HMD Global’s Nokia phones have managed to stand out for their solid build and premium design, even in the budget segment. Plus the company has stuck with the Android One program, which means all of the Nokia-branded phones run the latest version of Android with a stock user interface and get upgraded quicker than most other brands in the market.
The latest Nokia 3.2 is no exception when it comes to the design, though it has a more affordable price tag of Rs 8,990. HMD Global has used a plastic body to house the device, unlike its usual metal and glass sandwich build, but the company has still given the phone a premium look and feel. Here’s how the Nokia 3.2 performed for us.
Nokia 3.2 specifications: 6.26-inch HD+ display | Qualcomm Snapdragon 429 processor | 3GB RAM+32GB storage | 13MP rear camera | 5MP front camera | 4,000 mAh battery | Android 9.0 Pie
Nokia 3.2 price in India: Rs 8,990 for 2GB RAM/16GB internal storage variant | Rs 10,790 for 3GB RAM/32GB internal storage variant
Nokia 3.2 review: What’s good?
Nokia 3.2 has a 6.26-inch HD+ display with a resolution of 1520×720 pixels. It renders decent colours and viewing angles. The screen brightness is sufficient enough to read content in bright sunlight. Touch latency is also pretty smooth on this phone. Addition of a system-wide dark mode is also appreciated.
One of the best features of this smartphone that I liked is its battery life. The device is backed by a 4,000mAh battery. You can fully charge this smartphone from 0-100 within two hours using the charger provided inside of the box.
During the review period, Nokia 3.2 was able to last for about two days on a single charge under moderate usage. It easily lasted a full day with heavy duty usage. During the time I had the device, I usually browsed the internet, made a few calls, checked my social media accounts and played a few graphics heavy games like PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 9: Legends.
Ever since HMD Global has started launching Nokia smartphones, the company has stuck with providing users with a pure Android user experience under the Android One program. It also provides users with a guarantee of two years of minimum Android updates and three years of Android security updates.
Nokia 3.2 runs Android 9.0 Pie operating system with the February 1 security patch. Using stock Android is quite a good experience as there are no unnecessary customisations and the device feels quite snappy, clean and uncluttered.
In real life usage, the device was able to hold its own quite well. I was easily able to perform all of my daily tasks like calling, browsing the internet, taking photos and using social media apps without any problems as such. But there were issues when gaming, which I will discuss in detail below.
You can unlock the smartphone in three ways: normal lock, fingerprint and face recognition. The normal unlock and fingerprint unlock method works smoothly. The fingerprint sensor is quite accurate and captures the biometric data fast. So does the face unlock, however, it does take some time to recognise the face.
Nokia 3.2 Plus sports a 13MP single camera sensor on the back with an f/2.2 aperture. While testing it out in good lighting conditions, I found that the device took detailed and colour accurate images. The device was able to accurately focus on the subject without any issue and had good edge detection. The background blur was to the point in most images, which enhanced the focus of the subject.
Images which were taken with the back camera came out quite realistic, which was nice to see. The images came out well exposed and were easy on the eyes and did not seem saturated.
The 5MP front camera also works well in good lighting conditions. It was able to click detailed and colour accurate images by just pointing and shooting the subject. One more thing that I liked about the front camera is that the beauty mode unlike most other smartphones is not turned on by default and is not half bad. The images clicked with the beauty mode on came out very good and for the first time I liked an image of me clicked with the beauty mode active on a budget smartphone.
Nokia 3.2 review: What’s not good?
Though the Nokia 3.2 performed well in day to day usage. However, while playing heavy games like PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 9: Legends, I could see the device lagging. This can be annoying during gameplay, but given the specifications, this is not exactly a gaming phone.
Switching the graphics settings to low made the situation better on PUBG Mobile, but with Asphalt 9, the lag continued even in the low graphics settings. Another major issue I faced was that even though the device got extremely hot during gaming. In some instances, it was too hot to hold. While multi-tasking would run fine up to 10 apps open at a time, the device would start killing apps after I crossed this number.
A design flaw that I found inside the phone is that the U-shaped notch is a bit smaller than it appears. If you carefully see the notch it increases when the display is turned on as the software seems to have dimensions of a bigger notch. This might be an issue with our review unit only. However, it was irritating as more of the content was getting cut.
Both of the Nokia 3.2’s cameras performed well in good lighting conditions. However, when it came to situations with low lighting, the images clicked came a bit grainy and washed out. The images seemed as if they were overexposed and had low details. The edge detection was also choppy as it worked sometimes, however, the other times in low lighting conditions would blur out the faces of the subject. Shutter speed is another issue as the device takes some time to click an image, that makes it quite difficult to take shots.
Nokia 3.2 review: Verdict
Nokia 3.2 has a very sturdy build and feels like a premium device in hand even though it is made out of plastic. It has a good display, stock Android UI and a good battery for the price. However, considering that the performance and the cameras will struggle against phones like Realme 3, Redmi Note 7, Redmi 7, which are in similar price range.