It’s like we woke up in an alternate universe – one where Nokia chose Android over Windows Phone. And oh boy, it is glorious. The brand has a lot of catching up to do but it gets close to the front in a single bound.
The Nokia 6 has been around for a while now, but it is now officially set for a worldwide release. To celebrate, HMD unveiled a special edition Arte Black color, which comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage. The other colors come with 3GB and 32GB respectively.
What we think is most appealing about the new Nokia trio is the attitude towards software. The phones come with pure Android 7.1 Nougat – the company didn’t touch a thing – and a commitment for timely updates. Effectively, this makes them the affordable Pixel phones Google never gave us (let’s not mention Android One).
The Nokia 5 is the first of the new Android-powered handsets. It shrinks the aluminum unibody to house a smaller 5.2″ screen, but keeps the same chipset and battery capacity as the model 6. The screen has a polarization filter, by the way, that’s the secret ingredient that gave Lumias their best-in-class sunlight legibility.
Still, the 5 is a lower-end model and the screen drops to 720p resolution, the main camera to 13MP. You get to keep the fingerprint reader and the free subscription to Google Photos, though.
Then there’s the Nokia 3, which we’re so glad wasn’t born a Lumia. It does take after the ill-fated Windows phones – the aluminum frame and soft touch polycarbonate make this one of the prettiest entry-level phones around.
The screen goes down another step to 5″ (still 720p) but it promises 450 nits of brightness, same as the Nokia 6, but it borrows the polarization filter from the 5. Fingerprint reader, Google Photos subscription, even the 2 gigs of RAM and 16 gigs storage are still on board.
Finally, HMD, the new parent company behind Nokia phones, didn’t skip on the opportunity to ride the nostalgia wave and reincarnate the legendary Nokia 3310 for a second go on the 2017 mobile scene. We are sure opinions will be polarized on the EUR 49 feature-phone, but that definitely fits into the whole idea.
Join us on the following pages as jot down our first hands-on impressions with the three phones.
All three Android Nokias have really great build quality, but the Nokia 6 is the best of the bunch. We handled the Arte Black version first, but its glossy piano black finish hid no secrets – everyone else in the room had handled it too, we have the fingerprints to prove it. And cleaning it to snap a few shots proved difficult.
While this one doesn’t come with the PureView camera we were hoping for, we did try what the Nokia 6’s camera is capable of. The venue didn’t have too many nice subjects to point the snapper at, but from the early looks of it, this 16MP camera shows some promise.
We also snapped a selfie with the 8MP front camera. This same camera is used on the other two Nokia Androids.
We asked a representative about the software and they confirmed that Android is completely untouched. We wish we wrote the previous sentence a few years ago, but better late than never.
We did run some benchmarks to see how the Snapdragon 430 handles. It’s a 28nm chip with an octa-core processor (1.4GHz) and Adreno 505 GPU. This same chip is used in the Nokia 5 as well, but here it gets to play with more RAM – 3GB or, in the case of the Arte Black edition, 4GB.
Nokia was making aluminum phones years ago and we remember them fondly. This one is similarly gorgeous. It helps that HMD worked to erase unsightly antenna lines from the back.
The screen on the front drops to 5.2″ in size and 720p in resolution, but it’s actually a bit brighter than the Nokia 6 screen – 500nits vs. 450nits. It also features a polarization filter, which reduces reflections and makes for stellar sunlight legibility (it’s how polarized glasses work). The screen is laminated to a sculpted sheet of Gorilla Glass, by the way.
The main camera has changed as well, the Nokia 5 has a 13MP sensor though you do get slightly bigger pixels (1.12µm vs. 1.0µm). Phase detection AF and dual-tone flash remain on the spec sheet.
While the model 5 is smaller than the 6, it has the same capacity battery – 3,000mAh. Nokia went with microUSB for charging and data and there’s no mention of any fast charging tech.
The Nokia 3 may be the baby of the bunch, but it still packs some punch. It doesn’t have a metal unibody, but we were very pleased to handle a polycarbonate phone again. It’s soft to the touch but grippy, not to mention very hard to smudge. You still get an aluminum frame (exposed on the sides) for the rigidity.
The screen diagonal drops again, this time to 5″ while keeping the 720p resolution. It promises 450nits of brightness like the Nokia 6 and a polarization filter like the Nokia 5. The screen is laminated too, which also helps reduce glare.
The Nokia 3 may be the cheapest phone to offer a selfie camera with autofocus (no one likes blurry selfies). Again, it’s the same selfie cam as the more expensive Nokias get. The main camera sounds like it’s the same unit as the selfie cam.
