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Nokia 6 vs Moto G5 Plus: Stock Android face-off

These are good times for Nokia fans and loyalists who have been waiting for years for their beloved company to rise from the ashes and become a dominant player in the smartphone world again.  After years of decline which eventually led to a buyout by Microsoft and the collapse of the Lumia line of smartphones, Nokia is finally coming back courtesy of HMD Global, a Finnish company which was given the rights to design and make Nokia branded smartphones in 2016.

Moto G5 , Android
Moto g5


Just a few weeks after the launch of the Nokia 3310 in India for Rs 3310, HMD Global has launched the Nokia 6, Nokia 5 and Nokia 3 in the country. All three smartphones run a completely stock build of Android 7.0 Nougat and come with sleek and svelte designs. The smartphones also come with the promise of timely updates, with Android O already confirmed to arrive on all three smartphones as and when it is released.

The Nokia 6 is the top of the line smartphone in Nokia’s Android smartphone line-up and squares off directly against the Moto G5, which has gained appreciation from both critics and consumers alike. One year ago, the Nokia 6 would have trounced the Moto G4 Plus, which was quite underwhelming and received middling reviews.

The Moto G5 Plus however is a vastly improved device and features a premium metal design and much better cameras than its predecessor.  The fact that both smartphones run stock versions of Android and are similarly priced makes a face-off between them all the more interesting.

Pure, untouched Android

Finesse, great design, a hassle-free user experience and good build quality – these are the traits with which HMD Global is aiming to distinguish the Nokia 6 from the rest of the crowd. The marketing for the Nokia 6 reads – “pure, secure, and up to date”, which gives us a clear indication about how much HMD Global is betting on stock Android and timely updates to give it an edge.

However, the Moto G5 Plus is also running stock Android, albeit with minimal modifications made by Motorola.  These modifications like some first-party apps by Motorola and certain gestures like flicking your wrist to activate the camera are very light and minimal and don’t take away from the pure Android experience in any way. In fact, for some they might be useful additions that set the G5 Plus apart from the Nokia 6.

One area where Nokia has the potential to gain ground over Motorola is when it comes to updates. As mentioned above, HMD Global has time and time again re-iterated their commitment towards timely monthly security patches and new version updates.

Both smartphones run stock versions of Android and are very closely matched in terms of hardware, cameras and price

Historically, Motorola has been well known for timely  Android updates, being second only to Google’s own Nexus line-up.  However, since Lenovo’s takeover of Motorola, the company  has started coming under criticism for failing to provide timely version updates and has been non-committal to monthly security updates. There have also been some rumours swirling around the Internet which point to Motorola eschewing stock Android in favour of ZUK UI in future Moto smartphones.

On the software front, both smartphones are a clear step ahead of the competition. Most phone out there running such a distorted version  and heavily skinned version of Android that it fails to look like Android altogether. Such skins slow down the phone over time and add unneeded bloat and clutter. This is a win for both the Nokia 6 and Moto G5 Plus. Whether HMD Global will actually fulfil their promise of timely updates is a question that can only be answered with time.

Battle of the specifications

In terms of hardware, the story is a bit more complicated. The Nokia 6 is available in only one trim with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 430 processor, 3GB of RAM, a 3,000mAh battery with fast charging support, and the Adreno 505 GPU.

Additionally, the  smartphone comes with a 5.5-inch fullHD display with Gorilla Glass 3 on top, a fingerprint sensor up front and 32GB of internal storage which can be expanded via a microSD card (of up to 256GB). All this in a package that costs Rs 14,999.

The Moto G5 Plus on the other hand is available in two different configurations – a model with 3GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage for Rs 14,999 and one with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage for Rs 16,999. In both models, the storage can be expanded via a microSD card (of up to 256GB).

The smartphone comes with the octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor paired, a 3,000mAh battery, the Adreno 506 GPU and a 5.2-inch fullHD display with Gorilla Glass 3 on top. We will talk about the 3GB RAM variant in the coming paragraphs as the higher-end model falls out the purview of this article.

So on paper, both smartphones have their own sets of pros and cons. The Nokia 6 offers more internal storage for the price (32GB vs 16GB), while the Moto G5 Plus comes with a more powerful processor (Snapdragon 625 vs Snapdragon 430). Other specifications are extremely similar.

On paper, the Moto G5 wins the spec war. The Snapdragon 625 is more suited to intensive tasks and will appease power users more than the Snapdragon 430. The Nokia 6 is arguably a little underpowered for the price. However, HMD Global is stressing a lot on software optimisation and usability over raw specifications and judgement on the Nokia 6’s performance will have to be put on hold till we can get our hands on the device.

Metal mania

In terms of design, both smartphones feature sleek metal bodies. The Nokia 6 is crafted from a seamless precision-milled solid block of aluminium, a procedure which HMD Global claims takes 55 minutes to machine. The smartphone also receives two separate anodising processes, taking over ten hours to complete, with each phone being polished no less than five times.

Nokia 6 , 5 , 3 , 3110 launched in India
Nokia 6 , 5 , 3 , 3110 launched in India

The smartphone is also very durable. A  scratch test and teardown by popular YouTuber JerryRig Everything revealed that the smartphone has a metal-midplate held down by a whopping 19 screws that is sandwiched between the metal back and the screen. This arrangement adds a lot of rigidity to the smartphone and makes it extremely durable. He actually labelled it as a contender for most durable smartphone of 2017.

The Moto G5 Plus is a huge step up for Motorola’s budget oriented G series in terms of design. While all previous incarnations have features bodies made of rubber or plastic, the G5 Plus has an aluminium body that looks sleek and quite premium.  Ergonomics are also vastly improved with a smaller easier to handle screen size, rounded edges and a much better designed fingerprint sensor.

Both smartphones are made from premium materials and look sleek and sharp.  They don’t make you feel like you’re using a budget device that has been made to strict price requirements. The Nokia 6 looks more industrial and squared off, the G5 Plus has a much curvier and rounded design.

While both look good and choosing between them is subjective, there is one area where the Nokia 6 pulls ahead. The Moto G5 Plus has small plastic inserts on the top and bottom of the rear panel while the Nokia 6 is all metal and glass.

Imaging prowess

In terms of cameras, specifications reveal little about actual performance but we will give it a go. The Nokia 6 comes with a 16MP camera on the back with an aperture of f/2.0, phase detection autofocus and a dual-LED flash. The rear camera can record videos 1080p videos. On the front, the device comes with an 8MP camera that can also record videos in 1080p.

We will have to wait till we can get our hands on the Nokia 6 before passing final judgement on its camera but initial impressions bode well.

The Moto G5 Plus features a 12MP camera at the rear with dual-pixel autofocus, an aperture of f/1.7 and a dual-LED flash. This is accompanied by a 5MP camera at the front which has an aperture of f/2.2. The rear camera is very similar to the sensor found inside the Samsung Galaxy S7. The sensor is made by Sony and there is some confusion as to whether it is the IMX260 or the IMX362, both of which are very similar.

The rear camera of the Moto G5 is very good for the price and only falters a little bit when taking images in low light. This is what we had to say in our review of the Moto G5 Plus:

” In some areas the Moto G5 Plus camera excels. It captures good amount of detail and great colours in good light. It is very good at handling dynamic light. But the low light photos shot with the Moto G5 Plus are grainy and have lot of noise.”

The two smartphones are very closely matched in terms of hardware, cameras and price and it choosing between them will largely be a personal choice. A final judgement between the two will have to be reserved until the Nokia 6 gets the full review treatment from our side. Until then, we are sure both will serve you well with their combination of good hardware and stock Android.

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