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Nokia 4.2: Premium and Pristine for the budget segment – The Unbiased Review

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HMD Global – The home of Nokia smartphones launched a bunch of smartphones at MWC19 Barcelona, this February. While most were upgrades to the existing series like the Nokia 3.2 and Nokia 1 Plus. The Finnish startup also announced two new series – the midrange Nokia 4.2 and the flagship Nokia 9. While the media went gaga over the Penta camera smartphone Nokia 9. The Nokia 4.2 is a hidden gem, especially in that pink sand colour. It really feels nothing like a budget device thanks to its premium hardware and pristine Android One software.

Now, let’s look at the specs of the device and move to the review part –

GENERAL

Release date February 2019
Form factor Touchscreen
Dimensions (mm) 148.95 x 71.30 x 8.39
Weight (g) 161.00
Battery capacity (mAh) 3000
Colours Black, Pink Sand

DISPLAY

Screen size (inches) 5.71
Touchscreen Yes
Resolution 720×1520 pixels
Aspect ratio 19:9
Pixels per inch (PPI) 269

HARDWARE

Processor octa-core
Processor make Qualcomm Snapdragon 439
RAM 3GB
Internal storage 32GB
Expandable storage Yes
Expandable storage type microSD
Expandable storage up to (GB) 400
Dedicated microSD slot Yes

CAMERA

Rear flash Yes
Front camera 8-megapixel (f/2.0, 1.12-micron)
Front flash No
Rear camera 13-megapixel (f/2.2, 1.12-micron) + 2-megapixel (f/2.2, 1.75-micron)

SOFTWARE

Operating system Android 9

CONNECTIVITY

Wi-Fi Yes
Wi-Fi standards supported 802.11 b/g/n
GPS Yes
Bluetooth Yes, v 4.20
NFC Yes
Micro-USB Yes
Headphones 3.5mm
FM Yes

SENSORS

Fingerprint sensor Yes
Proximity sensor Yes
Accelerometer Yes
Ambient light sensor Yes

IN THE BOX

  • Nokia 4.2 handset
  • 3.5mm Earphones
  • Charger
  • Micro-USB Cable
  • SIM Ejector Tool
  • User Manual and Warranty

The Nokia 4.2 comes in a square slideout box which is reminiscent of HMD Global smartphones that have launched in the past. In the box, users get the Nokia 4.2 handset, all the supplied accessories like Micro-USB cable, Power Adaptor, In-ear handsfree, SIM Pin and the usual documentation.

DESIGN AND DISPLAY

  • 5.71 inches IPS LCD
  • 720 x 1520 pixels, 19:9 ratio (~295 ppi density)
  • Dedicated Google Assistant Button
  • Breathing Notification Light embedded in the Power button 

The Nokia 4.2 has slim bezels all around the sides of the screen, even above the teardrop notch at the top. There is a chin/bottom bezel, with the Nokia logo on it. The device comes with a unibody design with the back and front covered with glass for a more premium feel. But as with most glass back smartphones, this too is a fingerprint magnet. Though it shouldn’t be the case with the Pink Sand colour.

 

On the front, there’s a waterdrop cutout at the top that houses the front camera module, and there’s a slit above the housing for the earpiece speaker.

Nokia 4.2 Notch Display

The left gets the SIM tray that can accommodate two active 4G SIM cards and a dedicated MicroSD card. Below the SIM tray is the dedicated Google Assistant Button.

Nokia 4.2 SIM tray

On the right are the volume rockers and the power key that comes with an embedded breathing notification light. I know a lot of people who take a decision if the phone has a notification light or not. To all those people, take my word for it that this is the best implementation of the notification light on a smartphone.

Nokia 4.2 Notification Light

On the top are the 3.5mm headphone and a secondary microphone. On the bottom is the Micro-USB port along with Speakers and Microphone on either side.

On the back is the fingerprint scanner below the dual-camera setup with Nokia branding in the middle and Android One badge at the bottom.

Nokia 4.2 Rear Cameras

Since I have been using bigger phones like Pixel 3 XL for a while now, I ended up touching the flash module most of the time whilst trying to unlock. But since you get Face Unlock, you can always use either of them to unlock the device.

HARDWARE AND PERFORMANCE

  • Snapdragon 439 (12 nm)
  • 3000mAh Battery
  • 3GB RAM and 32GB ROM
  • Adreno 505 GPU
  • Dedicated MicroSD Card slot (up to 400GB)

Yes, Nokia 4.2 is one of the first smartphones to be powered by the SD439 SoC. The Snapdragon 439 is a 12 nm processor with eight Cortex A53 cores – four clocked at 1.95GHz, and four at 1.45GHz. In India, we only get the 3/32GB variant with expandable memory up to 400GB via MicroSD card.

The global variant gets NFC but that has been excluded in India. For connectivity, you get Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, FM radio, 3.5mm jack, a Category 4 LTE modem with 150Mbps download speeds, and VoLTE.

Nokia 4.2 handles day to day tasks with a breeze and I never had a problem with it. Of course, it’s not meant for intensive tasks or graphics-heavy gaming. But you are getting a lot of goodies for that price so we can’t complain. For the geeks out there who want to know the benchmark scores, the 4.2 has an Antutu score of 88.701.

