD executives are great at listening to fans in person at events but they seem to completely ignore concerns raised on these forums. It's great that they're willing to put themselves out there like that and I'm sure it's not always easy (just read some of the responses Juho gets on Twitter), it would just be nice to see them a bit more active here as well.

Verdict
Despite these issues and with the exception of the camera, I'm happy with my Nokia 6 2017 and will likely continue using it for a few more months before upgrading. What HMD was able to do as a startup in two years is nothing short of incredible, not only are they a top 5 OEM in some parts of the world but they're actively putting established OEMs with much bigger pockets and resources to shame with their support. HMD has absolutely nailed the hardware experience in terms of replicating Nokia of old, even with the commitment to Android One it would be nice if they were able to do more with apps to complete the comeback.

Despite my concerns I'm still open to buying a new midrange or flagship Nokia device if an enticing upgrade was available (the 8.2 perhaps?). As with the Nokia 6, I would only purchase a new device if there was official (ideally carrier) availability in Canada.

So, for those still using a 2017 device, what are your thoughts?

Comments

  • John Jennings John Jennings
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    I absolutely love my Nokia 8. Although the design now looks a little dated compared to the phones in my friends' hands, it can still hold its own against many of the latest devices in most areas of performance, and continues to meet my needs in a phone.

    Much like the OP I have been disappointed with HMD's commitment to their own apps. I have abandoned the Nokia Camera app completely and use Google Camera as my main camera app. With the fantastic selfie cam in the Nokia 8, it takes excellent portrait mode selfies, and reasonable photos generally, which for the most part seem to be able to hold their own against those taken by my husband's Pixel. Last time I opened Nokia cam, I discovered that it crashed whenever I tried to take a 'bothie', so the one distinguishing feature of the app has been rendered obsolete. I haven't used Nokia cam again since.

    Battery life and performance is starting to become a little sluggish now, 25 months after I bought the phone, but I have never owned a phone for this long and been happy to continue to use it for the foreseeable. It really speaks to the build quality of this device and it has reinforced my life-long commitment to the Nokia brand.

    Where does that commitment lead me next, though? Though I have been following HMD's new devices closely, there seems never to have been a device released that can replace the Nokia 8. The 9 PV perhaps comes closest, but still feels a little like an experimental device. If the 8.2, if and when it is released, doesn't perform that role, I may abandon the Nokia brand for the first time ever and move to a Google device.
  • user1508928527225 user1508928527225
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    I'm also still using my Nokia 8, purchased in September 2017.

    The good:

    - Other than the bit of a mess with Pie update, I've appreciated the timely and stable updates, as long as the long support period

    - I was very happy to find a non-lowend phone with headphone jack, SD card slot and non-glass back and still appreciate that.

    - Generally speaking, has worked and works like a charm with no reboots, system service crashes etc

    - No preinstalled bloatware

    - Good performance for pretty much every kind of use


    The bad:

    - The initial mess with Pie update

    - HMD really need to step up on their communication with the users.

    - Although it was not a big deal to me personally, the promised camera improvements never did quite materialize to a significant degree and caused dissatisfaction in the community. Don't promise what you can't keep...

    - One exception to good durability and reliability; all sensors stopped working completely and I had to get warranty repair (turned out to be a circuit board defect). However, as I haven't heard about similar defects happening, I think this was just bad luck and was handled in a few days.

    - Screen has slightly too cool color temperature and has developed occasional short-term image retention. Mostly not a significant issue, but something that could be better.


    So, overall I'd actually give this something like 3 3/4 / 5; a mostly satisfying experience despite some annoying caveats.

    As for getting an another HMD phone, that's a good question. Despite some of the negative points mentioned above, I'd in principle be willing to give them another go if they happen to release a device with specs that I'd like. However, it seems that their recent'ish products are mostly midrange devices and embrace some of the recent trends I personally dislike (glass back, absence of headphone jack and memory card slot on more high-end devices such as Nokia 9), so it's quite possible that they just don't have anything for me at the point I switch phones next time.
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