Nokia 7.2 Smartphone Review

An adequate smartphone that puts the OK in Nokia.

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Tshaka Armstrong
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March 31, 2020
6 min read

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With today's phone prices, the Nokia 7.2 is closer to the entry-level end of the smartphone pool, which is actually saying a lot considering its feature set.

But at around $349* from Amazon, you may find your needs met by the phone that puts the OK in Nokia.

Let me explain.

The Nokia 7.2 smartphone uses Android One software.

The most important thing you need to know about the Nokia 7.2 is that it is an Android One phone.

If you don't know what that means, you're going to get an Android phone which is guaranteed to receive at least two years of updates to the Android operating system. This ensures you have the latest features and security improvements during that course of time.

This also means you're not gonna get a bunch of carrier or manufacturer bloatware, so you'll be getting as close to the stock, pure Google Android experience as possible, in addition to being a Pixel phone.

The Nokia 7.2 ships with Android 9.0 Pie, but the official timeline for it to be updated to Android 10 is sometime in the first quarter of 2020. We'll see.

So, now that you understand what makes this an Android One device, let's take a look at the hardware and see if that helps you decide if it's the phone for you.

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What is the design of the Nokia 7.2 smartphone like?

I'm reviewing the charcoal variant of the phone, which is also available in cyan, green, and ice.

The phone is wrapped in Gorilla Glass 2.5D, which isn't the highest spec for Gorilla Glass, but it's OK. You'll get a 6.3-inch, full-HD LCD display with 1080x2280 pixels in a tall 16x9 aspect ratio. It does support HDR 10, and I have to say that this is not a bad-looking display at all.

The phone is available with either four or six GB of RAM. My version is the one with 128 GB of internal storage and six GB of RAM.

The volume rocker and power button are on the right side of the phone.

The power button doubles as a notification light.
Light Bulb

One of the design elements in the phone I enjoyed was that the power button doubles as a notification LED.

It pulses and glows white when you have new notifications, but if you aren't feeling that, you can turn it off in the settings.

On the left side of the phone you'll get a microSDXC slot, and depending on what model you buy, you'll have either a single or dual SIM slot.

Below that is the Google Assistant button, which I turned off, as I always do, because I have a tendency to activate it by accident often.

Top of the phone, you'll find a microphone and 3.5 mm headphone jack.

Bottom of the phone, you'll find a mic, a USB-C charge port, and the speakers.

The Nokia 7.2's adaptive battery technology is just OK.

The phone comes equipped with a 3,500 mAh battery. Nokia says you should get two days out of this battery, but I didn't find that to be true for me. My results were just mediocre—I hit about 20% left at the end of my days, which should be obviously a lot higher if you're gonna get two days out of it.

The Nokia 7.2's cameras and image quality will suffice for most people.

Let's talk about these cameras next. The front of the phone is where you'll find a 20-megapixel, quad-pixel camera that takes some pretty solid portraits and your standard selfies.

Portrait mode can produce some very nice selfies with Beauty mode activated. But the software-based background blur can be aggressive at times.

You get a Pro mode on the front camera, which is something you don't see on many phones. And something I am a big fan of.

You'll also have some options to choose from in that front-facing camera that will affect how background lighting looks as it's blurred out. I played with this in a few different environments and I found that unless you have very specific lighting, this probably isn't gonna be a feature that you'll use all that often.

On the back of the phone, you're gonna get Zeiss Optics for the 48-megapixel wide-angle lens and an 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens. Additionally, you'll have a 5-megapixel depth sensor lens for effects.

The images from the 48-megapixel lens produce photos with solid color reproduction. But in low light they can be a bit noisy.

Speaking of night, Night mode on the 7.2 will definitely brighten up your images. But the overall noise I experienced with the camera is persistent there.

The interesting difference I found in the photos, in terms of noise, was that the use of Portrait mode seemed to produce deeper blacks with less noise in low-light conditions. You lose some image sharpness by utilizing Portrait mode, but you'll notice the deeper blacks.

