Nokia 4.2 Review

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Introduction

Nokia finally introduced its upgraded version of Nokia 4.1 and as per the previous naming convention, the device goes by the Nokia 4.2 moniker. It is yet another budget smartphone which comes with the sub-10k price tag. Well, the budget segment is the most heated one and this price range surely attracts attention from other competitors. 

 

The newer Nokia is known for offering curved-dual glass and stock Android experience. Both these aspects have now become a key highlight of every other budget Nokia device. Although the smartphone maker tries to emulate a premium experience, their devices still face backlash because of not-so-powerful hardware. 

 

Fortunately, we got our hands on the recently launched Nokia 4.2. So, does the smartphone follows the footsteps of its predecessors or we finally have something different here? Let’s find that out in our comprehensive review.

Price in India, Variants, Availability

Nokia 4.2 comes in a single storage variant featuring 3GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage. In fact, the device also comes in single Black color option. Although the smartphone is officially priced at INR 9,499, interested buyers can get it for INR 8,999 on Amazon India. Nokia is also offering No Cost EMI options on major credit and debit cards. Furthermore, buyers will get benefits worth INR 2,500 from Vodafone Idea.

Box Contents

Nokia 4.2 comes in a flat unconventional box that has the device’s photos printed on the front along with the company’s branding. Sliding the content out of the box, you will see the device itself covered in a protective film. Right underneath it, we have a SIM ejector tool and few paper works. Opening the other section, you’ll come across the regular 5W charger, micro-USB cable and a pair of earphones. There is no transparent back case which we generally see from the competitors. 

 

The earphones seem to be of decent quality and are the ones which we used to see earlier with the older Nokia devices. The brand should have at least gone with the 10W wall charger. 

 

Here is a quick overview of what you’ll be getting inside the box: 

 

 – Nokia 4.2 

 – 5W wall charger 

 – Micro USB cable

 – Pair of earphones 

 – SIM ejector tool 

 – Manuals and documentation

Specs at a glance

Before we jump right to the in-depth review, let’s have a quick look at the key specifications of the device. 

 

 – Display: 5.71-inches IPS LCD display, 720×1520 pixels, 295ppi 

 – Processor: Snapdragon 439, 12nm 

 – GPU: Adreno 505 

 – RAM & ROM: 3GB, 32GB 

 – Software: Android 9.0 Pie, Android One 

 – Rear cameras: 13MP+2MP

 – Selfie camera: 8MP, f/2.0

 – Battery: 3,000mAh capacity, 5W charger 

 – Weight: 161g

 – Dimensions: 149×71.3×8.4mm 

 

With key specs cleared out of the way, it’s time to talk about the very first aspect of the device.

Design and Build Quality

When it comes to design, the Nokia 4.2 borrows various elements from Nokia 6.1 Plus and Nokia 5.1 Plus. Even though it is a budget device, the company manages to offer premium build quality. For this price tag, the smartphone feels extremely great and visually appealing at the same time. The device is made up of plastic but features glass on both front and back for the increased build quality.

 

At the back, there is a dual-camera module that sits fairly flat on the glass surface along with an LED flash. Right below the sensors, there is a physical fingerprint sensor which we will talk about in detail later. The back of the device looks pretty glossy and visually appealing by still keeping the minimal look to it. You will not found the gradient hues that is what differentiates the device from the rest. All in all, Nokia 4.2 looks much more premium than its price suggests. 

 

Nokia 4.2 is a relatively compact phone measuring 8.39mm thick and weighing just 161g. If you like using a small profile device, then you’re going to love the Nokia 4.2. If ergonomics and design are one of your concerns, then you should have this device on your final list. The front of the device is dominated by a compact 5.71 inches IPS LCD display with a waterdrop notch. 

 

Coming to the buttons, we have a dedicated Google Assistant key on the left side that would come in handy if you use virtual assistant a lot. Single tapping the key will launch the Assistant while double-tapping will give information based on your history and location. On the right side, we have a volume rocker and power button. Surprisingly, the power key is surrounded by the light which acts as a notification light. It also lights up when the device is plugged in. Overall, I like this nifty addition on the power key giving it a nice personality while not messing the overall flat and minimal design. 

 

At the bottom, you will find a Micro USB port for charging, microphone and a speaker grille while the 3.5-mm headphone jack sits at the top. As expected, the back of the device is a fingerprint magnet. Ignoring that, the smartphone features one of the best-looking design and build at this price tag.

Display

Nokia 4.2 is equipped with a 5.71-inch IPS LCD display having a water drop notch and thick bezels on the sides. The chin is relatively thicker which results in a screen-to-body-ratio of 76.6 percent. Even though the devices manage to impress us with its visually appealing design, it left us disappointed with its HD+ display. With 720×1520 resolution and 295ppi density, the screen lacks in punchy colors and pixels. 

 

The brightness is a little dim making it hard to read sometimes under direct sunlight. Also, the black levels are okayish. Coming to the viewing angles, the overall experience is average. Thankfully, the addition of teardrop notch gives it a modern look. You can not stream Full HD content on media streaming services such as Netflix and Prime Video. Also, the screen does not scream vibrant colors.

 

There is Adaptive Brightness which automatically adjusts the brightness. You can also make use of Night Light for comfortable viewing experience at night. There are plenty of other smartphones that offer much better display experience either at the same price or slightly higher. In conclusion, there is nothing to write home about here. In fact, the overall display experience is average.

Performance

Under the hood, the device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 chipset coupled with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The Snapdragon 439 SoC is manufactured over the 10nm fabrication process and consists of eight cores. It includes 2x Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 2.0GHz and 6x Cortex-A53 clocked at 1.45GHz. For graphics, the device makes use of Adreno 505 GPU. 

