The Nokia 3 was unveiled along with the Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 back in February at MWC 2017 and is the entry point into Nokia’s Android smartphone line-up. The smartphone has now been launched in India and any Nokia fan can just head over to their neighbourhood Nokia store to purchase one.
The Nokia 3 comes with a sleek and premium design, decent specifications for the price, smooth and fluid software and the trust associated with the Nokia brand name. It is a great comeback device by Nokia – a company which has a special place in the hearts of Indians and is loved and respected by many to this date.
Until now, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, at Rs 9,999, has ruled the budget smartphone category and many critics, including us at India Today Tech have hailed at is at the best smartphone under Rs 10,000. However its position is now under threat – the Nokia 3 has the tools under its belt to topple the Redmi Note 4 from its throne. Does the Nokia 3 have what it takes to take on the Note 4 and emerge victorious or will the old stalwart fight back and keep hold of its position at the top? Let’s find out:
Who says budget smartphones don’t look good?
On the design front, the Nokia 3 features a design that feels current and pleasantly nostalgic at the same time. HMD Global has managed to modernise the design philosophy of old Nokia Lumia handsets very successfully. The smartphone looks and feels very premium and comes with a polycarbonate back paired to an aluminium frame for rigidity. The end result is that the Nokia 3 looks like a smartphone several rungs up the price ladder.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 also comes with an extremely premium design. In fact, before the Nokia 3 came along, it was Xiaomi who transformed the budget smartphone game when it comes to design. The Redmi Note 4 comes with a full-metal body with polished antenna lines at the back alongside 2.5D glass at the front for better in-hand feel. The smartphone looks sleek and is built very well.
Choosing between the two boils down to personal preference as both come with extremely premium designs and have good build quality. While on paper, the Redmi 4 come on top thanks to its full-metal body, the Nokia 3 ends up looking just a tad more premium thanks to its classic and classy Lumia-like looks.
Hardware: A one sided battle
When it comes to core hardware, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 comes out on top quite easily. The Redmi Note 4 comes with a 5.5-inch 1080p IPS LCD display, 32/64GB of internal storage and a 4,1000mAh battery. The smartphone is powered by the Snapdragon 625 processor paired with the Adreno 506 GPU and either 2/3/4GB of RAM depending on the variant. The variant of the Redmi Note 4 (Rs 9,999) that is priced on par with the Nokia 3 (Rs 9,499) comes with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage.
The Nokia 3 on the other hand comes with a 5-inch 720p display, 16GB of internal storage and a rather small 2,650Mah battery. The smartphone is powered by the MediaTek MT6737 processor paired with the Mali T720 GPU and 2GB of RAM. Thus on raw specifications alone, the Redmi Note 4 defeats the Nokia 3 quite decisively. Those who want their phones to come with the best hardware possible (at the price) should get the Redmi Note 4.
Pure Android makes all the difference
However, specifications do not tell the whole story. The Nokia 3 comes with one killer feature that most smartphones in this price range, including the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, lack – one hundred percent stock Android and the promise of timely updates. Despite the underwhelming internals, the Nokia 3 flies through day to day tasks and is quite zippy and snappy. How? Through the magic of optimised software and stock Android.
Yes, when it comes to raw power, the Redmi Note 4 is still quite ahead and is a better choice for gamers and those who constantly push their devices to the limit. But in general day to day use, stock Android is bloat-free, snappy and feels smooth.
The Nokia 3 comes with a sleek and premium design, decent specifications for the price and the trust associated with the Nokia brand name. Unlike the Redmi Note 4, it is also available offline and comes with 100 percent stock Android out of the box
The Nokia 3 also comes with Android 7.0 out of the box while the Redmi Note 4 is still languishing on last year’s Android Marshmallow. This is another area where the Nokia 3 pulls ahead of Xiaomi’s budget king. HMD Global has promised that the Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 will not only receive timely Android updates but will also receive monthly security updates. The company has already stated that the Nokia 3 will be updated to Android O (the next version of Android) as and when it will be released.
Offline vs Online
Another win for the Nokia 3. While the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 is a stellar smartphone, it is incredibly difficult to buy. It is not available offline (except at the solitary Mi Home store in Bangalore), and even online it is very hard to purchase thanks to the flash sale model that Xiaomi follows. The Nokia 3 on the other hand is available offline – Nokia has tied up with 400 distributors and 80,000 stores across India to sell this phone.
This means that any Nokia fan or prospective buyer can just stroll into their neighbourhood Nokia or affiliated store and simply purchase the device – no hassle of flash sales at all. Offline availability also has many other advantages. Many people in India prefer buying smartphones online as they are wary of online shopping and like seeing the phone in the flesh before purchasing it. Many people do not even have access to high-speed Internet, so they are left with no choice but to buy from a retail store.
Cameras: A surprisingly close fight
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 comes with a 13MP rear camera with an aperture of f/2.0, phase detection autofocus and a dual LED flash alongside a 5MP front shooter for selfies. The Nokia 3 on the other hand features an 8MP camera at the rear with an aperture of f/2.0 and LED flash paired with an 8MP front camera which also has an aperture of f/2.0.
In our Redmi Note 4 review, we said ” The phone captures some good-looking photos — with occasional softness — in good light with good amount of detail and mostly spot-on (if a little oversaturated) colours. However, Low light photos are prone to noise. The Redmi Note 4 in the grand scheme of things is among the best camera phones that you can buy right now in its price bracket.”
Thus the Nokia 3 has a tough fight on its hands. On paper, the Redmi Note 4’s camera easily trumps the Nokia 3’s camera. However, the story is not that straightforward. While our full review is not yet live and we are in the process of fully testing the Nokia 3, in our limited time with the device, the Nokia 3 has surprised us with its imaging prowess.
The images shot are crisp and well exposed, with neutral colours. However, they do lack detailing and have little noise in low-light scenarios. In macro, the camera performs well and latches focus onto the subject quite accurately. The biggest problem with the Nokia 3 camera’s is the iffy HDR Mode which ends up making pictures look worse in many cases and the slow capture speeds.
All in all, while the Nokia 3’s rear camera is not bad at all, the Redmi 4’s 13MP lens is undeniably better and gives it the win in this round. When it comes to the front camera however, while both the Redmi 4 and Nokia 3 produce respectable results, the Nokia phone has the slight edge.
Verdict: Different perspectives
Both the Nokia 3 and Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 are stellar smartphones and both come with their own set of pros and cons. In a way, both smartphones are aimed at a very different type of customer – the Redmi Note 4 is for someone who does not want to compromise on specifications and wants a powerful smartphone that comes with good cameras and a premium design.
The Nokia 3 on the other hand has more mainstream appeal – it is aimed at people who just want a smartphone that works, is fluid, has smooth and snappy software, receives timely updates and is hassle-free. The fact that it is available offline and comes with the assurance of a trusted brand adds to its appeal.