Even the cheapest Android smartphones now have up-to-date software, fingerprint scanners, dual cameras, and large screens. We tried out the Nokia 4.2, Nokia 3.2 and Nokia 1 Plus.
Nokia 4.2 and 3.2 previews: budget smartphones offer more and more
On the exhibition floor in Barcelona, there is a lot of attention for the Nokia 9, a camera topper with five lenses on the back. But also the three cheaper handsets of the company certainly deserve some attention. There is no manufacturer that can offer a competitive price-quality ratio than Nokia.
With an improved design, smoother hardware and familiar up-to-date software, the new batch of devices also impress. We already tried out the Nokia 1 Plus, Nokia 3.2 and Nokia 4.2 at the Mobile World Congress. From May they are all for sale in the Netherlands, and you can expect a more extensive review.
Custom design with smart buttons
Nokia has made two small but significant additions to the design of both smartphones. On the left side, you will find a physical Google Assistant button. If you press him shortly, Google’s voice-directed help will appear immediately. Keep him pressed longer to pass a longer assignment or question.
On the right side of the device, you will find the power button as usual, but there is now a transparent white border around it. If you receive a notification, it will light up. Nokia smartphones did not have a notification light so far, so this is both a welcome addition and an elegant solution.
The design of the Nokia 4.2 is excellent anyway. We have been allowed to try the pink version for a short time, and both the build quality and the style are very nice. The flat back shines and feels as if it is made of plastic or even glass. Of course, there is also a fingerprint scanner on the back. There is also a double camera. Next to a primary camera of 13 megapixels is a depth sensor, with which you add a bokeh effect to your photos.
Nokia 3.2: bigger, cheaper
The Nokia 3.2 costs fifty euros less, but is strikingly larger, with a 6.2-inch screen. In addition, it has a larger battery of 4000 mAh, which means you get two days without charging. The hardware is slightly less powerful, although you probably notice little in practice. For most apps, the Snapdragon 429 in this device is certainly smooth enough. Moreover, there is a very large 3GB memory.
On the back is a single camera of 13 megapixels. It shoots fine photos, given the price range. They are less colorful and require more light to stay sharp, but that is very reasonable in this price range. The few test photos we made were still good.
Better with updates than everyone else
As we are used to from Nokia, both smartphones run naturally on Android One. That means that at most minimal adjustments have been made to Google’s Android interface and that the company does not provide its own extra apps.
You can also count on monthly security updates for up to three years after release. The company also promises larger Android updates up to two years after its release. That is a promise that they can now fulfill. The first Nokia 6, which appeared in early 2016 with Android 7.0 (Nougat), has recently been updated to Android 9.0 (Pie). Nokia is not only complete but also very fast with those updates. Major manufacturers such as Samsung, LG and Huawei are now only rolling out Android Pie for their top devices; Nokia has even provided many of the cheapest smartphones.
The fast, regular updates until well after the release are still an unbelievable big plus. In the past, manufacturers dropped their cheapest smartphones soon after the release, but Nokia changes that. Even with a Nokia 3.2 of only 149 euros, you can count on support until at least 2022.
Nokia 1 Plus: affordable but limited
Then there is the Nokia 1 Plus, a staged version of the Nokia 1 that appeared about a year ago. Compared to its predecessor, it has a larger 5.5-inch screen, slightly smoother hardware and an 8 instead of the 5-megapixel camera on the back.
However, many of the restrictions have also remained. The Nokia 1 Plus costs only 99 euros and has to keep costs down, but 8GB of storage and 1GB of memory. The device is, fortunately, running on Android Go, a version of Android optimized for weaker hardware and less storage space. However, we do not recommend this Nokia. Even with Android Go 8GB of storage space is soon too tight, and unless you really only use WhatsApp you will not save it with 1GB of memory. You have to rely on faltering apps and long loading times.
The Nokia 1 Plus is primarily intended for emerging markets, where every cent counts and consumers want the maximum hardware for a minimal price. Then you are prepared to make a compromise in the user experience. We advise you to spend a few extra euros on a Nokia 3.2 or Moto G7 Play. They are much more powerful and extensive and therefore last a lot longer. The 1 Plus is a great second device, for example, to take to a festival or on vacation. But as a primary smartphone, this Nokia is too limited.