SOFTWARE

  • Android 9.0 (Pie)
  • Android One experience – No Bloatware, No Ads
  • Dedicated Google Assistant Button

The Android One experience that the Nokia devices offer is by far the best reason to buy them. Android One devices receive at least two years of OS upgrades, monthly security updates for 3 years and also have Google Play Protect integrated. It also means the device comes with the latest version of stock android without any bloatware out of the box. In this case, Nokia 4.2 comes with Android 9 Pie straight out of the box.

Like all other Android One devices, Nokia 4.2 offers pure android experience with the only addition being the custom Camera app and the Nokia support app for after sales service.

Even the dedicated Google assistant button has a few tricks up its sleeve.

Nokia 4.2 Google Assistant button

CAMERA

  • 13 MP, f/2.2, 1/3″, 1.12µm Rear Camera
  • 2 MP, depth sensor
  • Phase detection autofocus
  • 8 MP, f/2.0, 1/4″, 1.12µm Selfie Camera

The Nokia 4.2 comes with dual lens setup comprising of 13-megapixel main camera with a 2-megapixel depth-sensing camera to get you some decent Live Bokeh photos. The teardrop notch on the front has an 8-megapixel camera for selfies.

As mentioned before the camera app has been tweaked by the engineers at HMD to give you a custom experience. The app has a Pro mode, Live Bokeh (Portrait) mode, Square mode, Time-Lapse, Panorama and Google Lens mode. Surprisingly, the Bothie mode is missing in the camera app. Has Nokia given up on its Bothie mode or is it the limitation of processing power that it lacks it?

The smartphone captures some decent shot both with or without HDR but the Live Bokeh needs a lot of refinement even with the depth sensor in place. Users can also shoot in RAW mode but then they can’t edit the depth information on the device.

The resolution for video recording is FHD 1080P for both front and back cameras.

Here are some photo samples for your reference –

THE UNBIASED VERDICT

First things first, this device is not for people who are ready to trade-off user experience and build quality for a powerful processor or more RAM. Like all other Nokia smartphones, this device is for people who want a holistic experience, who want premium build quality and pristine user experience.

In a nutshell, the Nokia 4.2 won’t throw ugly ads at you when you are in settings, you won’t have to wait for codes and get frustrated to buy the device, and your device will always be the first to get updates. That alone makes it worth it for INR 10,990 for the 3GB/32GB variant.

Yes, we would have loved the inclusion of Type-C USB port and a brighter, more vibrant display.

Availability

The Nokia 4.2 comes in two colours, Black and a stand-out Pink Sand at a recommended best buy price of INR 10,990 for the 3/32GB storage variant.

Nokia 4.2 will be available exclusively on Nokia.com/phones for a 7-day period starting 7th May and exclusively across select retail outlets and partners like Croma, Reliance, Sangeetha, Poorvika, Big C and MyG starting 14th May.

Nokia 4.2 will be available pan-India across top mobile retail outlets and Nokia.com/phones starting 21st May.

The launch offers include –

Launch offers with instant INR 500 off on Nokia 4.2 till 10 June 2019. Consumers can use promo code “LAUNCHOFFER” to avail this limited period offer when purchasing Nokia 4.2 on www.nokia.com/phones. T&Cs apply

Nokia 4.2 consumers get free six-month screen replacement worth INR 3,500 covered under Nokia phone screen protection insurance, brought to you by our partner, Servify. T&Cs apply

Consumers purchasing Nokia 4.2 using HDFC Bank Credit and Debit cards on EMI and regular transactions done through Pinelabs terminals in offline stores will receive a 10% cashback. Consumers can also avail 10% cashback when they use HDFC consumer finance. This offer is available at retail outlets till 10th June ‘19.  T&Cs apply

Vodafone and Idea subscribers will receive INR 2,500 instant cashback by way of 50 vouchers of INR 50 each. These vouchers can be redeemed on recharge of INR 199 and above. T&Cs apply.

Disclaimer: We tested the Nokia 4.2 smartphone(3GB/32GB) as our primary device on Jio 4G VoLTE network for one week. All our reviews are unbiased and are published without the brand getting to read it before you guys. We don’t change our reviews on pressure from brands and that’s the reason we are not sent review units from companies like Samsung.

NOKIA 4.2

  • DESIGN AND DISPLAY 8
  • HARDWARE AND PERFORMANCE 7
  • SOFTWARE 9
  • CAMERA 7
  • User Ratings (0 Votes) 0
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Summary

In a nutshell, the Nokia 4.2 won't throw ugly ads at you when you are in settings, you won't have to wait for codes and get frustrated to buy the device, and your device will always be the first to get updates. That alone makes it worth it for INR 9,990 for the 3GB/32GB variant.

7.8 Premium and Pristine on a Budget

Social Media Evangelist | Gadget Guru | Model | Photographer | Ex- BlackBerry Boy - Now iOS | WP8 | Droid. Founder and Chief at ‘The Unbiased Blog’. I breathe in WiFi zone, prefer LTE over LIT. Ex MSFT, MCP, A+ and coder. I like news to be served to me on twitter.