Nokia 6 Vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 4: Raw power takes on stock Android coated with nostalgia

first_imgIt’s no secret that Xiaomi has hit bull’s eye with the Redmi Note 4. The Redmi Note 4 is easily among the best selling phones that Xiaomi has ever come out with, and the phone still manages to hold its ground in the under Rs 15,000 price segment even though it was launched in January.Xiaomi VP and India MD Manu Kumar Jain, only recently, announced that the company had sold 50 lakh units of the Redmi Note 4 phone in the country in 6 months since launch. The Redmi Note 4, in fact, “broke all records to become No. 1 selling smartphone in Q1 & Q2,” Manu wrote on Twitter. That despite the fact that buying a Redmi Note 4 — like all Xiaomi phones — doesn’t come easy since the phone is almost always out of stock and when it is in stock, it sells out like hot cakes in minutes if not seconds. Backed by a premium design, top-notch performance and fantastic battery life, the Redmi Note 4 still remains to be the smartphone to beat at its price point.Only now we have a phone that can give the Redmi Note 4 a thorough run for its money, in almost all the departments. The Nokia 6, from HMD Global, is that phone. The Nokia 6 may not exactly dazzle from a specifications point of view, but, that’s not something that HMD Global is gunning for, at the end of the day. Instead, the Nokia 6 is relying on the overall experience to woo buyers in India. And that overall experience is something that the company is hoping to offer with three elements: design, the brand appeal — read nostalgia — and pure Android.advertisementDesign and build qualityThe Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 looks (and feels) like an expensive phone, but it isn’t expensive at all. It’s a gradual progression of the Redmi Note 3. With the Redmi Note 4, Xiaomi has added curved 2.5D glass with rounded edges and polished antenna lines, into the mix. The Redmi Note 4 weighs in at just over 160 grams, which isn’t quite that much when you consider the fact that it’s housing a 4,100mAh battery inside. And just so you know, it measures a respectable 8.3mm (in thickness) as well. What is remarkable, however, is that even though it crams in such a big battery inside, the phone feels practically the same no matter how you hold it. An even distribution of weight throughout its body, coupled with the curved glass ensures the Redmi Note 4 feels smaller (and more compact) in comparison to other 5.5-inch phones including the Nokia 6.The Nokia 6 is also an all-metal smartphone carved out of 6000 series aluminum with chamfered edges and curved 2.5D Gorilla glass on the front. It has a physical home button on the front that also houses a fingerprint scanner, and is flanked by touch-based capacitive keys which are backlit. The power button and the volume rocker lie on the right, while the SIM card slot rests on the left. The Nokia 6 — that tries to sort of mimic the design aesthetics of Microsoft’s Lumia line-up — undeniably looks classier than the Redmi Note 4. It’s boxy and very solid, feels very reassuring when in the hands, the Nokia 6. But, there’s a flip-side to it. The Nokia 6 has very sharp edges and because the phone is quite broad, you’ll actually feel its chamfers digging into your hands all the time.Also, its fingerprint scanner may be very fast and accurate, but, it’s somewhat teensy and because it’s located up-front at the bottom, chances are it would take some time getting used to. The Redmi Note 4 has an always-on fingerprint scanner on the back which also works quite well.The Nokia 6 may be lacking in all-round polish, but, it picks up right where the Nokias of yore left, in that the phone is built like a tank, it is rock solid and built to last. The front is carved out of Corning Gorilla Glass and the back (although it is prone to scratches) looks and feels like it can take a beating.The Redmi Note 4, on the other hand, has a scratch-resistant protective coating on-board but Xiaomi wouldn’t tell me exactly what kind. “For protective glass, we use multiple suppliers and can’t comment on which exact one, but its quality is up to what you’d expect from the premium competition,” is what a Xiaomi spokesperson told me about the phone.DisplayBoth the phones come with a 5.5-inch 1080p IPS LCD display but the Redmi Note 4 fairs slightly better in this department. The screen of the Redmi Note 4 does well most of the time unless you’re out and about in direct sunlight. Its (above) average brightness levels feel lacking when you’re out and about. Also, the screen is prone to reflection which adds up, hampering the phone’s outdoor legibility further. But, the screen of the Redmi Note 4 has one ace up its sleeve. It handles — and reproduces — colours so well you don’t mind that it’s not as bright as the company’s more expensive phones. Although the screen of the Nokia 6 produces excellent colours — albeit slightly on the warmer end of the spectrum — it is also very reflective and brightness levels are not at par with Xiaomi’s phone, something that affects the outdoor legibility by a great deal.Software.advertisementThe Nokia 6, like all Nokia phones in 2017 and going forward, runs a vanilla version of Android Nougat and will always be “pure, secure, and up to date,” according to HMD Global. The company has already announced that the Nokia 6 is in line to receive an upgrade to Android Oreo in the days to come. In fact, HMD Global is banking heavily on this aspect to sell its new Nokia-branded phones, including the Nokia 6.For someone who’s into the simplicity and ease of use that stock Android brings to the table, the Nokia 6 is just ideal. There are no unnecessary tricks here, no crazy over-the-top gimmicks. It is pure, unadulterated Android, more or less the same deal that you’ll find in a phone from Google, like the Pixel and the Pixel XL. The Nokia 6 comes with a stock build of Android 7.1.1 Nougat out-of-the-box. Nokia has skinned a few aspects of the software like the design of the icons but overall, the software is as close as it gets, even more so than a Motorola phone.The Redmi Note 4, on the other hand, comes with Android