HMD Global‘s Nokia 3 is a budget-friendly smartphone that offers decent specs and a premium design and is aimed at buyers that are looking for a good all-round Android experience that won’t break the bank.
There is definitely something very familiar to the design of the Nokia 3, at least for anyone that has ever held a Windows Phone-powered Lumia smartphone from Nokia. But this is not a case of familiarity breeds contempt since the premium look is very welcome in this pricerange. The polycarbonate body and the precision-machined aluminium frame combining well in hand, to make the phone feel quite classy.
For a recommended retail price of R2199, you get a polarised 5.0″ IPS LCD (1280 x 720, conventional 16:9 aspect ratio) that provides enough detail for webpages, YouTube videos and images. It is actually readable in bright sunlight, but by no means is the most vibrant screen we have ever used though thanks to its more muted colours and being a little dim.
Cameras were a big selling point of Nokia’s Windows Phone devices and on paper, the Nokia 3 offers enough punch thanks to a 8 MP camera at the rear plus another 8 MP snapper for selfies on the front. Pictures in good lighting conditions are adequate while low-light images are quite bland and washed-out. This actually means that picture quality is par for the course in terms of the budget smartphone class.
Under the hood you find a MTK 6737 quad-core processor clocked at 1.3 Ghz and 2 GB worth of RAM. Performance is not jittery but on the sluggish side, especially while multitasking, loading games like Stick Cricket 2 or even when opening stock apps like the camera. The smartphone runs on pure Android, which is quite welcome but not even that could help counter the sluggish performance of the budget chipset.
In terms of battery life, the integrated 2630 mAh battery will get light users through a working day, while power users will be reaching for a charger (fast-charging not supported) before 17:00.
Ultimately, the Nokia 3 offers good looks, a quality feel in hand, and a vanilla Android experience at a good price. If you want a budget device that covers all the basics, you can consider the Nokia 3, but those looking for blistering performance, all-day battery life or the best mobile camera experience should continue looking.