HMD deserves a lot of credit for bringing back the Nokia brand from the ashes last year. And after setting up a pretty solid base, the company decided that 2018 would be the year to rapidly expand its product portfolio. So far, the company has launched around 9 smartphones, all of which have come to India. The latest two being the Nokia 6.1 Plus and Nokia 5.1 Plus. HMD’s lineup nicely covers the budget to mid-range segment in India, and wile not all of them are a hit, some of them have the ability to take on the best the segment has to offer.The Nokia 6.1 Plus (Review) is arguably the most popular Nokia phone right now and one that fans were waiting for quite a while. And the wait has been worth because not only does the phone bring a stunning design with an edge-to-edge display and a solid performance under-the-hood, but HMD also managed to price the phone competitively at Rs 15,999. This also gives the Nokia 6.1 Plus a great chance to take on the segment heavyweight, the Redmi Note 5 Pro (Review). And in many ways, the Nokia 6.1 Plus does seem to have an edge.– Let’s talk about the design because that’s the first thing that hits you when you take a look at the Nokia 6.1 Plus. Simply put, the latest Nokia phone is a stunning device and it shows that the company has put a lot of effort into it. It’s shouts out premium from the front and the back thanks to an edge-to-edge display and glass design. The phone sports a notch on the top, allowing HMD to chop down the bezels and offer a full-screen immersive display. The Gorilla Glass 3 on the back nicely curves around the edges to meet the meal frame. This gives the phone a very premium design and makes it stand out in a segment filled with metal and plastic phones.advertisement — The Redmi Note 5 Pro, in comparison, has a design that we have seen many times before. It’s a tried and tested formula that doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. Sure, it has a sturdy metal build and an 18:9 display, but the design as a whole is uninspiring and largely derivative from past Redmi phones. The Redmi Note 5 Pro is really about the metal body design as much as it is about the display and hardware, which we will get to in a bit. From a design perspective, the Nokia 6.1 Plus definitely looks like a more attractive and unique smartphone in this segment.– The Nokia 6.1 Plus doesn’t have a large display, but it does come with a larger screen-to-body ratio compared to the Redmi Note 5 Pro. What this means is you get more display in a given footprint. The 6.1 Plus comes with a 5.8-inch FHD+ display while the Redmi Note 5 Pro gets a 6-inch FHD+ display, but it also comes with more bezels compared to the Nokia phone. Now, a notched phone may not appeal to a lot of people, but I mentioned in my review that the Nokia 6.1 Plus has one of the best notch implementations in this segment. By that I mean the notch never intrudes or eats into your experience of the display, especially when consuming media or playing games.– While both the phones offer a FHD+ resolution that look vivid and crisp. Notably, the Nokia 6.1 Plus has a higher pixel density of 432 ppi which translate to a sharper panel. Pound for pound, both the devices offer an immersive experience with good brightness and viewing angles.– The Nokia 6.1 Plus also matches the Redmi Note 5 Pro in terms of performance as both the devices are powered by a Snapdragon 636 chipset, which is arguably one of the more powerful processors you can find in the affordable segment. Both the devices perform really well under intensive pressure and manage to stay smooth consistently even while playing graphic intensive games. These phones are capable of handling day-to-day multitasking with ease and you won’t find reasons to complain about performance issues here. — Design aside, the other area where the Nokia 6.1 Plus gets an edge over the Redmi Note 5 Pro is in the software department. It’s hard to beat a pure, stock Android Oreo software out-of-the-box and that’s what HMD has promised for all its devices. The Nokia 6.1 Plus comes with a bloat-free, simple and smooth UI with a promise of monthly Android security updates. It will also receive Android 9 Pie and Android Q in the future, which is something you cannot say with surity for the Redmi Note 5 Pro.advertisement– The Redmi Note 5 Pro disappointingly ships with Android 7.1.1 Nougat-based MIUI, which makes it quite dated now that Android 9 Pie is out. The phone received the Android Oreo update in late June, and may just receive Android 9 Pie eventually as Xiaomi is listed as one of the OEMs part of Google Beta program, but it still puts the phone behind the Nokia 6.1 Plus in staying up-to-date with Android. Xiaomi isn’t the fastest at pushing out security updates as well, and it seems unlikely that the device will get Android Q in the future. The MIUI software is also quite heavy with pre-loaded apps and customisations, which may not attract everyone. That being said, the UI should not give you any noticeable lags or stutters.– Now, here’s where the Redmi Note 5 Pro has the edge – cameras and battery. Xiaomi’s device comes with some of the best cameras in this segment and a large battery capacity that will last you a good day and a half. The Nokia 6.1 Plus takes capable daylight photos but suffers in low-light conditions. Compared to the Redmi Note 5 Pro’s 4,000mAh battery, the 3,060mAh capacity inside the Nokia 6.1 Plus will get you through a full day and maybe a day and a half on average usage. It’s still a lot given its size, but that’s also because of some neat software optimisation that helps preserve battery life.– Both the Nokia 6.1 Plus and Redmi Note 5 Pro have something unique to offer. HMD’s latest phone trumps the latter in design and software, while the Redmi Note 5 Pro comes with superior cameras and battery life. Both offer similar performances and immersive displays. In the end, I feel HMD has finally come out with a pretty great under Rs 20,000 phone that can go toe-to-toe with the the best of Xiaomi.
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