Nokia 3: The best smartphone that you can buy under Rs 10,000
- The Nokia 3 is available at retail stores for Rs 9,499
- Some of the design elements of the phone do remind one of the Nokia Lumia
- Nokia will also be updating the phone to Android 8.0, way advances than the Android 6.0 running on Redmi and Samsung phones
- Nokia 3 is currently the best Android phone you can buy under Rs 10,000
Nokia ticks all the requirements of a budget user and throws in a premium design that is sweetly reminiscent of its Lumia phones. It is built like a rock and factory-loaded with latest Android OS with assurance of the next update. Nokia 3 is the next big budget smartphone the market, and the companies are bracing for.
HMD Global, the custodians of Nokia, decided to launch the feature phone in the market before anything else and now when it comes to smartphones, almost a month after it officially announced the Android phones of its cadre. The first one was made available and it is not a flagship but the cheapest one, which won’t even sell online. Not only strange, but some would call it utterly stupid.
But as it turns out, Nokia is following a different strategy. Unlike other companies that have huge investor inflow to play in the market, it is taking baby steps to grow back into the Nokia it was. The Nokia 3 is the first smartphone that we got to review, available at retail stores for Rs 9,499. Nokia says it will be available at over 80,000 brick and mortar shops across the country.
Despite being the cheapest, Nokia 3 is built on certain standards that remains same throughout the series. The phone has a unibody design and the build quality would remind you of some expensive Lumia phones. It’s a solid metal fame which is delicately curved at the sides and edges. When you hold the phone in the hand it feels rounded, light yet very sturdy. It is aluminium after all. Incidentally drop-testing the phone on several occasions tells you the build is more than enough to justify its price.
But then there is much more. The display has a 2.5D curved Corning glass for scratch resistance smooth touch experience, the back surface has a matte finish that feels great in the hands and there are two slots on the left, one with space for microSD and other with space for two SIM card slots.
The 5-inch display on the Nokia 3 has a 720p (HD) resolution which is a notch lower than what some phones like Redmi Note 4 are offering. But then, it is no less colourful. The screen brightness may also appear low, but it good enough for outdoor using daytime. The display is polarized to cut reflection so high brightness isn’t anyways needed.
This might be for saving on some battery life. Nokia 3 comes with a 2630mAh battery which isn’t anything great. But the overall backup we got during the review was of more than a day on casual use, which is not bad at all. But why didn’t Nokia put a big battery in there?
That is because a large battery has its own drawbacks. It makes the phone thick and heavy to hold and the charging time required to fill the battery is longer. The company has rather made the phone more power-efficient to make up for it. Consequently, a small processor and stock Android interface fit the bill.
The amazingly optimised Android 7.1.1 on the Nokia 3 is a delight to use. Apps open fast and multitasking doesn’t slow down the phone. Not unless you are running 20 apps in the background. Till then, switching from one app to another is quick.
In this price point, it is important to note that the software experience is not generally this smooth. Smartphone makers pay more attention to include gimmicky specs to sell. But the stock Android interface on Nokia 3 is not only latest, it's smooth. Nokia will also be updating the phone to Android 8, which should put the Redmis and Galaxies of this segment still running on Android 6.0 on their toes.
Under the hood, Nokia 3 runs the MediaTekMT6737 chipset with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage, expandable to 256GB. It is not the best processor the phone could have and Nokia has surely done some cost cutting here. It is surprising that while most companies spend on chipset more than anything else, Nokia has invested in components, build material and software to offer a more rounded experience for daily use. Nokia 3 is not at all a powerful smartphone like the Redmi Note 4, but it is surely as wonderful in experience, and then sometimes more. The phone comes with NFC for touch-based file transfer and payments, all sensors including accelerometer, ambient light sensor, and gyro.
The phone has 8MP cameras in the rear and front, both with autofocus and f/2.0 lens. There are general features like face detection, HDR or geo-tagging the photos. The photos are crisp and the focus is spot-on mostly, even indoors with normal lighting.The camera does take a bit longer to get the shot, which could be a bummer for some. But then, for the price, Nokia 3’s cameras are good.
For better hardware you may buy the Nokia 5 and the Nokia 6, which at their respective price points offer great value for money. Like does the Nokia 3. The best thing about the phones, apart from their price and the features and build quality they offer, is that a lot of attention is paid to the software. Most companies in this segment ignore that which is why Nokia 3 is currently the best Android phone you can buy under Rs 10,000, available for buy from offline retail stores right now.
Moto G5 and the Redmi Note 4 are other options you may consider buying, albeit at a slightly higher price point, that come with a fingerprint sensor and better hardware under the hood. The Redmi Note 4 particularly is better at gaming, not at user experience per se. But again Nokia 5 would be the right contender for comparison. If your budget is strictly under 10k, Nokia 3 is a highly recommended buy.