Nokia 3

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Nokia is back, and with it comes new An­droid phones. HMD Global, a Fin­nish startup, is us­ing the Nokia brand to bring the new phones to the mar­ket, as well as a re­boot of the fa­mous and much-loved Nokia 3310. Here, we take a closer look at the Nokia 3, the cheap­est in the new range.


The Nokia 3 has a 5in, 1280x720 Go­rilla Glass screen housed in a com­pact poly­car­bon­ate body, with a

rounded alu­minium frame that looks im­pres­sively pre­mium con­sid­er­ing its price tag, and a soft-touch fin­ish to the back of the body.

Ob­vi­ously that res­o­lu­tion is a lit­tle lower than you might hope for these days, but once you fac­tor in the smaller form fac­tor it still de­liv­ers 294 pix­els per inch, and the vi­su­als are still crisp and bright – this dis­play is only likely to dis­ap­point if you were hop­ing for a phone to watch movies on.

You might find you pre­fer the 5in screen size to some of the big­ger screens in flag­ship phones, be­cause it means you can fit the phone com­fort­ably in the palm of your hand. At 143.4x71.4x8.5mm and 143g, most peo­ple should find they can use the Nokia 3 one-handed with­out run­ning into any prob­lems.

The Nokia 3 is avail­able in Tem­pered Blue, Sil­ver, Matte Black or Cop­per, and is 8.48mm thick. There

is a very, very slight cam­era bump, but we love how sym­met­ri­cal the cam­era, flash and Nokia logo are on the rear of the de­vice, con­tin­u­ing the de­ceiv­ingly pre­mium look and feel even in those smaller de­tails.

In terms of ports, you’ve got the usual head­phone jack, Mi­cro-USB (no USB-C here, we’re afraid), and a mi­croSD slot to ex­pand the on-board stor­age – though there’s no fin­ger­print sen­sor or water­proof­ing to be found here.

Over­all, we’re big fans of the de­sign of the Nokia 3. It’s sim­ple, but it looks great, and peo­ple who saw the phone were con­sis­tently sur­prised at how lit­tle it cost – this is a phone that looks pre­mium, even if it isn’t.


In­side the Nokia 3 is the Me­di­aTek MTK 6737 quad­core 1.4GHz pro­ces­sor paired with 2GB RAM, which is def­i­nitely a bud­get chipset, so don’t ex­pect any­thing par­tic­u­larly speedy from this hand­set. In fact you should ex­pect it to run no­tice­ably slowly – we ex­pe­ri­enced lag run­ning all but the least de­mand­ing apps, and any at­tempt at mul­ti­task­ing is noth­ing more than an ex­er­cise in frus­tra­tion.

That ex­pe­ri­ence is borne out by our bench­marks, which show a phone that strug­gles to keep up even com­pared to bud­get ri­vals. At only £20 to £30 more both the Moto G5 and Wi­ley­fox Swift 2 Plus de­liver con­sis­tently bet­ter per­for­mance – both in the raw bench­marks and in ac­tual daily use.

Go­ing be­yond pro­cess­ing power, there’s 16GB built-in mem­ory with sup­port for up to 256GB more thanks to the mi­croSD card slot.

The non-re­mov­able bat­tery is 2,650mAh, which man­ages a day or so of typ­i­cal us­age with­out too much trou­ble, but not much more than that – this is def­i­nitely a phone where you’ll be aware of the need to get back to your charger on a daily ba­sis.

Con­nec­tiv­ity is bet­ter. Mi­cro-USB re­mains fairly stan­dard for the bud­get mar­ket, and it’s no sur­prise to see 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi – though Blue­tooth 4.0 is a lit­tle less ex­pected, rather than the more mod­ern 4.2 stan­dard. Still, there’s one pleas­ant sur­prise too: NFC, which drives ser­vices like An­droid Pay, and is rare at this price range. So if you’re on a tight bud­get but want to pay for cof­fee with your phone, the Nokia 3 might be your best bet.

The cam­eras are an­other se­ri­ous com­pro­mise for the Nokia 3, which fea­tures near-iden­ti­cal 8Mp f/2.0 shoot­ers on both the front and rear of the de­vice – the only dif­fer­ence is an LED flash on the back.

The selfie cam­era will get the job done fine, and is high enough qual­ity for most pur­poses, but the rear cam­era is likely to dis­ap­point. Slug­gish aut­o­fo­cus

makes it tricky to cap­ture fast-mov­ing tar­gets, and pho­tos tend to come out lack­ing de­tail. That’s even ap­par­ent in more close-range shots, which never quite seem crisp, and the cam­era strug­gles even more when deal­ing with low light con­di­tions.

The in­cluded cam­era app is also a no-non­sense af­fair, with a few sim­ple op­tions like HDR, but much in the way of ef­fects or fil­ters.

The video set-up is sim­i­larly ba­sic – the qual­ity is fine for a quick Snapchat or a video call, but there’s no im­age sta­bil­i­sa­tion, and the qual­ity drops no­tice­ably with any sud­den move­ments. If you just want a phone cam­era for Skype calls and tak­ing

the oc­ca­sional photo of your dogs, the Nokia 3 will prob­a­bly do you fine. But In­sta­gram­mers or any­one re­ly­ing on their smart­phone for hol­i­day pic­tures is likely to be dis­ap­pointed.


There’s not all that much to say about the Nokia 3’s soft­ware, but we think that’s for good rea­son: it comes with an al­most-stock ver­sion of An­droid 7.0 out-of-the-box. The down­side of that is a lack of ex­cit­ing, novel fea­tures; the up­side is that you get Google’s smooth, con­sis­tent user in­ter­face with none of the clut­ter that other man­u­fac­tur­ers of­ten throw into their An­droid de­vices.

That’s a re­lief, be­cause given how slug­gish the Nokia 3 of­ten feels as is, it would be a night­mare to have it slowed down even more by bloated soft­ware.

One big perk is the in­clu­sion of Google As­sis­tant, the smart Siri ri­val that’s miss­ing on plenty of more ex­pen­sive An­droid de­vices. You may find that you don’t put it to much use, but it’s likely to be a wel­come ben­e­fit for some.


We had high hopes for the Nokia 3, but the fi­nal phone is a bit of a dis­ap­point­ment. We can’t deny that it looks ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic for the price, and we’re fans of Nokia’s de­ci­sion to stick to stock An­droid, but it’s just cut too many cor­ners on the in­ter­nal specs to make the 3 stand out amid a fiercely com­pet­i­tive bud­get smart­phone mar­ket. Do­minic Pre­ston


• 5in (1280x720, 294ppi) IPS touch­screen • An­droid 7.0 (Nougat) • Me­di­aTek MT6737 pro­ces­sor • Quad-core 1.4GHz Cor­tex-A53 CPU • Mali-T720MP1 GPU • 2GB RAM • 16GB stor­age, mi­croSD sup­port up to 256GB • Dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi • Blue­tooth 4.0 • GPS • NFC • Mi­cro-USB 2.0 • 8Mp f/2.0 aut­o­fo­cus, LED flash • 8Mp f/2.0 aut­o­fo­cus • 3.5mm head­phone jack • 2,630mAh non-re­mov­able lithium-ion bat­tery • 143.4x71.4x8.5mm • 143g

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Close range shots are crisp but the cam­era strug­gles in low light

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