Nokia 3: The Iconic Brand Returns with an Affordable Android Smartphone
While many smartphone makers have been busy releasing great smartphones, Nokia, which previously focused on Windows Phones under the Microsoft branding has seriously lagged behind the competition. Now the Finland-based company is back and with its collaboration with HMD Global, has launched three great Android smartphones at affordable rates, namely the Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6. Read our Nokia 3 smartphone review here.
Nokia 3 Design Aspects
Back in the days of the Symbian OS platform, Nokia used to have great smartphones with unique designs that used to stand out in the market. The Nokia 3 is no exception here and features a design language that you wouldn’t expect in the sub-AED 500 categories. The smartphone is made out of a special polycarbonate body along with the aluminum frame that’s precision-machined, according to Nokia. The frames are beautifully curved and seamlessly connects towards back panel. The smartphone is very light, weighing just 140g and is only 8.5mm thick. The front screen is 5-inches in size with an IPS panel and features a resolution of 1280 x 720. The resolution seems quite enough for a smartphone that’s classed as an entry device by today’s standards.
The viewing angles of the IPS panel is good too, however, the pixel density is 294ppi of screen brightness. So, don’t expect the brightness to be similar to that of a flagship smartphone. The screen is guarded against scratches, thanks to the 2.5D sculpted Corning Gorilla Glass. However, Nokia does not specify which version of the Corning Glass is it. The Nokia branding on the front side is placed on the upper right side, along with the front-facing camera on the left.
With regards to the buttons, the power and volume rockers are located on the upper right side of the device. Now, in my opinion, the power button could have been placed in the middle of the right-sided frame, instead of being too upwards. I always found it hard to turn on the device as the power button was hard to reach with my fingers. On the left are the ports for the Dual-SIM slots and the MicroSD card slot. I should also mention that the device has capacitive buttons for the back button, home, and recent apps function.
Specifications of Nokia 3
After the introduction of the all-screen smartphones that quickly got popular along with the Android and iOS operating systems, Nokia took a different direction with Microsoft for Windows Phone devices. We all know that didn’t go well as planned, even when the Windows Phone platform wasn’t bad either. That said, Nokia did try on Android in the past, but those were simply based on a forked version of Android with a custom skin. They were criticized for poor performance and the lack of access for the Google PlayStore.
The Nokia 3 runs on pure Android 7.0 Nougat to be exact. There is no sign of annoying skins to mimic a Windows Phone-like experience. During the launch, HMD Global did mention that the software side of the device has been perfectly optimized for a good experience, thanks to the joint collaboration of Nokia and Google. HMD Global has also confirmed that the Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 will receive updates for the upcoming Android O operating system, so that’s a plus point where all the mid-range Nokia devices will be up to date.
The performance of the Nokia 3 is based on the modest, quad-core MediaTek MT6737 processor and paired with 2GB RAM. The CPU runs at speeds of 1.3 GHz and the integrated GPU is the Mali-T720MP1. That said, I did notice that the performance of the smartphone was not that great at times with a bit of lag while opening applications. After all, it’s an entry level smartphone so this is quite expected.
I tested the Nokia 3 with the latest Antutu and got a benchmark score of 27388 points. I also ran GeekBench 4 and got a score of 554 points for single-core CPU performance and 1537 points for multi-core CPU performance.
Nokia 3 Camera Performance
Nokia has integrated 8MP cameras on both the front and rear side of the smartphone with the same f.2 aperture. That said, the front-facing snapper features an 84-degree field of view for capturing wide-angle selfies. There is a LED flash module for aiding the rear-facing 8MP camera. Although with the use of high megapixels and bright aperture, the quality of the images produced by the camera is just subpar. Both the cameras can only record video resolutions up to 720p at 30fps, which is too low for today’s market standards. We think that they should have tried to implement a 720p video capture at 60fps and 1080p at 30fps at the least, but hey, that’s just our opinion. The image quality of the Nokia 3's primary camera produces decent captures and the HDR mode does the job quite well.
Nokia 3 Battery Life
While many Nokia smartphones in the past were known for good battery life, that might not be the case for the Nokia 3. Even when the battery capacity of the Nokia 3 is 2630 mAh, it wasn’t as impressive as I thought it to be in my time of use. In the first few days of use, the battery used to drain out very fast in less than a day while being idle. I must mention that there were no apps installed at that time. After using the smartphone for more than a week, I can say the battery is simply not that great, to begin with. It drains off fast for some unknown reason within a day, faster than most of the flagship smartphones that we have tried. I’m not saying here that the juice gets over in a few hours of time. While I can understand the mediocre performance of the processor and the camera, Nokia could have put some emphasis on a longer battery life. What’s worse is that there isn’t any fast charge support for the Nokia 3, which could have been convenient for those who find themselves in a situation with low-battery power and wants the power back in full swing in less time.
NOKIA 3 REVIEW VERDICT:
The Nokia 3 Android smartphone is clearly meant for the budget-conscious crowd, featuring a great build and design with a performance that's somewhat decent enough. While the smartphone is powered by a mediocre processor with 2GB RAM, the device runs on the latest Android 7.0 operating system with near-stock UI experience. The fact that Nokia 3 is set to receive firmware updates for the upcoming Android 8.0 is an added bonus for this budget smartphone. The camera is just decent, to say the least. However, the battery performance was something I wished it could have been better. If you are looking for a smartphone that's so affordable that it promises decent performance with good build quality, along with a brand that promises reliability and long-lasting usage along with a decent camera, then try out the Nokia 3.