HMD is unveiling a truckload of smartphones at Mobile World Congress this year. We’ve already talked about the flagship Nokia 9 Pureview, and now it’s time to cover some of the lower-end models, which is where the Nokia brand has made a serious resurgence in the past few years. Today, HMD is announcing the Nokia 4.2, Nokia 3.2, and the Nokia 1 Plus, and we have prepared a big spec sheet to celebrate.
(Note that while all of these prices are in dollars, we don’t yet know which phones, if any, are coming to the US.)
|Nokia 4.2||Nokia 3.2||Nokia 1 Plus|
|OS||Android 9 Pie||Android 9 Pie||Android 9 Pie (Go edition)|
|SCREEN||5.71-inch 1520×720 LCD (270 PPI)||6.26-inch 1520×720 LCD (268 PPI)||5.45-inch 854×480 LCD (180 PPI)|
|CPU||Snapdragon 439: Eight 2.0GHz Cortex-A53 CPU Cores, 12nm||Snapdragon 429: Four 2.0GHz Cortex-A53 CPU Cores, 12nm||MediaTek MT6739WW: Four 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 CPU Cores, 28nm|
|RAM||2GB or 3GB||2GB or 3GB||1GB|
|STORAGE||16GB or 32GB, MicroSD Slot||16GB or 32GB, MicroSD Slot||8GB, MicroSD Slot|
|CAMERA||Rear: Dual 13MP (f2.2, 1.12µm) + 2MP depth sensor
Front: 8MP (f2.0, 1.12µm)
|OTHER||MicroUSB, Fingerprint sensor, headphone jack, NFC, Google Assistant button||MicroUSB, Fingerprint sensor (3GB RAM version only), Google Assistant button||MicroUSB, headphone jack|
With $169 being the highest price, these are all very cheap smartphones. What jumps out from the spec sheet is how they all have old-school micro USB ports. This is a bit disappointing considering HMD also sells the Nokia 3.1 Plus for $160, which actually a USB-C port in the United States.
Speaking of the Nokia 3.1 Plus, that device was brought to the US last month, and now we have the Nokia 3.2. Every year, Nokia adds a 0.1 to the end of its model numbers, so we started with “Nokia 3” in 2017, then “3.1” for 2018, and now “3.2” in 2019. That kind of makes sense, but the US Nokia 3.1 Plus has a newer USB port than the Nokia 3.2, so the higher number doesn’t really scream “new.” The US 3.1 Plus and 3.2 have basically the same SoC, but the 3.1 Plus has an eight-core version (the Snapdragon 439) and the 3.2 only has a quad core (Snapdragon 429). You might think the “Plus” model is some kind of bigger, faster product tier, but the 3.1 Plus has a smaller screen than the Nokia 3.2. I am not even sure the Nokia 4.2 is better than the 3.1 Plus. None of it makes any sense, and there are way too many versions of every number.
Despite being cheap, these aren’t all stripped down devices. The Nokia 4.2 and 3.2 both have new Google Assistant hardware buttons, which—just like the Pixel 3’s squeezable sides—let you call up the Google Assistant with a single motion. One press brings up the Google Assistant, a double press will bring up the Google Assistant’s “today” screen, and holding the button works like a push-to-talk feature for voice commands. It’s just like Samsung’s Bixby button, but with a useful assistant at the other end. The Nokia 3.2 has a light around the power button, which works as a notification LED.
The Nokia 3.2 and 4.2 also come with surprisingly modern designs. There are rounded display corners, compact camera notches, and big screens in small bodies. The Nokia 4.2 and 3GB version of the 3.2 both get fingerprint readers, and the Nokia 4.2 even has NFC. Of course, they can’t compete with flagship designs. But for under $170, they look superb.
I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the Nokia 1 Plus (no, not OnePlus). The $99 price point is tough for a smartphone, especially for devices with only 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, and Android Go, a sort-of stripped down version of Android. These hundred-dollar devices are better than nothing, but if you can spend a bit more and double your RAM, storage, and probably battery life, you really should.
As usual, all the phones come with two years of major OS updates and monthly security updates, which is extremely rare in this price bracket. Every device has a microSD slot and a headphone jack, and they all come with Android 9 Pie. For body materials, you can have the Nokia 4.2 with a glass back, the Nokia 3.2 in a glossy plastic, or the Nokia 1 Plus in a matte plastic.
The HMD/Nokia product lineup is made even more confusing by the fact that not every country gets every product. We really have no idea which devices are coming to which countries, so knowing what to zero in on can be a challenge.