Nokia 3.1 Plus review: Amazing battery life with the goodness of stock Android OS

    HMD Global has been pretty busy in 2018 by launching a lot of value for money priced smartphones at different price points, especially between Rs 7,000 to Rs 20,000 price point. The company impressed us with the smartphones like the Nokia 6.1 Plus and the Nokia 5.1 Plus, which offer a tremendous value proposition for money at a specific price point, without compromising on either specifications or the build quality.

     


    And now, we had an opportunity to test out the latest smartphone from HMD Global, the Nokia 3.1 Plus. Here is the full review of the Nokia 3.1 Plus, the smartphone made for the offline market. Is this the best entry-level smartphone that a user can buy, especially at the price range of Rs 11,499? Let's find out.

    Specifications

     

    • 5.99-inch IPS LCD screen with HD+ resolution, protected by 2.5D curved glass
    • MediaTek Helio P22 Octa-core SoC
    • 3 GB LPDDR4x RAMand 32 GB internal storage
    • Dual SIM slot (dual LTE/VoLTE) with a dedicated micro SD card slot
    • Android 8.1 Oreo with stock Android UI (Android One)
    • 13 MP RGB sensor with an f/2.0 aperture and a 5 MP depth sensor
    • 8 MP selfie camera with an f/2.2 aperture
    • Fingerprint sensor
    • LTE Cat 4 WiFi a/b/g/n/ac
    • Bluetooth 4.1 LE
    • Micro USB port
    • 3500 mAh Li-ion battery with normal charging

     

    Design

    The Nokia 3.1 Plus offers a tried and tested out design with an aluminium jacket on the back with plastic antenna bands on the top and the bottom portion for cellular reception.

    There is nothing special about the overall design and the build quality of the smartphone. But the Nokia 3.1 Plus will satisfy the users, who are looking for a smartphone that can take a few drops and falls. The metal jacket on the smartphone will not break, eliminating the 50% of the chance's accidental breakage when the Nokia 3.1 Plus slips out of hand.

    The back case also houses the fingerprint reader with a dual camera setup and a single LED flash. The volume and power buttons are located on the right side of the smartphone, whereas the SIM and micro SD card slot are on the left side.

    There is a mono speaker at the bottom portion along with a micro USB port for charging and data syncing. Just like most of the Nokia smartphones, the headphone jack is placed on the top portion of the mobile.

    The Nokia 3.1 Plus looks similar to most of the smartphones available in the market, especially around Rs. 11,000 price points. The Nokia 3.1 Plus does not offer a fancier design, but the device checks the necessary design requisites.

    Display

    The Nokia 3.1 Plus has a 6.0-inch display with a resolution of 1440 x 720p resolution, 18:9 aspect ratio and offers 268 pixels per inch protected by 2.5D curved tempered glass.

    Keeping asides, the technical aspects, the Nokia 3.1 Plus has a big screen with a no-notch design. However, as the phone has a 720p display, the screen does look pixelated, and this is noticeable while watching movies or YouTube videos. If you are switching from a smartphone with a 1080p resolution screen, then you will notice a big difference in the screen quality.

    With respect to brightness and color reproduction, the Nokia 3.1 Plus does a great job. However, as mentioned earlier, the resolution might be the only deal breaker when it comes to the display on the Nokia 3.1 Plus.

    Sound

    The smartphone has a mono speaker on the right side of the micro USB port, and the primary microphone occupies the right side of the port. The Nokia 3.1 Plus gets adequately louder, but it lacks bass.

    Coming to the sound quality via the headphone jack, the audio output is decent without any distortion even at the high-volume. We tested the Nokia 3.1 Plus with a wireless earphone and wireless speaker, and we have no issues with respect to pairing or the audio performance.

    The Nokia 3.1 Plus can be used to stream music via headphones or speakers without any issue, and general users will not face any hiccups what so ever.

    Camera

    The Nokia 3.1 Plus has a dual camera setup with a 13 MP primary sensor with an f/2.0 aperture and a 5 MP depth sensor with an f/2.4 aperture. The smartphone has an 8 MP front-facing selfie camera on the front with an f/2.2 aperture.

    The Nokia 3.1 Plus does offer some of the trending smartphone camera-features like manual mode, Portrait mode (on both front-facing and rear-facing). Also both cameras do support 1080p video recording @ 30fps.

    Coming back to camera performance, both cameras take good pictures in natural light and ambient lighting condition. However, the cameras struggle to take good pictures in low-light. Photos taken in low-light looks grainy and lacks details. Portrait mode is again a hit or a miss, in fact, some of the pictures taken on the portrait mode camera out very admirable with well-defined edges and perfect focus on the subject. However, some of the images were not that great, where the bokeh seems artificial.

