FMT test drives the Nokia 4.2

The Nokia feels premium despite its price.

The Nokia 4.2 is one of the latest releases with a reboot in design and it really does look great for a smart phone worth RM599. Though the Android One experience and Google’s bloat-free software template do help improve user experience, how does the phone’s underlying hardware fare?

Design

The Nokia 4.2 has a 5.71 inch display, but its high screen-to-bezel ratio helps the phone to not look as big as sounds. It feels compact and premium despite its price.

Plus, it is comfortable to hold due to its rounded ages. However, the glass rear panel is a fingerprint and dust particle magnet, which can make the phone look dirty especially on the black unit.

You would have to buy a protective case separately, or commit to wiping the smudges routinely. As the body is made of glass, a single drop could badly damage the phone, so extra care must be taken when handling it.

On the right side there is a power button beneath the volume rocker which glows to indicate unread notifications or that the phone is charging. Although the colour of the glow is default white, it still looks great in the dark.

The phone has the familiar Android feel.

On the left is a dedicated Google Assistant button, which would be useful for the avid Assistant user. While this feature can be disabled, it cannot be remapped. There is also a SIM tray.

At the top sits the 3.5mm headphone jack and a microphone, whereas the micro-USB port, speaker, and another microphone can be found at the bottom.

Most of the latest products have USB-C ports. Having just one cable that can charge different kinds of devices is incredibly convenient. Hence, the Nokia not having a USB-C port is a let-down.

Display

The Nokia 4.2’s HD+ display renders underwhelming colours and image content looks pixelated. On the bright side, the Night Light (amber screen tint) mode can be enabled with easy access.

Runs on Qualcomm Snapdragon.

Performance

The SIM tray has three slots to accommodate two Nano-SIM cards and a microSD card for a total of 400GB.

Considering that almost half of the internal storage of 32 GB is used up even with just 31 apps, most of which are pre-loaded, using a microSD card is necessary.

The processor is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 439, which means that performance can be slow despite running on stock Android. Apps, in-app functions and even the camera take a few seconds to load.

Photos take even longer to load and some are pixelated. The audio quality via speaker is decent though it leans on the soft side, whereas headphone audio is very good.

Camera

The Nokia has a dual rear-facing camera system pairing a 13-megapixel lens with a 2-megapixel depth-sensing camera.

Photos are captured in crisp detail.

Photos captured in broad, natural daylight with HDR result and Live Bokeh mode in crisp detail. Its saturation level looks natural as well.

On the other hand, as one might expect, photo quality is not as good in low light or in the dark because it does not have a dedicated low-light mode.

Although the phone also comes with pro-editing settings, not everyone knows how to use such manual tools.

The front camera (8MP) has an optional beautification filter which can be used to lighten skin colour, enlarge the eyes, sharpen jawline and smoothen skin, but these cannot be tweaked individually.

As for videos, both front and rear cameras can record videos at full-HD and HD resolutions. Unfortunately, the frame rate and aspect ratio cannot be adjusted.

Saturation was decent but focusing on a subject was a struggle.

The battery can run out pretty fast.

Battery life

It has 3000mAh, and one full charge takes approximately 3 hours.

The battery drains considerably fast by just playing songs despite using Battery Saver mode when the phone is connected only to Wi-Fi with the backlight turned only halfway up.

About 10% is being drained every hour although, when not in use, the phone can go for two or even three days without charge.

Android One

The Nokia 4.2 runs on the Android One program, so it’s guaranteed at least two years of Android software and security updates.

The phone is able to receive and download updates much earlier than most other Android phones.

Other general advantages of using Android One include security, new features and bug patches. Nokia 4.2 users can use Google Pay.

Verdict

For a smart phone costing RM599, the Nokia 4.2 does a decent but very basic job. It is recommended to research all smart phones within this price range before making a purchase.