The Google Pixel 3a is currently our pick for the best smartphone under $400, but it might not be there for long. HMD Global (the company that licenses and creates Nokia’s smartphones) has released the midrange Nokia 7.2, and it includes a triple-lens camera, a glass build, and Android One. The Pixel 3a is in for a serious fight to keep control of its crown. Here’s everything you need to know about the $350 Nokia 7.2.
Last year’s Nokia 7.1 was a good-looking phone, but HMD Global has really pushed the boat out with the Nokia 7.2’s design. While the glass build is much the same as last year, bezels have been slimmed down further, and a new polymer composite replaces the polycarbonate of the Nokia 7.1. That new material is lighter but stronger than polycarbonate, and should add some extra durability. The phone is splash-proof, but there’s no IP-rating for water-resistance.
There’s a dedicated button for the Google Assistant, and many will be happy to see the headphone jack returns. The Full HD+ display measures 6.3 inches, and thanks to the slimmer bezels, it’s still easily usable with a single hand.
Flip the phone and the vertically-stacked camera has been replaced by what’s becoming 2019’s hottest trend — a clustered camera system. In this case, HMD Global has opted for a triple-lens camera module set into a 2×2 layout with the flash unit. The lenses are set into a rounded module, like Motorola’s Z-range smartphones. A fingerprint scanner is set underneath the camera, with Nokia’s branding included below this.
A lower price doesn’t mean less power, though, and the Nokia 7.2 is packing some decent specs to back up its good looks.
- CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 660
- Memory: 4/6GB
- Storage: 64/128GB
- MicroSD storage: Yes, up to 512GB
- Screen size: 6.3 inches
- Resolution: Full HD+
- Connectivity: USB-C, Bluetooth 5.0, 3.5mm headphone jack
- Battery: 3,500mAh
- Size: 159.9 x 75.2 x 8.3 mm
- Weight: 180g (6.3oz)
- Operating system: Android 9.0 Pie
The Snapdragon 660 is where the Nokia 7.2 lags behind its competition. The Pixel 3a is packing the slightly more powerful Snapdragon 670, and that disparity could mean the Nokia 7.2 takes a back seat where power is concerned. Stay away from the more demanding apps and games, though, and you should be alright. Having the choice of 4GB and 6GB of RAM should be plenty for most, and the option of 64GB or 128GB of storage is similarly roomy — especially with the option of bolstering that with up to 512GB of MicroSD card.
A 3,500mAh battery will hopefully provide a solid day’s power, and there’s support for QuickCharge 3.0 through the phone’s USB-C port. There’s no wireless charging, but that shouldn’t surprise you on a phone this price.
You’ll find Android One on the Nokia 7.2, which means you’ll get three years of security updates and two operating system upgrades. At the moment it’s running Android 9.0 Pie, but don’t expect it to be on there for long — Android 10 will be on the way shortly, and you can expect to receive Android 11 when it launches next year. It’s this dedication to fast and consistent updates that really helps Android One to stand out, and the stock Android interface will also appeal to purists.
Stock Android means there are generally few special features on many of Nokia’s phones, but the Nokia 7.2 comes with an interesting new Ambient Mode. Activated when the phone is plugged into a charger, Ambient Mode turns your phone into a smart speaker, displaying Google Assistant suggestions or Google Photos on the ambient display. It’s similar to what Google implemented with the Google Pixel 3 and the Pixel Stand, but with wired charging.
The Nokia 7.2’s triple-lens rear camera module is clearly meant to compete with the Pixel 3a, and it looks up to the job. The main lens is a 48-megapixel monster that uses pixel binning to merge pixels together for better light intake. In essence, this means you’ll be taking 12-megapixel pictures most of the time, but you can force it to take 48-megapixel shots instead. That main lens is joined by an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens and a 5-megapixel depth sensor. There’s also a 20-megapixel selfie lens around the front.
Both the back and the front cameras are capable of Portrait Mode blurring, and that feature has been enhanced with a little Zeiss magic. Zeiss Bokeh Styles mimics the bokeh styles achieved by various Zeiss lenses, allowing you to use them in your smartphone photography. There’s the choice of Zeiss Swirl, Zeiss Smooth, and Zeiss Modern to choose from. There’s also a Night mode, which stacks images of differing exposures together to boost low-light photography.
The Nokia 7.2 is currently available for pre-order from B&H, and it has also appeared on Best Buy. It’s due to release on September 24, and will also be available from Amazon. It will be coming to stores on September 29. It will only work on GSM networks like AT&T and T-Mobile, and will start from just $350 when it’s available.
Updated on September 17, 2019: The Nokia 7.2 is available for pre-order from B&H.
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