Marshmallow-based MIUI. An update to Android Nougat is incoming, but Android Oreo will probably take a lot longer. As expected, you get a user interface with lots of fancy colour schemes and animations, and no app drawer. If, you are not a ‘stock Android fanatic’, the MIUI offers all the bells and whistles that you’d want from a fully-functional operating system, including customisation themes. Some of its features like scrollable screenshots, second space and dual apps are worth mentioning. Additionally, the Redmi Note 4 comes with an IR-blaster that can be used (in tandem with the Mi Remote app or even some third-party solutions) to control smart home appliances.HardwareThe Nokia 6 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor clubbed with 3GB of RAM under the hood, and 32GB of internal memory which is further expandable by up to 128GB via a micro-SD card slot. The Redmi Note 4 is meanwhile powered by a 2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor clubbed with Adreno 506 GPU. The Redmi Note 4 is available in three versions: 2GB RAM and 32GB memory, 3GB RAM and 32GB memory, and another with 4GB RAM and 64GB memory. All the versions of the Redmi Note 4 support expandable storage of up to 128GB via a hybrid microSD card slot.advertisementUnlike a phone like the Redmi Note 4 (Qualcomm Snapdragon 625) which uses a chipset built on the power-efficient 14nm finfet process, the Snapdragon 430 which is inside the Nokia 6 — besides being an entry-level chipset — is based on a 28nm process. There are (of course) differences but for most users it would all narrow down to this: you’re more likely to get (much) better battery life and little (or no) overheating in phones powered by a chipset on the lines of a Snapdragon 625 than in phones powered by a Snapdragon 430. The same is true about raw performance.Don’t mind me, both the phones will be quick and responsive in every sense of the word. Xiaomi’s phone, however, will hold an edge in terms if raw power and also thermal efficiency. The Nokia 6, with its humbler CPU (and GPU), will be prone to some occasional lags here and there in comparison to a phone like the Redmi Note 4. Of course, stock Android gives the Nokia 6 an added punch, but, at the end of the day, there’s only so much that stock Android can do. The Nokia 6, you must know, could have done with slightly better hardware, even more so because it costs higher than the Redmi Note 4.Both the phones support 4G LTE and dual-SIM connectivity. The speaker setup on-board the Nokia 6, in addition, comes with dual amplifiers and supports Dolby Atmos sound technology.CameraThe Redmi Note 4 sports a 13-megapixel camera on the rear with f/2.0 aperture, phase-detection autofocus along with a dual-LED (dual-tone) flash. On the front, you get a 5-megapixel snapper. The phone captures some good-looking photos — with occasional softness — in good light with good amount of detail and mostly spot-on (if a little oversaturated) colours. Dynamic range could have been better but overall it’s mostly smooth sailing. Also, the Redmi Note 4, surprisingly, does well in macro photography scenarios which means close-up shots come out well (enough) when the light is adequate. Xiaomi’s new phone is also able to capture well to-do photos — with occasional softness — in tricky light situations with good detail.The Nokia 6, on the other hand, comes with a 16-megapixel shooter on the back with f/2.0 aperture, Phase Detection Autofocus and dual-LED flash. On the front, the Nokia 6 comes with an 8-megapixel camera. The Nokia 6 does mostly well in well-lit natural conditions, but, its auto-focusing abilities do leave you asking for more. Although its reliable, the phone’s a bit slow when it comes to grabbing on to focus. Also, the relatively underpowered processor rears its ugly head every now and then when the phone has to take a breather while taking multiple shots at the same time. The Nokia 6 hasn’t been designed to do motion photography, but, then even the Redmi Note 4 hasn’t been designed that way either. But, overall the Redmi Note 4 does better job at focusing and there’s almost no shutter lag while taking photos which means you’re more likely to get a slightly better photo of a moving object with the Redmi Note 4 than with the Nokia 6.Although both the phones falter at low light photography, the Nokia 6’s slow focusing woes mean the Redmi Note 4 fares better in such situations at the end of the day.BatteryThe Redmi Note 4 is backed by a massive 4,100mAh battery, which is non-removable. Moderate to extreme usage saw us cross the one whole day barrier with ease, while toning down further should get most users one and a half to two days out of the phone. Extreme usage scenarios got us close to 15 hours on the Redmi Note 4, which is phenomenal. Sadly, the Redmi Note 4, supports only 5V/2A charging and not Qualcomm’s Quick Charge.The Nokia 6, on the other hand, comes with a 3,000mAh battery that delivers fairly decent battery life. But, clearly not as much as Xiaomi’s phone. Much like the Redmi Note 4, even the Nokia 6 doesn’t support fast charging.So which one should you buy?The Redmi Note 4 starts at Rs 9,999 and goes all the way to Rs 12,999. The Nokia 6, meanwhile, costs a substantial Rs 14,999.The Nokia 6 has a stellar design (albeit in dire need of some polish) and is built like a tank which is again trademark Nokia. The Nokia 6 also has its software well in place. Then of course there’s the nostalgia bit: the legacy that the Nokia brand brings along is hard to deny or overlooked. Essentially, HMD Global, made a plan, worked on it, and delivered it in the Nokia 6. Someone who’s looking for a phone that can take a beating (and last longer than most phones in the market right now), that ships with unadulterated vanilla Android that’s more likely to be updated faster, and oodles of brand legacy, the Nokia 6 is definitely the phone to buy.Xiaomi’s phone, in comparison, offers a better screen, better all-round performance, better set of cameras and better battery life. Also, it costs less. You can do the math.Also Read: Nokia 8 vs OnePlus 5: To win market, Nokia’s Android phone will have to beat flagship killerlast_img read more