Nokia 1 is HMD Global’s first smartphone that runs Google’s Android Oreo Go edition, a software version of Android Oreo customised for entry-level smartphones. Priced at Rs 5,499, Nokia 1 is targeted at first-time smartphone buyers, and it competes with the Xiaomi Redmi 5A (Rs 4,999 starting price) and 10.or D. Both Redmi 5A and 10.or D run full-fledged versions of Android and ship with newer design and display.
Nokia 1 sticks to a plastic build, smaller display and ships with Go apps designed such as YouTube Go, Maps Go, etc. The phone also tries to cash in on nostalgia with its Xpress-on covers, which come in different colours and can simply be snapped on at the back. It has a removable battery, which is hard to see on smartphones these days and supports dual SIM cards.
Here is our full review of the Nokia 1:
Nokia 1 specifications: 4.5-inch HD 480 x 854 resolution display| quad-core MediaTek MT6737M processor | 1GB RAM +8GB storage |microSD card slot option (up to 128GB) | 5MP rear +5MP front camera| 2150mAh battery| Android 8.1 Oreo Go edition
Nokia 1 price in India: Rs 5,499
Nokia 1 review: Design and Display
Nokia 1 has a likable design thanks to white plastic rims that stand out from very vibrant plastic back covers. We got an orange colour unit of Nokia 1 which very different from rivals given the colour. It comes with thick bezels on top and bottom as well as a smaller 4.5-inch screen, but then this is a budget phone and expecting a bezel-less display would be a bit too much.
Nokia 1 has an ergonomic design and is lightweight too. Thanks to a rounded body, Nokia 1 is easy to hold and the volume rockers keys along with power button on right are easy to access. The phone uses a Micro USB Type 2.0 port for charging, which is placed at the bottom. A 3.5 mm headset jack is present on top.
Nokia 1 has a removable back cover, and the battery can also be removed. Underneath, there are two SIM card slots as well as a microSD card slot. The phone is quite durable, though the back cover is prone to scratches and smudges.
Nokia 1 sports a 4.5-inch IPS FWVGA screen with a resolution of 480×854 pixels. The screen looks washed out and the icons do not appear very sharp. Though the phone has decent viewing angles, I struggled to use it in bright outdoors, even with maximum brightness turned on. Two years back, a FWVGA resolution screen on the Rs 5,500 price range would have been acceptable. But with Redmi 5A and 10.0r D offering 720p HD display, Nokia 1 disappoints in this department. The phones also come with 5-inch and 5.2-inch screen sizes respectively for those who like bigger phones.
Nokia 1 review: Camera
Nokia 1 has a 5MP rear camera with LED flash that does a decent job of clicking pictures in bright outdoors. The front 2MP camera manages to click acceptable selfies in places where there’s ample light, but performance in dim light is bad as you would expect in any budget phone. The camera app itself is pretty easy to use and does not offer too many tweaks. The back camera has panorama, beauty, and manual mode. With manual mode, you can tinker around with exposure as well as white balance. The front camera offers the same functions, though it does not support flash.
Nokia 1 review: Performance and battery
The performance on Nokia 1 is not the best, even with Android Go edition apps that are supposed to run smoothly on this budget device. I experienced multiple app crashes and lag with most of third-party apps. And even the Go apps were not smooth. Each time I tried to open the multiple tabs, the phone slowed down. The apps also take way too long to open, which is an issue for me.
Plus, Nokia 1 heats up very quickly, say within one minute of opening videos on YouTube or launching the camera app. Due to limited storage, I could not download a lot of apps. There is an option of expandable storage for those willing to try it.
The battery on Nokia 1 lasts for about a day on light to moderate usage. My daily usage included watching videos, making calls, messaging on WhatsApp, and using Nokia 1 as hotspot device. The phone has a smaller 2,150mAh battery. The battery is optimised thanks to lighter apps and a low screen resolution display. It takes close to two hours to get fully charged, which is fine given the budget pricing and features.
Nokia 1 review: Software
Nokia 1 runs Android 8.1 Oreo, which is great to see on a budget phone. It also ships with Go versions of apps such as YouTube, Maps, etc and there is Google Assistant as well. The Maps Go, YouTube Go apps retain some core functionalities of the normal versions such as the ability to navigate hands-free, download videos, etc, which is good to see. Google Chrome has icons for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Translate, Weather, etc upfront, which is another positive. However, the Go apps are also very slow and do not really work that well, which is the highlight of the device. Perhaps Google needs to push some software updates to optimise them further.
Nokia 1 review: Verdict
Nokia 1 might seem like a good proposition on paper, especially with Android Go edition. However, the phone is hard to recommend as it fails to impress when it comes to actual performance. Nokia 1 faces solid competition from Redmi 5A (which one can get for under Rs 5,000 in offline markets), which has better performance in a similar price range. The only highlight here is the stock Android version of Oreo Go edition, though the price makes this seem expensive compared to the competition.