Nokia 7 Plus review: Added screen size makes for a fine mid-range phone

Alex Kidman 31 May 2018 NEWS

The Nokia 7 Plus is a fine mid-range phone best suited to those who want larger screens but have limited wallets.

Quick Verdict
The Nokia 7 Plus offers dependable battery life and solid performance, although its style may well be the deciding factor as to whether it's your next ideal phone.

The good

  • Android One means updates are assured
  • Solid mid-range performance
  • Good battery life

The bad

  • Design is a love it or hate it affair
  • Bulky in the hand


Usually when a manufacturer offers up a "Plus" phone, it's the larger sibling of an established line.

HMD Global, the company behind the recent run of Android-based Nokia phones, hasn't gone down that route because there's no Nokia 7 to stand next to the Nokia 7 Plus. It's a standalone unit with mid-range specifications designed to appeal to those who like both the Nokia brand and larger handsets.


Nokia 7 Plus: Design

The Nokia 7 Plus has a design that I can comfortably say is going to be divisive because the use of a copper rim alongside either a black or white finish certainly stands out, but not in a way that everyone will love.

It's very industrial-looking, and some buyers will no doubt adore it, while others may find it garish. It certainly shows Nokia's dedication to solid industrial design because the Nokia 7 Plus feels as though it's built out of premium materials from the moment you pick it up.

Mind you, measuring in at 158.4x75.6x8mm, the Nokia 7 Plus is also a handset that weighs rather heavy and in some ways uncomfortably in the hand in the same way that last year's Nokia 6 did. This isn't a phone you'll easily bend, but equally it's not one that's going to slide comfortably around your hand, especially given its size.

The Nokia 7 features a familiar layout, with right hand side volume and power buttons, a headphone jack at the top, USB C charging at the base and a SIM tray at the left.

Around the back, you'll find the fingerprint sensor, placed a little higher than you might expect. The copper ring around it is solid enough that I quickly got used to that placement, however. Just so nobody can miss your smartphone brand, there's also a copper-embossed Nokia logo lurking there as well.

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Nokia 7 Plus: Camera

The Nokia 8 Sirocco sits as Nokia's current flagship, but the Nokia 7 Plus is no slouch when it comes to camera technology, featuring the same Zeiss lenses, with paired wide angle 12MP f/1.75 and 13MP f/2.6 telephoto lens.

That's used both for 2x optical zooming, something that's becoming very common in mid-range and even some entry-level handsets, as well as in partnership with the wide lens for bokeh effects on photos. Around the front lurks a 16MP selfie camera that can also work in concert with the rear lens for dual shots of yourself and whatever you're looking at. As always, that's a matter of photographic taste, not to mention being able to hold a good frame on two subjects at once.

Like the Nokia 8 Sirocco, you also get Nokia's excellent Android camera app with its swipe-down Pro mode. If you only ever shoot from the hip, this needn't bother you.

If you do enjoy being able to tweak settings to get just the right shot, Nokia's implementation of a pro camera mode is highly recommended, simply because it's very easy to engage and quickly modify settings where so many competitors hide their pro settings away behind multiple taps.

Image quality from the Nokia 7 Plus was, on the whole, exactly what you'd expect from a mid-range camera phone in 2018. In fine conditions, it's perfectly suitable. Pushing it into darker environments did show the Nokia 7 Plus camera struggling a little, but not noticeably worse than any other camera in its class. Here are some sample shots:

Nokia 7 Plus Sample Photos
>
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Nokia 7 Plus: Performance

Even though it's larger than the Nokia 8 Sirocco with its 6-inch LCD display, and despite "Plus" usually meaning better specifications, HMD Global keeps the costs moderate by giving the Nokia 7 Plus the mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor.

The Snapdragon 660 is the mid-range processor of choice for numerous handsets, and it's a fine choice as long as you're not looking for top-notch performance. Paired with 4GB RAM, the Nokia 7 Plus performs almost exactly as you'd expect a mid-range phone to do in benchmark terms. Here's how it performed with Geekbench 4's CPU test against similar mid-range offerings:

3D performance isn't quite a standout for such a large-screened device, but it's perfectly adequate. Here's how the Nokia 7 Plus compared using 3DMark's Slingshot Extreme test:

Benchmarks are useful comparatives but not the entire story when it comes to performance. The Nokia 7 Plus acquits itself well against similarly priced competitors, and in day-to-day usage, it's also exactly what you'd expect from a mid-range 2018 handset.

