When HMD took over the Nokia smartphone brand, it started by focusing on Europe and Asia. The company has slowly expanded more into North America with devices like the mid-range Nokia 6.1, and now there’s an even cheaper Nokia phone headed to American shores. The Nokia 3.1 launches on July 2nd for just $159.
The Nokia 3.1 is a step down from devices like the Nokia 6.1, but that phone is $100 more expensive. The 3.1 comes with a MediaTek 6750 processor, which isn’t as fast as the midrange Qualcomm chips you see in a lot of budget phones. However, it should be faster than most 400-series Snapdragon chips in similarly priced devices. The MediaTek chip has eight ARM Cortex-A53 cores; four clocked at 1.5GHz and four at 1GHz. A Snapdragon 427 like the one in Motorola’s latest “Play” budget phones (some of the only viable options in this price range) only has four 1.4GHz cores.
The 3.1 also comes with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. Again, that’s what you’d expect for such an inexpensive phone. There’s a version sold internationally that comes with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, but that doesn’t seem destined for the US. You also won’t get NFC for mobile payments or a fingerprint reader on the Nokia 3.1.
HMD’s Nokia Android phones have gained popularity thanks to their superb build quality, but the Nokia 3.1 will have to make a few sacrifices. The frame is aluminum, but the back panel is plastic. The display is also using older Gorilla Glass 3. The display is 5.5 inches with a resolution of 1440×720. It has an 18:9 screen ratio, which is something usually reserved for more expensive phones.
Nokia devices run stock Android, which means Oreo right now. In fact, Nokia phones are now part of the Android One program. That means you get a stock build of Android without any bloatware apps. Nokia’s update guarantee is almost as good as Google’s flagship Pixel phones: You’ll get monthly security updates for three years from release, plus two years of major OS updates. So, the Nokia 3.1 comes with Oreo and will get an update to Android P and maybe even Android Q.
The Nokia 3.1 is unlocked for use on any GSM/LTE network. It will be available on Amazon, Best Buy, and B&H on launch day.
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