Earlier this year, Nokia launched the notched Nokia X6 in China which met with massive success in the country. Now, HMD Global has brought the same handset to India as the Nokia 6.1 Plus. The handset might share the same set of internals as Xiaomi’s massively popular Redmi Note 5 Pro, perhaps the best budget smartphone in India, but there’s a lot that differs between the two devices.
The Nokia 6.1 Plus is launching in the extremely competitive budget mid-range segment in India where you will find plenty of great smartphones. Apart from the Redmi Note 5 Pro, there’s the Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1, Oppo’s RealMe 1, Xiaomi’s own Mi A2, and a bunch of other devices. However, its the Redmi Note 5 Pro which the Nokia 6.1 Plus directly competes with.
So, between the two, which handset is better though? In this comparison, I am going to highlight three aspects of each handset where they outshine their rival. This way, depending on your preference, you will be able to make a sound decision on which smartphone to buy: the Nokia 6.1 Plus or the Redmi Note 5 Pro.
Nokia 6.1 Plus vs Redmi Note 5 Pro Comparison
Where the Nokia 6.1 Plus Wins
Design and Display
If you want a good looking smartphone, the Nokia 6.1 Plus should be your first choice. Unlike the Redmi Note 5 Pro and almost every other smartphone in the Rs 10,000 – Rs 20,000 segment in India, the Nokia 6.1 Plus features an aluminum chassis sandwiched by Gorilla Glass panels at the front and rear. This gives the phone a far premium look and feel than its competition. The Redmi Note 5 Pro, in comparison, features an aluminum build and while it does feel premium, its build quality is simply nowhere near the Nokia 6.1 Plus.
The Nokia 6.1 Plus also features smaller bezels at the front which again gives it an edge in the design department.
The Nokia 6.1 Plus also features a better display than the Redmi Note 5 Pro. Sure, its smaller at 5.8-inches when compared to the 5.99-inch display found on the Redmi Note 5 Pro. But the 19:9 aspect ratio display of the Nokia is more vibrant and crisp in nature. It also has better viewing angles, contrast ratio, and lamination process which makes viewing content a pleasure on the handset.
The Redmi Note 5 Pro’s 5.99-inch 18:9 aspect ratio display is not bad by any means but it pales in comparison to the excellent panel used by Nokia on the 6.1 Plus.
The Nokia 6.1 Plus is among the very few budget smartphones available in India to feature a USB-C port. With most OEMs abandoning microUSB port from their premium and flagship devices, it has been puzzling to see OEMs continue to release budget smartphones in India with a microUSB port. Thankfully, sanity prevailed at HMD Global as it decided to launch the Nokia 6.1 Plus with a USB-C port.
The Redmi Note 5 Pro, on the other hand, comes with a microUSB port. With USB-C being the future, its time for Xiaomi and other OEMs to bid adieu to this old piece of technology.
Speedy Android Updates
The Nokia 6.1 Plus is an Android One handset which means it will receive quick Android security and OS updates. HMD Global has been doing a good job of updating its budget devices with security updates and latest Android releases and the Nokia 6.1 is not going to be any different. If you are someone who values the stock Android experience and want speedy Android OS updates, the Nokia 6.1 Plus should be your clear choice.
MIUI 9 on the Redmi Note 5 Pro might be more feature packed but that also slows down OS updates for the device by months. If anything, the Redmi Note 5 Pro will receive the Android 9 Pie update based on MIUI 10 sometime in Q2 or Q3 next year, while Nokia is expected to complete the Pie rollout for its entire lineup of devices by the end of this year itself.
Where the Redmi Note 5 Pro Wins
While the Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Nokia 6.1 Plus both feature a dual-camera setup, the imaging performance of the latter is downright disappointing. The Redmi Note 5 Pro features a primary 12MP 1.25um f/2.2 aperture shooter, while the Nokia 6.1 Plus features a 16MP f/2.0 shooter with 1.0um pixel.
In daylight, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is able to capture photos with better dynamic range, though both phones do a decent job in most scenarios. It is in low-light where the Nokia 6.1 Plus absolutely falls apart. The camera quality of the handset is a huge disappointment and it is going to be a deal-breaker for many.
If camera quality is important for you, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is the one to go for. Nokia’s offering is a strict no-no when it comes to camera performance.
The base variant of the Redmi Note 5 Pro and Noia 6.1 Plus comes with 4GB RAM. While 4GB RAM is plenty for an average user, advanced users might prefer using a smartphone with 6GB RAM for improved multitasking experience. While Xiaomi offers a 6GB RAM variant of the Redmi Note 5 Pro, Nokia only offers one variant of the Nokia 6.1 Plus with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage.
Sure, the Nokia runs on a stock build of Android Oreo so it does not need as much RAM as the Redmi Note 5 Pro but having 6GB RAM definitely has a positive impact on multitasking which simply cannot be denied.
With both phones coming with a Snapdragon 636 chipset, the difference in their battery life boils down to their battery capacity. The Redmi Note 5 Pro features a massive 4,000mAh battery, while the Nokia 6.1 Plus features a 3060mAh battery. The beefy battery of the Redmi Note 5 Pro ensures that it is able to outlast the Nokia 6 Plus on a single charge. This is despite the latter coming with a slightly smaller display and running a stock build of Android Oreo which is considerably lighter on resources.
The Nokia 6.1 Plus does make up for its smaller battery capacity by offering Quick Charge 3.0 support. This allows the handset to charge to up to 50 percent in just 30 minutes. The Redmi Note 5 Pro pales in comparison here as it only comes with Quick Charge 2.0 support. However, a common issue with both devices is that they do not come bundled with a Quick Charge-compatible charger. Instead, the handsets ship with a regular 5V/2A charger. So, if you want quick charging on either of the handsets, you will have to invest in an aftermarket Quick Charger.
The Nokia 6.1 Plus is priced at Rs 15,999 in India while the Redmi Note 5 Pro is priced at Rs 15,000. Both these phones are an absolute steal for their price and offer plenty of value for money. Irrespective of which phone you decide on, you are not going to go wrong with either of them.
Between the Nokia 6.1 Plus and the Redmi Note 5 Pro, which phone would you prefer? Drop a comment and let us know.