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Nokia 3.1 Plus review: Tough phone with great battery, display

In a segment chock-full of competitors, does the Nokia 3.1 Plus have a spec sheet strong enough to come on top. Let's have a closer look.

Nokia 3.1 Plus review: Tough phone with great battery, display

An affordable offering from Nokia has always been crowd favourite, right from the days when the company used to rule the Indian market. The Nokia 3.1 Plus is no different. The budget smartphone has been offered with all the bells and whistles required for a decent device in the lower-priced bracket, and then some. The Nokia 3.1 Plus has a few aces up its sleeves which can help it win the crowd's favour. But in a segment chock-full of competitors, does it have a spec sheet strong enough to come on top. Let's have a closer look.

Specifications

The Nokia 3.1 Plus boasts a 6-inch 18:9 display with a resolution of 1440x720 pixels. The primary camera is a dual sensor setup with 13MP and 5MP shooters, whereas at the front is an 8MP selfie camera. On the inside is a Mediatek MT6762 Helio P22 processor with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage.

The Nokia 3.1 Plus comes with Android 8.1 Oreo with Android One affiliation. The smartphone is set to receive an upgrade to Android 9.0 Oreo soon. For connectivity options, it comes with Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO, microUSB 2.0. For security options, there is a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and face recognition, but the latter has to be activated afterwards.

Design and build

The Nokia 3.1 Plus has been made out of aluminium, glass and plastic and the overall build quality feels pretty sturdy. The first thing you notice as you pick up the phone is how well balanced it is, making it feel lighter than it actually is. With rounded edges added to the mix, the Nokia 3.1 Plus makes for a good grip. The back cover of the device is made from aluminium with a non-slippery texture which gives even more grip while using it. To our relief, it is not a fingerprint magnet, but prone to nicks and scratches, though.

The top and bottom ends at the back of Nokia 3.1 Plus have plastic caps, the only time you will see it on the phone. The aluminium back and the plastic caps do not match seamlessly though, but does not seem like much trouble. At the top centre is the vertical camera housing with a metallic accent around it. It holds the two rear cameras and the LED light beneath them. Close below is the fingerprint scanner and the Nokia branding. The Android One branding can be found near the bottom edge.

The front is completely dominated by glass. It does not come with any protection, though, and a screen protector would be wise. At the top is the front camera and anther LED light towards the left, the earpiece in the middle and the Nokia branding to the right.

The right edge has the power and volume keys, whereas the left has been left for two trays. One of them holds your SIM 1 and the microSD card. The second smaller tray at the bottom holds the SIM 2, and feels like an afterthought. The bottom edge holds the microUSB slot and the speaker grilles, whereas the 3.5mm audio jack has been placed at the top.

Display and battery

The 6-inch display on Nokia 3.1 Plus and the big battery are two USPs of the device. Despite being only an IPS LCD HD+ panel, the screen is surprisingly sufficient for extended multimedia usage. Youtube is capped at 720p, as expected, but even that feels crisp. Video streaming as well as playback looks clean too.

Performance

On the inside, the Nokia 3.1 Plus houses an octa-core Mediatek MT6762 Helio P22 processor. While it is no powerhouse, it can carry on with your day to day usage with ease. Now we did face some stutter when the device was pushed a little, but that should be a problem only for power users.

The Mediatek chipset comes coupled with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, which can be further expanded to 400GB. The multitasking remained smooth for most part, thanks to the clutter free UI and Android One.

With the 18:9 aspect ratio, the Nokia 3.1 Plus has much smaller footprint. But it is big enough to house a 3,500mAh battery to keep the display powered through long sessions of media consumption. Coupled with the power-efficient processor, it can easily last up to two days of usage on moderate usage.

Camera

The cameras on the Nokia 3.1 Plus are nothing to write home about. The 13MP primary camera at the back has an aperture of f/2.0, and the secondary 5MP sensor with f/2.4 aperture is used for capturing depth information. The front camera is an 8MP shooter with f/2.2 aperture.

There is noticeable shutter lag due to HDR being set on automatic by default. With sufficient lighting, images came out decent, but had a lot of noise under darker conditions. The bokeh effect worked fine, but could use a tweak or two to help with the edge detection. The selfies came out okay, but nothing extraordinary. Images, on the whole, suffered some loss of detail.

Verdict

In Indian market, Nokia 3.1 Plus has to face against much cheaper options from Chinese manufacturers which could do as much as it does, or even more. But the recent price cut sweetens the deal a bit. The power-focussed processor will do no good in the hands of an intensive user, but will serve well in the case of anybody looking for great battery life and a decent screen. The clean, authentic Android experience and the upgrade promise with Android One are other aspects that work in its favour.

So, if you are looking for a device for moderate usage with a sturdy build, good battery life, a nice screen for video consumption, then Nokia 3.1 Plus is a good choice for Rs 9,999.

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