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Honor 7X vs. Nokia 6: Can Honor beat the Finnish veteran?


Not every phone has to cost $1,000 — the Honor 7X is the latest phone to redefine our expectations for budget handsets, and it does so while being powerful, running smoothly, and looking oh so good. But there are other phones that also represent great value for money, and the Nokia 6 is one of them. Which phone wins when these two budget queens clash? We took a look to find out.

Specs

Honor 7X

honor 7x vs moto e4 plus huawei

Nokia 6

nokia 6

Size 156.5 x 75.3 x 7.6mm (6.18 x 2.96 x 0.30 inches) 154 x 75.8 x 7.9mm (6.06 x 2.98 x 0.31 inches)
Weight 165 grams (5.82 ounces) 169 grams (5.96 ounces)
Screen 5.93-inch IPS LCD display 5.5-inch IPS LCD display
Resolution 2160 x 1080 pixels (407ppi) 1920 x 1080 pixels (403ppi)
OS EMUI 5.1 (over Android 7.0 Nougat) Android 7.1.1 Nougat
Storage 32GB for U.S., 64GB for international 32GB, 64GB
MicroSD card slot Yes, up to 256GB Yes, up to 256GB
NFC support No Yes
Processor HiSilicon Kirin 659 Qualcomm Snapdragon 430
RAM 3GB for U.S., 4GB for international 3GB, 4GB
Connectivity GSM / HSPA / LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n GSM / HSPA / LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
Camera Dual sensor 16MP & 2MP rear, 8MP front 16MP rear, 8MP front
Video 1080p @ 30 fps 1080p @ 30 fps
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.1 Bluetooth 4.1
Audio Headphone jack Headphone jack
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Other sensors Accelerometer, proximity, compass Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Water resistant No No
Battery 3,340mAh 3,000mAh
Charging port Micro USB Micro USB
Marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Colors Black, Blue, Gold, Red Arte Black, Matte Black, Tempered Blue, Silver, Copper
Availability HiHonor Amazon, B&H, Best Buy
Price $200 $230
DT review 4 out of 5 stars Hands-on review

The Nokia 6 is a solid performer, and the Snapdragon 430 does a good job of keeping the phone snappy and responsive. However, in this fight it’s up against the Kirin 659 — one of Huawei’s proprietary chips. In the Honor 7X, that processor does amazing work that puts the Honor phone alongside the Moto G5S Plus — and it utterly obliterates the Moto E4 Plus‘s Snapdragon 427. In processing power, it’s pretty obvious Honor has the edge.

Thankfully for the Finns, the Nokia 6 claws some points back with the memory options. The Honor 7X comes with 32GB of storage and 3GB of RAM in the U.S. (the 64GB/4GB model is only available internationally), while the Nokia 6 has two models available in the U.S.; a 32GB/3GB model, and a 64GB/4GB model. It’s not too much of a victory though, since both phones allow for up to 256GB of extra storage with a MicroSD card, and the difference between 3GB and 4GB of RAM is arguable.

Other than that, it’s fairly equal here. Both phones are rocking Bluetooth 4.1, and the lack of Bluetooth 5.0 is acceptable in a budget handset. They have resisted the flagship trend of cutting features as well — both the Nokia and the Honor phone have a headphone jack. If you’ve got your heart set on Android Pay, then the Nokia 6 has NFC for your needs. No chance of that on the Honor 7X though.

It’s a varied bag of strengths and weaknesses here, and it makes picking a winner tough. But for our money, extra processing power trumps extra onboard storage and NFC. The Honor 7X wins.

Winner: Honor 7X

Design and display

honor 7x review app close

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

If you’re hoping for an up-to-date design on the Nokia 6 then you’re likely to be slightly disappointed. That’s not to say the Nokia 6 is a bad looking phone – it’s certainly better looking than some of its rivals, like the Moto G5, and the phone feels more premium, thanks to the body being made from a single block of aluminum. Hard edges give it its own style, and the Arte Black color is a fancy touch you don’t often see in budget phones.

However, it struggles to match the minimal bezels on the Honor 7X. Honor has brought the trend for massive screens on smaller bodies to the budget market with the Honor 7X, and the mismatch is easy to see. The Honor 7X’s sleek design leaves the Nokia 6 in the dust. And it seems Nokia agrees — rumors are hinting 2018’s Nokia 6 will also follow the bezel-less trend.

Those minimal bezels on the Honor 7X continue over to the display. The Nokia 6’s 5.5-inch IPS display is bright and clear, but it’s up against an 18:9 aspect ratio, 2160 x 1080-pixel resolution running on a massive 5.93-inch screen. Even if you’re not a fan of the bezel-less design on the whole, you have to admit a larger screen is usually better — especially when the Honor 7X is only 2mm taller than the Nokia 6.

In terms of durability neither phone is anything special. There’s no water-resistance, and each phone is made from metal, so there’s no need to worry about breaking a glass back. The Honor 7X does have an innovative feature here though — little air-bags in each corner of the phone help lessen the impact from drops. It’s not fully shockproof, but we saw an Honor spokesperson drop the phone multiple times with no damage.

