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Nokia 3 hands-on review

Nokia 3 hands-on review: Nokia didn’t just revive the 3310 and broaden the Nokia 6’s availability beyond China, it also introduced two brand new smartphones at MWC 2017, including the entry-level Nokia 3.

Nokia 3: Specs at a glance

Screen size 5-inches
Screen resolution 720p HD (1280×720)
OS Android 7.0 Nougat
Front camera 8-megapixels
Rear camera 8-megapixels w/ single LED flash
Processor 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6737
Memory 2GB RAM
Storage 16GB. Expandable via microSD up to 128GB
Battery 2650mAh

Nokia 3: Hands-on review

The new HMD Global-owned mobile arm of Nokia has shrugged off the Windows Phone efforts of a Microsoft-controlled past and is now reforging itself into something both new and familiar all at the same time.

Nokia’s new baby is a rather attractive looking handset, especially when you consider its standing in the company’s 2017 portfolio and its price. Its creators have focussed on getting the presentation right, starting with an aluminium-framed body and a softly rounded polycarbonate back that collectively feel suitably premium and pleasant in the hand.

Nokia 3 hands-on review at MWC 2017: Profile view

Whilst the colour combinations aren’t as punchy as the Lumia-era Nokias, there are still some nice options to choose from that stand out against the market of black rectangles; namely the copper-on-white colourway.

Unlike its siblings, the capacitive navigation keys set into the phone’s bezel help ensure that the 5-inch 720p HD IPS LCD doesn’t get lost on the phone’s front – a common issue with more affordable handsets. The screen itself, unsurprisingly, isn’t the sharpest around, but it still offers pleasing colours and good viewing angles, and Nokia’s seen fit to protect it with pillowed 2.5D Gorilla Glass 5 too.

A Nokia device running Android has been a long-standing dream of many of the brand’s fans and the actuality of it is pretty pleasing too. The Android 7.0-based user experience on the 3 feels near-enough stock, with a similar swipe-up apps drawer as you’d find on Google’s Pixel phones. Navigation also feels perfectly fast and fluid, despite the conservative MediaTek chipset and 2GB of RAM.

Nokia 3 hands-on review at MWC 2017: Back

As for storage, there’s only 16GB internally, but expandability via microSD should ensure this is still a worthwhile option for media fans on a budget. Whilst a 2650mAh battery twinned with Android Nougat and a sub-1080p display gives us high hopes for the phone’s everyday battery life.

The cameras round out the experience, with 8-megapixel autofocus snappers on the front and back that both leverage an f/2.0 aperture and 1.12μm pixels for better low light performance than your run-of-the-mill budget blower. We also appreciated how fast the camera app was to boot up, which bodes well for any budding pocket photographers.

For a €139 handset, we’re impressed by the quality of the design and hardware at play from Nokia’s most basic Android phone and whilst you won’t find it in eye-popping orange, it packs plenty of character and enough oomph to satisfy your average affordable smartphone user. If this clean and focused approach to smartphone design continues, we might just see Nokia thrive in a market that for the longest time, has seen the brand fighting for scraps of recognition and success as and when it can. Now, onto the full review when the phone lands in the UK, sometime in Q2, 2017.

Read next: Nokia 6 vs Nokia 5 vs Nokia 3: What’s the difference?