Nokia 7.2 Test: A Hamster's Rare Failure for HMD Global – AndroidPIT

HMD Global is renowned for making very good midrange smartphones. Until now, the formula was simple: clean software, high quality finishing and few gadgets. The Nokia 7.2 applies the same recipe but seeks to achieve higher ambitions. Alas, some mistakes have been made. Here is our complete test.

More

  • Android stock
  • Fast software updates
  • Finishing quality
  • Flexibility of the camera

less

  • Confused notch options
  • Disappointing autonomy
  • No water resistance
  • Competition is better

Nokia 7.2 – Release Date and Price

On the occasion of IFA 2019, the Finnish manufacturer offers a hardware upgrade for two of its mid-range smartphones: the Nokia 6.2 and 7.2.

The most premium of the two, the 7.2, is available now on the Nokia and Amazon website. The version with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage that we tested costs 329 euros. The Nokia 7.2 is available in three colors: Charcoal, Cyan Green and Ice.

The prices of HMD Global are sometimes a bit confusing. The Nokia 8.1 that I really liked to use in February is now available under 300 euros. Nokia's competition for the 7.2 is strong with smartphones such as the Realme X2 (299 euros), the Redmi Note 8 Pro (299 euros) and the Motorola One series (230 – 350 euros)

Trendy design tropes

The only thing you can be sure of when you buy a mid-range Nokia is craftsmanship. The Nokia 7.2 is no different in this regard. There is
Gorilla Glass 2.5D Glass
at the front and rear, something that is becoming less and less a novelty in this price range, but the frame is unfortunately not aluminum. HMD Global calls this a "vacuum metallized polymer composite"But for my hands, that's still plastic, it's not as good as metal, alas.

At the front we have a 6.3-inch IPS panel with a Full HD + definition. The size of the screen has increased significantly compared to the Nokia 7.1 (5.8 inches) and the body / screen ratio has also been improved to now 82%. The borders around the screen could be thinner, especially at the bottom, where the frame looks wide only to incorporate the Nokia logo.

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The frame is made from a "vacuum metallized polymer composite". © AndroidPIT

Moving backwards, we immediately notice the trend that all manufacturers seem to follow in 2019 with the circular camera module. We saw this design for the first time on the Mate 30 Pro and more recently on the OnePlus 7T. Now, Nokia has its own circular camera setup for the midrange. It houses three sensors and an LED flash, as well as the Zeiss logo to represent the partnership we are used to on these phones. It extends a little beyond the back of the phone, but it means that the body of the device remains slim. It is also light with 180 grams.

I would be satisfied with the quality of manufacture and the design of Nokia 7.2 considering the price of the device

One thing I really like about the design of the Nokia 7.2 is the fact that HMD Global has managed to keep the notification LED alive despite the teardrop-shaped notch. The solution is a thin strip of light built into the power button. White light comes on and pulsates against the dark frame of the phone. It's been a long time since I used a phone with a notification LED and 7.2 was a nice step back, especially since there is no Always On screen.

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The LED notification light illuminates inside the power button. © AndroidPIT

HMD Global also included the dedicated Google Assistant button that we saw introduced on the more affordable Nokia 3.2 and 4.2. There is no way to remap the button to another function as Samsung now allows it with its unpopular Bixby button, but you can at least disable it.

In general, I find these digital assistant buttons very painful and I disable them immediately after having quickly verified their proper operation. Overall, I would be satisfied with the quality and design of Nokia 7.2 given the price of the device but it is not as robust and well done as the Nokia 8.1, which has a very nice frame in aluminium. There is no IP68 sealing on the 7.2 either.

A bold big screen

The
6.3 inch LCD screen is one of the highlights of the Nokia 7.2
. The definition of 1080 x 2280 pixels (401 dpi) is perfectly sufficient for everyday use and multimedia consumption. The 19: 9 format will be familiar to those who have already used Nokia brand phones as well.

