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TECH BREAK: The Nokia 4.2 is great but must get one thing right…


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The Nokia 4.2 has hit the streets in Kenya and HMD Global, the company behind it is keen to win the mid-range smartphone market with it.

Much of what Nokia is vesting on to do this is in the design. The language adopted is ‘sleek’ with a pleasingly premium look, you get the feeling they really took their time to get the design right.

On the flip side however, that sleekness comes at a price; much of the surface is made of glass which tends to attract fingerprint smudges.

Power delivery on the Nokia 4.2 is ‘fluid’. The latest generation of Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset, coupled with 3GB of RAM and 32GB internal storage serves the device right, at least at this price range.

I didn’t experience any lag in running basic tasks like social media as well as playing arcade games. 

The operating system (OS) powering the Nokia 4.2 is by far the greatest contributor to the device’ great performance.

Googles’ Android One Pie edition, a near stock version of Android packs a punch while at the same time using little device resources i.e. battery, RAM and processor.

The OS includes AI-powered features that make the device smarter, faster and adapt to your behaviour as you use it.

The Adaptive Battery feature limits battery usage from apps you don’t use often, and App Actions predicts what you’re about to do so you can get to your next action quickly.

These features further streamline the device’s functionality and overall Android experience.

The notch on the screen meant to accommodate the can be a design plus or a trash idea that device manufacturers should drop depending on who you ask.

In my opinion, it’s still in order, the intention of the notch was to increase screen to body ratio and it serves the purpose.


The cameras on this device, both front and back, can be summed up as average. The one at the front, which is an 8MP sensor with a wide 74 degree field of view captures great shots but thanks to the lack of a front flash, you can forget about them selfies in a poorly lit environment.

Dual cameras at the back encompass a 13 MP main sensor and a 2 MP sensor dedicated for depth of field sensing.

You get nice-looking photos out of these lenses and even night shots look decent.


The fingerprint scanner at the back is where the Nokia 4.2 struggles a lot.

For some reason, I couldn’t get my thumb in the right position to unlock the device most of the time, there is just too little differentiation between the scanner area and the back case.  

Instead, I opted for the face unlock which does a great job of detecting your face but struggles in poorly lit conditions, leaving me with the good old pattern/pin method to unlock the device.    

A dedicated Google assistant button is available on the Nokia 4.2 and this enables users to do basic tasks like setting a timer, scheduling reminders, playing music or asking it questions.

Another feature I’m glad to see on this device is the ‘breathing’ notification light embedded in the power button. This reminds me of old E-series Nokia devices whose menu button would ‘breathe’ light to notify users of a new message or missed call.

The Nokia 4.2, which supports two Sim cards, is available in black and pink sand colours. It’s retailing at Sh18,500.


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