Nokia 6.1 Phone GNSS Comments
Just purchased a new Nokia 6.1 phone, it is also sometimes found as
the Nokia 6 (2018). Mine is the US version, model TA 1045. The
earlier, original Nokia 6 had a Snapdragon 430 processor, the 6.1 is
improved with the Snapdragon 630 processor which incorporates support
for most, if not all the GNSS systems including Galileo. I had an
opportunity to test out the capabilities on a trip to Europe this month
and the processor does seem to support all the major systems - Navstar,
Glonass, BeiDou, QZSS, Galileo, etc. During the Europe trip Galileo
SV's would show up and be used in the position solution. Two photos are attached, one shows top of screen, the other the rest with the Galileo SV's.
The Galilieo SV's show up rarely if at all in my home location of
Alaska, USA. The 6.1 seems to prefer the US and Russia Glonass
systems, at least when Alaska. I saw just one Galileo SV briefly after
the return from Europe and none since. Not too sure why, maybe the
immature constellation is optimized for EU operation or the Snapdragon
has enough NavStar and Glonass SV's and ignores the Galileo ones. A bit
of a puzzle! One of the three Galileo orbital planes (B) is noticeably
under populated these days, that may change with either in orbit SV's
going from testing to op status or later with a July launch of 4 more
The Nokia 6.1 seems to have a moderately capable GPS sensor, it can sometimes struggle indoors. Putting the phone on external power and opening the GPS Test app while sitting for some time lets it get both the almanac and ephmeris data for the individual SV's. On a long intercontinental flight over the polar regions and plugged into external power I had a chance to play with the Nokia 6.1; TTFF a half hour out of Germany was 3650 seconds! In all fairness, we were doing well over 500 mph! Typically one NavStar SV would show up, 15 minutes or so later the second, then eventually a third. After that the SV acquisitions speeded up considerably and would include pretty much anything in sight/view. I had a center of cabin seat so conditions were not at all good and it would easily lose all the SV's! For most of the 9 hour trip Galileo SV's were available and occasionally used in the nav solution. Up to to 8 Galileo SVs were visible or acquired at one point.
Galileo utilization was one of the items I was after in a new Android based phone, another was an Android OS that would be updated. And one that works with GPS Test! The Nokia 6.1 is part of the Android One program which is committed to security patches, OS updates etc for two years. Minimal to no bloatware. It ships with Android 8 Oreo and updates OTA to 8.1 on activation. It is an unlocked phone, at least in the US. Many Android phones never update either the OS nor issues patches after manufacture, my Moto X was stuck forever on Android 4!. It is not bad that the phone was well under $300 here in the US! Bought mine from Best Buy as it came with a warranty from them. I have no connections, interests or benefits from Nokia nor Best Buy, just after a decent phone!
Hope this helps those looking for robust GNSS capabilities in an Android phone these days!