HMD Global hasn’t launched a lot of phones this year, perhaps to bring some simplicity and uniformity to this year’s lineup after releasing numerous phones in 2018. In fact, one of the reasons the Nokia 7.1 was hard to recommend last year (despite being an attractive smartphone) was due to the more affordable and popular Nokia 6.1 Plus. The newly launched Nokia 7.2 does not face that problem, which is why it is easy to call it the best Nokia phone to buy under Rs 20,000 right now.
Nokia 7.2 starts at Rs 18,599 for the base model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB internal storage and goes up to Rs 19,599 for the 6GB + 64GB configuration. This makes it more affordable than the Nokia 7.1 when it launched. However, given the nature of the market right now, the Nokia 7.2 still faces stiff competition against the likes of Realme XT, Redmi K20 and Samsung Galaxy M30s.
A few things going for the Nokia 7.2 is its premium glass design and stock Android software. The phone also touts upgraded cameras with Zeiss lenses and a PureDisplay screen, among other things. We review the Nokia 7.2 to find out whether these features are convincing enough to invest in.
Nokia 7.2 Design
HMD Global prides itself on crafting phones that exude elegance and class and the Nokia 7.2 is a testament to that. The phone looks and feels premium thanks to a combination of high-end materials being used. The front and back of the Nokia 7.2 is glass while the frame is a polymer composite that is supposedly as strong as polycarbonate and lighter than aluminium. This essentially means the frame will feel like plastic to the touch but offers a solid build that won’t allow the phone flex under pressure.
The Gorilla Glass 3 protection on the back is of the frosted, matt finish variety that offers an extremely smooth feel. It actually makes the panel slippery, but it is great at avoiding fingerprints and smudges. The unit I received was in Charcoal Black colour, which looks elegant and stealthy. The Cyan Green colour is easily my favorite between the two and definitely the one to buy if you’re looking for a colour that stands out without looking to overt.
Nokia 7.2 is a tall phone, which means reaching the top of the display to pull down the notification panel will be difficult with one hand. The frame is around 8.25mm in thickness and weighs 180 grams, so it does feel substantial in the hand. Depending on how big your hand is, you might reach the rear fingerprint sensor naturally in one go or your finger may touch the camera module instead.
Speaking of the camera module, HMD Global has gone with a circular mound on the Nokia 7.2, which gives it a unique look in the portfolio. It is not as big and unsightly as the old Nokia Lumia 1020, which is good. It is much smaller and quite elevated, which means the phone will not rest flat when placed on a table. This is worrying as it can cause scratches on the camera glass after a while, although I did not notice any damage during my week-long usage.
Around the frame, you will see the volume keys and power button on the right side. The power key gets an LED notification light as seen previously on the Nokia 4.2 and Nokia 3.2. The light glows when you receive messages, notifications or missed calls. On the left side of the frame, you will find a dedicated Google Assistant button and a SIM tray that can hold two nano SIM cards and a microSD card. A 3.5mm headphone jack can be seen on the top while the bottom of the phone gets a Type-C port and a single speaker grille.
Nokia 7.2 Display
Nokia 7.2 sports a 6.3-inch FHD+ PureDisplay screen. It is the same screen technology used by HMD on the Nokia 7.1 and Nokia 8.1 last year. PureDisplay is claimed to offer a higher contrast and wider dynamic range compared to regular LCD displays. It natively supports HDR and can also upscale SDR videos to HDR in real time when the feature is enabled in Settings.
HMD’s PureDisplay technology impressed us last year and the same is the case with the Nokia 7.2 this year. When the PureDisplay mode is enabled, you’ll notice colours look more saturated while watching videos or playing games. You can switch on Dynamic Mode which will automatically change the tone of the display depending on the content you’re watching, which is a feature I found to be a little unstable. You can also enable White Balance that will offer more balanced whites across the UI.
The Nokia 7.2’s display looks fantastic, offering deep and punchy colours that will make you believe you’re looking at an OLED display. The display is sharp and offers good brightness levels indoors, but not quite enough for outdoor viewing. Nokia 7.2 meets the Widevine L1 standard, so you can stream content on Netflix and Prime Video in HD resolution.
Nokia 7.2 Performance and Software
The Nokia 7.2 runs on an octa-core Snapdragon 660 SoC paired with up to 6GB of RAM. You would be familiar with the processor as it is over two years old now, which may put off some users. But the Snapdragon 660 SoC is a solid mid-range processor that is known to perform well and handle day-to-day tasks with ease.
When it comes to social media browsing, messaging or playing games, the Snapdragon 660 will offer a smooth, lag-free experience. Based on a 14nm process, the processor is also quite power efficient. It is equipped with an Adreno 512 GPU, so you won’t be able to run games like PUBG at high graphic settings without running into lags and framerate issues.
