Hands-on: Nokia 3 review

Nokia is back, and with it comes new Android phones that we expect to fly off the shelves. HMD Global, a Finnish startup, is using the Nokia brand to bring the three 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 smartphone range. Read on for our Nokia 3 hands-on review from MWC 2017. You can also find out more about its bigger siblings in our Nokia 5 review and Nokia 6 review.

Also see: Nokia 8 and 9 rumours

Nokia 3: Price & Availability

The Nokia 3 is the cheapest phone in the new Nokia Android range, with a price of £119.99. It goes on sale in the UK on 12 July 2017.

That means we can place the Nokia 3 firmly in the budget smartphone category, so we’re looking forward to putting it through its paces when we get it back to the Tech Advisor labs to find out whether it can take the top spot in our budget smartphone chart. That’s cheaper than the two most recent Moto G phones, the Moto G4 and Moto G5, which used to dominate the budget smartphone charts.

Nokia 3: Design & build

The Nokia 3 has a 5in smoothly sculpted Gorilla Glass screen housed in a neat and compact polycarbonate body with a rounded aluminium frame that we think looks brilliantly premium considering its price tag.

We also actually prefer the 5in HD screen size to some of the bigger offerings in the flagship high-end category. It means you can fit the phone comfortably in the palm of your hand and most people will find they can use it one-handed without running into any problems when it comes to reaching the edges of the screen.

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

Nokia 3: Hardware, features & specs

The Nokia 3’s 5in screen has a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels like the Nokia 5. We found it to be bright and reasonably crisp, and wouldn’t expect more from a phone with a great price tag like this one.

Inside the Nokia 3 is the MediaTek MTK 6737 quad-core 1.3GHz processor paired with 2GB RAM, which is definitely a budget chipset so we wouldn’t expect anything particularly speedy from this handset. It’s going to run most apps without too much trouble so we expect this won’t be an issue for most anyone planning to use it for social media and casual games, but don’t expect to be able to play any power-hungry games or apps without running into some lag.

There’s 16GB built-in memory with support for up to 128GB more thanks to the MicroSD card slot.

Both of the Nokia 3’s cameras are 8Mp, which isn’t fantastic and was definitely noticeable compared with the Nokia 5 and Nokia 6’s offerings (13Mp and 16Mp respectively). It’s good enough for the odd photo, but you won’t want to use this as your main camera on a holiday or for taking photos you intend to print and frame. The rear camera offers an LED flash, though, and both have autofocus.

The non-removable battery is 2,650mAh, which should manage a day without charging but we’ll need to wait until we get it back to our labs to find out just how many hours you’ll get out of it.

Nokia 3: Software

The Nokia 3 runs a delightfully simple “Pure” Android 7.0 Nougat complete with Google Assistant and without any fancy trimmings to overcomplicate things. There’s no bloatware and no overlay to worry about, and you’ll get software updates regularly. Fans of stock Android will certainly love the Nokia 3’s approach to software.

Nokia 3: Specs

  • Android Nougat 7 5in 1280x720 touchscreen 1.3GHz MediaTek MTK 6737 quad-core processor 2GB RAM 16GB storage 8MP main camera, LED flash 8MP front camera Bluetooth 4G LTE GPS 2650 mAh non-removable battery 143.4 x 71.4 x 8.48mm
  • Android Nougat 7 5in 1280x720 touchscreen 1.3GHz MediaTek MTK 6737 quad-core processor 2GB RAM 16GB storage 8MP main camera, LED flash 8MP front camera Bluetooth 4G LTE GPS 2650 mAh non-removable battery 143.4 x 71.4 x 8.48mm

OUR VERDICT

We’re strangely excited about the Nokia 3 considering the fact that it’s budget and there’s nothing particularly innovative about it. It’s just a really good all-rounder with such a great price tag that it’s hard not to recommend to anyone not wanting to spend loads to get the best smartphone tech available. We think this is going to a hugely popular new handset and we wouldn’t be surprised if it knocks the Moto G out of the top spot in our budget smartphone chart.

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