Last year, the Nokia brand made its comeback to the smartphone market with the Nokia 6. It was launched by HMD Global, the Finnish company that has the license to make and market Nokia-branded smartphones. As the first Android smartphone to carry the iconic Nokia name, the Nokia 6 was well-recieved by consumers. However, for the price, the smartphone offered an underpowered (Snapdragon 430) SoC and a basic camera experience.
This year, HMD Global is back with Nokia 6’s sequel. Simply dubbed Nokia 6 (2018), the new smartphone includes numerous improvements over the original version. These include a better chipset (Snapdragon 630) and a rear camera with Zeiss optics, which should make the camera experience better. It’s worth mentioning that Nokia 6 (2018) hasn’t been introduced in India yet, but might get launched soon.
Last year’s Nokia 6 didn’t really perform well against its competitors like Moto G5 Plus and Redmi Note 4. So the question is, can the new version beat the rivals when it comes to cameras?
To find out the answer, read our in-depth camera comparison between the Nokia 6 and one of the best mid-range smartphones out there – the Xiaomi Mi A1.
|Nokia 6 (2018)||Xiaomi Mi A1|
|Rear||16MP, f/2.0, Carl Zeiss Optics, PDAF, Dual LED dual-tone flash||Dual 12MP (f/2.2)+12MP (f/2.6), PDAF, 2x Zoom, Dual LED dual-tone flash|
|Front||8MP, AF, f/2.0||5MP|
When it comes to daylight photos, it does appear that Nokia has made some improvements to the Nokia 6 (2018), as the newcomer clicks better photos. Compared to the Xiaomi Mi A1, photos taken from Nokia 6 look (marginally) better in terms of color accuracy and details. Mi A1, on the other hand, takes a lead when it comes to sharpness.
The above details are visible when zooming in on the photos. And even though the comparison shots look similar when viewed on a laptop, we found Nokia 6 (2018) to be better.
Daylight Photos (HDR)
HDR mode brings changes to photos from both the smartphones, although Mi A1’s shots appear better with it. On the other hand, Nokia 6 (2018) tends to make the images darker. This reminds us when the iPhone 7 camera was criticized for capturing darker images with HDR mode turned on. Nokia 6 (2018) also overexposes brighter areas of the images, but their color accuracy is good.
Xiaomi Mi A1, on the other hand, beautifully takes care of images when the HDR mode is turned on. It captures both bright and dark areas with good details and realistic colors. In this section, the Mi A1 is definitely better.
Depth Of Field Photos (Bokeh or Portrait Mode)
Over the last couple of years, ‘Bokeh’ (also called Portrait) mode has become one of the preferred and most-used features by smartphone users. This is the reason most manufacturers now include a dedicated depth-of-field mode in the camera (apps) on their smartphones. That said, Nokia 6 (2018) and Xiaomi Mi A1 don’t have it.
Talking about depth-of-field photos, both smartphones show more or less same performance. We couldn’t find any distinguishable differences between the photos captured from both smartphones. Nokia 6 (2018) and Xiaomi Mi A1 are both very good at blurring background and keeping subject in focus, when taking portrait mode photos.
Although both smartphones are fairly good at stitching together multiple shots to produce panoramic images, Xiaomi Mi A1 surpasses Nokia 6 (2018) when it comes to capturing details and sharpness. The latter tends to soften the images, leading to loss of quality and sharpness. Even with HDR, panoramas from Nokia 6 (2018) aren’t as good as those from Xiaomi Mi A1.
Xiaomi’s offering wins in this department.
First thing first, none of the two handsets is good for lowlight photography. We found both smartphones’ lowlight camera performance to be just average. That said, the Mi A1 is the little bit better.
Nokia 6 (2018) tends to overexpose the light parts of photos. Plus, its images are darker than those from Xiaomi Mi A1 and lack sharpness. Quality of photos is also not better than Xiaomi Mi A1’s photos.
The Mi A1 also produces average-looking images, but its results are slightly better than those of Nokia 6 (2018) in terms of sharpness, brightness and overall quality. Lighter parts of images are sometimes overexposed. Still, Mi A1 takes the lead here.
Lowlight Photos (HDR)
Turning on HDR mode doesn’t bring satisfactory results on either smartphone, but Xiaomi Mi A1 is still better than Nokia 6 (2018).
On Nokia 6 (2018), HDR mode makes lowlight images look a bit yellowish. To recall, the original Nokia 6 also did the same during our testing last year. Other important aspects like photo quality, details and sharpness levels are below average in the HDR photos of Nokia 6 (2018).
With HDR mode turned on, Xiaomi Mi A1 overexposes the light parts of photos. However, image quality and other details like sharpness and color accuracy are better. Photos from both smartphones have noise.
The new Nokia 6 (2018) blurs the background when one captures a selfie, while the Xiaomi Mi A1 takes a regular photo. Still, the results are poles apart in this case. Nokia 6 (2018)’s photos look natural, while Xiaomi Mi A1’s look whitened. This can be seen in the included samples.
Other things like image quality and color accuracy are identical on both the smartphones.
There’s no clear winner here, according to us. It depends on whether the user prefers a natural-looking image or a digitally-whitened photo.
Selfie (Beauty Mode)
Nowadays, most of the smartphones come with the so-called ‘Beauty Mode’ that whitens the faces in selfies. As such, Nokia 6 (2018) and Xiaomi Mi A1 have it as well.
While the ‘Beauty Mode’ on Nokia 6 (2018) just somewhat brightens the face and maintains facial contours too, it completely whitens Xiaomi Mi A1’s selfies. Zooming in reveals that details are much better in photos from Nokia 6 (2018) than in those from Xiaomi Mi A1 which tends to overexpose the bright part.
The Nokia 6 (2018) is a clear winner here.
As an overall package, the new Nokia 6 (2018) is sure to give tough competition to Xiaomi Mi A1 (and other rivals) when it launches in India. But if we talk about the camera experience, it lacks a little in departments like HDR and lowlight photography. That said, it’s still very capable when it comes to photos.
In summation, Xiaomi Mi A1 wins over Nokia 6 (2018), but only by a very thin margin.