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Nokia 3.1 Plus Full Review

by Hanson

After Microsoft let Nokia a wreck and a mess, HMD global took over. Careful planning and good decisions have brought them out of the water unto land. Nokia is thriving even and making profits. They Nokia ha based itself in the midrange smartphone category which is proving to be a big hit especially in India. They launched a few phones at the beginning of the year like the Nokia 5 Plus, Nokia 6 Plus or the Nokia 7 which were liked by a lot of people. Nokia has launched incremental upgrades to their previous phones, implementing fixes gotten from feedback to make a real upgrade. These upgrades have seen the making of new phones like the Nokia 5.1 Plus, Nokia 6.1 Plus or the Nokia 7 Plus.

The latest of these phones to hit the market is the Nokia 3.1 Plus. It succeeds the Nokia 3.1 and is aimed at the budget market. Similar to its siblings, the Plus variant of the 3.1 shares minimal similarity with its predecessor. There’s a lot of new stuff to make it stand out as a phone on its own without being in the shadow of its older siblings. These features start from the design all the way to the internals.

We will take a deep look into the device to determine if it’s worthy of a buy and at the price it’s being offered or should you turn to other phones like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5, Note 5 Pro, or Realme 2 Pro amongst others.

Nokia 3.1 Plus Review: Price and availability

At Rs. 11,499, the Nokia 3.1 Plus comes more highly priced than its older sibling the Nokia 3.1 which was priced at Rs. 8,924 but the Nokia 3.1 plus is in a category of its own with unique features so their prices should not be compared.

The Nokia 3.1 Plus comes in three colors – White, Blue, and Baltic. The Nokia 8110 4G is priced at Rs. 5,999. Both the smartphones will be available across retail channels from October 19.

Nokia 3.1 Plus Review: Build and Design

While the Nokia 3.1 Plus design language deviates from the devices we have seen in the past, it does rather share design language similar with its more recently launched siblings–the Nokia 5.1 Plus and Nokia 6.1 Plus. Of course, that makes sense. Nokia has opted for a metal body with a smooth rubber shell, moving on from the slippery glass back which we knew. This offers more grip and fewer fingerprint smudges which we really appreciate.

Nokia I has a reputation for making solid phones and the material choices and finishes of the Nokia 3.1 Plus demonstrates that perfectly. The Nokia 3.1 Plus moves from the metal and glass body on the 5.2 plus. The Nokia 3.1 Plus comes packed in an aluminum shell with poly-carbonate on the top and bottom which disguises the antenna strips and aids better network reception.

The metal on the back has a soft touch with a matte finish with zero reflection or shine to keep off those fingerprint smudges we all hate. The finish on the rear panel resembles more like the Nokia 6.1 or the 5.1 and it feels sleek for sure. Not just the looks, but the in-hand feel of the phone is premium.

The Nokia 3.1 Plus has a sturdy build which can be felt when you hold it in hand. The chrome lining around the camera and fingerprint sensor does add up to the overall appearance of the phone. It will, however, get stained easily.

The curved edges around the phone make it easy to grip and hold for long without digging into the fingers/palm. Although the size of the phone does not qualify it to be called a handy device like the Nokia 6.1 Plus, it’s slightly heavier at 180g.

The Nokia 3.1 Plus’s outer body dimensions measures a height of 156.9 mm by 76.4 mm on the width axes. It has an overall thickness of 8.2 mm (6.18 x 3.01 x 0.32 in).

There are two soft touch physical buttons on the right side, the volume rocker, and power/sleep buttons, and they are easily accessible and give a good tactile feedback. The rear fingerprint scanner is positioned nicely and falls just under the finger. The 3.5 mm audio jack is on the top, while the micro USB port sits at the bottom with microphone and loudspeaker on its left and right respectively.

There are two tray slots on the left side, one for a microSD card and the other for dual SIM cards. The front has a Nokia 7.1-like design, or say, a standard front frame with curved corners and an 18:9 display. A somewhat thick chin and forehead with an earpiece and front camera on top with the Nokia branding on the top right corner.