Like all of its phones save the Nokia 1 and Nokia 8810 this year, the Nokia 7 Plus is an Android One phone, which means that it's guaranteed two years' worth of updates and has minimal manufacturer clutter. This gives the Nokia 7 Plus an almost Pixel-like feel, and the prospect of getting Android P (and probably Android Q) faster than most has a lot of appeal for the longevity of this handset.

It also means that outside the camera app, you're left with rather a blank slate when it comes to how you want the Nokia 7 Plus to look and feel. Response across a range of applications tested was entirely satisfactory. You're not going to mistake it for a premium phone in performance terms, but you're not going to be left waiting for responses all that frequently either.

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Nokia 7 Plus: Battery life

The Nokia 7 Plus is equipped with a relatively hefty 3800mAh battery, which gives it a lot of scope for good battery performance when you consider that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 is a moderate-use but low-power chip. However, that's got to be balanced against the power use of that larger display, especially as it's an LCD.

The Nokia 7 Plus performed admirably in Geekbench 4's battery test for battery score, although some other lower-placed phones managed longer battery life. That suggests a good balance between performance and battery life overall.

Geekbench 4's battery test is quite linear, and your real-world experience will probably give you more battery life than this.

In more anecdotal testing, the Nokia 7 Plus had no issues getting through an average work day without needing a top-up. Sadly, there's no wireless charging onboard, something we're starting to see sneak into the mid-range space that the Nokia 7 Plus occupies.

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Nokia 7 Plus: Verdict

The Nokia 7 Plus doesn't really put a foot wrong for its mid-range pricing, and that's an admirable enough trait. If you're a long-term Nokia fan, it's an easy enough recommendation because it's a better performer than the Nokia 6.1/Nokia 6 2018 while not having the heavy asking price of the Nokia 8 Sirocco.

However, outside the Nokia fan community, it's just another choice in the mid-range space. That metal chassis is solid, which is great from a durability viewpoint, but it also gives it significant mass and heft in the hand, which won't appeal to everybody. It's definitely a phone you should hold before you buy, both to appreciate the style but especially the way it will fit – or fail to fit – in your hand.

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Nokia 7 Plus: Pricing and availability

The Nokia 7 Plus sells in Australia for $649 outright. So far, none of Nokia's phones have landed as contract options with the major carriers, and the Nokia 7 Plus is no exception.

Buy the Nokia 7 Plus

Buy the Nokia 7 Plus from Amazon AU

The Nokia 7 Plus brings the simplicity of Google's Android One platform along with Zeiss lenses and a durable metal body at a very attractive price point.

View details

Nokia 7 Plus: Alternatives

If you're keen on a Nokia phone, the Nokia 8 Sirocco is essentially the premium Nokia 7 Plus with added oomph, but it's a much more expensive device.

It would be worth considering the Nokia 6.1/Nokia 8 2018, which has many of the Nokia 7 Plus's redeeming features at a much lower asking price. If your budget is more on the modest side, and you've got more patience for slower operation and lower quality camera, you could consider the Nokia 3 or Nokia 1 instead.

From a performance viewpoint, it's impossible to overlook the OnePlus 6, although you'll have to import that phone since OnePlus doesn't have any plans to launch it here in Australia.

In the mid-range space, if you want to stick with an Android One handset, consider the HTC U11 Life, which has an almost identical spec sheet to the Nokia 7 Plus, albeit in a plastic body.

You could also consider phones such as the generally excellent Sony Xperia XA2, any of Oppo's or Huawei's upper tier phones, or even the incoming new generation of Motorola phones. It's a challenging prospect because there's not much differentiating the middle tier of phones right now.

Nokia 7 Plus: What the other reviewers say

Site Comment Score
TechRadar "While it might not boast a cutting-edge chipset and it lacks the vibrant punch provided by an AMOLED screen, the Nokia 7 Plus has plenty to offer." 4/5
Tech Advisor "The Nokia 7 Plus (there is no regular Nokia 7) looks like a copper-flecked Google Pixel 2 XL, but it doesn’t quite perform like one." 3.5/5
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Specifications

Product Name
Nokia 7 Plus
Display Size
6.0 inches
Resolution
1080x2160
PPI
403
Processor
Snapdragon 660
RAM
4GB
Storage
64GB
Operating System
Android 8.0
Front camera
16MP f/2.0
Rear camera
12MP dual (f/1.75, f/2.6 2x optical zoom)
Battery
3800mAh
Dimensions
158.4x75.6x8mm
Weight
TBC
Price
$749
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