Nokia 4.2 review: A lightweight, good-looking device stuck in a time warp

Nokia 4.2
Compare the specifications of sub-12k phones and Nokia 4.2 won’t even make it to the Top 5 in its price segment. It doesn’t have the best screen or the camera, neither does it have the fastest processor or the biggest battery. But somewhere in its mediocrity lies its unique strength.

Design (4/5)

It is clear that we are enamoured by the beautiful, fragile and reflective properties of glass. Stick it on every phone — front and back. And then what, cover it? The 4.2 follows the said design. But where its maker, HMD Global, excels is that the phone just weighs 161 grams. It is so light and inspires such confidence without a cover that it could have been the phone of a distant future where people are sick of big, bulky phones in shock-proof covers that rule the market today. But only if the 4.2 was future ready in terms of performance, too. (More on that in a minute.)

The phone has a waterdrop (or just drop) notch to house the front camera that would have ideally meant a full-screen display. But a lot of the display space is hogged by think bezels on the top and bottom. The result: the 5.7-inch screen, smallish by current standards, feels even smaller. Old school? No, just old. 

Performance (2.5/5)

Load it with WhatsApp, Facebook and a music app. The Google basics, such as Maps and Gmail, come pre-installed on this clutter-free stock Android 9 OS. Lovely so far. Add to it a Candy Crush Saga. It’s still golden. Try a PUBG and the phone starts to crumble. The 4.2’s budget Snapdragon 439 SoC (system on chip) and 3GB RAM is good only for day-to-day multitasking.

The 13MP primary lens at the back paired with a 2MP depth sensor for bokeh effect does a satisfactory job in good light. The 8MP selfie camera uses the light well, but expect no AI wonders here. And it gets noisy and dull in the dark. The 3,000mAh battery will see the phone through 24 hours, but it takes over three hours to charge. No fast charging with its outdated Micro USB charging port. 

Verdict (3/5)

The heavyweights in this price segment from Samsung, Xiaomi and Vivo will overrun this timid device. But those who like a thin, light phone that gets the basics right will be happy to own the Nokia 4.2.  You can get an instant Rs 500 off before June 30. Vodafone and Idea users get free recharge worth Rs 2,500 over and above it. Like I  said, it’s tailor-made for some. For the rest of us, it’s a second phone at best.

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