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MWC 2018: Nokia 1 First Look

Here's our first look at the Nokia 1, the latest budget Android smartphone from HMD Global-owned Nokia.

Staff   |    Published: March 1, 2018 9:53 AM IST

The past couple of years have seen a steady growth in the number of smartphone users, and the next billion users will be coming from countries like India. These are mostly the first-time smartphone buyers who will be switching from a feature phone. And if we look at the market, the affordable smartphone segment is where brands like Xiaomi are focusing. While OEMs are doing their bit, Google wants to do its part too by offering good Android experience to these users.

The Nokia 1 is among the first smartphones powered by Android Oreo (Go Edition), where the operating system is designed to run on low memory and RAM devices. HMD Global launched the Nokia 1 at MWC 2018, and I had a chance to play with the smartphone for a few minutes. Here are my first impressions of the Nokia 1.

Compact and attractive

The Nokia feature phones, especially the ones in the Asha-series, and the Lumia-series smartphones had something in common – bright colors, and replaceable polycarbonate back panels. The Nokia 1 also comes with a removable plastic back panel, allowing you to easily transform the look and feel of your smartphone.

The smartphone features a 4.5-inch display running at a resolution of 480×854 pixels. Its an IPS LCD display that offers good color reproduction and viewing angles are good too, especially considering its price bracket. And because it is compact, the smartphone is easy to hold and operate in one hand.

Android Oreo Go

Android Oreo (Go edition) is optimized for low memory and RAM devices. The Nokia 1 is powered by a MediaTek MT6737M quad-core SoC paired with 1GB of RAM and 8GB onboard storage. Android Go apps such as Maps, Assistant, YouTube Go, Chrome and others are not only optimized for the OS, but also are small in size. In fact, the Android Go apps let you save up to 50 percent storage space on your smartphone.

Cameras, battery and connectivity

The Nokia 1 is equipped with a 5-megapixel fixed focus camera at the back, along with an LED flash. Up front, there is a 2-megapixel front camera for selfies and video calling. With support for dual-SIM card slots, the smartphone comes with connectivity options such as Bluetooth, GPS, 4G VoLTE, and Wi-Fi. To keep things ticking, the smartphone comes with a 2,150mAh battery.

But what about the experience?

Sure, Google has optimized the Android Go OS to offer a fluid experience, and the little time I spent with the smartphone, I did not encounter any lag or slow down. But then, even flagship smartphones with latest SoC and 6GB of RAM tend to stutter at times when you have loaded a lot of apps, with some of them running in the background. Exactly how the Nokia 1 holds up after extended use is something we will wait and see in our review.

Overall, the Nokia 1 looks like a promising smartphone that could appeal to the masses. However, one key feature that is quite common on most Android smartphones is missing from the Nokia 1. Yes, I’m talking about a fingerprint sensor. Instead, Nokia 1 users will have to set a passcode, password or pattern to keep their content safe and secure.

With a price tag of $85 (Rs 5,500 approximately), it remains to be seen how much HMD Global can cut down the cost. Ideally, tie-ups with telecom providers with cashback offers would be a good option to go, which also brings the effective price down for the customers. Here are our first impressions of the Nokia 1!