Overall, the cameras produce images that I think most people will be happy with. If you're a photographer looking for a solid point-and-shoot, you're probably not looking here anyway.

The Nokia 7.2 has slower processing compared to more expensive models.

If there's anything overtly negative to point out about the camera, it's the noticeable lag as you move through the different modes. It isn't long, but the processing isn't instant like some competitors.

The software experience with the Nokia 7.2 is actually better than OK. The fingerprint sensor around back worked reliably and consistently, and the face unlock functionality was fast and reliable as well. Though the phone uses the Snapdragon 660 chipset with Adreno 512 graphics processing, moving between screens and animations was smooth and fast.

As a reviewer I get to play with a lot of phones, many of them high-end flagship models, so using this phone I did notice that it isn't quite as fast as some costing hundreds more. But I also have to remember that the average user doesn't have as many phones go through their hands. And a phone like this, which may seem slower to a reviewer like me, still moves at a clip fast enough that you aren't gonna be waiting for apps to launch. It isn't instant, but it ain't 56k dial-up either.

What is the Nokia 7.2 smartphone's interface like?

The overall interface uses card-based design language. This is an Android One device after all.

Swiping from the bottom to the top of the navigation bar or dot will open up the app drawer when you're on the home screen. And going only a quarter of the way up brings you to the app switcher, which also shows your five recently launched apps on the bottom of the screen.

Moving between apps in the app switcher is lightning fast. Pressing the home button takes you back to the home screen. Swiping left to right also switches you between apps with wonderful quickness.

This phone does not have Raise to Wake but does have Tap to Wake, which I found to be hit or miss. I'll chalk that up to muscle memory on my part more than anything, because these Tap to Wake phones have a rhythm to them. And it could just be me getting used to the cadence that will wake the phone consistently.

Menus and customization

When getting into the notification, shade options, and the menu options, you'll find that there isn't a whole lot to look at. Some phones allow you to customize everything to the nth degree, but you're not really gonna see that with this phone. With the Nokia 7.2, I don't think that's a negative though.

Some folks don't wanna spend all their time playing with icon shapes and colors, and that's OK.

One oddity in the menu with this phone though—and you see this in a lot of Android One stock or close-to-stock phones—is when you switch to Dark mode, the menu stays white. The notifications shade goes dark automatically, but that's it. In the display settings, it allows you to change the theme to dark—emphasis on the word "theme."

Shouldn't that mean that everything else on the system level is affected? Nope! Want dark mode in your Messages app? You have to enable it. Phone dialer? Enable it. Chrome? Enable it.

And therein lies the disconnect:

This is an Android One phone, but it is still a Nokia device.

Some system apps follow super changes while others, which seem like system apps but are actually Google apps, behave differently. And you'll have to go into each one, one by one, and turn on Dark mode.

Definitely #firstworldproblems, but I'm a reviewer! I review. I critique. I have made you aware of this. My job is done here. OK? OK!

Recap: Is the Nokia 7.2 smartphone worth it?

OK is right in the middle of Nokia, and that kinda says it all for this device.

It's pretty much stock Android with no user interface enhancements. And for those who don't want to spend their lives customizing their phone, that's OK.

Photos overall are OK. Battery life, for me, so far has been OK.

But at around $300, your bank account will be OK after you buy this phone instead of nagging you for spending money you didn't really have on a phone with hundreds of features you aren't really gonna use.

* List Price as of 3/25/2020 3:24 p.m. (MT). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. utilizes paid Amazon links. Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided "as is" and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Tshaka Armstrong
Written by
Tshaka Armstrong
Tshaka is a nerd and Griot. Founder of the non-profit digital literacy organization Digital Shepherds, he’s also been a broadcast technology reporter, writer, and producer. In addition to being an award-winning broadcast storyteller, he’s also covered tech online and in print for everything from paintball gear technology, to parenting gadgets. He blathers on about his many curiosities on social media everywhere as @tshakaarmstrong.

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