Nokia 7 Plus review: Hands-on

While some rivals have failed to bring new phones to MWC 2018, Nokia has not disappointed with no less than five devices including the retro 8110 4G. Here we take a look at the Nokia 7 Plus in our hands-on review.

The firm has not only made a rival to the Galaxy S9 in the Nokia 8 Sirocco, but also improved its mid-range handsets with features like an 18:9 screen and dual camera. That’s the case here with the Nokia 7 Plus.

With the likes of OnePlus and Honor, the mid-range is a tough battleground for smartphone makers these days. Those firms, and others, often offer flagship specs at a mid-range price so what can Nokia offer to tempt you?

Price and release date 

The Nokia 7 Plus is now available to pre-order in the UK at £349.99 and will ship on 2 May. Those who purchase one in the first month from selected retailers will get a free Google Home Mini.

That’s a really nice price for a handset like this and undercuts rivals like the OnePlus 5T and Honor 9.

Nokia 7 Plus price

Design and build

As you would often expect from a new model of an existing smartphone, HMD – the company now behind the Nokia brand – has taken the original Nokia 7 and updated the design into 2018.

The main feature here is the 18:9 screen which, along with small bezels, makes the 7 Plus look modern and sleek. Nokia has maintained the thickness at 8mm but the 7 Plus is a fairly heavy phone, sadly we haven’t been given a weight yet.

More display is better in our opinion but bear in mind that the device is wider and taller than previously. Nokia does say it’s designed for easy one-handed use but we don’t think everyone will find this to be the case.

Nokia 7 Plus design

The Nokia 7 Plus isn’t waterproof like the 8 Sirocco but the build quality is really nice, especially when you consider the price. It’s machined from a single piece of 6000 series aluminium and feels very sturdy indeed.

It’s then nicely finished with a six-layer ceramic feel paint and those attractive copper edges for a flash of tasteful bling. The copper accent continues around sections like the fingerprint scanner, camera and logo.

Overall it’s a really nice looking design and the copper goes great with all the colour options: White, Black and Blue. It’s just a shame the legal information show below the Android One logo isn’t more hidden and taints the style somewhat. 

Specs and features 

Despite the price, Nokia is calling it the ‘flagship hero for everyone’, but is that really the case?

The display is one of the main features here jumping to the taller 18:9 aspect ratio like so many rivals. It’s also a lot larger in size at 6in, much bigger than the Nokia 7’s 5.2in even though the phone is a bit bigger physically.

Nokia 7 Plus screen

Nokia says it offers the optimal viewing experience while remaining a one-handed phone. The screen looks pretty good, including rounded corners, but those with smaller hands will find it awkward to reach the top third.

Although the IPS screen looks nice, it’s worth noting the resolution is Full HD+ (1080x2160) so the pixel density actually drops from its predecessor to 403ppi. Still, that’s perfectly decent for most users especially at this mid-range price.

While the 8 Sirocco is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, the 7 Plus gets an aptly mid-range Snapdragon 660. This is one way Nokia keeps the price down, but the chip should be able to cope with fairly demanding tasking like gaming.

It’s an octa-core processor – up to 2.2GHz – and there’s 4GB of RAM here to back it up. Performance seemed good during our hands-on time but we’ll test it further when we get a review sample.

There’s also 64GB of storage and a microSD card slot for adding more if you need it. So on some levels, the 7 Plus matches the Galaxy S9 which is close to double the price.

Nokia 7 Plus USB-C

Moving on and the Nokia 7 Plus has some features and specs you’d now expect from a mid-range phone including a rear mount fingerprint scanner, Bluetooth 5.0 and USB-C with fast charging.

It’s also got a headphone jack and the hefty weight is largely down to the huge 3800mAh battery – even more than the S9+. So those looking for long battery life might be fine with the weight, especially as Nokia touts two-day battery life. 

