Interface and reliability

  • Runs Android Go
  • 1GB of RAM limits your ability to have multiple apps open

Android Go edition, launched some years ago, is a version of the operating system developed with speed and efficiency in mind, and it's the Android 8.1 Oreo version of this that the Nokia 1 uses.

Background processes are severely curtailed, and Google Play prompts users towards 'Go' editions of popular apps, which are supposedly more efficient than their full-fat counterparts.

Questions of why Android in general is not more efficient than it is out of the picture, using the operating system is a mostly pleasant experience.

The MediaTek chipset is mostly enough to keep the interface chugging along, however what most users will find to be a significant bottleneck is the 1GB of RAM included in the Nokia 1.

Nokia 1 review

Image credit: TechRadar

This mostly means that only one app, certainly only one 'normal' app can run in the system at once without being reloaded. It almost makes the likes of the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition with its 10GB of RAM seem justified.

Many services haven’t yet adapted their service to the needs of Android Go, meaning that most games will remain functionally unplayable. For those making the purchase with the intent of making calls and listening to music however, this is hardly an issue.

Beyond these users, the experience can be more than a little frustrating. Where it's easy with most modern phones to make them fit your needs, with the Nokia 1 it is instead necessary to fit in with the rhythm and needs of the device - for better or for worse.

Movies, music and gaming

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

  • Small screen and tinny speaker limit media skills
  • Doesn't have the power for most games

It must be said, this isn’t a media powerhouse - the dinky little screen should be all the evidence you'd need of that. Any media, from text to video, is a chore to consume when there is so little screen real estate on display.

This is only made worse by the addition of a very tinny and quite quiet speaker on the rear of the device, which just about makes itself heard in general usage but nowhere near well enough to compare with the big boys.

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

Listening to music can still be a decent experience though, thanks to the welcome addition of the once ubiquitous 3.5mm headphone jack.

Gaming, unfortunately, is something of a no go. Most apps on the Play Store are coded with slightly beefier specifications in mind, as such anything more demanding than the latest edition of Temple Run will cause the Nokia 1 to start and splutter.

Performance and benchmarks

  • Apps can take a while to open
  • Not up to multitasking

Regardless of the best efforts of the chipset and RAM combo, running Android Go edition almost seems to be too much for the Nokia 1.

Swiping through the interface is generally quite fluid, but opening any app takes quite a while, even in the Go editions of certain apps, even though they have been reduced in size considerably.

For those who tend to do one, maybe two things at a time with their phone, it is likely that this won’t prove to be too great an issue. For general users however, it is this difference that makes the Nokia 1 most easily recommendable as a 'festival phone' rather than a daily driver.

Nokia 1 review

Image credit: TechRadar

This is only borne out further by the Geekbench 4 scores - with a single core score of 486 and a multi-core score of 1,226, the Nokia 1 is directly comparable with flagships released in 2012, for better or for worse.

There are also issues of quality with the 'Go' versions of certain apps. Intended to be less resource-intensive versions of their full-fat counterparts, some dumb down the functionality only slightly in order to meet this goal.

Others however, especially Maps Go, are just links to Chrome web wrappers - providing a jittery experience and forcing the user to depend entirely on their internet connection.