Nokia 7.2 full review

The Nokia 7.2 is one of several new phones announced by the Finnish company at IFA 2019, but the 7.2 looks to be the most impressive of the bunch with an eye-catching design, Zeiss-branded cameras and most importantly, an affordable price tag. We were invited to Nokia’s London HQ ahead of launch to go hands-on with the Nokia 7.2, and here’s what we think of Nokia’s latest mid-ranger so far.

Release date and pricing

While Nokia hasn’t announced the UK pricing at the time of writing, the Nokia 7.2 will be available in two variants – 4GB/64GB and 6GB/128GB – and will cost €299 and €349 respectively once they’re released at the end of September. We imagine it’ll be a fairly straightforward conversion and will cost around £299 and £349 in the UK, but this is unconfirmed for now.

Nordic-inspired design

Nokia claims that the Nokia 7.2 is inspired by “timeless Nordic design heritage”, and while we’re not exactly sure what that means, we do know that the Nokia 7.2 is a gorgeous-looking smartphone. On the front, you’ll find a 6.3in waterdrop display – named due to the tiny central notch that houses the front-facing camera – but it’s the rear of the smartphone that really catches the eye.

That’s because the rear of the Nokia 7.2 features light-diffusing glass that creates a unique shimmer when caught in the light, giving the mid-range smartphone a distinctly premium look. It’s available in three colours; Cyan Green, Ice or Charcoal, and while some may be put off by the idea of a green smartphone, it’s our favourite colour option of the three. It’s one of few design features that help differentiate the Nokia 6.2 and Nokia 7.2, aside from the Zeiss-branded lenses which we go into more detail about below.

The body of the smartphone is made from a polymer composite that Nokia claims is half the weight of aluminium while being twice as strong as polycarbonate – durability isn’t something we could test during our limited hands-on time with the smartphone, but it certainly feels light in the hand at 180g.

You’ll also find a USB-C port, 3.5mm headphone jack, dedicated Google Assistant key and a notification LED on the Nokia 7.2. No need to ditch the wired headphones just yet!

There’s no denying that the Nokia 7.2 is a good-looking smartphone, but it’s way more than just a pretty face.  

A premium display

The Nokia 7.2 features a 6.3in FHD+ LCD display with 10-bit HDR certification, and while that’s not to be sniffed at, the display is further enriched by what Nokia calls PureDisplay technology. The company claims that it overclocks the LCD to “outperform OLED in many areas”, offering a 96 percent colour gamut, an impressive 1:4500 contrast ratio and improved colour accuracy compared to other LCD-powered smartphones on the market.

That’s not all the PureDisplay tech does, though. Utilising a built-in Pixelworks visual processor, the smartphone can upscale standard SDR content to HDR on-the-fly, providing an enhanced viewing experience even if the movie or TV show you’re watching doesn’t officially offer HDR support.

Those specs and features are hard to put to the test in a hands-on environment, but we did note that the display was crisp and detailed, and with a claimed 500nits brightness, that experience should be consistent in both indoor and outdoor environments. Of course, that’s something we’ll put to the test when we get a sample back to Tech Advisor towers!

ZEISS Optics and AI enhance the camera experience

The Nokia 7.1 features a triple camera setup on the rear, comprised of a main 48Mp sensor with pixel-binning tech, an 8Mp 118-degree ultra-wide-angle sensor and a 5Mp depth sensor to improve the accuracy of the bokeh in portrait photography.

All three sensors feature Zeiss optics, which Nokia claims help to recreate a DSLR-level bokeh effect in Portrait mode, complete with signature Zeiss styles (Modern, Swirl and Smooth). Where the portrait mode stands out from the sea of phones that offer similar functionality are the additional effects on offer; HDR and, more impressively, low-light support.

It wasn’t something we could really test in the perfectly lit hands-on area, but if it performs as well as Nokia claims, the Portrait mode of the Nokia 7.2 could produce better results than some flagship-level smartphones.

The front-facing 20Mp selfie camera also gets the Zeiss optics treatment with full Portrait mode support, although without a dedicated depth sensor, we’re not too sure if it’ll be on a par with what’s available with the rear-facing camera.

The rear camera setup also boasts a dedicated Night mode, enhanced by onboard AI. The smartphone can detect whether it’s being held or secured via tripod and adjusts the number of exposures accordingly, ranging from 20 on a tripod to 8-10 in handheld mode. The mode also boasts intelligent noise reduction and ghost image reduction, and Nokia claims that it’s so effective that it’ll work in an environment with as little as 0.1 lux of light.

There are plenty of mid-range smartphones that offer a rather underwhelming night mode, so it’ll be interesting to see how Nokia’s 7.2 performs when we get our hands on a sample.

Standard mid-range internals

The Nokia 7.2 features fairly standard mid-range internals including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 alongside either 4- or 6GB of RAM depending on the variant that you opt for. It’s a similar story with storage, with either 64- or 128GB of storage on offer, although this can be expanded thanks to the inclusion of a microSD card slot.

It didn’t feel particularly sluggish in general use during our time with the smartphone, but that’s not surprising given the amount of power on offer from mid-range smartphones in 2019.

The Nokia 7.2 sports an impressive 3500mAh battery which Nokia claims is enough to provide the majority of users with two days of life on a single charge. When it does need a top-up, Qualcomm’s quick charging tech should speed up the experience, although the exact charging speeds are yet to be announced.

In terms of connectivity, the Nokia 7.2 features 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi alongside Bluetooth 5.0, NFC and 4G support. You'll also find a rear-facing fingerprint scanner beneath the camera module. 

Android 10 ready

Like the majority of the current Nokia range, the Nokia 7.2 is part of the Android One family. That means the 7.2 will get monthly security updates for three years alongside OS upgrades for two years, bringing more value to the mid-range smartphone. Nokia claims that the smartphone is Android 10 ready, and that the smartphone should receive the update in the coming months.  

Aside from that, the Nokia 7.2 provides a clean Android experience, free of any bloatware and branded apps. It’s also one of few phones to offer Google Assistant Ambient mode when it’s plugged in, essentially turning the smartphone into a smart speaker/display with hands-free Assistant support.  

Early verdict

We’ll reserve our full verdict for now, but based on our hands-on impressions, the Nokia 7.2 has the potential to be one of the best mid-range smartphones in 2019. The design is eye-catching and unique, the display is bright and crisp, and the rear-facing camera setup could potentially compete with what premium smartphones offer.

Specs

Nokia 7.2: Specs

  • 159.88 x 75.11 x 8.25mm
  • 180g
  • 81.3% display-to-body ratio
  • Available in Cyan Green, Charcoal, Ice
  • 6.3" FHD+ Waterdrop display
  • PureDisplay technology
  • HDR10 support
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 660
  • 4/6GB RAM
  • 64/128GB storage
  • Triple rear-camera setup (48Mp main, 8Mp 118-degree wide-angle, 5Mp depth sensor)
  • Zeiss Optics
  • Dedicated Portrait and Night modes
  • 20Mp front-facing camera
  • 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • GPS + AGPS + GLONASS + BDS + Gallieo