A flagship phone is like a tailored suit - sure, you pay more, but that’s because it’s been nipped and tucked in all the right places.
The Nokia 3? It’s something you’d pick up in Primark, not Prada. But when you’re paying pennies, it’s easier to forgive a few bulges and sags.
With looks that punch well above the price and an unmolested version of Android, there’s a lot here to like - even if it means putting up with lacklustre performance.
DESIGN & BUILD
There’s a real whiff of ‘old’ Nokia about the Nokia 3, with the same angular corners and polycarbonate construction as the original brand’s Windows Phone phones. With HMD now at the helm, though, build quality has been taken a welcome step up.
That frame? It’s made of metal. Good luck finding anything else that feels quite so premium for less cash.
It feels reassuringly weighty, with buttons that don’t wobble or rattle (even if they are a little on the small side), and is small enough to sit comfortably in your mitts.
There’s no fingerprint sensor, which feels like a missed trick even at this price. Then again, Sony's Xperia L1 doesn't have one either, and it costs the same.
SCREEN & SOUND
Don’t expect huge pixel counts here - the 5in LCD display makes do with a budget-friendly 1280x720 resolution. It means you won’t need a magnifying glass to spot the individual pixels, but it’s more than enough for web browsing or catching up on YouTube clips.
Colours are decent, but everything just looks so dim. Brightness is sorely lacking, so you’re going to struggle to see what’s onscreen when you step outside.
The single speaker is a good match to the screen. It’s loud enough when you’ve got it in your hand, but you’ll still need a Bluetooth speaker to fill a room with sound.
Snapping photos with the Nokia 3 is an exercise in frustration, whether you’re using the front or the rear camera. Both use 8MP sensors with f/2.0 lenses, and can take reasonably detailed shots, but it’s just so sluggish.
The Camera app is slow to open. It’s slow to actually take a photo when you press the shutter button. It’s slow to switch shooting modes. Oh, and it struggles to focus in low light, even with the LED flash.
At least colours look lifelike, and HDR can rescue dynamic range when you’re shooting in bright light, even if it’s dog slow. But then again, what did you really expect for RM599?