Nokia 3.1 Plus Review: Display

Nokia 3.1 Plus Review: Display

The new Nokia 3.1 Plus has a 6.0-inch HD+ IPS LCD screen with an 18:9 aspect ratio. The screen measures a diagonal length of 152.4 mm, 136 mm in height and a width dimension of 68 mm which gives a display area of 92.9 cm2. Though the 6.0 inch is large, the top and bottom chins of the Nokia 3.1 Plus are pretty fat giving it a low screen to body ratio of 77.5 percent.

The screen is based on IPS LCD technology, contains 268 Pixels Per Inch (PPI) and produces 16,777,216 colors with a color depth of 24 bit. The Nokia 3.1 Plus screen is a 1440 x 720 p HD+ screen which means it’s only a 720P resolution screen which is covered by an unknown protection glass.

The black levels are deep, but the maximum brightness is just above average for outdoor viewing. Sunlight legibility is underwhelming, but still on par with competing devices. Adaptive brightness is calibrated properly and work well in most cases. Color accuracy can’t be counted in the strong areas of the display, it has a Cyan, Blue-Greenish tint to it. For regular users, it’s a very average display for multimedia and gaming, but full HD resolution is a bare minimum that we expected.

Nokia 3.1 Plus Review: Camera

Nokia 3.1 Plus Review: Camera

The first thing you have to consider about the Nokia 3.1 Plus is that it’s a budget phone and for the price, you won’t get images like the Pixel 3. That said, I think the Nokia 3.1 camera takes good images for the price.

The Nokia 3.1 Plus sports a dual rear camera setup- 13-megapixel primary lens with f/2.0aperture + 5.0-megapixel secondary lens with f/2.4 aperture. The front-facing camera is an 8-megapixel shooter with f/2.2 aperture.

Without regard for the phone being a budget phone, the camera on the Nokia 3.1 Plus is mediocre.

Here are a few photos taken on the Nokia 3.1 Plus camera.

Nokia 3.1 Plus Camera Samples: Daylight

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Nokia 3.1 Plus Camera Samples: Lowlight

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Nokia 3.1 Plus Camera Samples: Portraits

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Nokia 3.1 Plus Camera Samples: Selfies

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The Nokia 3.1 Plus manages to give out some decent looking photos. In daylight, I think the Nokia 3.1 Plus performs well. Nice color representation with a photo that looks good overall.

It does struggle with dynamic range and crispness but that is acceptable considering the price. Against direct sunlight, we sometimes got overexposure and blown out high lights, and in low light, some areas seemed to smudge out.

The camera struggles to lock focus on a subject and low light worsens the situation and also, you need to keep your hand steady to get a clear shot. The Nokia 3.1 Plus camera fails to capture images quickly and the slow shutter is a complete annoyance.

This phone’s camera really suffers in low light. The images turned out bright but were way too soft and didn’t look nice to me.

The 8MP front camera takes good selfies, but again, it’s not the best in low light environments.

Overall the Nokia 3.1 Plus camera is decent at best. But you can get some great looking photos with good lighting and steady hands. its not a Pixel 3 camera

Nokia 3.1 Plus Review: Call quality

Nokia 3.1 Plus offers stellar call quality because of its innovative Antenna design. Call reception is usually very good. I didn’t face any issue like call drops etc. and it holds well even during long conversations.

Nokia 3.1 Plus Review: Battery life

The Nokia 3.1 Plus’s battery live is quite good. It more than average battery life in the midrange smartphone category. The low power internal components of the Nokia 3.1 Plus give it an extra advantage. The phone also pushes a lot fewer pixels on the 268ppi 720p screen. The averagely bulkier design of the Nokia 3.1 Plus allowed Nokia to chuck in a hefty 3500mAh battery inside the device.

Nokia promises 2-day battery on this phone, which is technically correct, but only if you do not touch the phone more than necessary to make calls and reply to a text. Using the phone on “power Mode” can also get through a full working day. A full charge got us through a day’s usage using social media, streaming, messaging and light gaming. Screen-on time typically varies between 6.5-7.5 hrs. for the heavy usage scenario

Nokia 3.1 Plus Review: Software and performance

The Nokia 3.1 Plus is also a part of Google Android One program, which ensures timely version updates for two years, monthly security patches and a bloatware free interface. It might not sound like a big deal, but it’s a huge plus to have assured updates. Especially, when the best-rated phones from the Redmi series fail to provide it.

