“The 3.1 Plus comes with a polycarbonate back that features a rubberised coating”

Just a week after unveiling the Nokia 7.1 (first impressions), HMD Global has globally launched a smartphone in India — the Nokia 3.1 Plus. Coming in as the successor to the 3.1, the handset offers significant upgrades across the board. But in a crowded market that has high-specced phones from Chinese players, does the 3.1 Plus have what it takes to stand out? While you’ll have to wait for our review to get the answer, we did manage to spend some time with the phone to bring you our unboxing experience and the first thoughts on the all-new Nokia 3.1 Plus.

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As soon as you open the square-shaped 3.1 Plus retail box, you are treated with the smartphone unit. Once you put it aside, there are two compartments inside. One holds the wall charger and the micro-USB charging cable, while the other, has the quick start guide, standard documentation, and the company’s bundled earphones. Nokia has kept the packaging fairly minimalistic, which is not a bad thing at all.

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Starting off with the build quality and the design, the Nokia 3.1 Plus will grab your attention right from the word go. The polycarbonate back on the handset has an almost rubberised feel to it, which ensures superb ergonomic feel. At a time when the market is flooded with handsets that feature glass sandwich designs, it certainly feels good to have a phone that is not as prone to fingerprints and smudges. The unit feels sturdy in hand but not heavy. Have a closer look at the phone through the design gallery embedded below. 

The design of the 3.1 Plus is similar to most of the recent handsets from the company. At the back, the phone ships with a vertically-oriented dual-camera module, LED flash in the middle at the back. The fingerprint sensor is right below this module and your index finger should easily find its way to this circular ring in resting position. The customary Nokia and Android One branding complete the design elements on the back of the handset.

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To quickly get the alignment of buttons out of the way, the power button and volume rocker sit on the right spine of the phone. The primary SIM card slot and the secondary slot (which can either take a memory card or an additional SIM card) are located on the left side of the Nokia 3.1 Plus. The 3.5mm headphone socket is located up top, while the speaker grille is present at the bottom (on both sides of the micro-USB charging slot).

nokia_3.1_plus_review_shots6Coming to the display, the 6-inch HD+ IPS panel on the Nokia 3.1 Plus comes with an 18:9 aspect ratio with thin bezels at the top and the bottom. In our limited time with the handset, the display on the 3.1 Plus didn’t seem to be particularly sharp or crisp. Although viewing angles are decent, the colour shift is fairly noticeable. That said, as we have spent just limited time with the phone, we will get back to you on this aspect with more details in the full review.

nokia_3.1_plus_review_shots5Powering the Nokia 3.1 Plus is the MediaTek Helio P22 SoC, coupled with 3GB of RAM. The onboard storage stands at 32GB, with support for microSD cards of up to 400GB. In our usage, we found that the UI animations felt fast but not smooth at all times. It almost felt like the animations have been accelerated with the help of developer options, something which we did not actually do. So, it’ll be interesting to see how the handset holds up while gaming or in long-term usage.

Just like other Nokia handsets, the brand’s latest offering runs a stock iteration of Android. To be precise, our unit was running v8.1 Oreo out of the box. Thanks to the Android One partnership, the handset will receive guaranteed monthly updates for the next three years and OS updates for the next two years. The 3.1 Plus packs a sizeable 3,500mAh battery, which should ensure a day’s worth of backup. 

nokia_3.1_plus_review_shots4In terms of imaging, the dual-camera module on the Nokia 3.1 Plus holds a 13MP shooter with f/2.0 aperture and PDAF support along with a secondary 5MP f/2.4 sensor. At the front, you get an 8MP sensor with a f/2.2 aperture to click selfies. During our limited time, the snappers seemed to offer decent images, though we’d like to reserve our judgment till we test them out thoroughly. 

Unlike the recently-launched 5.1 Plus (review) and 6.1 Plus (review), the 3.1 Plus will be available to buy offline stores across India. The smartphone has been priced at Rs 11,499 and will go on sale starting October 19th. While Nokia’s latest seems to be up against some stiff competition, the fact that the phone can be purchased from brick-and-mortar stores near you certainly gives it an edge.  

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