The odd Android One aside, this is also the lowest cost of entry to Pure Android Land. We’re not in love with the MediaTek chipset with a quad-core processor, but we appreciate that Nokia kept the RAM at 2GB.
Ah, the nostalgia… If the Nokia brand happens to hold a special place in your heart, like we know it does in ours, then you likely appreciate the iconic status on the 3310 already, even without HMD or us tucking at the nostalgia strings.
The thing is, we are just the type of crowd the re-incarnated 3310 targets. And no matter how much we try to resist, it hits the spot just right. The big daddy. The indestructible one, as hailed by so many internet memes! Oh, oh, and Snake, glorious Snake. Do you remember the fancy gaming attachment it helped spawn?
Nokia 3310 joystick
If you don’t, it’s just what it looks like, a joystick for that essential extra grip for ramping-up high scores. We’ll that’s mostly back as well. OK, backing up a bit. What can we say about the new 3310?
Well, its design is, let’s say, polarizing. HMD claims it did the best it can to recreate the original 3310 rounded shape and silhouette. We’re willing to give them that, at least to some degree, that is. The new plastic unit measures 115.6 x 51 x 12.8 mm and tips the scale at around 79.6g. The rounded number keypad is a great homage if we ever saw one. However, the other buttons are obviously wrong, even if possibly more usable.
The same goes for the display. The 2.4-ich 240 x 320 pixel LCD is compact enough to be sort of period-appropriate. It’s understandably now in color. However, the arching bezels seem kid of odd and so does the curved and polarized layer on top.
But, still, nitpicking aside, there is an undeniable charm to the revamped 3310, hideous or not. We definitely enjoy the playful color options, including Warm Red (Glossy), Dark Blue (Matte), Yellow (Glossy), Grey (Matte). And, we have to say, it’s been a while since we had a phone that fits so snug in the palm and requires T9 for any form of fast typing – a part of the retro charm!
Still, we do get that nostalgia can only go so far and some of you out there might be looking into the 3310 as a legitimate phone option for one reason or another. For those of you, we’ll take a closer look under the hood. But, let us start with a fair warning before you even continue exploring the phone.
The new 3310 is a 2G device (2.5G, to be exact). This is kind of odd, indeed. There is even an optional 2 SIM version listed on the Nokia website, but it is also limited to GSM 900/1800 MHz. There is a distinct possibility that you could be living in a country, where those old bands are no longer supported. Or use a carrier that has the same problem. Be sure to check that before making a purchase.
While on topic, it is also worth mentioning that even if you do manage to get the 3310 working locally, you would still be limited to 2G speeds. Since the phone doesn’t have Wi-Fi, that’s all you have to work with when using the bundled Opera browser.
And yes, there are apps on the Nokia 3310. The phone runs on an undisclosed processor and RAM combo, but it seems to be more than enough for the Nokia Series 30+ OS. This definitively makes the 3310 a featurephone and as such, it does have some applications at its disposal. And we’re not talking about the boring Call Logs, Contacts and Messages. There is an Opera browser on there. In some regions, users will even be able to download light versions of Twitter and Facebook.
Oh and Snake, there is also Snake. It is, however, a redone version that only uses the 4 and 6 keys for left and right directional control. HMD could have included the original. All the bundled apps seem to work fine and load fast. Scrolling through the custom-styled UI is also breezy with the D-pad.
So, what else is there to do on the new Nokia 3310. Well, it comes with 16MB of on-board storage, some of which is used up by the OS and apps. However, you can add up to a 32GB microSD card. If you do so, there is an MP3 player you can use for music, along with a wired pair of headphones to the 3.5mm jack or even a wireless pair, through the Bluetooth 3.0 radio, with SLAM. Plain old FM radio is also an option.
Removing the back cover reveals a 1,200 mAh battery, responsible for all that Snake gaming and Opera browsing you can do. It is rated for up to 31 days of stand-by, 22 hours of talking and 39 hours of FM radio and 51 hours of MP3 playback. Pretty decent. Charging is done through a standard microUSB port.
Last, but not least, there is also a 2MP camera on the new 3310, as well as a single LED flash.
Well, that’s about everything and we do mean everything about the new Nokia 3310. HMD promised the retro gadget will go on sale in Q2 this year, along with the Nokia 3 and Nokia 5 and new Nokia 6. If you are in it for the geek-chic, chances are this is the best use of EUR 49 around, likely only short of buying an original Nokia 3310 instead.