HMD Global – that owns exclusive marketing rights for the Nokia brand in the smartphone space, unveiled two devices for India this week. All eyes were on the Banana phone – the 2018 avatar of the Nokia 8110 (we will put this device under the scanner soon) that is 4G ready. But the Nokia 3.1 Plus wasn’t entirely almost overshadowed by the bright yellow 8110 4G. This might not be a phone that screams for attention but might well be one of Nokia’s big trump cards for 2018.

Nokia’s brand architecture can be slightly confusing – the 3.1 Plus is priced a tad higher than the 5.1 Plus and then there’s the 6.1 Plus that sits above this new device. The 3.1 Plus is a refined version of the 3.1 that debuted earlier this year. The Nokia badge occupies pride of place on the top right corner and the rear of the device. Nokia gets full marks for the design language of this device. It might not be all-glass, but the aluminium back is easy to grip. Nokia’s metal embellishments that encircle the fingerprint sensor and the rear cam add an elegant, premium touch. We wish Nokia had used the same approach for the power button, that sits along with the volume rocker on the right spine of the device and it’s tough to tell between them. The 3.1 Plus is one of the best-looking devices in the sub Rs 15,000 and comes in a choice of three colours including white and blue.

The ‘no-frills’ design language continues with the display. This is a large 6-inch HD+ display (720 x 1440 pixels / 18:9 aspect ratio) and yet the phone doesn’t feel too unwieldy. Nokia has shaved off the bezels with an impressive screen: body ratio. Our favourite design element is the lack of a notch at a time when this has almost become a norm across price points. The display is vibrant and offers great visibility even under harsh sunlight.

At the heart of this device is the MediaTek Helio P22 octa-core processor that teams up with 3GB of RAM. There’s 32GB of Internal Memory with support for extended memory up to 400GB. This hardware configuration will suffice for most average users who need to toggle between work and play. It’s may not make the cut for hardcore gamers. The other big strength of this device is the battery life. We managed well over a day with a single charging cycle on this 3500 mAh battery. Nokia opts for a Micro USB charging port while the 3.5mm headphone jack sits on top of the device.

You will spot the Android One badge on the rear of the device. Nokia’s move to bring most of its major devices under the Android One Platform could well be one of the brand’s smartest moves. It gives these devices an edge over the competition. The 3.1 Plus is pure-play Android sans bloatware and will get the move up to Pie (Android 9.0) shortly.

Dual rear cameras are no longer a novelty for devices in the sub Rs 15,000. The 3.1 Plus combines a 13MP and 5MP lens. Results were a mixed bag. We loved the live bokeh mode that produced some surprisingly good images, while images were subpar in low light. It’s the same with the 8MP selfie shooter.

The Nokia 3.1 Plus is a worthy addition to Nokia’s mid-range portfolio and gets quite a few things right including its elegant form and build, impressive battery life and the advantage of the Android One Platform. Nokia hasn’t just hit the right notes with the product but also the pricing.

The Nokia 3.1 Plus costs Rs 11,499.

 

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