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Nokia 3.2 detailed review
HMD Global Oy, the current owner of the popular and long-lasting Nokia brand, has launched another smartphone model for this year. The Nokia 3.2, which was first seen at the Mobile World Congress in February, follows the Nokia 4.2 in the Indian market, which we reviewed earlier this month. At first glance, Nokia 3.2 seems to be a more affordable model with a larger display and battery. But is that all? Let’s dig deeper.
Nokia 3.2 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 429 chipset and up to 3GB of RAM. Internal storage is either 16GB or 32GB depending on the variant. The screen is a fairly large 6.26-inch IPS LCD unit with an HD resolution. At 4,000mAh, the battery also seems to have full capacity. The phone is offered in a single color: black. According to Nokia, the 2GB RAM + 16GB storage variant is currently priced at Rs 8,990 and the 3GB RAM + 32GB storage variant is priced at Rs 10,790. Our review unit was a more expensive variant. Let’s see how Nokia 3.2 works in our review. ABCD
Construction and design
Much like the Nokia 4.2, the Nokia 3.2 has a curved candibar design. But there are two main differences between the two models: Nokia 4.2 uses front and rear glass, Nokia 3.2 plays a glossy plastic rear panel, only covering the screen with an indefinite 2.5D curved glass. Nokia does not talk about Corning Gorilla Glass protection in its press release or website. Due to the large screen, the phone is quite large enough to hold in hand. In my opinion, that half-inch phone goes a long way in making you feel unwanted to use it with one hand.
Sorry for the lint, the back plastic panel is a magnet for stains and fingerprints.
Although the back panel of the Nokia 3.2 is made of hollow-sounding plastic, it gives the phone enough class, especially in that glossy black color. You should be able to hold this phone with confidence in front of your peers in college. As expected, the front and rear panels invite fingerprints and spots, just as an open casserole invites ants. The back panel also tends to be a bit flexible, especially when gripped too tightly. Like its big brother (and now almost every budget smartphone out there), the Nokia 3.2 has got a screen with a rounded corner and a small U-shaped groove at the top (for your information).
Dedicated Google Assistant key on the left
The body sides of the phone are quite busy: the top has a 3.5mm audio jack and a secondary microphone. At the bottom are the primary microphone, a single loudspeaker grill, and a microUSB port (for charging and data transfer). On the right are the volume rocker and power buttons, the latter of which doubles as a notification light and the charging indicator in dim white. Both buttons have a nice, touching feeling. On the left side of the body of the phone is a dedicated Google Assistant key. Pressing it set Google’s popular digital assistant on fire in “Ask” mode. Power users will be disappointed to know that the button cannot be reprogrammed in the settings to launch other apps like Instagram or WhatsApp. In short, the price of Nokia 3.2 is quite decently made and designed.
Burns steadily while charging
Display and audio
As if it were the long-lost twin sister of the recently launched Xiaomi Redmi 7, the display of Nokia 3.2 is similar to that of its Chinese competitor. The Nokia 3.2 comes with a 6.26-inch A-Si TFT LCD panel with a resolution of 19: 9 and a resolution of 720 x 1520 pixels. Its pixel density is a decent 269 pixels per inch. In comparison, the Nokia 4.2 comes with a much smaller 5.71-inch LCD. Nokia 3.2’s “Selfie Notch” doesn’t allow some apps to fill the full screen, but it’s not really intrusive or annoying in the long run.
The Nokia 3.2’s display actually looks duller than it is, even at maximum brightness. According to our test kit, the review unit recorded a maximum of 409 LUX. The brightness slider pushed to the right. Unfortunately, we had some problems recording the lowest brightness level that the screen could handle because the brightness slider would occasionally stop working. This was despite turning off the adaptive brightness in the settings. The colors on the display have faded a bit, and even the screen’s seemingly weak backlighting has faded. In short, the display isn’t the best feature of the Nokia 3.2, but it’s not the worst either.
The sound of a single side-firing loudspeaker is not too loud but clear enough to show your friends that you have recently joined the new pop track. The vocals of trendy electronic songs like The Weekend’s Starboy can be clearly heard but there are very few bus signs. That said, loudspeakers are still suitable for calls made through speakerphones. On the plus side, the earpiece is loud enough to make calls in noisy environments. If you call yourself an audiophile, it makes sense to complement the Nokia 3.2 with a good pair of earphones.
Performance and gaming
Nokia 3.2 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 429 chipset. Launched in June 2017, Qualcomm’s mid-range mobile platform features a 12-nanometer quad-core 64-bit CPU with 2.0GHz (four ARM Cortex-A53 high-performance cores). The rendering graphics are taken care of by a Qualcomm Adreno 504 GPU. According to Nokia, Nokia 3.2 is available in two variants: one with 2GB RAM + 16GB storage (Rs. 8,990) and the other with 3GB RAM + 32GB storage (Rs. 10,790). Note that our review unit was the last: it had 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage that can be expanded up to 400GB using a microSD card.
In the CPU benchmark test, Nokia got a decent score of 3.2. Its scores were similar to the expensive Nokia 4.2. At AnTuTu 7.0, Nokia 3.2 scored 63903 points. In the same test, Nokia 4.2 got 62985 and Redmi 7 got 104809. In GeekBench’s single-core and multi-core tests, Nokia 3.2 scored 852 and 2453, respectively. In comparison, Nokia 4.2 scored 894 and 3338 in the same two tests, respectively. The Redmi 7 again surpassed both phones by scoring 1240 and 4370 in the same two tests respectively.
