comscore Can Nokia's Android smartphones compete in the Indian market?
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Can Nokia's Android smartphones compete in the Indian market?

Nokia smartphones running pure Android OS are finally here, but the road ahead is very challenging.

nokia 6 5 3 line up

After years of missteps, Nokia has finally made its highly-anticipated comeback smartphone market – the moment Nokia loyalists had been waiting for. To mark its return, the company launched not one, but three Android smartphones across various price segments. HMD Global, the company that now has the license to launch Nokia smartphones, thinks it has got everything right — one of the world’s most respected brand name, the world’s most used smartphone operating system and the world’s largest manufacturer of electronics goods. Also Read - Nokia C20 Plus budget smartphone launched: Check specs, price and other details

Also Read - Nokia C01 Plus with an upgraded processor and bigger battery launched

True, HMD Global might have got the ingredients right, but does it have the right recipe to make the once world’s largest smartphone brand relevant again? Over the past couple of years, a number of Chinese brands such as Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus among others, have entered the Indian smartphone space. With an aim to gain dominance, they started the price vs specifications war, which has worked in their favor too. But with the market dynamics completely changed, where does Nokia fit in today? We take a look at the three Nokia Android smartphones launched at MWC 2017 and see whether they have in them what’s required to take on its rivals. Also Read - Apple’s Craig Federighi admits the level of Mac malware is not acceptable, iOS fairs better

Nokia 3

Let’s start with the Nokia 3, the most basic one of the three. Priced at 139 Euros (approximately Rs 10,000), you get a 5-inch HD (720p) display covered by 2.5D curved glass and Corning Gorilla Glass protection. The smartphone is powered by a MediaTek MTK6737 quad-core SoC clocked at 1.3GHz, paired with 2GB of RAM and onboard 16GB storage. A microSD card slot for further expansion is also present.

In the photography department, you get an 8-megapixel rear and an 8-megapixel selfie snapper. With connectivity options such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS, the smartphone also features a fingerprint sensor at the back for biometric authentication. Running on Android 7.0 Nougat OS, the smartphone is fuelled by a 2,650mAh battery. But it s not all about the specifications, Nokia is also highlighting the design and build quality of its smartphones. No it does not sport a metal body, but comes with a polycarbonate shell and rounded edges instead. ALSO READ: Nokia 3 hands-on and first impressions

However, at this pricing the smartphone misses out on almost everything, starting from the display to the processor and battery capacity. India is one of the major smartphone markets, and a price sensitive one too. Today, customers look for a smartphone that offer a well-rounded package – design, specifications and features at affordable price points. In the sub Rs 10,000 segment you have the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (16GB), Lenovo K6 Power and Xiaomi Redmi 3S Prime to name a few. The Redmi 3S Prime is priced at Rs 8,999 and features a 5-inch HD display, Snapdragon 430 octa-core SoC, 3GB of RAM, 32GB internal storage and 4,100mAh battery. The K6 Power, on the other hand, is priced at Rs 9,999 and features a 5-inch full HD panel, Snapdragon 430 SoC, 3GB of RAM, 32GB storage and 4,000mAh battery. ALSO READ: Lenovo K6 Power Review

We have reviewed both smartphones and the Snapdragon 430 SoC offers a decent performance. And thanks to a large battery, these phones last longer too. And then we have the Redmi Note 4 featuring a 5.5-inch full HD display, Snapdragon 625 SoC built on 14nm process which offers the right balance between power and efficiency. The smartphone also features a 4,100mAh battery that lasts up to two days on moderate usage. Clearly, if one has to go by specifications, the Nokia 3 clearly falls short of the competition while looking a little overpriced. However, we will reserve our judgment until we review the smartphone.

Nokia 5

Next is the Nokia 5, a mid-range smartphone priced at 180 Euros (approximately Rs 12,700). One of the highlights of the smartphone is the 3D shaped aluminum body with a design where the antenna lines are placed along the top and bottom to ensure they don t distract the look and feel of the smartphone. But then again, it misses out on a lot of things offered by its competitors. The Nokia 5 features a 5.2-inch HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 octa-core SoC, 2GB of RAM and 16GB onboard storage.

