Nokia 3.1 Plus first impressions: rock solid

Nokia 3.1 Plus

A year ago, Nokia was just re-entering the market and a lot of us including me were unsure of how it was gonna go. Well, today when we hear Nokia it somehow feels like they were always here. Well, today we are talking about Nokia 3.1 Plus, a classy matte candy bar among the sea of glossy phones. 

Design

I am gonna start by saying how pleasantly surprised I was after seeing how the phone looked. I mean, yes it’s not metal or glass and no it doesn’t reflect light into weird patterns, but man does it look classy. The matte finish back accented by those shiny metal accents on the camera and the fingerprint scanner somehow seems like a rare beauty these days. The in-hand feel is also quite good, the soft touch plastic obviously feels extremely grippy in hand and I assure you this back will be quite difficult to crack. That matte back although will capture a lot of smudges so that is something that you’ll have to worry about, but the rest of it looks fine to me. 

The volume rocker and power button are both on the right side of the phone and are quite clicky. The bottom is again asymmetrical design, which I am extremely happy about. It’s clear that when you know the design you know design!

I am gonna say this, among all the glass and metal phones, I think the Nokia 3.1 Plus is among the top 5 best looking phones this year, any price. 

Display

The Display on the Nokia 3.1 Plus is a 720p+ display with that 18:9 aspect ratio and no notch thank you. Now, the display itself doesn’t look bad on first look, but yes one thing I noticed right off the bat also because I am a reviewer and that’s how I judge my displays, the display looks fine from the front, but as soon as you tilt, the collar shift is very unappealing and that’s generally the case with economical LCD panels, but yes the colour shift here is bad enough for me to be disappointed with it. 

Rest of it looks fine, the brightness also looks pretty good, and obviously, I’ll test it out for the full review, but till then these are my first impressions about the display. 

Software

The Nokia 3.1 Plus like all Nokia phones this year runs stock android under the Android One program. This is the sweetest mark that any tech enthusiast can ask for on a phone. The clean stock android is one of the least taxing operating systems that your phone can run, and with the budget processor inside, stock android is the best choice for it. 

With android one, you get a bloatware free phone out-of-the-box and it’s just complete control of what apps you want to keep. The camera app is Nokia’s own, but the rest of it is a clean stock android, which means that you get a smooth vanilla experience. 

Now for the people who are not fans of stock android and find it boring, this might not be the phone, but for the people who love that minimal look, this is heaven. 

Performance

The Nokia 3.1 Plus comes with an Helio P22 chipset inside which is an Octa-core chipset, clocked at 2.0 GHz. Now, the chipset is definitely, not the most powerful available but you’ll have to wait for the full review to understand how it actually performs in real life.  

Now from the limited time I had with the device, the UI seems smooth and I didn’t find any drops yet. The surfing is pretty smooth and It feels pretty snappy too. I haven’t installed a lot of apps on it, So once we do that in our testing period for the full review we might be able to help you better.

Cameras

The camera set up on the back includes a 13MP f/2.0 sensor and a 5MP f/2.4 secondary lens for depth sensing. The front camera is an 8MP f/2.2 and it takes okay-ish selfies. I’ve not been a fan of the selfies that came out, and I would’ve liked to see better pictures out a phone that costs this much.

The pictures that we took off of it mostly came out blurry, but there were times when we did get a few right. The dynamic range isn’t that exciting too, looking at other phone’s in this price range, it feels like the 3.1 Plus could do better. That said, ours is a pre-production unit, so it very well might be better on the retail unit. Wait for our full review to know the full camera analysis. 

Click the picture to view more camera samples in full quality.

Battery

Finally coming to the battery, inside we get a 3500 mAh battery which is quite a large size considering at how thin this phone is. However, the build quality has been nailed on the Nokia 3.1 plus and you’re getting quite a slim phone for the huge battery inside. Now, we obviously haven’t tested how the battery life performance and we will put all that data out in our full review once we are done with our tests. But strictly looking at the facts that you have slightly resolution display, stock android and a power efficient chipset you are easily looking at a battery life of a casual day without breaking a sweat.

Closing thoughts

The Nokia 3.1 Plus is a typical Nokia smartphone with that rock solid build quality, consumer-friendly software, and a focus on a reliable experience over anything. Now, with a price tag of Rs. 11,499 it does raise a few questions about the value for money mainly for the online audience but that fact that it’s an offline only phone blows some of that heat away.  That said, do wait for Mr. Phone’s full review till you make your buying decision.

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Sreehari
sree.hari@u2opiamobile.com

Sreehari is in love; in love with technology. His enthusiasm for new gadgets can be seen in his videos. He single-handedly built Mr. Phone's YouTube channel and continues to persevere with Nitesh in making world-class tech videos. Sree - as everyone calls him affectionately - is also a big fan of Artificial Intelligence and Industrial Design. If he is not working on gadget reviews, Sree is a trained Carnatic singer. When you meet him, do to request for his rendition of Kabira by Arijit Singh.