The Nokia 3 (2018) is the latest budget device from HMD global that has restrained from all the fuss and instead redirected its focus to the fundamentals of a smartphone. I’ve been using the Black /Chrome low-spec’d version for a couple of weeks and the phone has held its worth.
Specs in brief
Android 8.0 Oreo (Android One)
Dual nano SIM with 4G (No Faiba4G support)
720p (HD) 5.2” IPS LCD display with an 18:9 aspect ratio
2/3GB RAM and 16/32GB internal storage with support for microSD
13MP primary camera with LED flash and 8MP selfie camera
The Nokia 3.1 borrows the same industrial design from its more expensive brothers. What stands out from the phone is the chrome accent line that wraps around the phone whose aluminium frame makes the phone comfortable to hold in the hand. The phone compromises on the fingerprint scanner as it lacks one but that shouldn’t hold you back from getting it as the phone supports the old-school methods of securing your phone including PIN, password and swipe to unlock.
There’s a headphone jack on top and a micro USB charging port, a speaker and a microphone on the bottom. The top bezel holds the camera and the Nokia logo which is also etched into its back, beneath the solitary rear camera at the top. The grippy flat back is non-removable made of polycarbonate and a curved glass screen on the front, running into the sides protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 that give it a light, attractive, simple and premium look, especially compared to other budget devices.
The phone runs Android One (Oreo) and that guarantees you updates up to 2 years and monthly security patches for up to three years. The phone comes entirely devoid of bloatware so you get a streamlined experience although the 2GB of RAM sometimes made you wait longer than normal when opening RAM-intensive apps like games, beyond this – it works great for the simple stuff like browsing through multiple social media apps and the occasional emailing.
The cameras have definitely been improved from last year’s Nokia 3. Nokia decided to pack features like manual mode and HDR that will get your photos and videos worth sharing on social media. The main camera performed quite well on good lighting but faltered in low light. The front camera is wide angled so now you can take those group selfies without worrying who’ll be cropped out. Additionally, you get quality shots when you take a selfie alone. The snaps taken will be more than good for the market that the phone is intended for. Check some of the photos taken:
Media consumption and gaming
The phone comes with a 1440 x 720p resolution that gives very crisp, sharp and punchy images. The brightness works well but is uncomfortable when using it in the dark when you’re binging late-night YouTube videos. When out in the shade, it was easily usable but under direct sunlight, you get reflections on the display. Generally, you get very decent viewing angles even at acute angles which is pretty impressive.
If the internal storage isn’t enough for you, you can expand via a microSD and Nokia supports formatting them as an indistinguishable part of the internal storage. Games ran just fine but for a better experience, you’ll have to reduce the in-game details and play in standard settings to have a smooth experience. The single mono speaker at the bottom produced decent sounds but as usual gets distorted when you raise the volume.
Stellar Battery Life
The small size of the phone limits the battery size but its 2990mAh capacity is decent enough and surprisingly gives you a day’s worth of charge. Less demanding users will enjoy the excellent standby time as it will hardly drain the battery. I had to plug in later at night by 8 pm with 30% remaining after unplugging it at 7. It takes nearly 2 and a half hours to charge it from empty to full.
Should you get it?
If you’re searching for a phone that looks fancy and still performs but doesn’t end up breaking up your bank account, then yes – this phone is for you. To complement all its great features, it’s ergonomic feel makes it easier to hold for one-handed operations and pocketable too.