For shutterbugs, the smartphone features a 13-megapixel rear snapper with dual tone LED flash and phase detection auto-focus (PDAF), and an 8-megapixel selfie snapper. With 3,000mAh battery, the smartphone also features connectivity options such as Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth, and GPS. Similar to Nokia 3, the Nokia 5 also runs on Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box. ALSO READ: Nokia 3310 hands-on and first impressions

Now let s look at the sub Rs 14,000 segment and what you can get. The Redmi Note 4 is also present here, and for Rs 12,999 you can get the top end variant with 4GB of RAM and 64GB onboard storage. Alternatively, you also have the Honor 6X with prices starting at Rs 12,999, and the Coolpad Cool 1 Dual priced at Rs 13,999. The key highlight of both smartphones is thedual-rear camera setup. ALSO READ: Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 Review

The Honor 6Xrear-camera setup includes – a 12-megapixel sensor for capturing photos and a 2-megapixel sensor for capturing depth information. The setup allows you to add DSLR-like blur background (or Bokeh) effects to your photos. The smartphone also features an 8-megapixel selfie snapper. Rest of the features include 5.5-inch full HD display, Kirin 655 octa-core SoC, 3GB/4GB of RAM, 32GB/64GB internal storage and 3,340mAh battery. The smartphone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and is upgradable to Android 7.0 Nougat. ALSO READ: Honor 6X Review

The Coolpad Cool 1 Dual, on the other hand, features two 13-megapixel cameras at the back. One is an RGB (color) sensor, whereas the other is a monochrome sensor. The software uses photos and information captured from both sensors to combine into one single photo with enough details, even the ones captured in low-light. Other features of the smartphone include a 5.5-inch full HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 SoC, 4GB of RAM and 32GB onboard storage. With a 4,000mAh battery on board, the smartphone runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS. Now, the choice is clearly up to the customers — one can either go for the Nokia 5 or go for the Honor 6X or Coolpad Cool 1 Dual with dual-rear camera setups. It s something where you get more in terms of features for the same price. ALSO READ: Coolpad Cool 1 camera review

Nokia 6

And now we come to Nokia 6, which is the most expensive smartphone of the current lot. Priced at 299 Euros, which is approximately Rs 21,000, there s it s got to offer a lot to entice buyers. It features a 5.5-inch full HD panel, Snapdragon 430 SoC, 4GB of RAM and 64GB onboard storage. With 16-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel selfie snapper, the smartphone is fuelled with a 3,000mAh battery. On the software front, you get Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box.

The price tag of Rs 21,000 looks a little hefty considering compared to the Lenovo Z2 Plus. Lenovo s flagship smartphone, the Z2 Plus is priced at Rs 14,999 (32GB) and Rs 17,499 (64GB) variant. It is also one of the cheapest smartphones to be powered by Qualcomm s Snapdragon 820 SoC, a flagship chipset of its time. ALSO READ: Nokia 3310: 10 crazy things people did with the indestructible feature phone from 2000s

It features a 5-inch full HD display, 13-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel selfie snapper. The smartphone also features a physical home button, which doubles as a fingerprint scanner and supports gesture control – single tap to back, single press to return to homescreen, press and hold for Google Now and slide to left and right for switching between apps.

Slightly raising the budget to Rs 28,000, you can go for the OnePlus 3 which comes with flagship class specifications without burning a hole in your pocket. You could also got for the Motorola Moto Z Play which is priced at Rs 24,999 and features a 5.5-inch full HD display, 3GB of RAM, 32GB storage and is powered by the efficient Snapdragon 625 SoC. Fuelled by a 3,510mAh battery, Motorola claims that it is good enough to last for up to two days. The smartphone also comes with water repellent nano coating, making it splash resistant.

But one of the key highlights of the Moto Z Play is that it is a modular smartphone, where you can snap on the Moto Mods to instantly transform your smartphone. The available mods include JBL SoundBoost speaker, an Incipio offGRID power bank, Moto insta share projector and Hassleblad true zoom camera mod with 10x optical zoom functionality.

Challenging days ahead

Overall, its good to have Nokia back. It is evident that HMD Global is banking on the ‘Nokia’ brand name for success. But will it be enough? Only time will tell. With the market dynamics completely changed when the brand was out of market, HMD will need more than Nokia s legacy to succeed. It remains to be seen whether HMD Global follows the footsteps of other brands and prices its smartphones aggressively for India. Reports suggest that the company will manufacture these devices in India, which should also help keep prices in check.

BONUS VIDEO: Nokia 3310 Hands On and First Impressions

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  • Published Date: February 28, 2017 11:37 AM IST
  • Updated Date: February 28, 2017 4:20 PM IST


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