Battery and performance
Coming in at 3,800mAH, the battery for the 7 Plus is quite sizable and my tests showed no trouble getting through a 16-hour day. Screen on time of six hours was easily achievable too.
However, when used for streaming Netflix at full audio volume and full brightness, it did zap quite a bit of power for a two-hour full feature length film – about 30%, which I found higher than the usual 20% or so power usage.
Charging via USB-C was acceptable, going from 30% to about 80% in little over an hour, but still not as good as Huawei’s Supercharge or OnePlus’ Dash charge.
Performance-wise, the 7 Plus came in with scores from Geekbench 4.2 at 1,585 for single core mode, while multicore mode scored 5,781. As for AnTuTu, the 7 Plus came in at 139,245. These are pretty respectable scores, given that it has 4MB RAM on a Snapdragon 660.
In real life, there isn’t much lag using the smartphone and playing games such as Asphalt 8 wasn’t too much of a problem. This meant that everyday app functions weren’t too much of a challenge either.
Display for the 7 Plus was quite good and bright enough for daily use. The 18:9 ratio is also a welcome change from the standard 16:9, and I applaud Nokia for going that way, as this format will be pretty standard in times to come.
The screen was bright enough to be used outside, the colours quite neutral but a tad more saturated than usual, something I’ve come to expect of a good IPS panel. There are settings that you can adjust on the smartphone though.
Audio quality was acceptable for a mono-speaker, although I thought the sound quality felt ‘thin,’ as it lacked bass. The clarity was OK, but it didn’t give a rounded sound, which some 7 Plus rivals can manage.
But for me, the Plus point of the 7 Plus is the performance of its Android One OS. It’s silky smooth to use and everything clicks when it comes to getting to your apps and turning them on.
Camera and video
In the camera department, the Nokia 7 Plus has chosen to go for a wide-angle 12MP camera with an f/1.7 aperture and a 13MP telephoto lens with an f/2.6 aperture. This setup is used to give the ‘bokeh’ effect, commonly known as the ‘portrait mode.’
For the most part, the settings are pretty standard. On the left top section of the photo app, there is a menu from which you can select a few modes: Normal, panorama, pro-mode, live bokeh and the general settings.
Do note that the 7 Plus, at this price range, does not have optical image stabilisation, and you’ll have to have quite steady hands to take good pictures. On the flip side, the 7 Plus does offer 2x optical zoom, which is a nice touch at this price point.
Camera quality is as good as one would expect from a Zeiss lens in bright and medium bright conditions. Pictures captured were lively and colour balance was pretty good – vivid yet not too saturated that it becomes unreal.
Exposure of the sensors was also pretty balanced and I got some good shots just by positioning the camera properly. Shutter speed was also OK
However, low-light photography seems to be somewhat lacking compared to what the competition can do.
For the most part, it took low-light pictures generally well, but there was over exposure in some of the pictures I took. Colour was OK but details weren’t as crisp as other devices I’ve used.
I also found the portrait mode a bit of a bother. As I tried to focus in on the object in the foreground, the software sometimes held me back in trying to focus, claiming that it’s “too dark”. I don’t know why that is, but once I switched to better lighting, this quirk seemed to go away.
The biggest marketing point Nokia tries to make about its new range of products is its “Dual-Sight” mode, which the company claims lets you use both front and back cameras simultaneously for split-screen photos and video.
While the idea seemed pretty novel – and I would acknowledge that some would find such a feature interesting, even useful – I for one didn’t think so much of it that I would recommend it as a must-buy feature.
The Nokia 7 Plus does video at [email protected] and [email protected] It also supports slow motion video, which was acceptable.
All in all, I would say that the 7 Plus camera functions were pretty good, save the low-light situation.
At RM1,600, the Nokia 7 Plus is obviously positioned as a mid-range challenger to the likes of Samsung Galaxy A8 or the Huawei Honor 10, and many more.
The trouble with this segment – and I’ve said this before – is it’s tight with competition and if you’re gonna shell out a grand and a half on a smartphone, you better be liking specific features of the device enough to part with your hard-earned cash.
The selling point of the Nokia 7 Plus for me is the Android One experience, coupled with a good camera set up, strong battery life, and a good 18:9 display that is vivid, bright and as neutral as an IPS panel can go.
The Android One experience goes beyond the speedy UI feel; it also guarantees that you have quick updates on your phone, which addresses everything from your security to feature and bug concerns.
As for looks, well that’s an area of preference. Some will like it, others won’t, so this is purely subjective.
In the final analysis, I think the Nokia 7 Plus has come some way since its earlier smartphone designs and implementation, and to me, it is this marked improvement which I think should give consumers a moment of pause to consider this as a smartphone for them.
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