Hands On With Nokia's New Entry & Mid-Range Smartphones – MWC 2019

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HMD Global came to Barcelona with a slew of new smartphones including three new Android smartphones that will be priced under €200, as well as a feature phone that is going to be under €29. These include the Nokia 210, with the Nokia 1 Plus, Nokia 3.2 and Nokia 4.2 being the new Android-based smartphones.

Nokia 210

HMD Global has sought to revolutionize the feature phone market, since it brought back the "Nokia" brand about two years ago. And it is now the biggest brand in the feature phone market. A market that many thought was dead and being replaced with Android Go-based smartphones. But not quite.

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The Nokia 210 is going to be a very inexpensive smartphone that will still allow users to get onto the internet. With the Opera Mini browser pre-installed on the Nokia 210. Facebook is also installed, allowing users to snap photos with the Nokia 210 and post directly to Facebook. Unfortunately other apps like Instagram are not included.

As expected, the camera on the Nokia 210 is not that great, in fact it does lag a bit. But you aren't buying the Nokia 210 for the camera, so that's not a big deal. The Nokia 210 is pretty well built, however. It is made of polycarbonate, and available in a slew of different colors.

Nokia 1 Plus

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After introducing the Nokia 1 last year as a pretty successful Android Go smartphone, HMD Global is following it up with the Nokia 1 Plus. This smartphone has half an inch larger display than the Nokia 1, and it is still under €100.

HMD Global outfitted the Nokia 1 Plus with a 3D nano texture which feels really nice in the hand. The backside is also removable and swappable. HMD Global offers it in a few different colors, so you can quickly swap out the back and get a fresh new color. Including a bright red one, which looks really good on camera.

With the new Android 9 Pie-based Android Go Edition, Google has reduced the size of its apps by almost 50-percent. This translates to giving users almost twice the storage and RAM. Which is a good thing since there is only 1GB of RAM here with 8GB or 16GB of storage.

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The performance on the Nokia 1 Plus does seem to be pretty good, especially for a sub €100 smartphone, which is not easy to do. The Nokia 1 Plus is not an alternative for the Galaxy Note9 or even the OnePlus 6T, but it is a great smartphone for those that don't want to spend a lot of cash, but also don't want a trash smartphone.

Nokia 3.2

HMD Global is debuting the third-generation Nokia 3 smartphone at Mobile World Congress, in the Nokia 3.2. This is a slightly more high-end smartphone than the Nokia 1 Plus, but it is on the low-end of mid-range. This does run Android One, so it is running "full" Android, instead of a lightweight version.

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Out of the box, it runs on Android 9 Pie, which is the very latest version of Android. Something that much more expensive smartphones can't even do yet.

There's a 6.2-inch display here with a tear-drop notch. So it does have a notch, but it's not that big of one. And for many, it won't even be noticeable, which is a good thing. It's also sporting the Qualcomm Snapdragon 429 chipset which is paired with either 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, or 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. In our first impressions, the Nokia 3.2 does seem to be pretty snappy. Of course, this is likely because it is running on stock Android, and not a bloated version of Android.

HMD Global is doing a couple of new things in the Nokia 3.2 though. It has included a notification light in the power button. It is going to "breathe", so that you can see when you have a new notification. This works whether your phone is face down or up on a table, or even in a bag (like a purse). It's a rather interesting feature, but it does seem to work pretty well.

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The other interesting thing that HMD Global is doing here is, adding a physical Google Assistant button to the side of the phone. This is not a first, seeing as LG has done this with the G7 ThinQ, V35 ThinQ, and V40 ThinQ already. But it is new on Nokia smartphones. This makes it much simpler to launch the Google Assistant even when the phone is locked.

Speaking of when the phone is locked, HMD Global is combining its AI Face Unlock with the Google Assistant button. So as soon as you press it, it will unlock and allow you to access all of the information on your phone. It works really well, and is almost instant. This is going to make it so much easier to use the Google Assistant, since it is almost useless if the phone is not unlocked already.

Nokia 4.2

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The Nokia 4.2 is a slightly higher-end model compared to the Nokia 3.2 – notice a trend? The specs are largely the same, with a 6.5-inch display and the same tear-drop notch. It also sports the slightly more powerful Snapdragon 439 inside. It also come with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage or 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.

The same features from the Nokia 3.2 are also available on the Nokia 4.2, which include the notification light in the power button and the Google Assistant button.

Where the Nokia 4.2 really excels over the Nokia 3.2 is in the camera department. It sport two cameras instead of one. With a 13-megapixel main sensor and then a 2-megapixel secondary sensor for depth information. Which is going to give you some great portrait and macro shots. It also adds a fingerprint sensor on the backside, as well as NFC for Google Pay.

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The Nokia 4.2 has a polycarbonate frame with a glass back, which is a rather interesting combination for a smartphone. But it feels really good in the hand and looks nice. It gives the appeal of it being a more high-end smartphone, without really being that much of a high-end smartphone.

HMD Global offers the Nokia 4.2 in black, but also pink sand. Which is a very interesting color. It's almost the same shade as the "Not Pink" color for the Google Pixel 3.

Wrap up

These smartphones are all pretty good options for those that are looking to get their hands on something that is pretty cheap. Seeing as these all are hitting different price points, there's something for everyone. However, the physical Google Assistant button on the Nokia 3.2 and Nokia 4.2 do give it an edge over the Nokia 1 Plus – not to mention the fact that the Nokia 1 Plus has a slimmed down operating system in Android Go.