The maximum brightness is 500 nits, the contrast is 1: 1500, and the smartphone supports HDR10 technology with the ability to convert SDR content to HDR. All this leads to a more than pleasant experience. HMD Global's PureDisplay technology is back once again.

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The screen is really pretty good. © AndroidPIT

However, I have a small complaint about the screen on this device. Whether you like or hate the notch is a polarizing subject, but one thing that all smartphone users can surely agree on is that personalization options are never a bad thing. The notch of HMD Global is a disappointment. After removing the possibility of hiding the notch on the Nokia 6.1 Plus and then restoring it, the situation became even more disconcerting.

When I tested the Nokia 8.1 last February, the notch was hidden by default. However, some users have indicated that they have the option to choose in the Advanced section of the display settings. Others had to activate the development options and find them there. Others had to wait for an update before one of the two options appeared. On our Nokia 7.2 test device, the option to hide the notch was not found. This could change with an update, of course, but why is it so complicated? The question also seems to differ from one region to another.

Android One for quick updates

The Nokia 7.2 is further proof of HMD Global's commitment to rapidly delivering Android updates. Nokia has finished delivering Android 9 Pie to its smartphones last June, even for terminals for less than 100 euros like the Nokia 1. Better, the brand has already announced its roadmap for Android 10.

As part of the
Android One program
you can rest assured that you will not have to wait very long for the latest Android software on the Nokia 7.2. Android 10 will begin to be deployed on HMD flagships, such as the Nokia 9 PureView, as early as Q4 2019.

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Android One is always a pleasure to use. © AndroidPIT

Apart from that, there is not much to say about the Android One software nowadays. It is clean, free of bloatware software and is as close as possible to the software experience of a Made by Google device. The only real disadvantage of Android One for manufacturers like HMD Global is that you do not get any special gestures or smart additions that OnePlus and Motorola like to add on their Android user interfaces.

Performance was sacrificed

When I first took a look at the Nokia 7.2 datasheet, I was concerned about the performance. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 has been integrated into smartphones in 2017. Combine that with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage and the Nokia does not look exactly like a racehorse on paper.

Unfortunately, this has been confirmed while using the phone. Performance was a major problem with the Nokia 7.1, but things have improved dramatically with the launch of 8.1, with the processur Snapdragon 710. It seems that Nokia has taken a step forward and two steps back here. I can not help but think that you are paying the high price for this camera setup.

The experience is not so terrible. For everyday tasks and a little light social media use, the 7.2 will be perfect for most users. Things get worse when you start doing multiple tasks at once and, in particular, try to move quickly from one application to another. I also had some issues with slowdowns even when I was trying to do the simplest tasks like opening a new tab in Chrome. The camera app was stuck once. These are things that could be solved with software updates, of course, but it's unfortunate that we have to live that by buying the terminal. I really thought that Nokia had changed in the field.

As you can see in our benchmark tests below, the Nokia 7.2 has lower scores than all of its major competitors, including the Nokia 8.1.
Realme is killing HMD Global on performance at this price level
.

Nokia 7.2 on benchmark tests

3DMark Sling Shot Extreme 3DMark Sling Shot ES 3.0 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited ES 2.0 3D Mark Sling 3D Shot Shot Vulkan Geekbench 5 (Simple / Multi) PassMark Memory PassMark Disk
Nokia 8.1 1832 2683 28959 1988 S.O.S.O. 12497 51919
Realme X2 2356 3358 36312 2221 540/1716 25511 61348
Nokia 7.2 1344 2015 25764 1288 338/1262 12678 47421
Realme 5 Pro 2091 2990 28541 1980 321/1498 12595 67088

Long live the headphone jack

There are also sacrifices to make on the audio level. Nokia 7.2 does not support high-resolution audio streaming. You get Qualcomm's aptX audio technology, but not aptX HD. The difference is only marginally perceptible, to be honest, if you listen to streaming music from Spotify or another platform.

You will notice a much greater difference in quality if you play your own audio files from the device. At
less, you get a 3.5mm headphone jack on top of the smartphone
to plug in your own headphones and get better audio quality.