Even though you can’t compare the stock Android and a custom ROM like Xiaomi’s MIUI or Honor’s EMUI, Android One does give Nokia an edge over other devices. The software experience here is pure and untouched. Of course, hardware does matter to complement the software, which we found to be fluid, but not flawless.

We did run into some crashes and lags when we did put the phone through its paces with intensive tasks. We ran the AnTuTu benchmark app on the Nokia 3.1 Plus and it scored 77183, which is lower than the newly launched Nokia 5.1 Plus by a huge margin.

The only constant issue was in the app launch speed, which in some cases tool much longer than usual. Although, in the day to day usage, it rarely shows any sign of stutter or slowdown.

Nokia 3.1 Plus Review: Multitasking

With 2 super-heavy games (GTA San Andreas and PUBG Mobile), 10 browser tabs, Camera, and many other apps open in the background Nokia 3.1 Plus remain totally responsive and lag-free. All super-heavy games usually resume fine from the background while running simultaneously. As you will notice in the video, apps/games resume fast from background during multitasking and there are no crashes/lags/freezes even with so much load.

Nokia 3.1 Plus Review: Gaming

Gaming, for the most part, is quite enjoyable on the Nokia 3.1 Plus. We have tried to demo the game-play with heavy and critically acclaimed games like GTA San Andreas and PUBG Mobile. The device certainly holds the promise of hours of enjoyable gameplay without a pause. You would love the volume output and the performance of the phone remains blazing fast.

Games like Modern Combat 5 run smooth as silk but heavy titles like the very famous PUBG Mobile cannot be played at any setting above low. I played a couple of matches, and there were very tiny frame drops throughout the match, but nothing that you don’t see on competing devices.

Nokia 3.1 Plus Review: Multimedia

Single speaker for audio Before we get on to the video and audio quality, we must reiterate on the big battery with impressive optimization for longevity. It’s always a big plus to have a good battery backup you spend a lot of time streaming video content. Audio on the Nokia 3.1 Plus is neither overwhelming nor disappointing. There’s a solo downward facing loudspeaker on the bottom left of the phone, which gets thin at high volumes and also gets blocked while holding the phone in landscape while playing games. It’s loud, but definitely not the one you would rely on for in-room chilling sessions. The earphones in the box don’t go with the quality of the handset. They are flimsy, and can only be used to keep as a spare backup. If you consume audio on your phone, it’s better to invest in a new earphone. The phone has only 32GB of onboard storage, out of which, 10GB is preoccupied for system files. But Nokia covered it up with a dedicated microSD card slot with support for up to 400GB. The 6-inch display is good enough for streaming HD content. The only downside is the outdoor visibility, else, we found it to be a decent panel to watch videos and play games on.

Nokia 3.1 Plus Review: Verdict

The Nokia 3.1 Plus is priced very close to the Nokia 5.1 Plus, and considering the difference, both phones are aimed at different types of consumers. Nokia retains the premium build and design. But unlike the previous iterations: Nokia 3 or 3.1, this one isn’t priced as low and is focused mainly on the offline market. But in all fairness, it’s the design and battery that can be considered as the strong areas, and camera and performance are where it lags behind the competition. The Nokia 5.1 Plus, at just Rs 10,499 offers better screen resolution, glass design, faster chipset where the 3.1 Plus is more focused at multimedia focused users with a slightly bigger screen and battery.

Nokia 3.1 Plus Review: Who is it for?

With a 6-inch display and a 3500mAh battery, the Nokia 3.1 Plus is best suited for those who like consuming content on their phones while on the go. Also, it’s comparatively one of the best choices if you are headed to buy a phone from an offline store.

Nokia 3.1 Plus Review: Should you buy it?

If you’re looking for an affordable daily driver that can handle basic day to day tasks with an ease and guarantees regular updates on top of stock Android, without compromising on the battery. The Nokia 3.1 Plus seems like a decent package for you. Having that solid metal build and sleek design with a 6-inch display is always a plus to have.

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