    Overall, we felt that the photos captured on the Nokia 3.1 Plus are similar to the Nokia 5.1 Plus, as both smartphones have a similar camera setup. The Nokia 3.1 Plus can capture the moment, given the subject is in a well-lit environment.

     

    Performance

    The MediaTek Helio P22 is the chipset that powers the Nokia 3.1 Plus with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage. With respect to day to day performance, the device can handle anything that you throw at it.

    In fact, we opened more than four tabs on Chrome with running multiple social media applications like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter in the background and we did not face any issues, and all the apps were in memory. The smartphone scores 73059 points on AnTuTu and can handle casual gaming as well.

    We tried to play games like Subway surfer, Candy Crush Saga, Temple Run 2 and the gameplay was very smooth, and we did not notice a performance drop. Going a step ahead, we installed PUBG, and we were able to play the game, albeit, in low settings. So, as a matter of fact, the Nokia 3.1 Plus can play PUBG.

    Software

    Just like every other Nokia smartphone launched in 2018, the Nokia 3.1 Plus runs on Android 8.1 Oreo under the Android One programme. The smartphone is entitled to receive at least two major software updates with up to 3 years of monthly security updates. The Nokia 3.1 Plus will receive Android 9 Pie update in early 2019.

    As we expected, setting up the Nokia 3.1 Plus was pretty easy, and the overall UI is simple to use. The stock Android OS on the Nokia 3.1 Plus does offer other advantages with respect to overall performance, app opening and multi-tasking. Even with just 3 GB of RAM, the device was able to keep more than five apps in memory.

    The Nokia 3.1 Plus also has an added benefit compared to other entry-level smartphones, as the Nokia 3.1 Plus does not come with third-party apps or bloatware what so ever. With 3 GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage, a user can install most of the apps and games without any issue.

    The software experience offered by the Nokia 3.1 Plus is on par with the more expensive Google Pixel 3, and the promised software updates make it even sweeter.

     

    Battery

    The Nokia 3.1 Plus is fitted with a 3500 mAh Li-ion non-user replaceable battery with a micro USB port for charging and data syncing. However, the smartphone lacks fast charging and take roughly three hours to refill the battery using a 10W or even a fast charger.

    With respect to battery life, we noticed an average battery life of 6.5 hours on a single charge with heavy usage and the battery offers up to 8 hours of battery life with normal usage. In simpler words, the Nokia 3.1 Plus can last all day long on a single charge without any tussle.

    Connectivity and calling

    The Nokia 3.1 Plus offers a dual nano-SIM card slot with a dedicated micro SD card slot (can expand storage up to 400 GB). The smartphone does support dual LTE or VoLTE at the same time so that a user can use two 4G LTE enabled SIM cards simultaneously.

    The device also supports dual channel Wi-Fi (both 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz) with Bluetooth 4.1 LE. The Nokia 3.1 Plus offers good cellular reception even in the indoor condition, and the upload and download speeds are on point. We did make a lot of voice and video calls, and we had no issues with the sound clarity or voice reception on both ends.

     

    What's missing?

    The Nokia 3.1 Plus is a good budget phone, but not the best in the market especially at the price of Rs 11,449. In fact, the Nokia 3.1 Plus directly competes against the Nokia 5.1 Plus, which retails for Rs 10,999 and offers much superior design and a notch display with USB type C port.

    However, unlike the online exclusive Nokia 5.1 Plus, the Nokia 3.1 Plus is also available in the offline market, and the Nokia 3.1 Plus is made for those, who need to buy a smartphone from an offline market due to various reasons.

     

    • 720p display
    • micro USB port
    • No fast charging

     

    Verdict

    The Nokia 3.1 Plus is a great entry-level smartphone with a few compromises. One should consider the Nokia 3.1 Plus if they are looking for a smartphone with stock Android OS, excellent battery life, dual VoLTE, and a dedicated micro SD card slot.

    The Nokia 3.1 Plus offers a big 6-inch display with the modern 18:9 aspect ratio and the smartphone comes with a rear-facing fingerprint sensor. The Nokia 3.1 Plus can also handle light gaming as well.

    However, it is hard to recommend the Nokia 3.1 Plus, as the Nokia 5.1 Plus offer more premium design, powerful processor, notch display, and a USB type-C port and costs less than the Nokia 3.1 Plus.

    If you can buy a smartphone online, then get the Nokia 5.1 Plus for Rs 10,999, or if you are super adamant about getting a device from an offline market, then the Nokia 3.1 Plus will not disappoint you, but the Nokia 3.1 Plus is not the best smartphone that your money can buy.

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