While the Snapdragon 660 is known to be a snappy processor, the Nokia 7.2 does not feel like a snappy smartphone. This is largely because of the stock Android interface, which comes with slow animations that can make the phone feel slower than it really is. That being said, there’s no denying the appeal of a clean, bloatware-free Android software.
Nokia 7.2 is an Android One device much like every other Nokia smartphone and ships with Android 9 Pie. HMD has been terrific when it comes to delivering major software and security updates, so you will feel safe with the Nokia 7.2. A little while ago, HMD revealed a timeline for Android 10 rollout for Nokia smartphones, but the Nokia 7.2 was missing from the list. With HMD now starting Android 10 rollout with Nokia 8.1, we expect the Nokia 7.2 to receive the update by Q1 2020.
As mentioned earlier, the Nokia 7.2 comes with a fingerprint sensor, which is not as snappy as you would find on rival smartphones like Realme XT and Redmi K20. Same goes for face unlock which is also slow and cannot be carried.
Call quality over the earpiece is clear and loud and the caller had no trouble listening to me as well. The speaker on the bottom is clear as well and offers a balanced sound while playing music or watching videos, but it doesn’t get too loud.
Nokia 7.2 Camera
Cameras have been upgraded on the Nokia 7.2 compared to the Nokia 7.1. The predecessor offered a standard 12MP + 5MP dual camera setup on the back, but the Nokia 7.2 gets a triple camera system that includes a 48MP main sensor, 8MP ultra wide-angle lens and a 5MP depth sensor. The front camera has also been upgraded from an 8MP sensor to a 20MP sensor for selfies.
The cameras on the Nokia 7.2 look relevant given the competition around. The main camera manages to capture some really good-looking photos in daylight with colours that look saturated and vivid. It can sometimes look a little too loud, but you will most likely be pleased with the results. With the wide-angle lens, you can add a new perspective to photos by expanding the frame.
There is a visible shift in colour tone between the two cameras. Photos look warmer using the primary camera while colours look cooler in wide-angle shots. You can capture some pleasing outdoor photos with blue skies using the wide-angle camera, but don’t expect them to look sharp or detailed.
By default, the Nokia 7.2 will capture photos in 12MP resolution and will use pixel binning to stitch adjacent pixels to offer brighter and detailed photos. You can switch to raw 48MP resolution if you want to capture highly detailed photos, especially if you’re looking to blow it up into a large poster. You can find the 48MP mode in Settings under Photo Resolution, but you should use it rarely and only in bright, daylight conditions.
The Nokia 7.2 gets a dedicated Night mode, which comes in handy in low-light scenarios. It does an above average job at letting in more lightly by increasing the shutter speed, but photos appear soft. The night mode on the Nokia 7.2 still needs some work in computational photography to match up to what Realme, Oppo and Xiaomi offer in this segment.
There are plenty of other modes to be found in the camera app such as Pro mode for more control over your shots, panorama, Google Lens and slow motion. There’s also Portrait mode with new Zeiss bokeh effects that lets you change how the background blur appears in real time with options like Zeiss Swirl and Zeiss Star. Bokeh shots offer decent separation and can look pleasing if the blur is kept at average to low intensity.
Nokia 7.2 Battery
Nokia 7.2 houses a 3,500mAh battery, which is around 440mAh bigger than the battery on the Nokia 7.1. It still sounds small based on today’s standards, but don’t let that fool you. The Nokia 7.2 offers a great battery life that can easily last close to two days on a single charge.
My usage during the review was fairly intensive as it involved watching a lot of videos, playing games and using the camera a lot, among other things. On such heavy days, the Nokia 7.2 would still give me over a full day battery. For most people, general usage should get them a day and a half to two days of battery life thanks to a combination of stock Android OS and an efficient Snapdragon 660 processor.
The Nokia 7.2 does not support fast charging and the box includes a 10W charger that takes roughly an hour and a half to fully charge.
Should you buy the Nokia 7.2?
Nokia 7.2 is an expectedly delightful upgrade over its predecessor. We loved the look and feel of the Nokia 7.1 and the new model once again brings the same elegant charm and class, if not better. The Cyan Green colour is one I would vouch for, and you will be quite satisfied with how premium the phone feels in the hand.
As a standalone product, the Nokia 7.2 is a great mid-range smartphone. It offers a clean and smooth stock Android experience with a dependable (yet dated) Snapdragon 660 processor under the hood. It also comes with some decent cameras that belong in 2019 and a solid battery life on top of it all.
That being said, the competition is pretty stiff in the sub-Rs 20,000 segment with phones like the Realme XT and Redmi K20 to name a few. They offer newer, faster processors and some terrific cameras. But the Nokia 7.2 is able to match up to them with an attractive PureDisplay screen and classy design.
Nokia 7.2 review
- Elegant glass design
- Excellent PureDisplay screen
- Good battery life
- Stock Android OS
- Snapdragon 660 is a little dated
- Night mode can be better