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,
- 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
- 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.
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?