 

The Snapdragon 439 is a weak processor and you will face numerous stutter or lag even during regular usage. In our usage, apps were opening quite slowly and switching between them was a laggy experience. For instance, the keyboard took its own sweet time to open up in apps such as WhatsApp and Messenger. If you’re an aggressive heavy multitasker, then this is not the right phone for you. 

 

Coming to gaming performance, you can play graphics-intensive games such as Pubg Mobile and Fortnite only at the lowest settings possible. Even then, the games take a sweet amount of time to load. The weak CPU performance combined with average display makes this device a not so perfect phone for casual gaming. The competitors at this price are offering much better internal and hence, better gaming performance. 

 

Even for an average user, the internal storage might not be enough. For such scenarios, there is an expandable storage option using the MicroSD card to up to 400GB. The 3GB, on the other hand, should be enough for an average user out there. If you’re a power user, then the Nokia 4.2 is not designed for you.

Software

Nokia 4.2 runs on the stock Android 9.0 Pie based on the Android One platform. The smartphone maker offers an unadulterated version of Android. It comes with all the Android 9.0 Pie features such as Digital Wellbeing, Adaptive Battery, Adaptive Brightness and navigation gestures. You also get Ambient Display which shows notifications without waking the screen up. 

 

The best part is the fact that the device is free of bloatware apps which is something most of the competitors are focussing more on. Moreover, there are no inbuilt ads and spammy notifications. Instead, Nokia is giving the original experience of the Android operating system, the way it meant to be. With no bloatware apps, you get a decent amount of internal storage to play around with. 

 

Since Nokia 4.2 is a part of the Android One program, users will get several years of assured updates. In fact, the company has promised both Android Q and Android R in the near future along with the security patches for three years. The fact that the entire user experience is clean and bloatware-free with software updates support makes this device the best one in terms of software.

Cameras

Nokia 4.2 comes with a dual-camera module at the back which consists of a 13MP primary sensor and a 2MP secondary depth sensor. For selfies, there is an 8MP front snapper housed inside the waterdrop notch. At this price point, we are not expecting some spectacular camera performance. In essence, the result is respectable and above-average considering the price tag. 

 

In daylight, the clicked shots turn out to be perfectly well balanced with the above-average dynamic range. In fact, the photos have that crisp in it. We tried clicking some macros and the result was great with punchy colors. Overall, the photos have a good level of detail and exposure. Everything works well until you have decent lighting conditions. The secondary depth sensor works fairly well.

 

Comes lowlight conditions, the entire camera performance starts to fall apart. You start to get more level of noise and less brightness in the clicked shots. That’s the case with almost every other smartphone at this price tag. Sadly, there is no night mode in this device along with AR stickers, scene modes, bokeh effect and much more. 

 

Coming to the selfie cameras, there was no sign of over smoothening like the one we usually found on Chinese smartphones. The clicked selfies look very natural with a decent level of details, exposure, and dynamic range. On the other hand, we noticed lots of noise in the selfies. The camera also comes with Google Lens support which does a good job of identifying things. 

 

Both the front as well as rear cameras can record videos in Full HD as well as HD resolution. 

 

The video quality is just average and we faced lots of issues with the focus. Moreover, the device lacks any form of stabilization which results in shaky videos. It is worth mentioning that the camera app is a little slow thanks to the weak processor. After pressing the shutter button, the device takes a good amount of time to click the pictures.

Battery Life

Nokia 4.2 is backed by a mediocre 3,000mAh battery packed inside with no support of fast charging. Thanks to the low-res display and limited specs, even this much battery capacity is enough to get you throughout the day. On light usages such as calls, messages, and occasional web browsing, the device can easily last for about two days on a single charge. On average usage, the device can last for an entire day. If you’re a power user, you might have to charge it twice a day. 

 

The device lacks any type of fast charging support as well as the latest USB Type-C port for charging. The device can take a pretty good amount of time in charging from zero to 100 percent.

Audio, Connectivity, Biometrics

For audio, the smartphone comes with a bottom-firing single stereo speaker with decent output and good depth. At the maximum volume, we did not find any type of distortion. There is a 3.5-mm audio jack which also outputs good audio quality. You can use the bundled pair of earphones which is of decent quality. Furthermore, we did not find any issue with the earpiece, microphone, and cellular connectivity. 

 

The device comes with all the basic standard connectivities which include single-band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, FM Radio and micro USB 2.0 port for charging. Coming to the biometrics, there is a physical fingerprint sensor at the back which seems to work decently. In various scenarios, I was unable to unlock the device in a single attempt. You also get the Face Unlock feature which works good but is not that reliable and secure.

Verdict

Nokia 4.2 is an amazing smartphone in terms of two aspects and that includes attractive design and software experience. Thanks to Android One, the device gives you a bloatware-free experience with the promise of software support until three years. Furthermore, the device looks expensive even though it lies in the budget segment. When it comes to the day to day performance, things get a little tricky. The low-res display is not perfect for consuming media while the device lags due to weak processor. It is not made for gaming so if you’re into that, strike this device out of your consideration. The battery life is great as long as you are an average user. The moment you start to consume media for longer hours the battery life starts to drop significantly. The device is designed for those who are looking to get a gist of flagship experience at the budget price. If you’re looking for more, then the Nokia 4.2 is not the right phone for you. You might want to go with Chinese companies since they are offering powerful internal at the same price. Pros: - Premium build quality - Stock Android One Experience - Decent battery life Cons: - Cameras could have been better - Weak processor - No fast charging