Our Verdict

The Nokia 3 has the looks of one of the best cheap phones on the market but under scrutiny it struggles with long load times and poor battery life. If you value style over substance as well as saving a quick buck, it may be right for you.

For

  • Solid build quality
  • Low price
  • Stock Android software

Against

  • Disappointing performance
  • Limited storage
  • Middling battery life

The Nokia name is experiencing a resurgence in the phone market in 2017 and the latest releases to excite you include the Nokia 6, Nokia 5 and Nokia 3. 

They follow the Nokia 3310 (2017), a ‘reboot’ of the classic feature phone that was launched earlier this year to try and drum up attention for the brand – it’s these new handsets that are the real reintroduction to the market the Nokia brand deserves.

The Nokia 3 is the most affordable of the new range, but still packs a punch with a fantastic design for a low-end device – but does everything else add up on the new phone?

This isn’t, we should make clear, a device created by Nokia as you used to know it. Neither the Finnish company that made the original Nokia 3310, nor Microsoft, which made the Lumia Windows Phone products with Nokia since 2011, are involved in these new handsets.

Startup device manufacturer HMD Global is licensing the Nokia branding for phones, and this is a very different device to what we’ve seen in the past.

Nokia 3 price and release date

  • The Nokia 3 is out now in the UK, but uncertain if it will launch in US or Australia 
  • Costs £129.99 with contracts starting at £12.99 a month 

The Nokia 3 is out now in the UK and costs £129.99 from Carphone Warehouse. Deals for the phone on a contract start at £12.99, making this a very affordable device, although most people will likely buy it outright and use it with a SIM bought separately.

It’s the cheapest of Nokia’s new range of devices, apart from the Nokia 3310 reboot that sits separately to the three main phones.

It's currently uncertain if the phone will be launching in the US or Australia, but if it does we expect prices to be around $150/AU$200. We'll be sure to update this review when we hear news about release dates around the rest of the world.

Design

  • Premium look despite low price point 
  • Polycarbonate back and metal edges, comes in four color options
  • The power button can be a little hard to hit sometimes 

When you’re in the market for a cheaper device you can usually expect to have to settle for a less-premium build quality, and forgo some of the design quirks of the best-looking devices.

The Nokia 3 doesn’t have the most attractive design, but considering its price point it has a premium feel, great build quality and looks brilliant compared to some of the competition.

It’s a squared design that instantly reminds you of the design of the Windows Phone generation of Nokia devices, but instead of having a bold primary-colored plastic back it has  metal edges that look superb.

Those edges may not be what you want from a phone, though, if you’re a fan of the rounded lines of many other handsets.

The back panel is polycarbonate, but despite that it still has a premium air. The Nokia 3 comes in four color options: black, dark blue (pictured throughout this review) and two options for white; both white variants have a white back panel, with one having white edges and the other a peach-colored rim around the phone.

During our testing we did find the power button on the right-hand side of the phone to be a little small if you have larger fingers and thumbs. That may mean you’ll spend a little bit longer trying to hit that button and not the volume rocker, which is just above it.

On the top edge of the handset sits the 3.5mm headphone jack, which allows you to use wired headsets with the phone, while the bottom edge has a micro USB port in the centre for charging and data transfer.

The phone sits easily in the hand, but the lack of fingerprint scanner on the Nokia 3 means it takes a little longer to unlock than other phones, as you’ll need to press the power button and then use an on-screen unlock.

For comparison, the Moto E4, which is a similar price to this phone, has a fingerprint scanner that makes it a breeze to unlock the phone – but if that’s not a deal-breaker for you then you won’t have a problem here.

Display

  • Small-ish 5-inch screen makes for an easy-to-use screen 
  • Only 720p resolution, but still offers sharp images when watching video 

The Nokia 3 comes with a 5-inch display with a 720p resolution. That equals 294 pixels per inch, which is a bit below what you’d expect on a modern smartphone.

The lower resolution does mean you’re likely to spot the odd pixel compared to a Full HD resolution screen, but considering the price of this phone you shouldn’t be too disappointed with the sharpness of images.

We did find the screen to be a little dull on the Nokia 3. Brightness isn’t particularly impressive compared to other phones, so again the Moto E4, which has a bright display at the same resolution, might be a better option if that’s important to you.

The display on the Nokia 3 is the optimum size though, with the phone sitting comfortably in the hand and all areas of the screen are easy to reach no matter how small your hands are.