The Nokia 6 can’t stand against the shifting sands of time — its aging design is trumped by the bezel-less looks and enormous screen of the Honor 7X.

Winner: Honor 7X

Camera

Nokia 6

The Nokia 6 comes equipped with a 16-megapixel camera mounted on the back, and an 8-megapixel selfie-snapper around the front. The rear camera is good, and it’ll produce some good shots in the right lighting. The front-facing camera is similar, and you’ll get Instagram-worthy selfies out of it. But there’s nothing special here, and it’s clear the camera wasn’t an especially strong focus for Nokia.

The same can’t be said for the Honor 7X. The dual sensor, rear-mounted camera pairs a 16-megapixel and a 2-megapixel lens, with the 2-megapixel lens providing the professional-looking “bokeh” effect we’ve come to expect from dual-sensor phone cameras. It would be classed as a good camera in a midrange phone, and so it’s pretty amazing Honor put something this good into a $200 phone. Honor is using Huawei’s software, and it’s been tweaked to improve focusing speed and low-light. The front-facing 8-megapixel camera is similarly good, and borrows many features from the rear camera, including a Portrait Mode, and the “bokeh” effect.

If the camera is important to you, then there’s only one choice here.

Winner: Honor 7X

Battery life and charging

honor 7x review facedown bottom

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Having good battery life can mean the difference between a lift home at the end of the night, or walking home in the rain. To that end, both of these handsets come with large batteries that start at 3,000mAh. We haven’t had a chance to fully test the Nokia 6’s 3,000mAh battery, but based on what little testing we have done, it’s able to last the day, though it may struggle to do so with heavier usage. The Honor 7X’s 3,340mAh battery takes advantage of the extra battery capacity, and should make it the full day on most days — but like the Nokia it may struggle with heavy usage.

So the clincher comes down to charging speed. Unfortunately, neither phone comes with any specific type of fast charging, so you’re likely to be tethered to a cable for a while if you do get caught out. It might be worth investing in a good power bank when it comes to these phones. You won’t find wireless charging on either device — though that certainly shouldn’t be expected on phones at this price range.

This is another close one. We’re giving it to the Honor 7X based purely on the slightly larger battery capacity, and the fact it did ever-so-slightly better in our tests.

Winner: Honor 7X

Software

honor 7x vs nokia 6 mwc  2

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

You’d be hard pressed to find two Android phones with more different software if you tried. The Nokia 6 is running a stock version of Android 7.1.1 Nougat. That’s no additional bloatware, no heavy-handed UI reskins, just pure Android, as Google intended. It’s swift and snappy, but it can get bogged down in more demanding apps and games. But that’s part and parcel of having a budget phone, so you should be able to let that slide. It’s a shame not to see Android 8.0 Oreo on here yet, and though Nokia has promised it in 2018, we don’t have a real timetable yet.

Contrastingly, the Honor 7X runs Huawei’s proprietary Emotion UI (EMUI), an extensive re-skin of Android. It’s EMUI 5.0, running over Android 7.1.1 Nougat, so, like the Nokia 6, it’s not the latest software. It has some neat tricks and additions, but if you’re a fan of stock Android then this definitely isn’t the phone for you. Still, we’ve grown to enjoy using it, and although it can be confusing at times, gesture support, multi-screen apps, and the extensive power-saving options make EMUI a good OS for your phone.

Again, it’s too tough to pick between the two. We’ve got a soft spot for the stock Android experience, but the extra fun jammed into EMUI deserves your attention too. It’s a tie.

Winner: Tie

Price and availability

honor 7x review fingerprint

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Nokia 6 is currently available with prices usually starting from $230 for the handset. If you’re an Amazon Prime member you can pick one up for a massive discount, but do remember that comes with on-screen ads and offers from Amazon. It also doesn’t fully support AT&T, and you won’t be able to use it on Sprint or Verizon either — though T-Mobile users will have no issues.

The Honor 7X is also available, with prices starting from $200. Like the Nokia phone, it won’t work on Verizon or Sprint, thanks to the lack of a CDMA band. At the moment, you can only grab it from the HiHonor store.

It’s not difficult to score this round. The Honor 7X is cheaper (excluding Amazon Prime member deals), is more powerful, has a better camera, a huge screen … the list goes on. Honor’s budget phone represents pure value for money.

Winner: Honor 7X

Overall winner: Honor 7X

Ouch. It’s a whitewash. The Nokia 6 doesn’t deserve this, and it paints a terrible picture, but the Nokia 6 is a good budget phone with good specs that makes a good showing for itself. It’s just the Honor 7X is so far ahead of most of the competition it’s almost unfair. There are some reasons to get the Nokia 6 over the Honor 7X, but they’re few and far between. NFC is the only really notable one.

If you’re looking to buy a budget phone right now, you should be picking the Honor 7X over the Nokia 6, every time.






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