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There remains a 3.5mm mini-jack. © AndroidPIT

The creativity of the camera goes before the quality

The camera is the big bet of HMD Global with this Nokia 7.2. The game plan is clearly that, regardless of the performance of this phone, it can compensate with a cool and feature-rich camera. Even before pressing the shutter button, I was afraid it was a risky strategy. We have seen time and again manufacturers focus on the camera in the mid-range and not be up to it. What worried me here is that Nokia makes you make a lot of sacrifices to get this camera configuration for 329 euros.

I must say that the bet of the Nokia 7.2 camera is a bet that has not really paid off.

The configuration of the quad-camera on the Nokia 7.2 is as follows:

  • 48 megapixels, f / 1.8, (wide angle), 1/2 ", 0.8μm, PDAF
  • 8 megapixels, f / 2.2, 13 mm (ultra-large)
  • 5 megapixel, depth sensor
  • 20 megapixels, f / 2.0, HDR

There is a new night mode that combines up to 20 individual images to provide a picture without noise in low light. Nokia says it can provide usable images at 0.1 lux. It's quite successful for the price, but with midrange devices like the Google Pixel 3a, it's far from being the market leader. In the United States in particular, where the price of the Google phone and the Nokia is closer than in Europe, it is difficult to see why anyone would opt for the 7.2 if it was really in low light photography.

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The Nokia 7.2 camera module is circular. © AndroidPIT

The 48 megapixel main sensor is doing this pixel fusion trick that we have already seen to create beautiful 12 megapixel photos. There is no optical stabilization of the image, so it is easy to end up with blurry photos, especially in night mode. The built-in Pro mode is more efficient than the automatic mode with a little effort and skill, but it is a feature that few people tend to use at the time of photographers of photos and photos on smartphone. The main camera shoots 2160p or 1080p video at 30 frames / second. There is an electronic image stabilizer on board to prevent things from getting blurry, but you'll still need a steady hand to get good results.

All in all, I have to say that the bet of the Nokia 7.2 camera is one that has not really paid off.
The device is undoubtedly fun, and there are many options such as Dual and Picture-in-Picture modes for those who can not stand taking a picture without seeing their own face. But it's still the same story for a mid-range smartphone camera.

In the end, the smartphone offers good photos in good light but not good enough to compete with competitors in this price range. I can not say that I would recommend this model unless you are only looking for a fun and affordable photophone without worrying about the rest.

A disappointing autonomy

The Nokia 7.2 is equipped with a 3500 mAh battery and can be quickly charged up to 10 watts
. This is the same battery size as 8.1 (although fast charge support up to 18W is available).

I was disappointed by the battery life of this smartphone. Once during my first few days of testing, I managed to drain about 40% of the battery in just 1 hour 40 minutes of screen time. Things have improved once I started modifying the background apps in the battery settings, but it's still mediocre.

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Charging is via USB-C. © AndroidPIT

The PC Mark Battery test also showed that the 3,500 mAh batteries are not all identical. 7.2 got a result of 8 hours and 43 minutes. The Nokia 8.1, for comparison, scored 11 hours and 7 minutes. As always, better software and the update to Android 10 should improve the battery life of the Nokia 7.2.

Final verdict

I really wanted to love the Nokia 7.2. I am a fan of HMD Global and I have not even disliked the Nokia 9 PureView as much as others in the industry. The 8.1, in particular, was great. It is with a bit of sadness that I came to the conclusion that the 7.2 is a step backwards for the brand. For only a few tens of euros more, you can have a Nokia 8.1 with a better processor, better autonomy, a notch easier to hide and a quality finish that just seems much more premium. Things look even worse for the 7.2 when you look at what other brands like Realme offer for about the same price.

The Nokia 7.2 is a smartphone for the kind of user who wants to have fun with a feature-rich camera, but that does not really need the best results in terms of quality. You also have to sacrifice the performance of the device and not worry about charging their phone every eight or nine hours. Does this consumer really exist in 2019? I'm not so sure.

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