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Nokia 3.2 hands-on review: A budget Nokia offering with a hefty battery

The follow-up to the budget Nokia 3.1 has a “two-day battery life”, according to Nokia

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Mobile World Congress 2019 is finally upon us and with it come four new Nokia smartphones. Nokia takes pride in its place among the top five worldwide smartphone brands and, with its latest range, it really is offering something for everyone.

Right now I’m focusing on the budget Nokia 3.2 handset but Nokia has also unveiled an ultra-cheap Nokia 1 Plus, the mid-tier Nokia 4.2 and the luxurious Nokia 9 PureView, which has a dizzying five-camera setup.

I’ve had hands-on time with the handset, so keep reading to find out what you need to know.

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Nokia 3.2 review: Key specifications, price and release date

  • 6.26in HD+ 19:9 display
  • Up to 3GB RAM
  • Up to 32GB storage
  • 13MP rear camera
  • 4,000mAh battery
  • Google Assistant key
  • Available in Black or Steel
  • Android 9 Pie (with Android One)
  • UK price: $139 or $169 (UK price TBC)
  • UK release: May 2019

Nokia 3.2 review: Design, key features and first impressions

The Nokia 3.2 is an upgrade of the Nokia 3.1 from mid-2018. As before, it’s a budget phone which comes in two separate configurations. This time around you can pick up a $139 model with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage or a $169 model with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage.

The rest of the device’s specifications are identical between the two models. The most notable change in the Nokia 3.2 from its precursor is its display size, which has jumped up to 6.26in from 5.2in on the Nokia 3.1. Bezels are much slimmer too, both at the chin and forehead, and the selfie camera now rests within a fairly inoffensive teardrop notch. From the front, it strongly resembles the new Motorola Moto G7 line.

The Nokia 4.2 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 429 chipset, which should deliver the kind of performance you expect from a budget phone. Obviously, the more expensive edition with 3GB RAM will be the snappier of the two configurations and, for a mere £30 more, it’s probably worth it.

As well as the Black colour scheme pictured in this hands-on a Steel finish will also be available once the phone is released come early May this year. This isn’t the sturdiest of handsets, by the way. It’s made of plastic and it feels as cheap as it is.

More and more, manufacturers have been incorporating fingerprint sensors into phones around the £150 mark so it’s disappointing to see that the Nokia 3.2 lacks one. Bizarrely, Nokia has added a Google Assistant key on the left edge of the phone. This button seems to be a completely pointless inclusion since Google Assistant is already so easily accessed on Android phones, either by speaking or via the navigation bar. On the right edge are the power and volume buttons, while the micro-USB charging port sits at the bottom. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top, which is always handy to have.

The rear camera is comprised of a single 13MP module (aperture unknown) set above the LED flash. You may also notice the Android One logo printed on the back of the phone. The Nokia 3.2 runs on the current Android 9 Pie OS but Android One guarantees software and security updates for a minimum of 2 years after the phone is launched.

One final point of interest: the Nokia 3.2 has a 4,000mAh battery which Nokia says will keep the phone powered for over 48hrs. That’s a bold claim, but will it hold true when I get a review model to test? At $169, the Nokia 3.2 is in direct competition with the new Motorola Moto G7 Power, which costs just a fraction more and has an even bigger 5,000mAh battery.

The Moto G7 Power came close to breaking the record for the longest-lasting phone Expert Reviews has ever tested and I don’t think the Nokia 3.2 has a realistic chance of beating it in terms of battery life — or anything else, for that matter. Of course, nothing is certain until we’ve actually tested the phone.

Nokia 3.2 review: Early verdict

Neither the Nokia 3 or Nokia 3.1 were particularly impressive devices, although they were fairly priced. Nokia has made some sizeable improvements for this upgrade yet the price has remained the same, so the Nokia 3.2 looks like it’ll be good value for money at least. It’s difficult to draw any conclusions until we've put it through its paces. As for the claim about battery life, well, a claim it remains.

The Nokia 3.2 goes on sale in the UK in May 2019.

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