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Nokia 5.4 first impressions: The competition looks tough

Nokia 5.4 already made its debut in the European market last year and is scheduled to launch in the US soon. one with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage a

The mid-range smartphone category in India includes several great options all thanks to companies like Xiaomi, Poco, Samsung, Realme, among others. These devices come packed with high-end specifications at affordable prices. HMD Global does not want to be left behind in the race. The Finnish tech giant has launched its latest mid-range star Nokia 5.4 in the Indian market.

The smartphone comes at a starting price of Rs 13,999 and some of the key features include Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor and triple rear cameras. In terms of design, the Nokia 5.4 sticks to a circular rear camera module that we saw on its predecessor Nokia 5.3 as well, though with an upgraded 48-megapixel primary rear camera.

Nokia 5.4 already made its debut in the European market last year and is scheduled to launch in the US soon. In India, the smartphone will go up against the likes of the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max, the Realme Narzo 20, the Samsung Galaxy F41, and the Poco M3.

The new mid-range Nokia smartphone comes in two storage options, one with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage at Rs 13,999 and another with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage at Rs 15,499. We spent a few days with the Nokia 5.4 and here are our first impressions.

Nokia 5.4 design and display

Nokia 5.4 gets a 6.39-inch HD+ punch hole display with a resolution of 720×1560 pixels.

Nokia 5.4 carries design cues from its predecessor. However, Nokia has exchanged a waterdrop notch with a punch hole display on the new phone. The phone feels light, thanks to the polycarbonate back. But do keep in mind both the display and back cover are prone to fingerprint smudges, so using a back cover with this one is recommended. If you don’t wish to purchase a new back cover, there’s a transparent one available in the retail box. I liked the back panel that has sort of an intricate woven pattern design and is the right kind of shiny.

Despite a polycarbonate back the phone looks decent and not too cheap. I am not a fan of glass backs as I have slippery hands, but that is really a personal choice. The circular rear camera module blends well with the overall design, though it sticks out a little, which is a problem when you keep the smartphone on the back cover as the camera module touches the surface. This might lead to smudges on the camera module.

Nokia 5.4 gets a 6.39-inch HD+ punch hole display with a resolution of 720×1560 pixels. I am unhappy with the display as it is a task to look at it in sunlight, even with the brightness turned on to the maximum. It is disappointing to see an HD+ screen, especially when rivals are offering a full HD display in the price range.

Nokia 5.4 cameras

Nokia 5.4 comes with a quad rear camera setup, a combination of a dual 48-megapixel camera, 2-megapixel depth, 5-megapixels ultra-wide camera, and a 2-megapixel macro camera.  The back camera is capable of taking decent pictures in places where there is ample light, but it does struggle with the focus. Also, the photos look dull and miss out on details. But then, I am yet to explore the camera in detail, so expect more on its features in our full review.

Nokia claims zero shutter lag on the 48-megapixel camera, something we will have more talk about in our full review. Coming to the 16-megapixel front camera, the selfies come out bright in well-lit places, and I was happy with the portrait mode as well.

Nokia 5.4 processor, battery, and software

The 4,000mAh battery on Nokia 5.4 should last for up to two days on moderate to heavy usage.

Nokia 5.4 is powered by a Qualcomm 662 processor that we saw on smartphones like the Poco M3, the Xiaomi Redmi 9 Power, and the Realme 7i. The processor is capable of handling day to day tasks like watching videos, streaming music, and playing basic games well without lag. Of course, it remains to be seen how it performs when we play graphics-heavy games like Asphalt-9, among others.

The 4,000mAh battery should last for up to two days on moderate to heavy usage. Sadly, it supports only 10W charging and takes close to two hours to get fully charged. This comes as a bummer when compared to the competition like the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max that offers 30W charging in the box, and the Realme Narzo 20 which comes with a 18W fast charger.

Nokia 5.4 will please those who love a stock Android experience as it comes with minimum software tweaks and less bloatware. Plus, Nokia has promised two years of software updates and three years of monthly security updates for the smartphone, which is great.

Nokia 5.4 first impressions

Nokia 5.4 looks like a decent mid-budget option, though it will have a tough time standing up to its competitors as they pack a lot more features in the given price range, including full HD+ display and faster charging.

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