Nokia 3.1 Review — A Budget Android One Smartphone
+ Android One device
+ Nice 2.5D curved glass at the front
+ Speakers are decent
+ Battery is good
- Bezels are way too big
- Shutter speed is slow
- No fingerprint sensor available
- Pricey considering what it packs
After getting our hands on the Nokia 2.1 and 6.1 respectively, this time we take a look on the Nokia 3.1. Compared to the two, it is the smallest device with it just being 5.2-inches. Despite that, the phone is a part of the Android One family. Wondering on how it fares? Let’s start.
Nokia uses pretty nice artworks for the front of the box. They kept the hand-holding theme of the original Nokia artwork here, with a blue theme.
The back is where you find the specifications as well as the overall design of the Nokia 3.1.
As soon as you open the box, you will get to lay your eyes on the Nokia 3.1.
Inside, you’ll find the Nokia 3.1 itself, the phone’s documents, a power brick, the phone’s microUSB cable, as well as 3.5mm earphones, which is always welcomed.
As normally found in Nokia devices nowadays, the logo can be seen on the top right hand corner. It offers a 2.5D curved glass on the front which is neat. Other than that, there’s only the single lens front camera to be spotted.
On the left hand side, Nokia was kind enough to offer 2 separate trays for your SIM and microSD cards respectively.
At the opposite side of the phone, there’s your usual volume rockers and the power button.
Down below, there’s the microphone hole, the phone’s microUSB port, as well as the speakers that fill the bottom part of the device. Head up top, there’s only the 3.5mm jack port to be found (which is always welcomed to any smartphone).
Over to the rear, there the single lens camera which is paired with an LED flash. It comes in a nice steel build around them. In the middle there’s your Nokia logo and of course, being an Android One device, it is stated there in the bottom.
|CPU/Chipset:||MediaTek MT6750 Octa-core (4×1.5GHz Cortex-A53 & 4×1.0 GHz Cortex-A53)|
|Display:||5.2″, 18:9 (720p) IPS display, 69.4% screen-to-body ratio|
|Storage:||32GB (expandable via microSD up to 256GB)|
Primary: 13MP f/2.0
HDR, LED flash, Panorama
|OS:||Android 8.0 Oreo, Android One|
|Connectivity:||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 GHz)|
|SIM:||Dual nanoSIM (second SIM slot shared with microSD)|
|Battery:||Li-ion 2990 mAh (non-removable)|
|Dimensions:||146.3 x 68.7 x 8.7 mm|
We wouldn’t be expecting the Nokia 3.1 to blow our minds with its last-gen hardware, but here goes.
The Nokia 3.1 delivers better performance than the Neffos X9 that features the same chipset, but falters in the face of much more affordable devices packing newer chipsets.
This trend is also observed in Geekbench, where more affordable chipsets come up ahead. It has more in common with older devices than recent ones.
Graphics performance is weak, performing even below some of the last-gen devices.
Work-related performance is poor too, with it somehow coming in below the Nokia 2.1, which sports an inferior chipset.
Battery life is pretty good for the small-ish battery. Of course, the small screen with a low resolution (720p) definitely helps when trying to get for better battery life.
As for real-life usage, it really shows a good evidence of how good the battery is. After using the device for some Youtube videos, messaging on my Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and the usual scrolling on media feeds for 5 hours and 43 minutes, the battery juice was at 77%, which is considerably good.
When I first got the device, the first thing that I’ve noticed is the rather large bezels on the device, they were way too thick for my liking and because of that thickness, I think that they’ve wasted space and affected the display. The display itself is small itself, and for those who like bigger display, well you aren’t going to appreciate this device.
As for the feel of the device, I was quite comfortable with it at first but as time went on, I kind of felt the phone would easily drop from my grasp. Personally, a good phone wouldn’t need so much pressure and grip when you’re holding the phone and with the Nokia 3.1, I just had to do that (or maybe it’s just because my hands are too big for the device).
As for the UI for the Nokia 3.1, it is quite similar to other of the company’s devices. It’s simple and straight to the point. Some might like this while some might prefer something extra in there. For me, sure it gives you a smoother experience, but it looks and feels kind of dull to my liking. I wish that they had made their own UI (for a non Android One device), that would be interesting.
Identical to the phone’s UI, the camera’s UI is simple and that is expected from a device from this price range.
I found out that you’d need steady hands to capture decent shots in HDR (which I don’t possess). Other than that, the photos are proof that it struggles in low-light conditions. This is not one of Nokia’s best smartphone in terms of camera quality. Besides that, I’ve noticed that the camera took quite some time to get the focus to lock onto a subject. In a nutshell, don’t expect much from the Nokia 3.1’s camera.
Retailing at RM655, it’s hard for me to recommend the phone. For what the specification offers, it is even harder for me to justify the price. I’m just turned off by the specifications offered for the price. Don’t get me wrong, the device is ‘okay’, in sense that most of what it brings is average in most cases and is enough to get through normal usage. I just wished that Nokia had priced it lower. Similar to the Nokia 6.1 we’ve reviewed previously, the specifications of the device is outdated in today’s market. If you do indeed intend on getting the Nokia 3.1, you’ll be getting a unique looking phone, a decent battery life, and the promise of loads of updates.
We would like to thank Nokia Mobile for providing us the Nokia 3.1 that was used in the review.