The new Nokia phones are here – first impressions

For the last few years, Nokia has remained in the background of the mobile market, but at MWC 2017 in Barcelona over the weekend the iconic Finish company made a spectacular comeback.

In partnership with HMD, Nokia took the stage to announce three budget-minded smartphones with Android and a Nokia 3310 revival feature phone.

Nokia says it has brought Android onboard in order to cater to the needs of consumers, who have been asking for this for a while now. But the Android market is very competitive today, so will Nokia’s slew of Android devices be able to make it?

Nokia believes the attributes the three phones bring to the table namely quality, design and their unique approach to Android are enough to make a statement on the market. Also Nokia relies on the fans nostalgia for a brand that used to dominate the emerging mobile market almost a decade ago.

So how do the new Nokia phones feel? At MWC 2017 we had the chance to play with them a little bit and here’s our first impressions. First off, let’s start with the Nokia 6 which is the top of the line device.

Middle-range phones have started borrowing lot of features that have been limited to flagships so far. And Nokia wants to bring luxury to the masses.

Case in point, the Nokia 6 doesn’t look like your average budget phone. It’s manufactured from a block of aluminum with diamond cut edges. When you hold the phone in your hand it gives you a very industrial, metallic feel. The sharp edges are also a good combination for the matte aluminum body. The phones bet on a Norse design – characterized by almost monastic simplicity, utility and beauty.

The Nokia 6 features a 5.5-inch display which spacious but not too big. Viewing angles, as far as we can see are pretty good. The phone has a physical home button where the fingerprint scanner lives.

Now if you are not a fan of matte, Nokia and HMD have an alternative solution for you. They are offering the Nokia 6 Arte Black Limited Edition which comes with a glossy black back. Sadly we found it to be quite smudgy. But that can be easily fixed with a cleaning cloth.

When it comes to specs, the Nokia 6 isn’t mind-blowing, but it does offer enough. We have a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, 3GB of RAM (for the normal variant) or 4GB of RAM (for the limited edition) and 32GB of internal storage (for the normal variant) and 64GB of internal storage (for the limited edition). The device features a microSD card slot.

The device is powered by a Snapdragon 430 processor which is an octa-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A53 affair. The chipset is probably the biggest disappointment here, as the phone would have been so much better with a Snapdragon 625 (at least) onboard.

Anyhow, the phone has a main 16MP camera with dual tone flash and an 8MP selfie shooter with wide angle lens and auto-focus.

Now, the Nokia 6 has a very good chance of inciting a lot of Nokia old timers and new smartphone enthusiasts. It has a clean version of Android 7.0 Nougat onboard and will receive timely updates, unlike many flagships up there. On top of that it has the Google Assistant onboard – another premium feat if we consider the Assistant was previously an exclusive of the Google Pixel phone.

The phone also it features an affordable price ($242 for the matte black, silver, blue or copper Nokia 6 and $315 for Nokia 6 Arte Black), but as we mentioned above we would have liked to see a better processor onboard.

Moving on to the Nokia 5 – a phone that comes with a smaller 5.2-inch display with 1280 x 720 pixel resolution and a few subtle, design changes (compared to the Nokia 6).

The phone is also made of aluminum, but features stylish curved edges which make it appears like the display is in perfect communion with the metal casing. Being of a smaller frame, it fits perfectly in hand.

Like the Nokia 6, the Nokia 5 features a physical home button with an embedded fingerprint sensor and relies on the Snapdragon 430 to keep the lights on. It takes advantage of only 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage (microSD card slot available).  Nokia also bundled a 13MP main camera with f/2.0, phase detection autofocus and dual-LED flash plus an 8MP wide-angle selfie camera.

These specs are sufficient for average use and Nokia 5 seemed extremely responsive while we played with it for a bit. However, it remains to be seen how the Nokia 5 would behave after a month or two of active use. The Nokia 5 should retail around $199 and will become available in blue, silver, matte black and copper.

Last but not least, comes the Nokia 3. It’s the most affordable one in the bunch and should start selling for around $147. The Nokia 3 isn’t made of metal like its brothers, instead it offers a polycarbonate body and an aluminum frame. It looks sleek nevertheless.

It doesn’t have a physical home button like the rest and boasts the smaller screen of the bunch, a 5-inch panel with 1280 x 720 pixel resolution.

The Nokia 3 has a MediaTek MT6737 chipset under the hood (quad-core 1.4GHz Cortex-A53) which is paired with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage (microSD cardslot available). In the photography department, the Nokia 3 has an 8MP main camera with autofocus/LED flash and an 8MP selfie shooter.

Nokia says that 45% of people tend to shop in the budget segment and that’s why they have chosen to cater to this sector first. But while the new Nokia phones look and feel great, they are still far from being a flagship. While the company hasn’t confirmed it has plans to launch such a device, we’re hoping Nokia will unveil a worthy Galaxy S8 competitor sometimes later this year. A successful premium Nokia will be the real proof that the company has comeback to stay.

Nokia not only returned with 3 Android handsets, but it also revived a classic at MWC 2017. The Nokia 3310 launched in 2000 and quickly became one of the most popular phones in the period thanks to its long battery life and fun feats like the Snake game.

Now the candy bar feature phone is coming back with a modern take. The new Nokia 3310 is small, colorful and looks like a lot of fun. It’s slimmer than its predecessor and you can barely feel its weight in your hand. And like its predecessor it offers long standing battery life – 25.3 days in standby mode and up to 22.1 hours of talk time..

The phone is built on the S30+ operating platform (developed by MediaTek for Nokia) and offers all the basic features you’d expect including voice and text messaging, Internet browsing (via the Opera Mini browsers), music listening, a camera, two SIM slots and of course Snake.

Sure, you won’t be able to run any fancy apps and there’s no touchscreen onboard. But that’s not really the point with the modern Nokia 3310 is it? Actually the feature phone constitutes a welcome relief from all smartphone galore we’ve seen for the past few days.

The cute, little phone with a color display will be made available for purchase for approximately $51. You’ll be able to grab it in red and yellow with gloss finish and polycarbonate exterior or dark blue and grey with matte finish. Are you getting one? We know we are!

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