The biggest lure specs wise might well be the cameras, though. As you get a dual-camera setup at the rear with Zeiss technology. It’s impressive that you get the same cameras that are found on the 8 Sirocco, albeit without optical image stabilisation. 

Nokia 7 Plus cameras

So, the main camera is 12Mp with 1.4um pixels and an impressive f/1.75 aperture. The second is a 13Mp telephoto lens with f/2.6. Hands-on time shows the 7 Plus is promising for photography and even has a pro mode found on the popular Nokia 1020. 

The front facing 16Mp camera has adaptive sensor technology and can combine four pixels together to create a ‘super pixel’, according to the firm. There’s also a portrait mode where you can add or modify light sources. 

We’ll test this, along with all the other camera features, properly when we get a sample but the 7 Plus could well be one of the best phones for photography in the mid-range.

Software and apps

We’re quite glad that there’s not much to say about the software on the Nokia 7 Plus. That’s because, like the other new phones, it’s part of the Android One program. 

Nokia 7 Plus Android One

This isn’t something for cheap phones and just means that you get stock Android – ie without lots of user interface additions and tweaks like Samsung and LG do. It also means no-preloaded apps which keeps everything clean and simple.

You get 8.1 Oreo out of the box and access to things like the Google Assistant a swipe away from the homescreen, just like Google’s own Pixel phones. 

Furthermore, the Android One program means you’re guaranteed to get regular security updates and OS updates for two years. They will also arrive quicker than a lot of rivals because Nokia doesn’t add anything on.

Nokia 7 Plus: Specs

  • OS: Android 8.0 Oreo
  • Chipset: Qualcomm® Snapdragon 660 mobile platform
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB internal memory with MicroSD card slot (up to 256GB)
  • Display: 6in IPS LCD full HD+ (2160x1080, 18:9), 403ppi
  • Primary camera: 12MP, 1.4um f1.75, 2PD, Zeiss with dual-tone flash
  • Secondary camera: 13MP, 1.0um, F2.6, Zeiss
  • Front facing camera: 16MP FF 1.0um, F2.0, Zeiss
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, BT 5.0, GPS/AGPS+GLONASS+BDS, NFC, USB type-C (USB 2.0), OTG, 3.5mm AV jack, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, accelerometer, e-compass, gyroscope, hall sensor, fingerprint sensor
  • Battery: Integrated 3800mAh battery with USB type-C fast charging
  • Audio: Single speaker with smart amplifier, Nokia spatial audio capture with 3 mics
  • Dimensions: 158.38x75.64x7.99mm (9.55mm with camera bump)
  • OS: Android 8.0 Oreo
  • Chipset: Qualcomm® Snapdragon 660 mobile platform
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB internal memory with MicroSD card slot (up to 256GB)
  • Display: 6in IPS LCD full HD+ (2160x1080, 18:9), 403ppi
  • Primary camera: 12MP, 1.4um f1.75, 2PD, Zeiss with dual-tone flash
  • Secondary camera: 13MP, 1.0um, F2.6, Zeiss
  • Front facing camera: 16MP FF 1.0um, F2.0, Zeiss
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, BT 5.0, GPS/AGPS+GLONASS+BDS, NFC, USB type-C (USB 2.0), OTG, 3.5mm AV jack, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, accelerometer, e-compass, gyroscope, hall sensor, fingerprint sensor
  • Battery: Integrated 3800mAh battery with USB type-C fast charging
  • Audio: Single speaker with smart amplifier, Nokia spatial audio capture with 3 mics
  • Dimensions: 158.38x75.64x7.99mm (9.55mm with camera bump)

SHOULD I BUY NOKIA 7 PLUS?

The Nokia 7 Plus might not instantly be the best mid-range phone out there but it’s certainly going to be a tempting choice for a lot of people; especially those who don’t mind a slightly larger and heavier device.

If you don’t then you’ll get a huge battery, large 6in 18:9 screen and dual cameras. We also like the stylish design with copper highlights. Stay tuned for a full review soon.

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