In everyday use situations, the performance of the Nokia 3.2 review unit was irresistible. There was frequent stuttering in the animation, especially when returning to the home screen, switching between apps, and dragging the notification bar downwards. The phone often avoids frames when animating the necessary elements in a menu, making the phone look slower than it really is. It took about four seconds to launch common apps like Chrome and YouTube, which took a while, say, a complete sneeze. In short, Nokia 3.2 is usable but almost. After using it for a few days, the general idea is that it is a lazy device, especially when it comes to pushing pixels on the screen.
In the GPU benchmark test, Nokia 3.2 scored quite poorly. In 3DMark’s sling shot, for example, the phone scored 415 points. In comparison, Nokia 3.2 and Redmi 7 conducted 821 and 916 in the same test, respectively. The real-world gameplay in the review unit was a frustrating experience. According to our GameBench Metrics tool, the Asphalt 9 runs at an average frame rate of 8 frames per second. The movement of the vehicles of the players and the opponents was shaking and depressing. PUBG Mobile, on the other hand, runs at an average frame rate of 21 frames per second. This popular Battle Royale title was more playable than a racing game but still not free of lag and stuttering. “I saw a PowerPoint presentation with a better frame rate,” commented my colleague Shre, when he saw me playing Asphalt 9 on Nokia 3.2. In short, if you want to play a lot of games, especially the popular title as mentioned here, then Nokia 3.2 is not a phone to buy. If you are looking for budget gaming, consider Redmi 7 instead.
Like all new Nokia smartphones, Nokia 3.2 follows Google’s Android One program. This means that it runs a near-stock version of Android 9 Pie out of the box and comes with the promise of regular features and security updates for up to two years. Thanks to Pie’s local features, the phone by default supports a new “pill-based” navigation system, adapted battery and digital wellbeing. Nokia 3.2 comes with a bundled app for FM radio. Stock Android fans will be happy to know that Nokia 3.2 does not come with any unnecessary bloatware or ads.
In a world where almost every phone pushes a talking pedestrian’s cheek with two cameras on the back panel, Nokia 3.2 works with only one. The single shooter on the back panel of the Nokia 3.2 is a 13-megapixel 1.12µm sensor with an aperture of f / 2.2. It comes with a single LED flash. The front shooter is a decent 5-megapixel 1.12µm sensor with an aperture of f / 2.2 and a 77-degree field of view. The phone also uses the front camera for face unlock feature.
Photographs taken by the rear camera during the day are bright and colorful but show mild signs of distortion and shake easily and frequently. No part of the subject is ever in full focus. Photos taken indoors in moderately low light look grainy and distorted. The same goes for selfies. Selfies taken in bright light inside the room have enough details but when the light fades, it loses clarity. Turning on the front flash (powered by a bright white screen from the display) helps improve quality but does not release noise. In short, the overall camera performance of the Nokia 3.2 is better than that of the Nokia 4.2 but only slightly. In short, the Nokia 3.2 has a decent pair of cameras but does not claim photography as its primary field of power.
The default camera app on the Nokia 3.2 is not as slow or unprepared as the Nokia 4.2, but it is still slow. The app takes time to focus on a topic, capture an image and preview it. It doesn’t come with a built-in portrait or live focus mode but it does feature a square mode for Instagram fans. In short, the overall camera performance of the Nokia 3.2 is better than that of the Nokia 4.2 but only slightly.
Disclaimer: The images below have been resized for the web Visit us Google Photo Album For high-resolution images.
General mode, during the day, focus on flower petals
Normal mode, during the day
Normal mode, during the day
Square mode, during the day
Square mode, low light
Normal mode, indoors
Normal mode, indoors, moderately low light
Selfie with flash (display powered), very low light
In our standard battery benchmark test, the Nokia 3.2 scored 514 minutes. In comparison, Nokia 4.2 conducted 530 minutes in the same test and Redmi 7 545 minutes. Note that Nokia 3.2 has a 4,000mAh battery. Its battery performance loss is probably due to the lack of a more sophisticated chipset. Expect the phone to last you about a day and a half on a single charge with moderate to heavy usage.
About fifteen minutes after running PUBG Mobile, the review unit lost 6 percent of its total charge. After an hour of navigating the street (setting the screen brightness to the maximum, enabling Wi-Fi and Bluetooth), the review unit loses ten percent of its total charge, the equivalent of Nokia 4.2 and Redmi 7. In short, Nokia 4.2 lives up to its two-day battery promise.
The last row
The Nokia 3.2 variant line-up ends where Nokia 4.2 begins. According to Nokia’s website, the 3GB RAM variant of Nokia 3.2 is priced at Rs 10,790. The 3GB RAM variant of Nokia 4.2 is priced at Rs 10,990. This slim difference in price gives a buyer very little reason to consider Nokia 3.2 as compared to Nokia 4.2. In almost all cases except the screen size, Nokia 4.2 offers better and more buck for the buck. If you desperately don’t want a big 6.26-inch screen, go with the Nokia 4.2 if you want to buy a nice budget Nokia smartphone. If you are open to other brands, consider Redmi 7. In short, Nokia 3.2 offers moderate performance on almost all fronts, making it a very weak case for itself in front of its slightly more expensive siblings.